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Being in my early 30s, I wouldn’t have that I would be nearly old enough to start being nostalgic about things. But it seems that having Mildred has made me a bit nostalgic for the things I had as a child. I find myself looking at children’s toys and tv shows and wondering when they got so complicated. At two, I had stuffed animals and blocks, but now we are giving 2-year-olds tablets with apps and videos for learning. It makes me wonder a bit how someone like my grandmother must have felt, seeing so many changes in her lifetime. But thanks to her poetry, I have a bit of an idea how she felt on the subject.
Every now and then as the years go by,
I long to see the old home place before I die.
Then years and years of memories unfurl
And I go back to the time when I was just a girl
With a bashful grin and golden curl.
The old orange school bus stops at my door,
And I jump out with the books I deplore
To think of books for a while no more,
For I have many strange nooks and crannies to explore.
I don my old brown slacks and run out the door,
Down through the pasture when there’s treasures galore.
The bees in the air buzz from from all care –
But I have to be careful lest they get in my hair.
The wind rustles through the dry corn sheaths
The willow trees swing and sway in the breeze
And I’m free until supper time to do as I please.
I slow down as I come near a sandy mound
And walk real slow and watch the ground –
Lo! What’s this I’ve found?
Could there be Indians lurking around?
Cause this gray rocks an Indian flint, sure as I’m bound!
I stop, look, and listen for a single sound,
Not a thing in sight but Bozo, my old brown spotted hound.
Not a single noise but a cow’s bell clang –
But what’s that bell that just now rang?
Could that mean suppers ready, Bozo, old man?
Before I’ve explored all this land?
I climb the fence and wade through the cat-tailed swamp
Where I can listen to the old shallow oil well pump
With its old familiar squeak and bump,
Sending a rainbow of colors all through the swamp.
Now I will visit just one more place,
‘Tis like a field of yellow lace-
For gold row grows all over the place.
I pick for myself a big arm load
Then go back home to my abode
And eat all the supper my tummy will hold
Now can’t you a glimpse of my childhood at my old homeplace see?
And didn’t you like your visit there with me?
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A couple of years back one of my students, who had a two-year-old at the time, went to a PTA meeting where they were warned of the problems caused by letting babies have their parents’ mobiles and tablets 24/7. Apparently a lot of the early ADD we are seeing is caused by them being bombarded nonstop with moving images, sounds etc. and yet not really having to interact. I see this all the time, babies a few months old have no interest in cuddly toys etc. Used to be, you gave them their favourite plushie or dolly and they were absorbed for a good bit. Nowadays, it’s one bored glance and they drop it–and that’s if they take hold of it at all! A friend of mine was afraid her granddaughter was autistic or something, as she showed no interest in toys etc…only in going round and round the room by the wall, or taking things off shelves and dropping them on the floor. After testing they said, no, nothing wrong in that sense–she’s just “a modern kid”. Pull out a cellphone, she’s mesmerised.
That doesn’t surprise me one bit. I’m going to try to avoid that with Mil, but I don’t know how much luck we will have.
What a sweet poem!