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We all yearn for a little relaxation. When it finally gets here, we search for an outlet to occupy the time that we have so eagerly awaited.
In other words, what in the world are we gonna do to pass the time?
Over the years, the government has enacted safety laws that prevent today’s young folks from enjoying a bunch of stuff I had fun experiencing.
I’ll bet that out there somewhere, there’s some sort of rule or regulation that says you can’t lie on the grass and gaze into the heavens.
As a youngster, I loved looking up.
Staring skyward from a grassy vantage point was always a good way to pass the time on a warm, sunny spring day.
Why, just lying there (after checking to make sure there was no ants beneath me), I could see all kinds of stuff. There were real birds, along with pretend birds formed by fluffy, overhead clouds.
Now it takes a little bit of imagination to do this.
Sometimes, it took a few minutes before I figured out what I was looking at.
If I was lucky, a lone airplane whirred overhead in the distant sky, making me wonder about its destination.
I sure hope it ain’t an enemy flying ace looking to bomb the cotton mill, I thought.
If it is, we will all know soon enough.
Oh well, that’s enough of sky watching for now. There’s stuff to do.
I arose from my deep thinking and ran down to Grandma Evans’s house on Market Street overlooking the depot and the train tracks.
Sure enough, I got there just in time. All the fellas were there, too.
Here comes Mr. Rodgers bringing an L&C steam engine and some boxcars down to the warehouses along the tracks.
I like Mr. Rodgers. I know as soon as he sees us standing on the bank, he’s gonna wave and pull the chain on the train whistle. We replied by clapping our hands in approval.
These steam engines sure are big and powerful. Those big steel wheels will mash a copper penny flat as a flitter.
I don’t think Mr. Rodgers would approve of us boys being so close to the tracks.
It didn’t take any government rules to tell us that it was plain stupid to put pennies on the railroad tracks when the train was close by.
Lucky for us, somebody laid a penny down there long before he arrived.
All we have to do now is wait until he and the L&C pass the South Main Street crossing to go get it.
After things quieted down, I heard some hammering. Mass building is rare these days, so somebody must remodeling an older home or putting up a plunder house.
We enjoyed watching carpenters and brick masons work. Sometimes when we got a bit too close, they would yell, “Hey, you boys be careful, now.”
But, I can’t ever remember any of them telling us, “Get out of here.”
I honed my building skills watching those nail-drivers.
Roofers amazed me the most. They can walk straight up a steep roof with a bundle of shingles slung over a shoulder and never falter.
The best of all are the electric and telephone linesmen. They strap spikes to their feet and a safety belt around those wooden poles and shimmy right up them to make repairs.
I haven’t seen Mr. Dewey Neal and his state highway repair crew fixing any roadway ruts or filling potholes today, but they’re around someplace.
Nobody can repair potholes like Mr. Dewey’s crew. They have got it down pat.
It’s starting to get a little dark, so I had best head back over to Chesterfield Avenue and home.
There will be something to do, though. I sat on the porch, stared at the sky for a little while as produce trucks from McBee and Ruby made their daily runs to food distributors and markets in Chester and Charlotte.
I awoke the next morning to find one of those big trucks parked right in front of our house.
I headed outside to see what was going on and found a man and woman sitting inside of it.
The man said he and his wife were from Ruby. They were headed to Chester when their truck “just broke down.” I guess they had been sitting out there all night. When I told my folks, Mama went outside and invited them in to use the bathroom and to join us for breakfast.
Mama made sure nobody went away hungry.
After the truck was up and running, we were rewarded with fresh corn, green beans and a bushel of the biggest peaches I’d ever seen.
Yes sir, things are looking up. Fresh peaches ain’t banana pudding, but it’s pretty close.
Speaking of which, I think it’s about time to head out to my grassy spot for a little thinking and relaxing. You know, I gotta feeling it’s gonna be a busy day. I already hear somebody hammering in the distance.