As a young boy, I loved to visit my uncle and aunt who lived in the country. I’ve written about them before, but it’s great to revisit them in my memory from time to time. That memory is like traveling the country back roads of my mind.
My aunt and uncle had an outdoor privy and no plumbing. The water was hand drawn from a well or colleted into a large cistern that caught the rainwater drainage from their tin roof. They didn’t get electricity until I was out of high school. My uncle was a very bright and humorous individual with a limited education. He loved to read, but his reading material was restricted to the Reader’s Digest. In those days the Reader’s Digest contained some good stuff. We hunted squirrels together with his excellent squirrel dog. The squirrels were fried or mixed in with some great dumplings for delicious eating. I really enjoyed those visits and still think about them a lot.
My uncle farmed for a living and had all sorts of animals and a great garden. In his latter years, when I was grown, I would still go for an occasional visit. On one occasion, I found him sitting on the porch in his rocking chair with the usual dip of snuff in his mouth. It was a hot day and he was just passing the time rocking. He said he was just waiting for it to rain so he could get a drink of water since he was too lazy to get up. On another visit he was sitting in the chair with his shotgun across his lap. This time, he was just waiting to shot the birds that invaded his garden.
Today, I was reminded of those great visits with my aunt and uncle. Even thought it was a scorching hot day, I sat on my open front porch that has a great view of the oaks, shrubs and other plants in my yard. This is one of the places the deer love to graze. I sat with my Daisy BB gun across my lap waiting for a deer to approach the yard. I’m not allowed to shoot my shotgun or Winchester 270 in the neighborhood. For a while, I traveled back in time and pretended to be my uncle. Only one deer appeared and I got off a good shot but missed, as I usually do. Even though it was hot, it was just fun sitting there thinking about my uncle and the good visits we once had.
There is always a great breeze blowing across the porch, so the temperature wasn’t all that bad. At one point a few clouds darkened the sky and I could smell the fresh scent of rain that never came. The wind was as still as a tomb and not a leaf stirred. All I could hear was total silence and it was the most peaceful sound I had heard in many a day. The only thing that moved was my memory, which raced back through the years.
Even though I complain a lot about the deer, they give me a reason to sit on the porch and imagine I am again with my uncle with guns across our laps, waiting to make the kill. Memories are a wonderful thing and it’s especially great to have them flavored with pleasant experiences such as those I had in the country with my aunt and uncle.