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Summer is here in most parts of the country, and kids will soon be out of school….

What fun we used to have for three long, lazy months running the fields, and swimmin’ in any waterway we could find. Even the river had a few still-water coves where we would inch in slowly ‘til our bodies adjusted to the freezing cold water, then stay in for hours—no wonder I have arthritis in every joint these days.

We also would ride our bikes to town picking up tossed pop and beer bottles to trade in at the store for a few pennies. Candy was cheap back then, and we always came home with a pocket full of goodies after each venture.

There were horses to jump on from the top rail fence, and ride bareback until they got smart and scraped us off under a low hanging branch on some old tree in the middle of the field.

I was a born tom-boy, and most of the neighbors were rough-necked little boys like my two brothers, so the few girls who lived within shoutin’ distance joined right in rollin’ in the dirt, climbin’ trees, shootin’ slingshots, and catchin’ pollywogs. Sheer heaven to a kid—I think I was about thirteen when I noticed I was a girl, and should take regular baths, and not fight Mom so much about washin’ my hair, and wearin’ shoes with white anklets on my callused feet. But I still miss those rough and tumble days thinkin’ I was “one of the boys!”

We had fresh rhubarb, and warm tomatoes and peas to eat right off the vine from the ample garden Mom planted—we kids kept a saltshaker in the barn just for a quick food-run so we could then cool off in the shade while we ate our fill. Nothin’ better! But when we told Mom about this deed years later, she almost gagged thinking about how many germs from “God knows what” we may have eaten after some critter had crossed over that old saltshaker. She also had fits when we told her we chipped chunks off the salt-lick for cattle out in the field so we could have a piece in our pocket to lick whenever the need arose. It didn’t hurt us one bit! No doubt it served us just as well as the cows to replenish salt we lost from our sweat-covered, skinny frames runnin’ all summer in the heat. Mom was fussy about cleanliness, and what we ate, but we kids saw no need for her to fret whatsoever in our daily eating rambles. On our second-hand bikes, we had an abundance of stops we made along a dirt-road to receive fresh apples at Blackhall’s place, prunes off our own tree, sweet honeycomb right out of the hive boxes at Mr. LaRue’s, and if we were lucky, a slice of pie at the Ferguson ranch.

I always compare us to “wild little Indians” runnin’, and whoopin’ all day long playing games, and staying out of any real mischief. Life was carefree, and without the fright of any evil coming to us like there is today. No one threatened us in any way unless we were naughty, and then it would be more than a threat. All Moms had ‘rule’ over us if we were at their house—the same went if neighborhood kids were visiting our house. And we called adults Mr. and Mrs.—not by their first names, as is the custom now. I hate seeing how RESPECT has been lost through the years with more relaxed rules, and less respect for any kind of authority.

We ran, we played, we made life-long friends, but we still had chores to do before Dad got home from the woods in his logging truck. If not completed, there would be warm bottoms sittin’ at the dinner table that night. Of course, we put off chores as long as possible like all kids do, but there was no saying we’d do them tomorrow, or talking back to parents in my day. The consequences were not good if you ever crossed that line.

Well, I’ve rambled on enough, but I do pray kids of today make great memories of their own this, and every summer. Its a wonderful time of year…

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I used only the first part of this poem below I wrote several years ago for my little grandson, Tyler, (who now is 21) about ridin’ horses when I was a kid. Its called “Buckin’ Broncos”—Time flies, and I miss those days…


BUCKIN’ BRONCOS

Was just a whippersnapper—
I really had no sense.
I’d wait fer them wild broncos
to sidle by the fence.

Then leap upon their mangy backs
from the very top rail-board,
grab their mane, clench my knees,
an’ holler to the Lord.

A wilder ride ya never saw
on each wily untamed horse—
they’d rare an’ kick both hind feet out,
land me on my butt, of course.

I didn’t have a speck a fear,
an’ rarely I got hurt,
a screamin’ an’ a wailin’,
an’ whippin’ with my quirt.

First I’d see the sky of blue,
an’ then I’d see the ground,
as that bronco bucked me up,
an’ then he’d buck me down.

I’ve been thrown in cow-pies,
an’ mud up to my knees,
landed up against the barn,
an’ scraped off ‘neath some trees.

I never seemed to get it
when I was just a kid—
I thought I was Gene Autry,
an’ could ride the way he did.


Tamara Hillman
©2001
 

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Tam brings back a lot of memories for me from dawn to dark we played either at the creek or at the river- all ways something to get in to.. ;)
 

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Not many folks have anything over on the imagination of kids who grew up rural and with not much money.
Wearing our cousins, and neighbor's cousin's hand me downs, and bicycles that they outgrew or just grew bored with.
Making our own fun and games with what was there and what things we found along the way. We grew up a lot the same.
Thanks for always reviving the memories that I wouldn't trade anything for. ;)
 

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Happy 4th of July. I don't think I would trade 1 year of my growing up for 5 years of the future. Keep cool and and enjoy the Summer.....mike
 
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