Growing up on a hilltop in rural north Mississippi carried an abundance of blessings and terrific memories. Life was definitely simple as compared to today’s family lifestyles.
We didn’t keep guns for protection. They were for hunting wild game and scaring the black birds out of the corn rows. There weren’t any security systems or a lot of keys, because villains only burglarized in the big cities. The five o’clock news actually reported news, and there was no social media or electronics to take our minds off playing in the rocks and making mud pies in our playhouse.
I didn’t pick a lot of cotton in the fall, but I’ll always remember those “bottom” acres of cotton that grew adjacent to Highway 30. That bottom land was the cotton plants’ happy place. The stalks grew tall and were overrun with leaves – leaves that captured and held the dense humidity that camped in that stretch of lowland.
The rows stretched endlessly, taunting me that I’d never reach their finish line. For those short portions of my life I wished to be far away from bottom lands, boll weevils, cotton sacks, horse flies and cotton scales that never weighed my childhood agony that I packed into those sacks.
I wanted to live in the city – to have a man-made night light outside my window instead of moonlight that was only temporary. I wanted to be close to department stores and grocery stores that were closer than fifteen miles away. I longed for city traffic and rows of cars instead of rows of cotton, I wished to have fancy restaurants nearby instead of country stores that offered hamburgers or hamburgers with cheese.
That bottomland made my “wanter” go into overdrive. Every time I’d hear a car or truck whizzing down Highway 30 I’d peep through the jungle of cotton plants and wonder where they were headed. “Someday,” I would tell myself, “I’m never going to another cotton patch!” All those bottom crops would never afflict me ever again!
That declaration came true. Cotton growing days ended along with a lot of memories that they always created.
My man-made street light finally materialized, but guns are now for protection from the “wild” in society. Locks, security systems, and break-proof doors and windows are advised. Children now carry iPads into restaurants instead of skinned knees from rock climbing – and the news?? It’s mostly propaganda controlled by the rich and powerful.
I know a lot about traffic and rows of cars waiting for red lights to change, and stores of all varieties are a lot closer than fifteen miles which makes spending much more convenient! The restaurants are down every street, but so is the threat of the pandemic in close quarters.
Yes, the cotton patch days are long gone and so are the innocent days I recall from my childhood. Yet, regardless of present situations and challenges in our lives and nation, my hope is fixed on God. “Of old, You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but You will remain . . .and your years have no end.” Psalm 102:25-27.
And that my friend, puts those “endless” cotton rows in a totally new perspective!