To get there we drove across a rickety wooden bridge that I was sure would one day break underneath the weight of our car. But we made it across every time. Once we reached the gate one of us had to get out to open it and wait for the car to pull through and then close it again. Depending on the time of the year the cattle would either be out grazing or huddled under a tree somewhere together, or maybe down near the creek. As we approached the old house the dogs would come running, barking and following behind the car, enveloped in the dust cloud that we had just stirred up or perhaps with muddy feet if it had recently rained.
Once we got out of the car and survived the animals licks and sniffs we went through the old wooden turn style. It was once painted red but little of that pain still existed even back then. As we approached the house and climbed the six steps up to the porch I watched as my father went into the door that led to the parlor and my mother went into the one that led into the kitchen. I usually followed her, especially if I was looking for one of my grandmother’s delicious kolaches.
I helped set the table and watched as my grandmother made her lemony sweet tea. And I took in the smells of her tender beef stew as it simmered on the stove.
Later I would go for a visit in the parlor and sit on my daddy’s lap as he, my grandfather and my uncles talked of politics and the current economy. And farming.
As we waited for supper time I would escape out the back door of the parlor and through the back gate into the corn fields and beyond. And if it was Spring, it was a sight to behold. Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush, along with many other wild flowers, covered the land with a blanket of the blue, red, yellow, pink and purple and of course, bright green. After spending time out there either by myself or with my cousins, I would gather a handful of the various blooms and bring them back to the kitchen. I’d place them in a mason jar full of water and set them in the middle of our table for a centerpiece.
As I continued my jaunt around the farm I would visit the pigs’ stall, the hay bales behind the barn and then make my way down to the creek. I often looked at the outhouse as I walked by and thanked my lucky stars that my grandparents had plumbing now and that I didn’t have to “go” in there. Many times my mom and grandmother and I would go out to the veggie garden to pick some cucumbers, carrots or cabbage.
Once it was supper time I ate heartily and watched as my father did too, sopping up the stew “juice” with his piece of freshly baked bread. After supper we would wait a while and then come back together later to eat “dinner” which was more like dessert. Fresh pies, cakes and kolaches as well as fruit and various other sweets covered the table. My favorite part.
As the day came to an end we would say our goodbyes and drive back through the dust, open and close the gate again and drive back over that rickety bridge that supported us once again. Our car would take us back down the two-lane highway to suburbia and I would fade off in the back seat with the taste of sweet tea in my mouth and the scent of wildflowers in my head…