Wednesday, January 12, 2011


My mind wandered today back to the time when I was in my early teens. Still a loner trying to keep as much distance from my two sisters as I could. If I had my hickory stick, my dog poochy, and my hunting knife I had all I needed to be happy.

The hickory stick deserves some description. You see hickory is a very hard wood so I found a young tree a little over 1 1/2 inches in diameter, cut a section that would make it tall enough for my height and carefully peeled the bark off exposing the hard wood. I allowed it to dry and fashioned a cap on the end that would be in contact with the ground to protect that end from rocks & moisture.

OK, with my trusty hickory stick seasoned dry and hard it was a useful tool to beat back briars and soft undergrowth as I made my way through the wilderness of the woods behind our home. We lived in a very rural part of the county and there was more woods than homes. I think back at how amazing it was to have those woods that totally brought joy to my life. Inside there were streams of running water, hills, ravines, nut trees, blackberries and the sheer beauty of God's creations.

Streams were always my favorite part of the woods. There I could find crawfish, turtles, tadpoles and gave Poochy a place to refresh herself. I used to wonder if there was gold there but never panned for any. I was too busy looking for anything live to investigate.

One day I was making my way through some rather thick growth of pine trees and came upon an opening into a circular area about 8 to 10 feet in diameter that was carpeted with the softest moss that made me want to just stay there forever. I'll never forget the way it felt to the touch and how awesome I thought it was.

A little west of our house was the County Home for the elderly and behind it was what we called the county dump. More like a treasure chest for a young boy. You know, one person's junk is another's treasure. I would find books, small appliances and not really sure what I ever brought home but it was exciting just the same.

Every now & then I would happen across an old moonshine still that the ATF guys had busted up. Never did run across an operating one.

I shared in a previous post about finding an abandoned school bus in our woods. Now picture just the shell sitting on the ground with no bottom or wheels and no cab. Kind of like an upside down U with the back in tack. I cleared away the brush at the entrance and the inside was reasonably clean. I eventually found a white 5 gal. bucket that turned upside down made a decent seat where I could sit and ponder my next adventures. I especially liked having it on rainy days when I could sit in there listening to the rain drops on the roof and could think and just enjoy the peacefulness.

Like I said earlier if I had my stick, knife & Poochy I felt like I had all that really mattered. I was blessed that there were not all the electronic distractions that keep people in their bedrooms or living rooms instead of enjoying the beauty of nature. I also did not even consider the thought of ugliness in the world like drugs, criminals, foreign powers, etc. My mind was not cluttered with junk. I miss those days more now than ever.


  1. I can relate to this one, Odie. I lived in a rural area until age four and in suburbia but very close to woods the rest of the way through my youth. I went on hikes with my dad at least once a week and we explored the countryside all over Central Pennsylvania. I had a "walking stick" similar to the one you described. On spring and summer days when my dad was working I loved to wander alone in meadows filled with daisies, daffodils, tulips and bluebells and investigate the life forms in streams and along creeks. I would often climb trees and sit for hours high above the roof tops soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the peace, quiet and serenity. No cell phone to answer, no internet access, no electronic gadgets necessary to have fun. No drugs or alcohol needed when you're on a natural high. No worries about stranger abduction back then. Is it any wonder we miss the "good old days" so much?

  2. Odie (and Shady) - it all sounds quite wonderful and idyllic - so different from what the youngsters do these days, with all the gadgetry that they have. Happy memories indeed.

  3. Those were good old day weren't they? I'm so glad I got to be around woods, trains, rivers, etc. Always had a place to go when I needed to ponder.

  4. I had a dog names poochie too! My best pal. She went everywhere with me. She was smart and talented too. I adopted her when my daughter was five. She was my constant companion for 16 years.
    What a wonderful story you shared with us today my friend. I found it easy to imagine you sitting in that old school bus, hickory stick in hand, poochy by your side. A wonderful happy memory to use when the worlds troubles and electronics clutter your mind. Today I deem this memory your official "happy place". Hugs, Katherine
    P.S. what a lovely surprise to find my blog button on your side bar. I am honored.

  5. sounds wonderful, Odie......

  6. It does sound wonderful. I was raised in cities and we moved a lot (10 houses). Once we lived in a house in a town near the mountains. My brother, sister and I went for a walk and decided to go into the woods. Well, we weren't used to it and got scared so we came home quick. I did find a five dollar bill on the road though!

  7. I grew up on 200 acres with freedom to roam. We lived in the Texas hill country and it was beautiful. We even had a canyon with a cave!! I can't imagine what my childhood would have been like had I not roamed free!! We moved out to 12 acres a few years ago and I feel like it is the best gift we have given our children!!

    Loved hearing you reminisce.

  8. i remember days like that. sitting in a tree, reading a book; taking hikes in the woods; playing tag until the lightning bugs came out; and just playing outside. we'd never heard of drugs and violence was not something we experienced or knew anything about.

  9. This was a great blog post. I have been thinking lately about how great it would be to give up everything like cell phones, computers, etc...and just go back to the way it was when I was a kid. Just playing and having fun. Or even living like that as an adult. Not having everyone in your business. Just living life. I used to lay down under huge trees on a blanket and just look up. So comforting and lovely. I love this story you told.

  10. Great story Odie. I keep picturing something like Huckleberry Finn. What a wonderful way to grow up

  11. Odie, what a lovely description of a wonderful childhood. I wish we didn't have all of have today's distractions -- I know I am less of a good mother for always being on the computer and working.

    I would have loved to live during the days of "Little House on the Prairie." All that stuff we have nowadays really doesn't make us any happier. Simple sometimes seems very appealing. I grew up in the country in the summers and there was always something to do. We move to Westchester, New York, so L would have more of the childhood I had where we could go down the street without being afraid. There is no way I would have raised him in L.A.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog today :)

    Dagmar's momsense

  12. It sounds like a wonderful childhood. The bus sounds fabulous and my boys would be jealous. They would love to have an abandoned bus to hang out in! I remember having a couple junk cars in my backyard when I was young, my siblings and I had a great time playing in and around them!

  13. Daddy, It is really cool to read these stories on your blog. I am still learning things about you everyday. Your descriptive writing makes me feel I am right there with you exploring with your hickory stick!
    Love you!