A Trip Back

A Trip Back

I’m actually writing this Tuesday evening. I’ll publish it Wednesday morning, August 5. It’s really quiet here now and it’s very nearly lonely. It’s at such times that I take a trip  back in memory, to a time a hundred or more years ago. In my mind, I go  to the small community of Etta in northeastern Oklahoma, to the Latty farm where my mother grew up.

It’s quiet there too, but it’s a different kind of stillness–just a peaceful ending to a busy day. My grandfather, I called him Pappy, has come in from the fields. Ma Latty, my grandmother, has finished making supper, and the girls, Alice, Susie, and Georgia have washed dishes and cleaned up the kitchen.

It’s too warm for a fire in the fireplace, so the family congregates on the front porch. It’s shadowy there, a cool breeze blows up from the river, and, since it’s too dark to read or sew or mend harness, conversation flows easily.

They talk about the garden and how recent rains have been good for the tomatoes and green beans. Ma remarks that a ‘possum must have gotten into the henhouse and stolen some of the eggs. Pappy says a neighbor’s bull has trampled some of the corn in the cornfield, but he and the neighbor repaired the fence, and that’s taken care of.

The children, listening to the soft tones of their parents begin to yawn. Baby Henry climbs up on his mother’s lap and drowses off to sleep. An owl hoots down in the hollow and Ma says that’s a sign it’s going to rain.

Susie watches the stars come out above the treetops, one by one. The outline of the barn across the road gradually dissolves into the night while in the barn yard, a horse snorts and stamps his hooves. 

“Time for bed, young’uns,” Pappy declares, and takes Henry from Ma’s arms, leading the way into the house. The sun has set, the world is at rest, and the family is together. This is just one of the peaceful nights at Etta, on the farm where my mother grew up.

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