Thursday, June 12, 2003

No one stirs

Cousins,
It is early mornin' here in my hometown of Beloved, Kentucky an' we are visitin' some of my cousins instead of stayin' at the ol' homeplace. We stopped by an' they begged us to stay the night. Sort of a mountain thing, y'see. Some folks might not understand when the ol' homeplace was right close. Some folks may have never heard someone say, "Come go home with us." or "Y'all spend the night an' go on home tomorrow after havin' a big ol' breakfast with us.".

Last night we sat on the porch of this ol' cabin an' talked an' talked. We told stories an' laughed rememberin' things we got caught at when we was kids.

Rememberin' we was afraid of things in the smokehouse.

Rememberin' when we was chasin' one another with willow switches an' slapping the calves of the slowest among us. Laughin' till our sides hurt as we ran up an' down the holler back then.

When the gnats and mosquitos got to stirrin', I suggested we make a gnat smoke instead of sprayin' ourselves with a bug spray. I rolled up an ol' piece o' cotton rag and lit the end. When it was smolderin' I laid it on a dustpan. We sat quiet for a long time, watchin' it an' rememberin' nights sittin' on the porch with Great Aunts Mag and Bess and Great Uncle Bill.

When the big ol' light that hangs on the 'lectric pole came on at dusk we smiled at the memory of the old folks gettin' up from the porch an' startin' to get ready for bed. That was their signal the day was done.

The ol' iron bed was covered in quilts an' was feather bed deep. Oh my oh my, how good it felt to sink down into that bed, to smell bleached white sheets that hung to dry in the wind that wanders down the mountain an' into thisholler.

Durin' the night I heard a couple of mice in the walls. These ol' cabins is full of 'em. It is hard to keep 'em out of the walls of ol' log cabins...especially when other rooms have been added on way back when as families grew. There is a comfort in hearin' 'em run an' chew an' crawl an' play durin' the night.

This mornin' I woke early an' listened to the critters in the holler wakin' up. The window is open an' the birds started first, glad for a new day, callin' out their good mornin's to each other. Way down the creek an ol milk cow woke an' was a bellerin', wantin someone to get up an' get to milkin' her.

I sorta wish that ol' cow was on this farm. I would love to get up an' go out to the barn to milk. I can just smell the earthy scent of a cow barn, remember sittin' on a stool older than me or even my folks an' layin' my head against the side of a cow. The reward of takin' hold and seein' a white stream of warm milk fillin' a galvanized bucket is a fine way to start the mornin'.

When the bucket is full an' ya walk to the house a feller can almost see the thick yellow cream separatin' from the white frothy milk. If I did the milkin' this mornin' - I would get me a dipper and dip up a glass of that fresh milk an' drink 'er down right now!

Instead I lay deep in this feather bed. I wonder how many folks even have feather beds these days? Since the cabin is by a creek here in the holler, it is damp and chilly this mornin. I am glad for the four quilts on my bed.

Oh My Darlin' is snuggled down deep an' only the top of her head shows. As I lay here I look at the frayed ends of the sheet stickin' out from under the quilts. It is bleached the whitest white an' is well starched. It gives tribute to the ways of the mountains. Folks may be poor, but they are clean an' proud. I reckon that is the worst harm movies and TV has done to mountain folks...makin' it look like they don't keep clean.

I want to get up an' go out on the porch, but no one is stirrin' yet an' I don't want to wake folks. Years back every soul would be up, breakfast eaten and chores started by now.

Well, I reckon they will just have to put up with me gettin' up an' movin' around. I am up and goin' out. I want to see the mist sneak back up the hills to hide where ever it waits for the evenin' twilight.

If I sit right still I might see hummingbirds at the flowers down by the end of the porch. If I'm quiet I might see day sneak in an' wave a fond goodbye to the night.
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