I guess the older we get, the more apt we are to go back into the deep recesses of our memory boxes. From there, we pull out those scenes that always brought us the most joy and just never get old. I seem to have a lot of those and most of them revolve around life in the holler.
As many of you who follow my blog know, I am from Eastern Kentucky. Well, I was born in Central Kentucky, but I was the only one of my siblings who was. All of them, my parents, my grandparents and several generations back all hail from the mountains of Harlan County. So when I say I am “from there”, what I mean is that it is the “land of my people” for lack of a better term.
I remember fondly that my Mama use to plant blooming moss on the little hillside outside our kitchen door. I’m sure it has a specific scientific name, but I never knew what it was. I only knew that to me, it was the most beautiful flower I had ever seen.
I’m sure it will sound like a small thing, but when I was little, I would go out there to sit and pick off the seed pods as they dried up. If I pressed and rubbed them between my fingers just right, hundreds of little black seeds would suddenly appear and I would simply let the wind carry them away. I remember being so excited that they might possibly overtake that little hillside! And then I would have even more of this beautiful gift to behold!
On that same hillside, in the winter, Mama would scoop a big mixing bowl of freshly fallen snow. To me, it was the most exciting part of winter. Snow cream was a treat that far surpassed ice cream, in my opinion at that time. Of course, as a child, we were never showered with such gifts of sweets and such things. They were reserved for truly special times and specific moments that really made them stand out when we got them. And I cannot lend words to how much I appreciate that part of my growing up.
A Child’s View
I guess, by rights, we were very poor. There were lots of things we didn’t have, but you know, I just never realized that until I grew older. When classmates began to talk about things that didn’t make much sense to me, I was confused at first. I don’t recall ever really “wanting” anything in particular.
Except that moss and maybe some snow cream 🙂
I remember one specific day, my Daddy and I were walking out of the holler. I don’t remember where we were going or why, but then again, sometimes we just went walking for the sake of walking. Something else the world has forgotten how to do, I suppose.
Anyway, I remember specifically asking, “Daddy, which word means we can’t afford it? Cheap or expensive?”
My child’s mind couldn’t have comprehended it then, but I’m sure at that time, it must have broken his heart a little bit. Parents only ever want to give their children the best of everything. He and Mama sure did what they could for us, as far back as I can ever remember. So hearing that from me must have stung. But he never let on. He said that expensive things were for people with lots of money, but people who didn’t have a lot to spare had to buy cheaper things.
Growing Up Frugal
Maybe that’s why I have a truly frugal heart. Finding me buying something just for the sake of buying it is something you won’t see. It’s just not in me to do. If I don’t need it or can’t use it to bring about some kind of good for someone else, then I have no desire for it. New cars? New houses? Fancy clothes and shoes? What-nots? They hold no appeal for me whatsoever.
I know a lot of people think I’m too simple for my own good, but I guess we each have our own road to walk. I don’t watch television. I won’t own a microwave or a dishwasher. We would never consider owning two vehicles. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone who does these things… again, to each his own. It’s just not for me.
Still, I guess it all goes back to that little holler and everything it meant to me. In truth, I would have to say everything it STILL means to me. No matter where I go, there’s always such a longing to just “get back home”. It’s hard to describe.
But it sure gets stronger the older I get…