Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A hard scrabble....

Everything about this picture says it is a hard scrabble life for anyone wanting to farm this property. I was going to post it over on my Time Stand Still blog, but decided to use it here. It is a picture I took in Tennessee....it is not uncommon to see land with the rocks exposed in the area I am from. If I run across land like this up here, it takes me back to so many places I have known...to what seems like another world, another time.

I first thought this was some kind of outbuilding, but then I seen the curtain at the window and I wondered had it been someone's house many years ago...and that thought was followed by the remembrance of plastic curtains. Does anyone else remember them? I don't know if we had any, but I know some neighbors did.

Can you imagine trying to grow anything here...down home, at least in two areas that I was very familiar with...cattle ran the fields. And I could always count on finding the prickly pear cactus growing there. And some of the best wild blackberries grew in those fields...and one of them had some big flat rocks that had ruts wore in them and mom always said they were from wagon wheels of early settlers/pioneers....

Our school yard had some of these same old limestone rocks...not quite as many as above but they were there. Out behind the school, which was the play ground for the first and second grades, I remember there was this one huge limestone rock, or it seemed huge to me then...I think the one I am referring to was almost flush with the ground. At one end of it it had, it had I don't know what you would call them. Almost as if someone had spun two tires side by side there until it wore it down. Only it was completely natural. I know we played and played on that rock, and I think we pretended that was where our babies slept...what I don't recall is if one of us pretended to be the baby or what. I do not remember having dolls there.

Then to the one end, where the rest of the grades could play at some time or other, was more rocks, one of these was not huge by any means, the part that was above ground was maybe 4 or 5 foot long.... most of it was probably under the ground so really no telling how big it actually was. It was flush with the ground on one side and then stuck out of the ground at least a foot or so on the other edge.

Well, I think from 3rd or 4th grade on, we would take our jump rope to that rock. Two of us would get in front of the side of that ledge of rock and hold the ends of the jump rope. All the other kids, including the boys, would get in line back from the side of that rock that was flush with the ground. The two holding the rope would hold the rope up and everyone would run and jump from the ledge over the rope....and as everyone had a turn, the rope would be raised higher. I think some of us would eventually be jumping it when it was higher than our waist....we would get back and run as hard as we could and just leap as high as we could from that rock to try to go up and over.

And I think sometimes we would use an old dry stick weed....just anything to have fun. We didn't have supervision at recess...when we got mad about something we argued a little and got over it and went on with what we were doing. I don't remember there ever being anyone that thought about a lawsuit over someone getting hurt...and don't remember anyone being seriously hurt.

I do remember one time, one of the boys in the class ahead of us had a red hot jawbreaker and got choked on it....this was before I ever remember hearing of the Heimlich maneuver. The teacher tried turning him upside down and shaking him, I think....and I don't know what all and nothing helped. One of them stuck him in their car and headed out I assume to the doctor's office because it was closer than the hospital.

They had to cross a railroad on the way--as they crossed over it the rough ride either made the jawbreaker come out or pass on down. I don't remember which it did...gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'how to save a life.'