Summertime weather simmers along as daisies bloom and leaves grow green and full on the trees. The hills surround and envelop us with rich greenery that protect and comfort us. I could never get used to the flatlands that seem to go on forever, but take comfort in the hills of home. I found a poem in my files written by a lady who had moved away from the hills, but was still longing for them.
HILLS OF HOME
By Violet B. Reed
Springtime brings back memories . . .
Of loved ones . . . hills . . . And home . . .
I miss the beauty of those hills . . .
I haven’t been there in so long.
A picture I see is so serene . . .
It could take your breath away . . .
Memories of springtime in the mountains . . .
Seems so very near . . . today.
A carpet of green . . . spreads far and wide . . .
The fragrance of wildwood flowers . . .
Grace those hills and valleys . . .
Where we spent many happy hours.
A gentle breeze . . . blows through the trees . . .
I hear an echo . . . far away . . .
It’s the yodeling voice of my “Little Sis . . .
Than brings back yesterday . . . Today!
(Ever close in mind and heart–the hills)
I wonder if you ever get away from “the pull of the hills”? When our son Michael lived in Louisiana, we visited there several times. With the bayous, flat land, canals and alligators, it was like another country. It was interesting and fascinating, but after a few days, my eyes got tired of so much flatness and I began to long for something to rest my eyes upon (trees and hills to be exact!)
Springtime in the hills is soothing. Last evening we sat on the porch, leisurely swinging on the old porch swing, and watched the day begin to disappear and dusk steal over the land. It was quiet except for the sleepy twittering of a few songbirds in the maple tree, settling their young down for the night. A tree frog croaked somewhere nearby, and a few lightning bugs began flickering over the lawn.
It was so peaceful and serene, that I remarked to Criss, “This is the best part of the day!” I recalled summer evenings when I was young, and the day’s chores were over, when we gathered on the front porch of the old house.
Grandpa usually sat in a tipped-back kitchen chair, the young’uns crowded close on the swing, and the rest of us sat on the steps. Sometimes a neighbor would stop by, after being invited to “come in and set a spell!”
The talk would drift to crops and weather, and we children listened to the desultory talk of the grown-ups, and grow sleepy. It was a perfect ending to a summer day. Front porches (and swings) seem to be a thing of the past, but I think that in the rushed life of this modern world, it is a needful thing. Stress and the cares of the day seem to melt away as you swing (or rock.) A rocking chair is also a necessity, and it’s even better when you rock a baby.
We received a letter about life of yesteryear, and it is so delightful that I want to share it. It comes from Linda S. Cool of Webster Springs, as she recalls her family growing up “back in the holler” in a Webster County community called “Grassy Creek.” Her grandmother was the mother of 18 biological children, plus nine stepchildren–27 in all.
“As you can figure, there was very little to go around! Mom would tell of how Grandma would can and preserve everything that grew in the garden, and anything from the trees–apples, nuts, berries, etc. Before winter was over they’d eaten up everything that she had canned and they ate corn bread and coffee for three meals a day. Our kind Heavenly Father provided enough so that no one went hungry for long, or perished from hunger! (Doesn’t this sound like “The Legend of Mammy Jane??”
This ought to make us more thankful for the bountiful food we have, and thank God for our many blessings. Psalms 68-19 says, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” My Dad used to say that some people reminded him of a hog eating acorns–they never looked up to see where their blessings were coming from!
In keeping with our love of the hills, I want to share my cousin Katie Samples Kahn’s thoughts of home, and her childhood.
TWISTABOUT RIDGE & BIG LAUREL
On lazy summer nights, whippoorwills
and frog song, became a bucolic symphony; lulling us into mind trance.
Sometimes the hills echoes
with the sound of the panther, calling
to the moon. The Ridge was magical.
Days were filled with the sounds of birds,
bees and barking dogs.
All this was accompanied by Mama’s
rhythmic hoeing in her garden. And
then there was the ever-gentle, musical
breeze, which swayed the trees to dance
and cooled my Mama’s brow.
Her cottage had a wrap-around porch
with an ancient, hand-made swing;
where we moved, with the cadence of
her stories and songs. We hardly noticed
the passing of time, as we prepared the
garden bounty for the long winter ahead.
When the work was done, she escaped
to the pines, where she prayed and wrote
poetry and songs. Memories of her childhood
flowed from her pen effortlessly and
filled our imaginations.
Sometimes, it seemed that she was more
tied to her ten siblings, than to her offspring.
It wasn’t true, of course, but it
made us homesick for her own childhood, down
on Big Laurel, rather than our own.
Of course Cousin Katie was writing about her mother, Eva Samples King, an accomplished poet and writer. It seems that old saying is true, “that an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
I am still receiving beautiful get-well cards, and I dearly love and appreciate each one. I am slowly improving, thank the Lord. My little great-granddaughter Maddie was overheard saying her bedtime prayers, in which she named each member of her family, then added, “Please help Mommaw to get well so she can make some cookies!”