"I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." ~Wendell Berry

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Wisdom of The Swing

Sometimes I tend to over think things, but not near as much as my husband does.  He was concerned about conducting a prescribed burn on 3 acres just south of the house this year because of the potential for killing the young, tender sprouts, so he decided to find a used hay rake and rake off all the duff instead of burning this year.  He finally found one and, after replacing the missing teeth on it, we made it fully functional. 
Looking at it brought back many memories from my childhood.  As a small child, I vividly remember chasing my Grandfather (PawPaw) across the field and trying to deliver his lunch that my Mawmaw had prepared for him as he cut and raked the hay on our old farm.

MawMaw & PawPaw Pippin - circa 1970-72
Later, when I learned to ride a horse, I would run into the field and catch "Red" and with nothing more than hay baling twine as a bridle, find a stump, jump up on his back and ride out to my Grandfather as he mowed then raked, season after season.  Funny how an inanimate object can bring forth such vivid memories isn't it?  I miss them both - they were strong, driving forces in my life.  As my Mother and Father divorced and the battle raged, MawMaw and PawPaw were the one constant in our lives.
MawMaw was a devout Christian - a member of the local United Pentecostal church and used to take my sister, my brother and me to church every Saturday night, Sunday School on Sunday morning and if we were still there Sunday evening , we went to church that night too.
PawPaw on the other hand, whoooo boy!  PawPaw was a moonshiner and a gambler.  I remember the story of his cooking moonshine out in the woods and the time his still was trampled by cows.  He and my father had gotten word that the local sheriff knew where their still was and was forming up a posse to destroy it and arrest him.  When he and my father got to the still, they found several cows laying around the area, sprawled out on their sides with their eyes rolling back in their heads.  Apparently, they had decided to have a taste of the moonshine and had broken up the barrels in their eagerness to drink the stuff.  There was not much they could do for the cows, so they hauled the equipment away -they never were arrested for it.
My grandfather was also a troublemaker.  And a brawler.  He loved to fight, especially with his own kin.  You know that meme, "nature or nurture"?  Well, I was never sure if I inherited his personality or if he nurtured it, but for many years, I was his favorite grandchild and he kept me close.  I learned my multiplication tables and ABCs at his knee every morning when he was drinking his coffee, preparing to go to work.  During the winters, I would learn in front of the fireplace.  But in summer, we would take to the swing.  The thing I learned from him that I thank him for every day is my ability to be honest with my friends.
Once when I was in high school I sat on the swing with him and cried my heart out.  I was devastated that I didn't have a lot of friends and while I knew the reason, I couldn't figure out how to change it.  I was too honest with my friends, sometimes to the point of being brutal.
PawPaw listened, then told me, "Always be honest with your friends.  If they leave you, they weren't worth keeping around.  If they stay, they are your true friends."  That has stuck with me always. 
Me & PawPaw - 1989 - he moved his swing out into the yard.

PawPaw - 1989
All this from an old, used rake we purchased.  The original intent of this post was to tell you about the pale purple coneflower, prairie blazing star, purple praire clover, common milkweed, New England Aster, rough Blazing Star, Aromatic Aster and Ohio Horsemint that I planted after raking over 5 acres in our field the last two weekends, but I ended up instead on Memory Lane and suddenly, that seems such a minor thing right now.  Funny how that happens.  I miss you MawMaw and PawPaw.