Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday at Munson Dam

Hi sweet friends,
It is Sunday, the day that I love best. It is not because it is a Church day, although that is a good way to spend some time if you like, but because this is the day that Daddy would take us swimming.
It would be either Morris creek or Munson Dam for us. The Munson trip was a longer one and we loved it when that was the choice. We sat in the bed of daddy's old pick up truck, with our hair flying in the wind. We stood up and hung on to the small lip at the top of the cab of the truck. We did not have any fear and every one else was doing it too. I cringe at that today when I think of my kids doing the same thing, but back then, people did things that were dangerous. Sometimes people got hurt and sometimes they didn't. We were lucky that we never had an accident.
Part of that was likely cause Daddy never drove faster than 30 or 35 miles an hour. It took a long time to get to Munson, but we did not mind. When you drive slow, you get to see things that you might miss otherwise. We never stopped at McCranies store on the way there, but we always stopped on the way back for our Pepsi and peanuts. I still have it today and it is almost as good as it was back then.
Munson was an amazing place to swim. It had lots of space to lose your parents and it had lots of "candy" for a girl like me, isolated at home most of the time. There were people from all walks of life. I will never forget the Sailors from other ports with their dark tans and way of speaking that I had never heard. One of them spoke to me once and I asked him where he was from and he answered, " Phillipines". He asked me out but I knew Daddy would not approve so I arranged to meet him outside church one night. He came and we talked about his country and my life on the farm. It was so much fun meeting people from other lands and I think that is where my wander lust was born.
I keep leaving my story but I want to get back to Munson. This was where I learned to swim or rather where Daddy threw me off the dock and said Swim. lol. It was in 16 feet of water and off the pier where it used to go up and over then back down onto the main walk across the lake. Only those of you who spent your childhood at Munson will remember this, because they are gone now, and with good reason. I and many others fell on those slides so many times.. When the wood got wet, it was like being on a slippery slope. But we ran, played, climbed, and jumped off that raised area more times than I can count.
Parents then were aware of their children, but they did not coddle them. We learned by experience. If we slipped, we learned to be cautious. If we fell and got skinned up, we learned to slow down. I don't remember ever telling Daddy if I got hurt. It wasn't until I was about 14 that I really got how dangerous it was to swim at Munson if you were not careful on the scaffolding.
A middle school boy dove off, hit his head in some way and died. That day is in my memory. It was the day that I stopped getting up on the slippery rail on the top scaffolding to jump off. This experience sobered me a bit and I was not quite as adventurous after that.
I don't remember his name and I am sad about that because he deserves to be remembered.
While we were swimming out to the middle raft, climbing on the scaffolding, rolling on the huge logs in the lake and having the best time of our lives, Daddy was cooking. He would fish lower on the lake and then clean up his catch and fire up his little Coleman stove to cook. That man could make a full course dinner on that thing and it tasted better than any fish and hushpuppies I have tasted since.
There was always plenty of food to go around and my brothers and sister and I ate til our bellies popped. We had to sit out for a while before we went back in, after we ate, so often we hoped that it would take daddy awhile to get the fish fried up. When he called, we dropped whatever we were doing and went to eat. There were no questions about coming when Daddy called because we knew the consequences if we did not. We were mindful children.
After a full day of swimming, eating, and then cleaning up, we started our way home, hoping that it would not rain. If by chance it did, we got soaked on the back of the truck and would shiver our way home. It was a small price to pay for the way we spent our time that day.
There are so many memories about Munson. I could write about them all week but this was one. The sun shining today reminded me of how excited we would all be on this day long ago. No matter how hard Daddy worked during the week and at home, he always took us swimming on the weekend. He was a good Daddy and I miss him still....
Happy Sunday all. Do something fun today with your children so that one day when they are seniors, they will still smile and remember.. Love to all, Kimmee

  • Gloria Peacock Kimmel My oldest sister Ruby and I with my brother Ernest in the back ground. We were dressed for swimming..

Friday, August 14, 2015

My Daddy

Good Morning sweet friends, ( Another long post)
Yesterday was an emotion filled day for me. I cried easily and felt such loss because it was Daddy's birthday.. Each year as I age, I think it gets harder for me. You would think it would be the opposite but for me it isn't.
I always review our entire life together. That first memory of Christmas when I got my first doll and it wasn't under the tree like it usually was. I always got a box loaded with fruit, nuts, and peppermint candy and my one gift, but that winter when I was 5, my gift was not in the box. I tried to be a brave little soldier but huge crocodile tears were falling down my cheeks when daddy asked, "what's wrong little ole gal?" and I, trying to be brave said, "nothing, daddy". He walked into the kitchen and returned with a big box wrapped in brown paper and said, "look at this. We must have forgotten one." He had a smile on his face as he handed that package to me. I almost stopped breathing as I saw the box because I remembered so well that blonde haired doll in the window at the 5 and dime. When I opened it, there she was in all her finery and I couldn't believe that she was mine....

Skip ahead to my 16th birthday; I was working at a local teens delight restaurant in town and daddy had a surprise for me.. It was a banana yellow 67 Mustang.. Daddy had paid the down payment on it for me and I had to make the 58 dollar payments each month and buy my gas but Man was I in some kind of car heaven.. LOL.
( photo from a google search)

Then he walked me down the aisle at my wedding when I was 17 and silent tears rolled down his cheeks as we walked. He was so sad that day because it meant the end of his dream for me to go to college. He told me all my life, I was going to be the first to go there and he encouraged me to make something of my life.

I came home in 85 when my middle daughter was 2 months old and my oldest daughter was 11. He had suffered a stroke at age 65 but he was so vibrant and worked hard everyday with my 11 yr old daughter hard on his heels... She loved him so much and he loved her. There was an old swing set in the front yard that did not have a swing and he saw Wendi looking at it.. He immediately walked off the porch and made some holes in a piece of wood, tied a rope into those holes and soon she was swinging like no tomorrow.. She was so proud of her swing and daddy was so happy for her.. My heart squeezes with the memory of her and daddy..

The next year, he passed away in a car accident and I felt my world come to a halt. I could never go home again because he was not there. This man who shaped my life was gone and I felt like an orphan and on each 21st of January, I feel those heart pangs again.
I am posting the picture of Daddy on a motorcycle cause he loved those. He gave me my first one when I was 12.. We weren't coddled and we got hurt at times but we lived such a full life, outside in the sunshine, swimming in creeks, catching fish, climbing trees, and eating fresh tomatoes from the garden.

I am so thankful for my childhood which makes me so thankful for every good thing that happens in my life today.. I love you, Daddy.. Thank you for being the man you were and teaching me all those silent lessons you did.. Love, Glorian

Freedom To Grow

The country home where I grew up was comprised of 130 acres; 10 of them where the house stood, and the other 120 down the road a piece, by the river. It was fun having lots of room to run , trees to climb, and the outdoors to explore and plunder. We had tree houses all over and nothing was more fun than playing in each one while eating freshly picked berries or something fresh out of the garden. One of my favorites was to get a fresh tomato and a  bottle of salt, and just eat and eat.

I helped plant the garden that fed us, as all the children did. We had  corn, peas, butter beans, okra, tomatoes, squash, and  watermelon. We always had a big garden to freeze and feed us throughout the year. My daddy used to rent a mule that would pull the plow when we could afford it, but more often than not, the reins were around his own neck, after he had already worked a day.

 Such was our life, struggle and turmoil to get to the next day, the next week, the next month, and then if by some miracle we have survived the year, we earned the right to start all over again. 

There were weekends spent swimming at Munson and Morris Creek, which I later learned has a different name but we call it Morris Creek. One day my cousin Vivian, Donna and I  were swimming in the Escambia River while our family was fishing and a Moccasin swam toward us.  We got out of the water  and let it swim past, then we got back in. I know now that was not very bright. but we did not have a fear of anything.
(The only known photo of Aunt Catherine swimming at Morris Creek, courtesy of my sister Donna)

From the time I awoke at 4 am to get breakfast for Daddy to the time I went to school and back, I was thinking about my straw tree houses. I built them out of the many pine needles that fell and I had a large "castle " wall with many divided rooms and treasures, a pretty pine comb, a feather or two, a rock that glowed golden in the sun, and of course my salvaged magazines.. I hid them from Daddy because I started reading "True Detective" when I was real young and they had risque stuff on the cover.. LOL. Today it would pale in comparison but this was the  late 50's. I scoured every garbage pile I could to find them. My favorite place to "shop" was down a bit on Daddy's land. It was near the pear orchard and  I would find my reading material for the day and shimmy up a tree to stuff myself silly full of pears, fresh plucked from the tree. That first bite into a home grown pear with juice running all down your chin still makes my mouth water when I think about it.

(Grandma and Grandpa Peacock, courtesy of my sister Donna)

On the way to the old place, ( Grandpa and Grandma Peacock's old house that was gone) I skipped along the clay dirt road barefoot feeling that clay between my toes. I would stop at a little trickle stream and grab handfuls of the coolest, sweetest tasting water you could ever imagine.
At times I would stop a bit and look over at the Clay mounds, that I was told were Indian Burial places. I always felt I had to be quiet and I was as I sat on the bank near them. I don't remember anyone telling me to be quiet, but  it was something I felt I should do. My sister, my brother and I picked up arrow heads from the area and clay marbles. We did not know any better and my sister still has the ones she picked up in her home. She gave me a marble when I was home and I treasure it.
When I finished doing that, I would lollygag my way back home and if no one was around start walking toward the back of the house. Daddy had cows, chickens and the smoke house and our outhouse was back there.  I walked past the barn way on back til I came to crawdad hole and the gully. The Gully always terrified me as much as it challenged my bravery, so I would roam the gullies and even go inside the small cave there. It was said it belonged to a bobcat, but they were never there when I was which was probably lucky for me. I could smell his musty coat so I think it must have been true. My young mind never entertained the thought that maybe one day the cat would be there. It could have happened but God had his hand on my life from my first breath, so I never feared things like that.

On the little trail through the woods I would see poke salad along the way. Mama came home sometimes and when she did it would be an adventure into the woods to find things to eat. Poke Salad, roots, berries, some inedible plants were gathered and placed in an apron to take home and make into food or to make into salve.
I watched Mama prepare the poisonous Poke Salad so that I would know when it was safe to eat. We cleaned it like we did our turnips and collards and then placed it in a large pot to boil. When the water turned green, we poured it out and started again. It usually took about 3 or 4 times before the water was clear and that is when we could eat them. Mama would drain the salad, pat it dry, make a bunch of scrambled eggs from our chickens and then when the eggs were almost done, throw in the poke salad. Talk about deliciousness!!

Our life was hard but it was genuine. It had highs and lows. It had tears and laughter. It was a dichotomy of emotions that somehow prepared me to be who I am today.
The memories gently ripple past
I pray to Father, make them last
Let them trickle the worries away
and Keep us safe for one more day