A MISTY PAST - "My Generation, The Last Of Its Kind, A Dinosaur"

(02/28/2017)

A MISTY PAST

© Juanita Morris Hawkins

As I sit and think of my life and the changes it has spanned
I wonder, is my generation the last of its kind, a dinosaur
Born into a small mountain community, into a world at war
Waiting for the arrival of the first battery operated radio

We would be some of the last to receive electric lines
Strung across our fields and up our hollows
Our washing machine was operated by the power of a gas motor
Chugging and spitting blue smoke through a long metal pipe

A cellar dug into the side of a hill, lined with perfectly fit stones
Filled to overflowing with the staples of our lives
Smells and sights to tantalize the nose and eyes
Barrels, bins and jars filled with the fruit of the family’s labor

The days that came in late fall were the days apple butter was made
A neighborhood copper kettle was passed from family to family
While pound after pound of fresh apples bubbled in the pot
Inhaling the mouth-watering aroma of hot apples and cinnamon

The days of sausage making I tended to avoid
Oh me of weak stomach and compassionate heart
Stayed far away on those days of butchery
Enjoying only the later feast of sausage, eggs and biscuits

Walking through the woods after a crunchy frost
Inhaling deeply of the forest surrounding me
Taking into my very soul the essence it gave
Becoming a part of the nature that ruled our lives

Sitting on the front porch in the evening listening to crickets
Jumping up to chase fireflies and placing them in Mason jars
Listening to ghost stories which caused delicious bumps of fear
Giving surreptitious glances toward the family cemetery on the hill

Watching the fog move in and imagining monsters emerging
Slipping into the kitchen and drinking cups of fresh made coffee
Hearing mother warn us not to get close to the coffee pot
Grabbing a fresh biscuit baked in our giant wood stove

Quiet nights of no traffic, no city lights, whispers only
Of nature when the blanket of darkness is pulled down to cover
Listening to chirping and croaking and the lowing of the cattle
Comforting and peaceful sounds to woo me to sleep

Those days are lost into a misty past never to be regained
Yet, they live vividly within my mind and deep within my soul
They, in that innocent time, formed me into the person I am today
I find myself more and more wishing I could return

About The Author Juanita Morris Hawkins

I grew up in Elkview, West Virginia on my grandparents 200 acre farm. Of course being a WV farm, most of it was on the hillsides. I graduated from Elkview High School and married a West Virginia boy. Like so many others we had to move to Florida to get work when we were in our 20s.

I worked as a paralegal in a law firm for years and raised a son and daughter here in Florida. My mother inherited the farm and we kept it as long as we could but with her health failing and our jobs and life here, she finally sold it. We retain the deed to the family cemetery where most of my ancestors are buried.

Most of my ancestors came here from Ireland during the potato famine and worked and saved enough money to buy the farm. I adored my grandparents and the life we had growing up on that farm. It is deeply embedded in my heart and mind. I started writing years ago but kept it hidden away in notebooks, but then I began to use them to express my feelings for things and people. I have had several published over the years, but I just mostly write to satisfy some deep inner feeling. I love my birth State and the wonderful, tough, enduring people who live there. - Juanita Morris Hawkins


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