Afternoon with Pop
d n english
It was a beautiful fall afternoon Pop ( Grandfather English) and I had the afternoon off from the family store. Being off meant we had a list of things to do for Grandmother around the farm. This particular afternoon list included gathering blackberries and muscadines for jelly and cobblers.
The fun part was we got to saddle the horses and explore the farm as we gathered the berries. Thinking back over that time I was maybe 10 years old but I remember this time with Pop was special because I always learned a life lesson.
So come along with me as we gather berries, learn life lessons and a bit of Haywood County history.
The afternoon was beautiful the leaves had started to change and fall was in the air. Pop and I had gotten our orders and yes Grandmother had given us a time limited. As we headed off I glanced back as Grandmother stood there waving and laughing. She knew when Pop and I took off on the horses giving us a time limited was wasted breath. The one thing she knew we would be back for supper.
The first stop was the blackberry vines located at the edge of one of the cotton fields. This field had been picked over once as they picked someone would always clean the area around the blackberries vines. The reason was to make it safer to pick the berries because sneaky snakes liked to hide in the undergrowth.
The horses were use to this routine so they stayed close it did not take long to fill up our buckets. Pop combined our buckets in a special pouch.
As we headed over to the old cemetery where the muscadine vines grew in the trees Pop started his story.
“You know where we are riding now use to be a wooded area with just a small dirt trail. Before the settlers came the Chickasaw used this area as a hunting ground . Close your eyes and imagine this area rich with rabbits, squirrels, deer and other game they could gather for food. After all we are only a few miles from the Hatchie River so this area would have been a perfect camping site. After your grandmother purchased this land she had the timber cut and what had not already been cleared for crops cleared. Never forget your grandmother is the brains behind this farm. I am the merchant she is the “farmer”.”
We rode in silence for a while until the edge of the cemetery came in view. My horse got nervous this let me know something was not right. My horse (Gaga ,a quarter horse) was very protective of me so I always paid attention to her.
Pop motioned for me to back up and stay. He went forward to the right and pulled out his shotgun. His horse (Jake) was use to the sound of the gun so he did not move when the gun went off. To the left out of the cemetery came a big (well big to me) Bobcat running like crazy. Gaga calmed down and moved forward we joined Pop and headed into the cemetery.
The vines were loaded as was the ground it did not take long to get our buckets full and head back home.
As we headed home I knew had a life lesson coming.
Pop looked my way “ Child never take more berries than you need we share with nature’s creatures and with the others that live on the farm. That it what life is about sharing the bounty. Greedy is not in our family’s vocabulary.”
We made it back home in time after dropping the berries off to Grandmother.
We headed to the barn unsaddled the horses brushed them down, fed them and let them out to head toward the water tub.
As soon as I hit the door Grandmother pointed me toward the bathroom where I knew the bathtub was ready with clean clothes laid out. Pop would clean up outside at the old water pump of course Grandmother had a clean towel and soap on the side table along with a clean shirt. (Always a clean shirt at the dinner table)
Before long we were saying our blessings ready to eat supper which consisted of
Fried pork chops with gravy ,green beans, coleslaw, cat head biscuits and for desert blackberry cobbler. The lady always amazed me I had a good childhood full of wonderful memories.