Ahead of his time

Published 4:17 am Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The soft sounds of my kitchen radio provide a backdrop to other comforting sounds of summer. A steady hum from a neighbor’s mower, the melodious sound of backyard wind chimes, and the gentle whirling of the ceiling fan overhead all add a new dimension to this lazy day chorus.

I remember well the excitement of the final day of school with an entire 3 months of summer to spend swimming, playing ball, reading, or just lazing around the house with my brothers and sisters. At a young age the summers seemed to last forever, and in fact they were a lot longer than the school vacations the kids get now.

We never had much money, but it didn’t seem to be much of a problem because no one else seemed to have an abundance of money either. I suppose a person doesn’t miss what they never had so we were happy to run outside and play in the sunshine until darkness or our rumbling tummies interrupted our fun.

On the rainy days we stayed inside just long enough to let the clouds pass before we all ran outside splashing in puddles. We ran barefoot most of the time and had feet as tough as nails. We made mud pies, and played with bugs. I think on a dare I nibbled on a little mud pie once or twice. I don’t think I swallowed it, but who knows?

We always took several trips to our grandparent’s farm over the summer and loved to play with our cousins who lived close by. It was always so much fun to find the eggs for Mamaw. Her chickens were definitely free range and scratched the yard for bugs as an addition to the chicken feed my grandma threw out for them.

Everything tasted better at Mamaw’s. We all ran and played so hard that we had huge appetites when it came time for dinner, but I think the fresh vegetables from the fields and the chicken, beef, and pork raised on the farm actually did taste better. Everything was organically grown before anyone really knew much about it.

I remember when people began to use pesticides on their crops. It was the new thing, and my grandmother thought it was a great idea. But my grandfather staunchly disagreed.

“Putting poison on plants is unnatural. I don’t think it’s safe, and I want nothing to do with it.”

My grandfather’s gut feeling told him to do things the natural way even if he shared his food crops with a bug or two. His idea was simply to plant enough to share with the critters.

Turns out my grandfather was ahead of his time when he decided that natural was the way to go. He would be proud of the little garden Mike and I are creating in the backyard. We are in the beginning stages, and I, like my grandfather before me, plan to refrain from pesticide use. Smart man, my grandpa.

Jan Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.