I was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, a city sometimes described as “a beautiful lady with a dirty face.” But I don’t identify Savannah as my hometown. That distinction belongs to my Uncle Fred’s farm a few miles up the road from Guyton, Georgia, where I spent most weekends of my youth.
My parents, my brother, and I would leave Savannah Friday afternoon after my father got home from work and drive the thirty miles or so to the farm. There we shared a large, brick house with a bunch of aunts, uncles, and cousins. All the children were young, and we were allowed to run wild outside all weekend, climbing trees, playing baseball, or watching the trains rattle by on the tracks just outside the fence.
My cousin Joan and I were the only girls among an abundance of boys, so the two of us would occasionally be commanded to sit with the women and shell butter beans until our colanders were full and our thumbs were all mushy. Then we could escape to the more exciting world of pestering the guys and sharing our secrets with each other.
Our country surroundings boasted no majestic scenery like the American west. No urban sophistication like the big cities. There was certainly nothing that would recommend such a place to a tourist. But I can still feel the warmth of the Georgia earth beneath my bare feet as we ran races on dirt roads. And I recall arms tight around my waist as I sat sandwiched in between my cousin Billy and my cousin Joan, all of us astride Ol’ Dan, the gigantic gelding that yielded to our childhood antics and ignored our commands to “giddyup” as he plodded around the lake. And I remember bouncing up and down like a cork on the ocean as Uncle Fred drove his Cadillac across plowed fields with giggling, bobbling children in the back seat.
I have long since moved away from my childhood haunts, redefined by choice and chance. But Joan and I still talk on the phone and laugh at our youthful foolishness. And the memory of those days is warm in my heart. And I am so grateful.
- What memories do you have that helped define you? Please share them here.