Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pocket Full of Rocks

Isn't it amazing how a song, conversation, or a sight can transport your mind to a memory?

 A few days ago, while I was working at my job; a well dressed and groomed man struck up a conversation with me.  He said "You know, I've made a fortune by.......
I don't have to slave away, like you're doing; and I'm living the life and dream!"  Right away, in my mind, I knew it was going to be one of those ridiculous conversations of "get rich quick" deals that will eventually end up costing you more than you profit!!

As he rambled on an on, instantly, my mind was taken back to when I was a kid.  I remember those hot summer days! School was out for the summer. While most of my friends were on fun-filled vacation getaways, I would be in the fields, working the crops.
You see, if you lived on a farm, you worked and "breathed" the farm, regardless of rain or shine!
Skinny, little boy, always barefoot in overalls with no shirt! Oh, what a sight I would be in those fields - hoeing, plowing, pulling weeds, watering the crops. Whatever was necessary to make those vegetables and fruits grow! Oh, the endless miles it seemed like of fields to work! 
While I would be working, I would find "Indian heads" and all kinds of unique shaped rocks. My pockets would be filled to the brim with my treasures!  By the time we would head to the old farmhouse to have a quick lunch or supper, I would be so weighted down with my "rocks", that I felt that I wouldn't be able to walk! 
At the sight of me, my Grandma, would just shake her head and mutter "silliness!" My Grandpa, on the other hand, would never say anything negative or "make fun".
After we'd eat, Grandpa and I would head down to the creek bank, where I would wash my various rocks until they shined like diamonds! So proud....
This was time, where it would only be the two of us; and it was "our time" to sit and talk and reflect on things until dark.
Some of my best conversations were at the creek with my Grandpa. You see, he was a kind and gentle soul. Never quick to give an opinion; but so full of wisdom and knowledge.
 He taught me the greatest lessons about life: Work hard, when you've done your best; pray and let God do the rest.....

Grandpa has been gone many a year now; but I still remember our talks.
"Stay focused, never give up; and always do things the honest way."
The well dressed man's laugh, snapped me back to reality. Glancing at my watch, I realized, he had been talking non-stop for the past 30 minutes! He was so engrossed with bragging about his wealth; he never knew I wasn't paying attention to anything that he had spoken!
When he finally stopped talking - only to get his breath; I politely told him, that it was nice to meet him and if he needed assistance - let me know.
Trying to get back to work, this man was persistent! He reached into his pocket and handed me his business card and said "Join my team and you won't have to work in a place like this again."
Amazed at his determination to persuade me; I simply smiled and said "No Thanks!"
I patted my pants pocket and replied: "I'll keep my pocket full of rocks."
He looked bewildered; and started to ask me a question; but I turned and walked away.

At that moment, I could feel Grandpa smiling down at me with content and approval.
In my mind, as I smiled, I heard him gently say "Pocket full of rocks".......

Until next time..........

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Backroads Memories 1

Back in the day I couldn’t wait for the weekends.  I knew Friday evening would be time to eat out with the family; then home to kick back in my room, listening to the “all request” radio station. I would always be listening, to see who had called in, professing their never ending love for this person or that person. The phone line connected to our rotary phone, would constantly be busy; because I would always be talking with friends, trying to line up Saturday nights.
Saturday would arrive, and I think all of us teenagers would get the yards mowed, all the animals fed, and the cars washed in record time! Rolling into town on Saturday nights, were a big deal. So exciting!  We had an unspoken truce with the stores, and knew which parking lots we could hang out in, and the ones that were “off limits”.

Our main block was 2 miles long and by 9:30pm, was jam packed with an assortment of cars, trucks, and motorcycles. It looked like such a colorful parade! Cars and trucks of all makes and models, bumper to bumper on each side of the road, impatiently waiting for that red light to turn green. There was always at least one fender bender while cruising. If there wasn’t much damage, the two parties would just shake hands with a promise to “fix it” so the law wouldn’t be called and praying our parents wouldn’t find out!

Burnouts, drag racing, circling the Tastee Freeze; and finding your buddies with the coolers were the plans for the night.  As midnight would approach, everyone would start packing up and heading home—wondering how much trouble that we were going to be in; since it would be way past our curfew!

Sunday morning would roll around, and as clock work – EVERYONE went to church! No excuses, no exceptions!!! A few of us would be praying, that the preacher wouldn’t be shouting as loud, and that he would make that sermon short and sweet! Some of us would be having pounding headaches; due to hangovers from drinking way too much from the night before.
Sermon finished, hymnal sang, final prayer and Church would be over.  After lunch, it would be time for a much needed nap. By evening time, everyone would be refreshed; and would be outside pitching horse shoes, lounging in the lawn chairs; or swinging on the old porch swing, all the while drinking sweet tea, gossiping about who was in church, what they wore, and heaven forbid their hairstyles!

Sunset would come quickly; and we would get ready for bed, dreading another week and wishing it was Friday already again!

My how times have changed! We are all grown and older. Friday evening “sit down” meals have been replaced by the quick fast food drive thru window.  Cruising is a thing of the past. Our main drag strip for those long Saturday nights, has been replaced by a six lane highway, the old fashioned store fronts changed into mini-malls; and the little church, where everyone in the community would attend faithfully: well, the doors are locked and is just a distant memory.

It seems, as if in the blink of an eye, everything has changed. Memories…That’s all we have of the “good ole’ days”.

Sometimes it’s nice to slow down and take a “Backroads Memories” trip. Thanks for “riding” along!

Until next time…….