July 15, 2010

Sam Corums Creek Bottom

In the summer we left the house early. The walk to our favorite places was usually a mile or more away. The creek bottom that had the best swimming hole was three or more. It was a mile after we got to the field road that took us there. I have always been afraid of my own shadow, even in the day time I did not go to the swimmimg home alone. My cousins, which were mean boys, often ran off ahead of me. I was a few minutes later than them still I was with the three of them. My brother was included with the mean boys. He and my younger cousin were one set and my older cousin often complained that he got stuck with me. This is a thing kids do, split into clicks. We had my brother, who has always been a leader, and the younger cousin that teamed up to make Bryan keep up with me. Bryan did not complain often, but he did complain that they were boys and he should hang with the boys. She's a girl, she should be at home playing dolls not at the creek with us. I enjoyed swimming just like them, why should I be left a home where Daddy was usually drunk and Grandmother and Mama were busy hating on each other.

I never would have went by myself down there, but I knew where the boys were on most hot summer days. Grandmother did every once and a while listen the boys thinking a girls should not hang out with them. On into the day most of the time she didn't realize that I had followed them anyway. She made me stay only if we had something to string, peel, cut off or grate from the garden. I was made on those days to have to help with that. Men always got to skip the work that was a given for women and little girls.
Like this question I have always asked, "how come you kids daddy can get in the car just leave, and when I go out to the car you all come running out to go?" Mama's are loved the best, that is the answer.

I went Sam's Bottom plenty. The cold water was wonderful in the hot summer. It was just a little over our heads in on spot. That was the spot we jumped off the bank into the water from. The rocks had the perfect ones to skip across the water. I was always great at skipping rocks. I could sling it to skip thirteen times or more. This was a great feat of mine, because I could beat the boys everytime. They would not even try sometimes challenge me. Daddy had actually taught me how. He did teach me some really fun things. He probably took more time with me than my brother with that kind of thing. I was toward him as I was most of the grown-ups, anything I could do to get their attention I would soak it up.

One of the attractions to this creek bottom was a bridge. The only one of it type I have ever seen anywhere. This bridge was four cables strung across the highest bank of the creek. The wire bridge was to cross the creek from the bottom land over to the corn patch. I was not the bravest when it came to crossing the wires. There was nothing going to make me look to them mean boys that I couldn't do it, so I did. The way to cross was one foot on each of the two bottom wires using your hands to hold on while you walked on the wires. Really not a safe way to cross that high above the creek.

Then there were lightening storms that are for sure to pop-up in the hot summer. When a thunderstorm came we hid of all places under trees. The storms were many times severe. Most of the time when we heard thunder we would start back home and at least make it to the paved road where we could stop at any house along the way, because everyone in the community knew us or was kin to us. We did get caught still at the creek sometime. One day a storm with lots of lighten slipped up on us. I started out of the bottom before the boys. When I got to the gate there were four of Preacher Corum's cows lying dead as door nobs in the area where he always feed them. Their bellies were blown up twice the normal size. They had all been struck by lightening. Going home to tell this was one of the greatest stories I had ever got to tell. It caused a big event because Grandmother had to call Pearlean and tell her that they had four dead cows in the bottom land they owned.

The adults rarely went on the swimming hole adventures. We left the house early in the day and returned late in the day. We never even considered taking a lunch break. I was always ready to eat supper when the day was over. That made the cornbread and vegetable of the day taste even better. Sometimes it had been warmed many times; pinto beans were not my favorite after warming so many times they were mush. When that was the case I ate, cornbread with butter and pickles. We did start going to the Piggly-Wiggly in years to come. Kraft Mac and cheese was great with cornbread, butter and sliced onion.

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