Days of Old

Yesterday, my daughter and I took a long country drive. We drove to a small farming community just for curiosity’s sake. In the middle of farmland were rows of houses, some with white picket fences, and large mature trees dotted the small town. There was a lone gas station and a small community park on the east side of town from where we entered. We slowly drove through town looking at everything but for nothing in particular. I’m assuming there was a post office although I didn’t see one. Maybe it was near the town hall which I did see. Many of the old buildings, in what would be considered downtown, were vacant. This was sad to me. Although I didn’t grow up in Indiana, I do remember small rural towns that were open for business with very few buildings vacant. Old gas stations, small town restaurants, general stores, floral shops, funeral services, machine shops, appliance stores, and mom and pops full of sweet treats. It was about everyone in the community working together to support their little hometown. I guess I grew up in the Mayberry era. And it was grand.

As we drove around we saw signs of youth in the community which I saw as a good sign. Raising children in a rural Indiana is sweet to me. The school is large (we passed it on the way into town) and I’m assuming it supports several of the rural communities. As for the parents, they would need to commute to the larger cities for work as there is nothing in this town to support them.

The railroad was on the west edge of town and there grain could be loaded into railcars. I drove out of town and into the farmland a little ways before turning around to go back through again. I wanted to take it all in. I noticed a second church which I missed on our first run through. It looked like a ghost town on the main street. We stopped at the community park to walk our dogs before heading home. That’s where I found that sparkly little brook I posted yesterday. I really wish I had taken pictures of the town to share with you here. But maybe it’s good to use your imagination with this particular blog.

This morning I washed my bedding and hung it out on the line. It made me think of days long gone. No one hangs their laundry out anymore. I then thought of a home I saw yesterday in that little town. It was an old, but a very well-kept farmhouse with barns and several outbuildings. It was a very attractive property with its well-groomed yard and landscaping. The house with its large, welcoming porch, was absolutely beautiful. I can only imagine the thousands of conversations that took place on that porch over the years as friends and family rocked away in those old wooden rocking chairs while sipping on iced tea. The house and all of the buildings were white with black trim. Black iron posts held an attractive sign that told of the business that was located on the premises. A tradesman. A machine shop. Sadly, this is almost nonexistent now. And to me, it’s like losing an old friend.

I remember old farmers and mechanics working out of their own barns and garages. The smell of oil, gas, and hydraulic fluid upon entering was a good smell to me. I remember seeing the owners with their clothes, faces, and arms greasy and black from their labor. Not to mention the spittle around the corners of their mouth and sometimes dried on their chin. These old men had much to share about life. They’d tell of their worries about the younger generation while comparing them to their own youthful days of growing up. They’d share their fishing tales, talk politics, discuss the tractors and trucks and other equipment they’ve worked on, and once in awhile throw in humorous bragging on this or that. I regret that the youth of today don’t have that opportunity to sit in a garage or old barn and listen to the old men talk. Those days are mostly gone now.

As for me, I’m going to hang my laundry out until I am no longer physically able to do so. I am grateful that I grew up in the time that I did when I was not-so-far from the old days. I got in on just the tail end.

Above is a picture of when I was a teenager and I’m sitting with my siblings and our great-grandmother who was born in the late 1800’s. Not really so long after the Civil War ended. She traveled by covered wagon, mostly through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas. My how times have changed.

This next picture is a six generation family photo. Paul Harvey spoke of this rare event on his broadcast. My grandmother, my mom’s mother, is holding the baby, and her mother, my great-grandmother, is the oldest one in the picture, the same woman from my first picture.

Days of old…not that they were easy days by any means, but what treasures are found in them. It’s hard to keep the memories alive but it would be in our best interest to bring some of the past back into our present.

Be grateful for the days of old for they have much to teach us about life and living. ♥️

Andi

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