Saturday, December 19, 2015

I'll Be Home For Christmas - but not in southwest Georgia

Recently one of my nephews sent me some photos of the farm in south Georgia where I grew up and lived half my life. 
Family farm in south Georgia

That place will always bring up some sadness in me, but also great memories of life there with my four brothers, two sisters, Mother and Daddy.

I had thought I would marry and move to a city or at least off the farm, but a year after our wedding, we were back on the farm again. My father who bought   land on Fleming Road in Dougherty County Georgia in 1942, told each of his seven children that he would give us five acres on which we could build a house. I never thought I'd do that. I went away to college and learned a little about the outside world, and my younger sister went to college and then to California. My older sister married and moved away to live in various places for most of her life.

I turned down my first love when he asked me to marry him because he planned to have a military career. I could never imagine me picking up and moving all the time. I felt my tap root ran so deep in south Georgia soil that nothing would ever dig me up and transplant me in another state, and certainly not in another country.

Barry asked me to marry him at Christmas time, the second year after college, and we had a wedding in June. We moved into a small one bedroom, furnished apartment on 8th Ave. in Albany, GA. He gave me a black poodle puppy right away. For that summer Brandy, my puppy, was with me constantly. In September when I began my second year of teaching fourth grade, I had to leave the puppy in the apartment.

The first day that tiny ball of black fur disemboweled a sofa and two chairs. He met me at the door when I got home as happy and proud as he could be. Foam stuffing lined the hallway from door to living room. This was before the days of crate-training or before I ever heard of it. When I left him in the bathroom, he destroyed the door and unrolled all the toilet paper. 

Needless to say with a week of this little black tornado climbing up on chairs, onto tables and flying over dividers, we realized we had to move. We could not keep him inside while we were gone.

We were thankful when Daddy gave us our five acres, and we hastily moved a mobile home onto the wooded and uncleared land. And so I was back on the farm again. Although I would have moved anywhere with Barry, and we looked at houses
cattle silhouetted against water
all over the county, he made the decision to stay right there where I had grown up. 

He came to love that land as much as I did. He enjoyed the fishing at Majors' Pond, the horseback riding, working and playing tennis with my brothers on the recreation area and then working with them in the manufacturing business.

Of course I enjoyed being close to my mother who was only 1/2 mile or less from our place. We had chosen a perfect spot with old "Disney" type oak trees and tall whispering pines in the back of the farm where we saw only natures' creatures most of the time. 

Moon Rise

Life was peaceful and laid back for a young couple with little money but lots of love for each other and for our four-legged family. We had two horses, a dog and two cats. 

I close my eyes and I am once again walking down the farm road, smelling honeysuckle growing wild along the fence, or in the morning, dew drops nestled on morning glories brought a smile to my lips. One of my dogs usually walked with me, running ahead or stopping to sniff out rabbits or field mice hiding from us.

In summer, I might sit by the large pool we built right in the center of the farm for all of us to use and care for. It overlooks some small ponds where blue cranes pose in the water or egrets gather on dead trees. 

From south end of pool on Council Farm

The warm weather we have had here in the mountains this December is the same as what we had almost every Christmas on the farm. We were often in shorts on Christmas Eve and, after Barry and I built our house with the lovely fireplace, we turned on the AC so it would be cool enough to light a fire for ambiance, not for warmth.

I love the song, I'll Be Home for Christmas, but there comes a time when the home of your childhood is gone and you can't go home for Christmas. Home becomes another place where you can be with loved ones, to share good times, laughter and memories. 

Down home they will have the annual family Christmas party. I hope they have a great time together. I'll be thinking of those good times of yore.

Farm scenes by Gabe Council


DJan said...

Lovely post, Glenda. I was transported back there with you. And I've also loved that song for a long time, remembering the next line, too: "I'll be home for Christmas/If only in my dreams." Home was where my parents were, and with them gone, home is now where I live with my husband. It's not the childhood home, but still. Merry Christmas to you! :-)

Glenda Beall said...

My home was where Barry and I were together, but without him here, I don't decorate for Christmas or stay here for Christmas. I go where my loved ones call home and share Christmas with them. Gay, my sister, is definitely a Christmas person. I enjoy being there in their beautifully decorated house and I also spend time with June's two daughters and their families.
We can't go back to our childhood family and holidays except in our dreams. And I am glad I have terrific memories.
Merry Christmas, DJan and a wonderful 2016.

Abbie Taylor said...

My childhood homes are occupied by others now. I doubt I'd be welcome in any of them, and they've probably been changed. I'll stay in my own home for Christmas.