I never told Bayno when Mama was going to make fried chicken. If I didn’t say anything, then all the cracklings in the pan would be mine. When the chicken was brown and crisp, I would take the spatula and press it against the bottom of the skillet and scrape the cracklings out of the grease, and when they were cool enough, I’d pour them into my mouth.
That summer was different from other summers even though the garden was the same. All its blooming and growing meant a good harvest along with back breaking work. Sometimes I’d stand in the middle of a row with both hands pressed into my back, my hands making a V and I would bend backwards and listen to all the bones popping and feel the muscles stretch so much they hurt. But with the sun beating down, I’d set my jaw and finish the row no matter if I was weeding, hoeing, or picking. Continue reading →
“The Country” means a hundred different things to a hundred different people. To me, it has always meant freedom.
There’s something about the lack of people and the open space that gives you an opportunity to stretch out and have an adventure. As a teenager that meant the ability to get into trouble without having someone on your back. Blow something up. Build a potato gun and shoot it at cars that whizzed by on Hwy 36. Build a tree house in the woods and use it as a base of operations for pine cone battles, runs to the bootlegger, or a place to stash our Playboy or OUI Magazines (which we pronounced as “O-U-I”, having no idea that it was French).
The country meant that in the summer you said goodbye to your mom at 7am and you got home when the streetlights came on. What you did in the intervening 13 hours was between you, your little brother, and whatever gang of boys you were running with that day. You were 12-years-old. You solved your own problems. You made your own fun. Continue reading →
No question, about it. Robin, having grown up on a farm, and learning all the skills that came with it, was nothing short of an expert marksman. This wasn’t just with firearms. Robin could hit a can off a fence from all the way across the field throwin’ a rock free handed.
Mike and Rob were off on one of their regular squirrel hunts, each with their safeties on, and their shotguns slanting to the ground as they’d been taught. Normally, they’d head out the back pasture behind Robin’s farm. Today, however, they chose to meander up the dirt road that ran in front of Rob’s house.