One Year Later

This was me a year ago. I camped out the weekend before Christmas. (12/22 – 12/23). The temps were high 40s low 20s. I am camped on my property.

This year on December 23 I had cataracts removed from my right eye. I went in at 8:30 and was out by 11. The marvels of modern medicine. Everything went fine. High that day in the 50s and low 30s. Christmas Day high is supposed to be near 70. We have a saying here in Missouri, “If you don’t like the weather just wait a few minutes.”

I wanted to camp out on the property the weekend before Christmas but the surgery put a damper on that. The worse news I got was that I couldn’t fish for a week or kayak for two weeks. Now enter temps of near 70 for Christmas Day.

I always carry with me a number 10 Lodge Dutch Oven. I think that is the most versatile size for camping for one. I can prepare a complete breakfast in it all at once. Sorry I digress.

Back to cataract surgery. I was amazed it only took a little over 15 minutes for the procedure. The people involved in my surgery at the Farmington Surgical Center were wonderful. I can’t say enough good things about them.

There was a little girl, I would say around 4 or 5 across from me. I watched as she entertained herself opening and closing the blinds surrounding the areas we were in. She suddenly stopped and was staring at me. I was probably quite a site lying there in the bed hooked up to an IV and all the other gadgets. She then says in this concerned little voice, “Mister are you all right.” I assured her I was fine and she smiled and went about her business.

Beside me there was a young boy around 11 that was having his tonsils removed and as they were wheeling me into the OR he said, “Mister, it will be okay. ” God love ’em.

What a difference a year can make. Hopefully I will be able to camp on the property the weekend before Christmas. One can only wonder what the weather will be like. We will just have to see.

A Little Trip Down Memory Lane

During my teenage years my family would vacation every summer for a week at a campground in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas called Many Islands. It was located on the Spring River and offered premier trout fishing.

Our first year we camped for a week in a tent. It didn’t take long to realize that this was not the best of ideas. The following years we rented a cabin with all the comforts of home.

Spring River had several springs that flowed into it. The water temperature was cold and colder. Remember this little bit of information. The shock of hitting the water would take your breath away.

Generally we would wade the water to trout fish. On this one particular morning my dad informed me he was renting a boat and trolling motor so he and I could get where the big trout hung out.

There was a concrete slab where one could pull the boat up to and tie it off. My dad had pulled the boat up to the slab and informed me he was going to show me how to tie the boat up properly.

I was thirteen and excited about my dad sharing his knowledge with me. I watched attentively as he explained the proper knot to use as he tied it off. He then instructed me to retrieve our tackle boxes and rods and reels. He began loading the boat with our gear. He took one load aboard and came back to get another load.

On this trip he set his foot on the front seat of the John boat and still had one foot on the slab. At this point the boat began to drift away from the slab. Little did I know my vocabulary was going to expand with words that if I had ever used would have ended with me getting my mouth washed out with soap.

Now you have to picture my dad with one foot in the boat and the other planted on the slab and the boat slowly backing away. The gap between the boat and slab has widened. At this point I began to wonder if at the age of thirty four if my dad could physically do the splits.

My dad is trying frantically to pull the boat back to the slab with his leg. I stood there in disbelief as I watched the knot my dad had tied begin to unravel and the boat was now free and it occurred to me my dad was now at the point of no return.

All of a sudden I was overcome with the urge to laugh. I immediately started biting my tongue and realized how much I enjoyed life. I didn’t want to be standing in front of the pearly gates at such a young age so with great determination I was able to suppress my laughter.

I watched in horror, but laughing on the inside, as the gap became too wide for my dad to maintain his balance. SPLASH!!! Did I mention how cold the water is? He rises out of the water and onto the slab with the agility of a teenager. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes!! My vocabulary was expanding with the speed of light. His language would have made a sailor proud!

Needless to say that pretty much ended our day in the boat exploring Spring River and a trophy Trout was spared. When we got back to the cabin we had a real good laugh. Ahh the memories of growing up.

Growing Up In The 50s and 60s

As a child my “journey of life” was lived as a country boy. We always lived near small towns and both grandparents lived on farms. Common sense and respect were alive and well and a handshake meant something. Life was simple.

Following are some of the things that I remember from my childhood.

We said yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am and thank you. Ate fried tater sandwiches. Mom canning what we grew in the garden. Family vacations. The whole family sitting around the supper table. Collecting soda bottles and turning them in to redeem the deposit that was on them. Going Snipe hunting. Catching lightning bugs and putting them in glass jars. Experienced snipe hunting. We went fishing and hunted. We didn’t Skype or Tweet. Our social media consisted of grandpa’s pond. We said the pledge of allegiance every morning before school. We used a dictionary, encyclopedia and the library because internet service was nonexistent. If you got caught cussing you got your mouth washed out with soap. We rode in the back of a pickup. We respected the flag and stood for the National Anthem. Stores were closed on Sundays and holidays. Parents didn’t hesitate to bust our butts when we did something wrong.

It was clean honest living and a lot of the things we did aren’t even allowed any more. I don’t ever remember hearing about mass shootings. Hmm.

A Cold Blustery Night

Even though winter doesn’t officially start until December 21, old man winter showed up here in southwest Missouri with a vengeance.

As I sit here writing in my journal I can here the wind gusting outside my tiny cabin. It is blowing relentlessly across Mother Earth. It hasn’t let up all day. I pray that the homeless have secured a warm place to sleep for the night.

My mind wanders back to my grandparents who lived in a drafty old farmhouse with nothing but an old potbelly wood stove to provide them warmth. At one time the cracks in the floor were so bad that you could see the chickens gathered underneath the house to absorb the warmth of the stove as the heat escaped through the cracks. My grandparents survived many winters in that old farm house.

Feather beds were present on all the beds to help keep the occupants warm since the only stove was located in the living room. On top of the bed were many quilts to hold ones body heat for warmth. There was no inside plumbing so chamber pots were in fashion.

They didn’t get running water until I was 16 (1970). When I was twenty one (1975) my uncle and I installed an inside bathroom. I can’t ever remember them complaining about not having modern conveniences.

As I lie in bed tonight listening to the roar of the wind I am sure I will think about the winter nights I spent in the old farm house surrounded by the love of my grandparents.

My grandparents old farm house in 2017.

Another Family Reunion in the Books

“The memories we make with our family is everything.” – Candace Cameron Bure

It’s official another White family reunion is under our belts. All my dad’s brothers and sisters, that are still with is we’re there. Lots of great food and trips down memory lane.

I went to the cemetery to visit the graves of family members. As I stood there I thought back to when I was a child and the Decoration Day’s of the past. Now off to visit my grandparents old farm.

As I stood there in front of my grandparents house my mind began a journey back in time. An image of the house of yesterday began emerging and the house that used to be filled with love and life was once again before me. Much different than the house that was void of both in present time.

I saw my grandpa working the truck patch with his old mule Mike. Grandma was planting marigolds in the soil he had ready for planting. She was wearing her sun bonnet and her apron was covering the dress she wore. She always said the marigolds would keep bugs out of the rest of the garden.

Then the vision of us sitting in the porch swings waiting to take our turn at cranking the handle on the ice cream maker appeared so vividly before me. It was so real I could taste it.

I revisited the Christmas celebrations that happened within the walls of the old house. I remembered sleeping in the unheated bedroom snuggled in the warmth of the featherbed with a hundred pounds of quilts covering me. I would be awakened by the aroma of fresh made coffee and the unforgettable smell of bacon frying and homemade biscuits baking. I would jump out of bed and run into the living room and stand next to the wood stove to get warm.

Life was so simple then. The only technology in the house was the rabbit ear antenna wrapped in aluminum foil to help television reception.

The old outhouse was gone. Grandma had an old tom turkey who would always lay in waiting until I made my morning visit to the outhouse and he would chase me until I reached the safety of the outhouse. As I stood there I caught myself looking over my shoulder making sure the old tom wasn’t stalking me.

The old barn is gone but my grandpa’s pond was still there overgrown with brush. All the grandkids had fished in that pond at one time or another.

The trip down memory lane was so refreshing but the real world is starting to creep back into my mind. Time to go…………..

During your celebration of Memorial Day please take the time to remember those who gave all.

All pictures are the property of Double D Acres LLC and may not be used or reproduced without permission.

Goodbye October- Hello November

 

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A pic I took a couple of years ago.

“What good is the warmth summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck  Travels With Charley: In Search of America

October must have been in a hurry to get out of Dodge as it gets out of the way to let November in.  It flew by.  I don’t know if it is because I am getting older, but time seems to have accelerated the last couple of years.  The new year 2018 will be upon us before we know it.

I have mixed feelings as October moves on.  It always brings back childhood memories of jumping in a pile of fresh leaves, bonfires, apple cider, trick or treating, and the quest to have the perfect “hoodie”.  Chili cook-offs, picking apples, searching for the right pumpkin so I can make the Great Pumpkin proud.

On the other hand I am definitely a “snow bunny”.  I love to walk in the woods as the snow falls around me.  If you stop and listen real hard you can actually hear it snowing.  Making snow angels, drinking hot chocolate watching the snow fall, watching the fire dance in the wood stove, these are some of my favorite things about winter.

 

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Another pic I took.

Growing up in the 50s and 60s found us being quite resourceful when it came to sledding.  I remember one year we used the hood of an old Buick for a sled.  I don’t remember what year car it was but it was one of those hoods that came to a point in the front.  It seemed enormous to us back then.  Heavy it was and took two of us to pull it back up the hill.  We could get 7 of us on it then we would go zipping down the hill at speeds that seemed like 60 mph back then.  Only problem was steering.  It had none and one day it went farther than usual and it ended up under a parked car.  We all got knocked off and thanks to all the winter clothes we walked away with just bruises.

Another favorite of winter was “snow cream”.  My mom made the best “snow cream” you ever ate I tells ya.  She would make chocolate or vanilla.  Someone said one time you weren’t supposed to eat the first snow but it didn’t stop us and we survived.  Snow ball fights, snow forts and making a snowman another few of my favorite things about winter.

“My old grandmother always used to say, Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever.”  – George R.R. Martin  A Feast For Crows

So as October make its exit and November comes to the forefront I think of all my winter friends and think how lucky I am to have them.  I can smell the hot chocolate.

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