My Town


It was a fine hot day today. One of the kind of days we would have snuck up to the old boat dock and went swimming in the Chattooga river. That water was nice and cold, even in July because it had spring water running in it not too far back up stream. A lot of us boys spent time there. From the time I could swim at ten years old, until I left to go to college I went there once or twice a year.

We practiced baseball twice a week and had two games a week to play. I hated Saturday practices after I started playing golf. By the time morning practice was over…You were hot and sweaty, thirsty and tired. We still hiked up to the Trion Golf course and played nine holes though. Our Daddy’s were members through the mill and we got to play for free. We’d come back home…most of the time one of our Dad’s would come and get us…as it was usually after four when we finished.

On the weekends, we went to Chamlees Skating rink. We hung around, listened to the music and tried to get the girls. Sometimes we did something right and ended up skating holding hands with one of the girls. I so remember the songs on the “box” “Runaway”, “Tellstar” ,”Teen Angel”, “Leader of the Pack”, “It’s my Party”‘ and on and on. Songs which, if I hear them now transport me directly back there in time and space. It was a wonderful place…a refuge for kids in a small town with nothing else to do.

I would go fishing in the mornings at the river and sometimes stayed all day. We dug our worms from under the wagon bridge, big old juicy green colored worms. We fished for catfish and carp….My Uncle called them “bugle mouth bass” We took our catch up to the black folks in town and sold them. I know several of them told us they loved the carp. They loved us boys, and we loved them. There was no animosity or fear and hatred…just kids selling their catch to somebody who wanted them.

All the yards in our little town were cut neatly, with neatly trimmed bushes and flowers, and well cared for vegetable gardens in the back yards. The men would be out in their yards in their sleeveless t-shirts cutting that grass every day. They used to run a contest called “The yard of the month” for the neatest, most well kept yard. It was an honor to win…not a joke. My Dad won it one time in the years they ran it. He was happy as a pig in slop, and hung that little metal sign right out in the front yard. “YARD OF THE MONTH” emblazoned in blue letters on a white enamel background.

Summer seemed to go on and on….catching fireflies, chasing low flying bats with sticks trying to knock them down. Neighbors actually sitting on each other’s porch and talking…getting to know each other…their troubles, their joys, their hope for the future.

Fall would eventually roll around, and I was excited about going back to school, seeing friends I’d missed all Summer. We’d take a special trip yo Rome so I could pick out new school supplies. One big multi subject notebook, pencils, one or two good pens, some three ring notebook paper. The tension was palpable the night before the first day of class. Who would be the teacher for my classes, who would be in the classes…especially which girls. How would life be for that school year? Truth is…I loved trekking up and down those old wooden halls. I loved the camaraderie of my close friendships. The hard day’s, the easy days…I loved them all.

I think about my friends and classmates who have passed on. I miss them, even though I seldom saw some of them. We all shared something very special during all our seasons here in Trion. Most of us started out together in first grade, and went all the way through graduation. You don’t see that much. We were brothers and sisters, best friends, worst enemies, boyfriends and girlfriends…And most of all kindred spirits of what it was like to grow up in a little cotton mill town in Southern America, USA.

More thoughts on Time

Time, time…time; time.

You cannot stop it. You cannot get it back. You better be careful with what you got….

But none of us are.

In the end, we run out of it. It’s more precious than gold, more difficult to explain than the theory of relativity.

I need to give it a lot more respect, although I try…I do.

I used to keep up with it on a timex that I had to wind. Then they put batteries into my watches. Then the devices I use to track my steps, my sleep, my exercise and every move I make, have a clock on them.

But I still wear my timex indiglo at night, because if I wake up I want to know the time.

Does anyone ever wish we could go back and uninvent some of the things we’ve added to our lives in the past fifty years?

I used to have a lot more time to do other things. Now it takes up a lot of my time fiddling with all the new gizmos that have been invented. Emails, and FB posts, and fake phone calls, and computer games…and God don’t even get started with Pinterest.

I sat down next to the footbridge yesterday and stared at a little black and white tile that came from an old torn down gymnasium, for five minutes. That wasn’t a waste of time in my opinion, as it brought back hundreds of memories.

I held my granddaughter for an hour and a half nap today, and slept about thirty minutes with her. That’s definitely not a waste of time! One day she’ll quit napping and that’ll be the last of the last…..

Well, time to wind my watch and sleep.

Nothing Lasts Forever

Father’s Day…a writing from 2006

Tick, tick, tick. That’s one second per tick. It doesn’t seem like much does it? The bad thing about it is that it constantly keeps going, it incessantly keeps moving! On and on. Like Mother Nature’s Chinese water torture device. It can be a blessing….or a curse.

It’s a darn funny thing isn’t it? What other thing can you think of which can drag on so slowly, but whiz by so quickly it’s almost a blur?

It seems like such a short amount of ticks ago that I was just a child. Sitting out on the old wooden front porch of my Grandfather’s house and listening to his Kentucky influenced, Georgia Blue Grass, Back Mountain Baptist, Hoedown Revival Banjo playing and Back yard singing. Whew. Not many ticks at all.

Even fewer ticks ago, my first daughter was born. She died 172,800 ticks later. That’s only 2 days. Seems like a lot of ticks doesn’t it? It wasn’t. That was the day I became a Father. I really didn’t get to enjoy the actual holding of a child of mine until sometime a couple of years later. My second daughter Kirsten was born. That was 1972, so I have been a Father for many ticks since then.

My oldest son was born in 1975, and my youngest son in 1980. Nothing has been more fulfilling then being a part of these three wonderful personalities over the ensuing years. Perhaps with the exception of sharing all these wonderful ticks with my best friend and partner, my wife Paula.

I also appreciate all of the ticks I have had, 70 years worth of them, with my Father. I fail to tell him that as much as I should.

In any case, Happy Father’s day to all the Dads out there. Hope you have many more happy ticks with your kids, your parents, and your wife.

Enjoy them, like the old Native American saying goes: “Nothing lasts forever, except the mountains and stones.” Even those pass away after a while!