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Just Outside My Door

July 26, 2011
As I sit to write on another hot day, (82 degrees), I’m reminded of many such days when I was growing up on the farm in Dewittville. We kids would get up early in the morning and rush outside in our bare feet to sit in the sunshine and warm up. I don’t usually do that now days, but I do like to eat breakfast and have my devotions on our back porch when the sun is just coming up over our locust haven and it’s warm, but not hot. The birds are busy eating, too, and sometimes a chipmunk or squirrel ventures out to grab some seed or bread crumbs from under the feeders. Although I enjoy sitting outside in the early morning, I don’t like doing that when it gets hot.

Recently I’ve been trying to weed my gardens. Although I like doing that, it’s not fun when I get wet from perspiration and those little black flies keep getting in my hair and any other place that isn’t covered. They must think I taste good because they bite me. Moreover, they pay no attention to what I say to them. I don’t recall minding the heat when I was a child, but maybe I’ve forgotten.

As I think about my yesteryears as a child, I’m reminded that we lived not far from some of my cousins and often went to one of their houses or they visited us. Nowadays, folk are too busy to visit relatives or even friends very often. But, when our reunion comes round in July, we enjoy seeing, visiting and of course eating a scrumptious dinner, with some four generations of Smiths. Last Saturday we attended that reunion and there were 70 of us. I think perhaps Bill was the oldest and there was a small baby and all ages in between. We had a great time and since that day I’ve been reminiscing a bit.

In my early childhood, our house was old, but it was a good home. It was usually cool on early summer morning, but I don’t think it stayed that way with all five of us kids running in and out all day. I know, however, that those years were an important part of my life even though we didn’t have all the play things that many children have today. I especially remember the fun we had in summer even though we stayed home a lot with our family. We had plenty to keep us busy, but we also went to church regularly and visited our relatives. One or another of the latter often came to see us and usually stayed for a good home-cooked meal.

We kids worked in the garden, picked raspberries and other fruit, or did various tasks. Nevertheless, there was always time for play, picnicking or even occasionally swimming in Chautauqua Lake, which was just a mile down the road from us. Our family also camped out in the woods once every summer.

One of the highlights of summer for us was going to Mayville Park on the Fourth of July for activities, a picnic lunch and then seeing the fireworks that night. Another fun time was going to the Stockton Town Picnic each year and the Smith and Wright reunions. Although I probably don’t remember all that took place when I was young, I do recall that I loved being outside, especially during the summer. I don’t remember minding the heat, though I know when I was small mom usually put a “sun bonnet” on me when I went outside so I wouldn’t get sick from the heat.

I always liked going for a walk by my self in our woods across the road from us. The creek was a favorite place to play for all of us and we kids played house out back in a small grove of trees where we had the table and chairs our grandpa Wright make for us. I especially liked to play with dolls and usually pretended I had a lot of children. I guess that’s probably why I loved babies and children younger than I.

I’m thankful for having had good, Godly parents and that I grew up in the country and, except for one year in the Village of Sherman, I always have and still live in the country. It’s a great place to bring up a family.


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