| Memorial Day weekend or Decoration Day as it used to be called was the end of school and the beginning of Summer. It was great to not have to get up early and go to school. Breakfast came later in the morning unless mom had busy work to do and had to get breakfast over with early. For me the day was to be enjoyed just lazing around and day dreaming. Roger and Tony had jobs to do. I usually followed mom around and watched her cook, iron, sew, crochet, clean and I would help when she would let me.
I also loved to be outside in the sunshine. I remember smells and sounds like they are pictures in my mind. Just laying down on the ground and closing your eyes you could feel the warm sun on your body and hear the bees buzzing around, their wings flapping double time. I was afraid of bees. Papow Cloud had beehives for honey. Everytimes he raided their hives, they were mad for a few days and would fly around looking for a human to sting even yards away at my house (which was down the road within yelling distance). There were lots of different kinds of bees. There were wasps that built dirt homes under the eves of our house. There were yellow jackets that built their homes in the ground and in bushes and trees. The wasps built their paper homes usually around wood structures, barns, outside on houses, chicken coops and hog pens. There were big large bumble bees that were yellow and black that never bothered anyone. My dad always told us to not bother the bees and they wouldn't bother us. Dad respected all of God's creatures as they had a job to do in the scheme of things. The bees were necessary to polinate the garden, the trees, the flowers, all growing fruit and all things that had flowers.
While lying on the ground you also could hear the flies dronning, and other flying insects. We loved to catch june bugs and tie a string to one of their legs, this way we could give them a long string so they could still fly around near us. Crawling insects and spiders could be heard rustling through the grass if you were laying down on the ground. My favorite was listening to the birds singing and trying to recognize the bird. There were robins, blue birds, pheasants, mawking birds, woodpeckers, hawks and buzzards, too many to list.
The smell of warm sunshine made the heart soar. The smell of the earth when it was damp from a rain was a different smell from earth hot from the summer sun. Grass and weeds underneath and surrounding me as I sat or lay on the ground was a comforting smell. Everything had a special smell from the wild fruit, flowers, trees in bloom.
There were the smells from the animals too. We always had dogs. They were for hunting. They were valuable for finding rabbits, and squirrels for food and the dogs could smell a snake before any human could, so they were also for protection in the woods. Dogs were not to be petted as that would disrupt their inbred jobs. When dad was not around we did treat the dogs like family. Dogs got to eat the scraps from the meals we ate. The cow was important as it gave us our milk and butter. They had their own special smell. Mostly their smell was an earthy smell from lying on the ground. They were very sloppy eaters with their mouths dripping juices from whatever they eat whether it was an apple or weeds. The cow was special because they got store bought food. The feed came in large cotton bags that had patterns on them. The bags were used to make clothes, curtins and even quilts. I loved the smell of their feed. It smelled good enough to eat and I did try it. The chickens had their own special place. Daddy always had chicken coops for them. Their coops had roofs and four sides with an opening big enough for us to enter. There would be tree branches without the leaves for roosting and some spots that had bottoms with grass for the chickens to sit and lay their eggs. There were small little enclosed coops for the hens that were sitting on the eggs to hatch them. The chickens picked every blade of grass in their area until there was nothing but dirt. The chicken feed would be thrown around on the ground for them to eat. The smell from their craps was terrible and when collecting eggs you had to watch where you were stepping.
We had a barn that daddy built across the dirt road from our house, (which was built on the side of the hill). The barn was between the road and the creek. The barn had its own smells. There was a door in the middle of the rectangle shaped barn. Upon entering you walked onto a dirt floor. There were enclosed areas on both sides, with a wooden half wall about three feet high and gate to keep the animals enclosed. Usually in the wintertime the cow and mule stayed in these pens. Straight ahead was a step up to the wooden floor of the barn. There was an opening in the wall on the right side where you could look into one of the pens. Here was where daddy kept his tools, plow, mule halters and reins. This is where he kept everything that didn't belong in the house, his stuff. There would be corn piled into a corner waiting for it to dry and be ground into corn meal for cornbread or left whole to feed the pigs or cows. There were his tools he needed to kill the hogs in November for food. He had special tools for shoeing horses or mules. He made extra money shoeing other peoples horses or mules and he ground corn into meal for people. The smells of the barn were earth, mold, metal, corn, cows feed, old wood planks, oil needed to keep the tools sharp.
The creek was a center of our life. Mom carried water from the creek to her wash house to wash clothes. The wash house was next to the barn and close to the creek. The animals drank water from the creek and so did my brothers and I. When it was hot the children would go to the creek to swim or just sit in the water to cool off. Each summer the older boys and girls would dam up the creek in areas where it was wide and deep enough to swim. During the fall, winter and spring the rocks and mud used to dam up the creek would be washed away. The creek had special smells and sounds. Most prominent was the constant noise the water made as it washed over the rocks on its way to the mouth of the holler to the tributaries that ran into the cumberland river from every holler. The water was cold all the time.