A few weeks ago I was back in Alabama, where I grew up, and just had to ride by the old home place.
Pam asked, “Are you sure you want to do that?”
“Yes,” I replied.
We all have memories, good or bad. Either way, they stick with us.
The ones I have of my younger years on Highway 278 about 12 miles east of Hamilton, Ala., are special.
I’ve been working on a lesson for a Wednesday night Bible class. And it makes me realize that in today’s world, there are way too many distractions from what matters most.
We had a pond, a creek, a garden and some farm animals.
Being inside was not my preference. I stayed outside as much as possible.
The activities changed over the years – from playing with toy trucks in the mud to actually riding my own motorcycle on the back roads.
And surrounding all that fun were some outside chores, too.
I have still have an old notebook where my mother and I wrote notes to one another.
When she’d leave for work about 6 a.m. in the summer, she’d often leave me a list of things to do.
I didn’t always like it. I wanted to do what I wanted to do. But I took care of the things on the list first because that’s what Mother told me to do.
Often, it was garden work. She taught me how to run that tiller. And I learned at a young age how to use that hoe for weeding.
But there’d be other notes, too.
“I left you some lunch in the refrigerator,” she’d write just about every day.
And trust me, it would always be a good lunch. I really liked the leftovers – from the garden.
When I rode past the house a few weeks ago, it didn’t look the same. But the new owners are keeping it alive. And that’s important.
I recalled mowing that yard, with a push mower, time and time again. I complained a lot to my mother about it, but today I cherish those times. I realize how those tasks and that upbringing helped make me the person I am today.
I recalled the tent camping, that started in the front yard, moved to the back yard and kept getting farther and farther away from the house. It eventually reached the hills, where my friends and I often made our own paths through the woods.
I recalled the fun board games with my sisters, and I remembered the times they shut me out of the house because I pestered them way too much.
I remembered my good friend Mike and I wading in the creek and taking the G.I. Joes and accessories with us for some additional fun in the shallow water.
For the most part today, our young people aren’t experiencing the dirt and the woods and the streams these days. And it’s a shame.
It had been two or three years since I’d driven by the old home place.
It may be two or three more years before I do it again.
But no matter, the wonderful memories of growing up in rural Marion County, Ala., will continue to be with me. They are instilled. And for that, I’m most thankful.