I do not claim to be a country boy in the strictest sense. At the same time, I am not really a city boy either. To be perfectly honest, I would have to say I am more suburbanite in my upbringing. Still, when I reflect on my childhood and youth, I am thankful for the more rural things that were part of my life. Living in the South, there are just some things you absorb by a type of osmosis. For example, I chose to listen to the local rock radio station and yet I know all the country songs and artists from back then.
I am feeling nostalgic for simpler times as we emerge from this pandemic. I fondly recall not only the smell of honeysuckle, but also the taste from pulling off the flowers and sucking out the nectar. I became a master catcher of crawdads from under countless rocks in numerous creeks. I spent sunny afternoons playing “catch and release” with grasshoppers and cool evenings putting lightning bugs in jars. I have flown June bugs in circles with a string attached to a hind leg. I was the guy everyone called if there was any snake wrangling that needed to happen. The same applied to lizards and frogs.
Helping my father with various projects introduced me to some tools I imagine would be foreign to many kids today. Besides the common push mowers and weedeaters, rakes, shovels and hoes, I broke plenty of sweat with posthole diggers, brush axes, scythes, tillers, mattocks and pruners. I hauled a little hay and cut a little tobacco. When I took a break I would cool down by drinking water from a hose and dousing my head with it as well. I even became familiar with a lathe though I never finished my dream project of a homemade baseball bat.
Along the way, I learned to bait a hook whether with corn or a worm. I never graduated to big game hunting, but bagged a few squirrels and rabbits and ate them as well. I’ve pulled countless ticks off of every part of my body. I spent enough time in the woods that its unique scent is the best aromatherapy I know. The night sounds of crickets, whippoorwills and spring peepers calm my soul. I feel right at home with my hands in the soil either planting seeds or pulling weeds.
I do not have much of a purpose for this rambling reminiscing other than perhaps triggering some of your own fond recollections. Thank God I am sort of a country boy.