This is Part 3 of a 3-part story. Little Granny’s House Part 3 contains memories of my childhood visits to Granny’s farm on Beefhide Creek in Pike County, Kentucky.
Flying June Bugs
Who needs toys when you can play with bugs? June bugs were plentiful and a form of entertainment. I never knew you could actually fly a captive June bug until Granny taught me. Mae and my brother were already flying their June bugs and it looked like fun. With a June bug in her hand, Granny carefully tied a string around one of its legs and handed it to me. The June bug flew all around but couldn’t fly off because I had the other end of the string.
I was having fun until the June bug decided to fly completely around me and land on my back. When I felt its barbed legs against my bare skin, I started to scream. “Get it off!” (More laughter from my Granny!) That was the end of my June bug flying experience.
The Wash Tub
By the time evening came, I was wearing a dirt necklace and it was time to wash off the grit from a hard day of play. There was no bathroom, no shower, and no bathtub, but there was a galvanized steel oval washtub and my bath took place in the back yard under the supervision of my Aunt Brenda where I could splash all I liked.
After my outdoor bath, it was time to look each of us over for ticks. Granny carefully parted my hair, inspecting my scalp. Without saying a word, she gave a tug and told me she was finished. What she held in her hand was a live tick with its legs still moving. Without a word, she ran it through with a safety pin and pinned the impaled tick to her dress.
I have long since had children of my own and have pulled live ticks off them and smashed them with rocks but I have never impaled one and pinned it to my clothing like a brooch.
Evening entertainment had nothing to do with television. There was no television, only a floor model wooden Philco radio (with tubes) that I never remember being used.
Instead, we used what nature gave us as evening came. The lightning bugs began to blink off and on and we went outdoors to make a game of catching them.
When nightfall finally came, we were lulled to sleep by the sounds of a symphony of bugs outside the bedroom window. I never knew which bugs were making these sounds, so I’ll just refer to them as the “night critters.” There were no sounds of automobile traffic, honking horns or ambulances in the distance. There was only a sea of stars as we gazed out a window. A warm breeze blew through the open, screened window. There was no central air-conditioning, but there was the luxury of a plush feather bed.
Sleep was deep and restful and night soon changed to morning. The gentle breeze blowing through the window was cooler now and carried the fresh smell of fallen dew. We were awakened by the smells of bacon, homemade biscuits and gravy as Granny was preparing breakfast. Nobody had to encourage us to get out of bed and start a new day of adventure.
The scents, sounds, tastes, and memories of the times I visited Granny’s house (and those who were part of those memories) have become more precious to me as I’ve grown older. Maybe it was because of the simplicity of the way life was then that I miss most. Granny has now gone to meet Grandpa and her 49-acre farm is now a new highway. They call that progress. As I travel the road that cuts through Andy Wright Fork, I can no longer recognize that small farm where so many memories were made. Nevertheless, my life is richer and I treasure the memories that forever changed this small town “city girl.”
What special memories do you have of your grandparents and your childhood? I’d love to hear your comments.
Pam Baker, RN
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