The Joy’s of Summer

The sun is up, it’s going to get too hot outside to work in a little while, I could hear my dad say, and off to work at the radiator shop he would go. As many of you, my siblings and I learned to work at an early age. Looking down those long rows of cotton early in the morning, one could see their reflection in the dew hanging on the edge of leaves. The hoes had been filed the evening before. I can still see the silver-colored edge and striated markings it left behind on the hoe as well as the metal shavings falling to the ground. There is a sparkle of that metal that still lingers in my mind today.  Mom would say, “be careful, don’t chop your feet off”. I can remember the little straw hats with the red and white draw strings to keep them on our heads that mom had bought at M.E. Moses variety store. Mom would be wearing one of dads long-sleeved shirts, gloves and her own hat to keep from getting a sun burn. The coolness of the water left at the end of the row was certainly welcome. As the day grew longer and hotter, the dew on the leaves had long since dissipated. Red faces and blisters on the hands were a norm for the first few weeks of hoeing. These are memories my siblings and I share from time to time and have a complete understanding and a feeling of oneness and consolidation of our youth together. When the chopping season was over, it was time to wait until the fields where white as snow. It would soon be time to pull out the long white cotton sacks, gloves, jackets and begin to pull bolls, weigh the sacks, empty the cotton into an open trailer and begin again.  There were no module builders. Vividly, my baby sister was on the back-end of my mother’s cotton sack, being dragged across the country.  I can see my baby brother with his little brown tote sack that once held 100 pounds of grain, long since eaten by the pigs, pulling one boll at a time and gently placing it in his bag. It was a hard time, but it was beautiful.

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Percolator

As the memories rush in, I have to pick just one. I can remember growing up in that old farm-house, often cold in the mornings because my dad had a phobia of fire whenever anyone slept and couldn’t keep watch. So my mom was often up very early to warm at least the kitchen. Looking across that old, yellow, formica kitchen table I see the percolator sitting on a flat, tortilla plate. It was mesmerizing to watch it boil and start to hiccup. As I was reminded recently, my mom always used a saucer with her cup of coffee, even into her 87th year. As I did when I was a child, sometimes I would watch her pour her coffee in her cup, not so steadily now as then, but all the same the same way. She would pour some of her coffee in her saucer, blow on it and drink it down. In younger years, all of us kids idolized my mother. There were six boys and three girls, with the oldest two being identical twins, and do I have stories to tell about them. My mom was a stately woman with chestnut, curly brown hair, green eyes with a soul of kindness and beauty. All of us kids would wait for her to get ready to go to town on Saturday. Her hair coiffed beautifully, sometimes with a flower comb on one side, her lip stick on and her shoes, of which she always called her pumps and of course her ear rings that were called ear bobs. When she was set, she was a show stopper. Oh the day doesn’t stop there, but for another time I will share more of the most classic, beautiful woman that ever graced this life. Miss you mom and miss our morning coffee.

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)

It Took me Back to Then

As I watched two little boys playing this morning, I was taken back to my own childhood. My best friend was my brother Buddy. We were children of the 60’s. We were poor, but not too much more than many of the other kids we knew. This day burst forth as a breath into a dying soul. The memories of freshly plowed fields and the clod fights Buddy so loved rush back to me as if someone turned on a light. Toys in our day may have consisted of a train set made of rocks, tied together with twine, strung along with little hands, sharing back and forth. We made “stilts” out of tin cans with strings running through both sides of the can that had been opened with a simple, pointed bottle opener, putting our feet through the strings and pulling up on the can, oh what fun! We had a long rope in the largest tree in the shelter-belt that would petrify most parents today. Baseball played with sticks and rocks. Fire flies, crickets, grasshoppers and other crawly things we could put in our pockets were for trade. And marbles, who didn’t love marbles? We stayed outside ALL day, everyday. House was not made for kids in the summer time. If our parents had company, we went outside. My oldest brother worked at the Coca Cola bottling plant and would bring us drinks. To this very day, I cannot open a sprite without thinking of him. The spritz and small spray have a very distinct smell, one you can taste before you drink it. It tasted like a bit of heaven. Always a memory in my coffee that takes me back to then.

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)

It seems like a Menagerie!

It’s Valentines Day, it’s my wife’s birthday.  My first thought is how lucky I am that Timberly has been with me almost 33 years. I’m thinking of how quickly time fleets by and little glimpses of the past play like a film. Closing my eyes I can see her first birthday with me, she was 19.  My thoughts morph beyond birthdays, they intersect with having our sons, from birth to playing with chalk on the sidewalk yesterday to being grown, married and having a life of their own. The clips are like a menagerie sitting on a shelf.  Today is Timberly’s Day, that’s what Valentines and Birthday are for her in our home. The second cup of coffee is not quite, but is almost as good as the first. The longer I sit the deeper the trance becomes, it’s going to be a busy day. In a sequence of events I see parts of the day play out. It is crisp and cool outside. That, with the coffee has my eyes open to a wonderful, fun-filled day of new memory clips to add to my menagerie. Happy Birthday my sweets, this cup’s for you!

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)

Ode to Remembrance

It’s not unusual for me to become lost in thought with my morning coffee. Often, I find a garden of sweetness waiting there. Sometimes, I find a memory that I pick up like a shiny new penny, a memory that has laid dormant for many, many years. Memories such as the times my mother would make her way to the storm cellar on a cold winter’s day to retrieve a few jars of peaches she had canned in the fall. There were nine children in my family, so we knew we were going to have a treat sometime that evening. Memories of mother are from that sweet spot in the garden of my mind. The aroma of coffee brings back the best of times and sometimes the worst of times, but certainly, always worth the visit of yesterday.

Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)