Life on the creek was not too bad; at least I survived. Or did I?
I was in elementary school when they sold the farm and we moved to the outskirts of town. There would be no more freshly plowed fields to walk through crunching clods of dirt just to feel them crumble under our bare feet; no more deep well to draw cool water; no more faded gray barn that always smelled of dust and hay. But worst of all no more Hay-Burner to live in that barn. Momma was allowed to bring along a few chickens and the others were left to the people who bought our house. Momma and I cried because we didn’t want to leave our home but Daddy kept a stiff upper-lip. It was years later that I realized his heart was also breaking. Farming was his life and now the doctor said he could not do it anymore. So he gave up his dream, moved us to a house that wasn’t too bad at the start and he went to work as a night security guard at a sawmill.
Everything went well for a few years. We were the first family on the street to get a television. All the kids from several blocks gathered in our living-room every afternoon Monday through Friday to watch Circle-Six Ranch. They were sprawled on every place to sit and some lay with their elbows on the floor and heads resting in their hands almost hypnotized by the phony cowboy on the small black and white screen. They waited patiently for the cartoons. Momma gladly welcomed them and often served Vanilla Wafer cookies and Kool-Aid. She would hustle them out the door before dark and dinner time. If it was cold she would have a smile on her face as she bundled the little ones in sweaters, coats and some had hats, as she instructed the older kids to make sure everyone got home safely.
Then our lives changed completely. It was his birthday and when Daddy got home from work just as the sky was turning light gray with streaks of yellow from the sun that was trying to peep over the tree line behind our house we sang Happy Birthday. Momma had made his favorite Coconut Cake. I was promised a big slice when I got home. Then with a quick hug, kiss and “I love you” I was hustled off to school.
Those were the last words my Daddy and I said to each other. He had a heart attack and died later that morning.
All the neighbors gathered to console us and they brought food; which I later learned was The Creek Folks way to show they cared. I had never seen so many cakes, pies and fried chicken. But the huge lumps in my throat and stomach would not let me eat a bite. Momma couldn’t eat either. She stayed busy making and serving coffee and sweet iced tea and thanking everyone.
Yes, our life on the Creek changed and maybe some would view it as worse and some as better; the truth is up to the individual. We were soon to learn what the Creek life was really like.
Thank you for stopping by and of course there will be more Creek tales in the future.