Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dreams of my Mountain Home...It is Thursday, Afterall

 I grew up in the foothills of East TN.  Little did I realize what a treasure this was as a child.  I took for granted all the jewels of nature dangling all around me.  I suppose I didn't know any better to realize that not everyone was privileged to have the Great Smokies looming out their back door in the near distance.  I use to loathe the comments I heard about the hillbilly and mountain folk.  I did not want to be included as a member in that particular culture of people.  I remembered once in school watching a film strip...(yes a film strip that had to be manually turned at the sound of the tone) for social studies class about our area.  The only photographs that were included were of a bare-footed mountain family standing in their tobacco field.  They had few teeth and the woman was due to give birth at any moment.  Both were clad in their denim overalls, and the man had hay straw sticking out of his mouth.  I felt insulted.  This was not EVERYbody in east TN.  I seriously wanted little to do with that image.  I imagined myself escaping to a large city for college and living in a high-rise apartment.  I had intentions of wearing heels to the grocery store and shiny lipstick in my modern, city kitchen. 
     Well, I escaped to the big city of Nashville (insert smile).  At the time, it was a huge metropolis to me.  It fulfilled parts of my grand idea.  People wore heels to the grocery store some, and there were a few downtown apartments...none of which I could ever afford.  None-the-less, it was the gateway to an up and coming life and an exit from hillbilly film-strip photographs. 
     The longer I stayed gone, the more I longed for some pieces of my past.  I began to relish weekends home that included a slower pace of life.  The cool air of the mountains whispered something to me, but I always left to return to the city.  Eventually, I left the state.  I saw lots of places in the world.  I was fascinated by how big and different each new place seemed to be.  I was hooked...for awhile.  When life began to normalize, I found myself wanting long weekends home.  I have never been back to live...yet, but I do return when I can.  So, today on this day- dreaming- Thursday, I am dreaming of some things from home and childhood.  These are all actual, personal pictures from places near and dear (with the exception of the blackberry photo)...join me in a daydream...or two!

      I am dreaming it is summertime in TN.  The hot sun is tempting me to dare to put my feet in the icy, mountain streams.  It feels like instant frostbite at first, but once you are in, you are in love!  Hunting for craw daddies, picking out skipping stones, and playing with Indian soap is a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
      After cooling off, a walk through the meadow to a friendly barn is in order.  ....Once, we had a live Christmas nativity in a local family barn at our church.  It was complete with the straw, animals, and smells.  It really made so many aspects of the Christmas story come to life for me in ways that I would not have understood otherwise.  Standing in that little barn watching the cows keep warm, I thought what a strange place to welcome a tiny King....most barns I knew were full of hanging tobacco or dairy cows.  Both are scents from my past that I could pick out any day.  I can smell them clearly in this dream of mine....an odor you never forget!

     No good TN dream of home would be complete without a blackberry picking excursion.  These berries are golden to my soul.  Each little berry bubble pops delicious sweetness in your mouth.  They are sweet, yet tart and oh so refreshing.    
    The best berries are always found in unlikely places.  Roadsides, hillsides, and brushy back yards can yield some delicious berry goodness.  It is essential to have stained fingernails and palms as evidence from the treasure hunting!  A tummy full and bucket loaded are the only tickets home.  There must be enough left for a bowl of cool milk and a spoon full of white sugar.  Of course a cobbler and ice cream work wonderfully, too.  Whichever you choose you cannot go wrong when summer berries are involved.  Isn't this dream tasty?

The dream would end with catching lightning bugs in mason jars with hole-laden, metal lids.  The serenade of frogs and crickets at nightfall would be the soundtrack of my return to the mountains.  The sun sets, the air is cool, and the sound of the rushing creek is therapeutic entirely.....what a dream.  It used to be reality.  Today, the dream will have to suffice.
From one hillbilly to the next....~B Charmer 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Leah, I just discovered your blog. It is such a blessing to get a glimpse into your grown up life. I have very fond and sweet memories of you growing up. You were always so mature for your age, and very talented. I would pay money to hear you sing and play the piano again. Your musings about this area echoes the thoughts and feelings in my own heart. You bless me with your way of expressing things.

    About the Christmas play in the barn, wasn't that your Mom's doing? I miss your family so much. But had reconciled with the thought that atleast I'd see you all one day in heaven. But isn't technology wonderful(most of the time). Thanks for sharing bits of your life and your talents with us. It's good to see you again. Love Ya, Angie Fortner

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