Teaching children

English: Children of migrant cotton field work...

English: Children of migrant cotton field workers from Sweetwater, Oklahoma. Eight children in the family. Note the housing. Near Casa Grande project, Pinal County, Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, another Sunday come and gone.  It wasn’t like those Sundays in the past, when Joe was still around.  But it was a good day in its own way.  Esther took the children out in the woods where they gathered a basketful of poke weed, pulled some wild onions, and found a good berry patch where lots of the berries were bigger than Esther’s thumb, big and juicy, just right for eatin’ fresh with enough to make a nice cobbler too.  The kids sure did enjoy that.

She showed ’em the elderberry bushes, not quite ripe yet, but loaded with flowers that would soon become berries.  They’d have to fight the birds for ’em, but it’d be worth it.  Looks like they’ll be able to get plenty for jelly later on.  They also walked under several persimmon trees.  The tiny fruit on those trees wouldn’t be ripe until fall, but it sure did look like there would be lots of it.  They all had a good laugh when Joey told the younger kids about him eating a green persimmon one time…wooeee, if that don’t make you pucker, nothin’ will.

While they were out in the woods, Esther smelled an old ripe cucumber smell.  She knew what that meant and knew it was up to her to teach her kids what it meant too.  She told ’em all to stand still, right where they were at.  Then she asked ’em if they could smell it.  When they all figured they could, she told ’em what that meant out there in the middle of the woods.  Nothin’ to be too scared of, no need to take off runnin’, just be sure to notice it and keep still.  When ya smell that old cucumber smell out in the woods or fields, it means there’s a copperhead around abouts somewhere.  Usually a copperhead will be more scared of you than you are of him.  Just stay still and give him time to get away from ya and you’ll be okay.

Later that evening, after the kids were in bed, Esther was sitting at the kitchen table remembering the day.  She was thinkin’ about how the children all paid attention to what she’d told ’em and that now they all knew what to do when a copperhead was around.  Yep, Joe, trying my best to teach our kids what they need to know to get along in this old world.  Sure do wish you was here with me.  Every kid needs a daddy, that’s for sure.  But I’ll do the best I can to be momma and daddy both to these kids.  I sure do miss you, Joe.  Miss sittin’ here talkin’ about the day after all the work is done and the kids are down for the night.  Miss yer quiet laugh when one of the children did somethin’ funny.  Miss sharin’ the work with ya, and the good times too.  Oh Joe, why?  Why’d ya have to go and die on me?  Sometimes I just don’t know if I can do this without ya, but…I know I have to…if you can hear me, Joe, just know I still love ya, we all do.  And I’m doin’ the best I can.

Esther leaned over the table and blew out the candle.  Wiping a tear from her cheek, she slowly made her way to her empty bed.

8 Responses

  1. Nice post, Patti. I’d never heard that about a copperhead. I do remember elderberry jelly. That was good stuff! My grandmother had a persimmon tree, don’t hear much about them any more.

    • Thanks, Patti…actually the copperhead thing was something my own grandma told me one time when we were out in the woods…really could smell it. Here in the southern part of Indiana, persimmon trees are everywhere…the town where I grew up even has a yearly fall festival, the Persimmon Festival…lots of goodies baked with persimmons around here. Elderberry jelly and wine are both pretty common in the southern part of the state…guess I kind of threw a little of my own life in this one, didn’t I?

  2. Nice read. I totally can’t relate, but that also makes it quite fascinating to read. I totally don’t know anything about farming, or wild eatable things, or whatever. Haha. Then again, I’m that young tech generation 😛

    • haha…yeah, I’m sure you don’t remember black and white television or only having four channels, right? I grew up on my grandparents’ farm and Grandma was old school…learned a lot from her…not sure what she would think of the world today tho…

      • Haha no, though over here we don’t have a lot of channels either way. I currently have 18 channels, and if I hook up this device I’ll have 40. -shrug- Of course there’s more extra paid channels. But now I barely pay anything for my TV. Then again I hardly watch TV. I love old school, but it’s very hard to avoid all the wonders of modern technology. So I’ll be more busy reading articles and hanging out on Facebook then sitting down and reading a book.
        It’s really weird to think that when I was younger there was suddenly something called “internet” available. And my dad was all, why would I need that for??? And my mom convinced him it was the future. I remember that well. And now internet is normal.
        Though I’ve been noticing this trend where a lot of people want to go back to the “good old days” of calm and peace. I see the benefits and I definitely favor a more “slow” lifestyle.

      • I can see benefits to both…can’t see myself giving up all of the modern technology tho…just can’t imagine writing long stories with pen and paper any more…but a weekend away from technology every now and again would be nice, a sandy beach or a hammock at a cabin in the mountains…ahh!!

      • No haha I could never give up technology! I just think it brings a lot of “urgency” with it. I really want to try to avoid that urgency and don’t let all the messages control me? I’m not very successful at that yet, but I keep trying.

      • I’ve gotten pretty good at not worrying about missing messages on facebook or twitter any more…not a lot that’s posted any where is vital, is it? and I’ll delete probably half of my emails without even opening them…hopefully not the ones where I win tons of money…haha

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: