They say, "You Can't Go Home Again," and I guess that you really can't but you can make the trip and let your memories do the rest. The Rancher and I took that trip on Saturday. I was from Ellis County and we needed to take a trip to see about some things on the land that my family still owns. We have a drilling rig on some of that property and we were anxious to see how things were progressing. It has been an exciting time for myself and my siblings. My sister, whose land the rig is on, named the well Dolly Mae, in honor of our mother. The land is is where she grew up.
Not only did my Mother live on this farm in Ellis county but also my sister and I. I don't remember that part of my live as we moved away when I was a toddler to another place that we visited on Saturday. I have many fond memories of spending time with my widowed grandmother and my Uncle who lived with her. Grandma, as we called her was a very active outdoor person and always had a large garden and an orchard. I think all farms boasted a big garden and orchard in those days. This farm is on a creek and I fondly remember following grandma around on our early morning treks working in the garden and gathering any windfall from the peach, or apple trees. There was also an abundance of wild plums just north of the house that was made into wonderful jams and jellies. When the fruit was really ripe and needed harvesting, my Uncle would get the ladder and we would harvest the baskets of fruit.
After the passing of my Uncle, My mother inherited the farm. No one lived on it and the orchards grew up in a wild entanglement of vines, cottonwoods, and cedars. One cannot walk through them today. The creek is overgrown with the same. It is almost a bog and one has to be careful about crossing it. It is a haven for wildlife, and we always enjoy our trips "home". The old house is still standing as it the barn, chicken house, garage and woodshed. My grandfather and Uncles built these buildings and they have been sturdy through the years. It is a part of the place that I can still recognize.
I recall walking with Grandma one morning and finding a small cedar in the pasture. At this time, there were very few cedars in Ellis County except those in the shelter belts that were planted in the depression. These trees grew and enticed the birds that fed on their seeds and planted them all over the red, sandy loam land and they flourished. Grandma, at that time was excited to see a little cedar and declared that she would have my Uncle fence it to protect it from the cattle. I wonder if she would do the same today.
After checking in at the drilling rig and finding out all of the latest Stats, The Rancher and I headed back to Arnett to have a drink and drive on Eastward to the community that my Dad grew up in. It was here that we moved from the Creek. This country is also grown up in a mass of red eastern cedar trees and it has became a forest where they aren't controlled. We drove by my grandparents homestead, and were saddened that the big red dutch barn was no longer there. It was burned when a prairie fire went through a year ago. In a sense this was a good thing, as it burned a lot of the cedar trees and the grass can grow where it couldn't before.
We passed the corner where my Dad, his siblings and my older sister had attended the Harmon School. That too is gone but I can remember Christmas programs and last day of school picnics that the whole family attended. It was a one room school with two paths. We then went south and headed for a place that is now owned by my cousin. We were glad to have a 4 wheel drive pick-up as the road was washed out and not one that is traveled often.
This was my second home.
I wished that I had taken my camera and I forget that my phone can take pictures so I can't really show you how things are now. I just wanted to remember how they were. The only thing I could identify was the windmill and tanks and I know they aren't the same ones that were there 60+ years ago. But is was near where the barn was. There is nothing else left and it is overgrown with cedars, and tall grasses. We could tell where the barn and lots had been because of the black soil in the sandy ground. I reminisced about the few things I could remember. Finding our favorite red cow dead in the shin-oak patch in the early spring, riding on my daddy's shoulders to check his crop in the field west of the house, the pen that held the old sow and her litter of pigs, walking the half mile up the road to visit our neighbor and get the mail. I especially remember anxiously waiting for my sister to walk the mile and half home as she was my only play mate.
My parents were poor, and it was a struggle living on a farm when you were renting it. My parents eventually moved into Arnett and owned a rooming house (The Grand Hotel) and my dad went to work for the Highway Department. I have recorded stories concerning this and still have a lot of tales to tell about the "Rascals on the Square". It was a great time to be a kid. No television, making your own entertainment and earning our own spending money. Take your own trip down memory lane and remember the good times in your growing up years. It was a great day!