There is no Round Table. But a couple of rectangular ones have been the scene for many card and domino games and never-ending meals served up.
There are no knights on trusty steeds. But an old blue Ford tractor gave way a few years ago to a new John Deere, and I can do some pretty mean jousting of sorts with that.
The house has been modeled and remodeled over time. The barn – the second of my lifetime – is showing its age. But cows still graze in the pasture and give birth to new generations, including a really cute calf born recently that the family named “Peanut.” I will not tell you why.
Adventure waits in all four directions at this place – the home of my great grandparents, my grandparents, and now my parents. So do memories of every kind. Memories like:
- the time I knocked myself out falling from the jayberry tree in the back yard.
- the time I killed the first of many squirrels on a cold November day.
- the many bottle rocket wars we launched at the gravel pit or the pond.
- Granddaddy’s homemade barbecue sauce, especially made for barbecued sheep or goat.
- the family reunions that inevitably led to singing the likes of “Rocky Top,” “Good-hearted Woman,” “Jesse,” “Grandma’s in the Cellar,” and “Mountain Dew.”
- the times my kids would get up early on winter mornings to help Mr. George when he came to feed the cows.
- the relentless hauls of fish – mostly bream, but some nice bass as well – from the pond.
- the time Granddaddy plowed up the pasture, and found what once was a Choctaw settlement. We hunted and found arrowheads and other artifacts for weeks afterward.
- the food. That’ll just have to do for an explanation.
So when my daughter was getting married and the time came for bridal portraits, there was nothing else to do but take a second set here. In the barn. And when she wanted to make the formal family announcement that she was having a baby, a telephone just wouldn’t do. She waited until she was here. And when my son wanted to propose marriage to his girlfriend, he could think of no better place than this one. And when my other daughter had her first official post-honeymoon vacation with her new husband… yep – they came here.
I’ve talked about soul roots before. Among other things, they are the places that have forged your identity, defined your relationships, nurtured your spiritual life, and made memories that have shaped and shaken you. It’s important that we return to ours from time to time. It’s just as important that we provide a future generation with roots of their own. What are the legends your children or grandchildren have learned from you? What are the stories you have retold – the memories you have passed down? They don’t all have to be family-driven or in the country. But they all require senses of adventure and humor, and experiences that help children of all ages remember that the world is abundant, and that love is timeless.
Granddaddy called it Clover Hill.
Daddy calls it Lonesome Pine Farm.
For me, it’s just soul roots country.
Where’s yours? And how long has it been?