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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Thursday, September 22, 2005

old home place

Our family moved to the Augusta area in November 1949 into a house on Hickman Road, and as far back as I remember Dad always talked about moving back to the old home place in Mississippi. It was 80 acres he inherited from his Dad and to him it was the most beautiful place on earth.

When he retired in 1973, he and Mom moved back there and into the four-room house that Dad had built when I was a baby. Back then four room houses only had four rooms - two bedrooms, kitchen and living room/bedroom, with back to back fireplaces in the living room and one bedroom. We didn't have much closet space, but we didn't need it cause we didn't have many clothes.

After they moved back, my older brother, with my unskilled assistance, installed indoor plumbing in the old house - something it had never had up to that point. Dad later added two bedrooms and another bath for visiting children et al.

As long as he was able, Dad had a garden and tended fruit bearing trees, bushes, vines, etc. He had several each of pear, apple and peach trees, several different kinds of plums, at least two fig tree/bushes, a hazelnut, a black walnut, several blueberry bushes, some muscadine vines, grapes and even a small cherry tree that he talked about digging up cause it didn't do to suit him.

One of the rituals of each visit we made there was when Dad would take me on a guided tour of all the fruit bearers and tell me how each one produced that season. He would tell me when they were planted and how he acquired them - some were from the catalog, while others were given to him by friends and kin. I enjoyed these walks and talks that were a "looked forward to" part of each visit.

The last garden I remember them having was one that my brother and I tilled up and planted for them. I took Dad to town and helped him get seed, plants and fertilizer with a certain sadness on my part, because he had always done these things for himself. Memories - even sad ones - are a precious part of life. ec


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