The day was May 6, 1905. I was a youngin' back then and Ma had just made breakfast for us while Pa, Charlie, and I got ready for Sunday school down at the school house. We lived in Kentucky at the time, on the outskirts of Bell county. Pineville was a small little town. It was full of humble folks and little country gals and little country boys. Lot of history in that ole town.
"Boy's come on down and eat your breakfast." Ma yelled from the kitchen downstairs. Ma was a gorgeous lady. She was always dressed in a lovely blue calico dress for church. Her hair was a rich strawberry blonde and her eyes were emerald green. Pa was a tall man, strong and strong willed too. Pa had dark brown hair and deep dark eyes, but his smile was warm. Most days he looked like a lumber jack, rugged and covered in dirt but on Sunday's the man cleaned up well.
"Honey." Ma yelled again. She paced over to the rickety ole stairs by the front doorway. "Honey! Boy's!" she demanded. "The food is gettin cold. Now if y'all don't get down here soon, I'll feed it to the dogs." Ma was frustrated with us like she always was but we loved her and she knew she loved us boys too. "I'm sorry Hon, But don't you want us boys lookin as clean as two silver dimes for church." Pa chuckles and Ma smiles. "Try two pennies." Ma says while she rolls her eyes in laughter. Pa leans in for a kiss "Ahh I love ya Honey." Charlie and I run down stairs but are stopped by the sight of Ma and Pa in the middle of a kiss at the bottom of the stairway. "Eeewww gross, get a room." I say in my boyish tone. Charlie was right behind me on the steps and pushed me forward. "Go, I'm hungry."
Charlie was only 7 at the time and I was 12. Charlie struggled to even move me. "Richard! that is no way to speak to your parents." Ma snaps at me. "And Charles that is no way to treat your brother." She continues. "yesss Maaa." The two of us say. We all move to the dinning table and placed in the center was a lovely bouquet of wildflowers. Wildflowers were Ma's favorite. Around them was a fresh cooked breakfast. Ma had cooked up fresh eggs collected from the coop just yesterday, with bacon and home baked buttermilk biscuits. Ma had even cut up some strawberries from the garden. That breakfast was like many of her breakfast's but every one of them was a meal to remember.
"Eat up boy's, and don't waste a single bit." Pa says. We both nod at the man. Pa was stern but his smile gave him a humbleness that made him a lot less scary. "Now boy's Thank your mother for a lovely meal." Pa adds. "Thank you Ma." I say. "Thanks Ma." Charles adds after. "Your welcome boys." Ma said this with the kindest of smiles and the most loveliest eyes. Ma was an Angel. Ma gets up and starts to clean our plates and table. "Alright boys Its time we head to church." She says. "Saddle the horses will you Richard." I do as Ma says. First I saddle up Twister the ole blue roan. That horse was old so normally Charlie and I road him. Then I saddled up the mare Hellfire. Hellfire is the horse Ma and Pa road. I never called her Hellfire though. I usually just called her "shit head." or "stubborn bitch." what mare needs a name anyways. Those temperamental things ain't worth a dollar.
"You boys got your books?" Ma says as she comes out of the house. Pa and Charles following behind her. "Yes Ma, I already put them in the saddle bags." I tell her. "That's my boy." Pa says as he walks up and pats my shoulder. I hop on Twister and pull Charlie up with me And we all ride into town for Sunday church. Town was only about a mile or so up stream. If you follow the creek into town, the first building you see is Mrs. Belmont's Cafe. Her Cafe was the only place open on Sunday's so normally after Sunday school Ma, Pa, Charlie and I grabbed a slice of Mrs. Belmont's homemade apple pie and hot chocolate. Sunday's spent in her cafe is one of my best memories. In the summer I helped run her cafe for work. I'd also chop wood and stoke her wood stove in the back. The wood stove was what made her cookin so good. Nothin beats a homemade meal cooked over a stove.
I dismount Twister and help Charlie down. I then hitch the horse to the post outside the church. Ma and Pa do the same. DONG, DONG, DONG. The church bell rings. Children, families and towns folk start to fill the Small little white school house. "Folks please be seated." Pastor Dickson announces. "Turn to pages 42 and 43, How Great Thou Art." The room fills with song and gospel. As a 12 year old I didn't appreciate church as much as I do now. Most days spent in church were spent on pestering little miss Alice Lynn two miles down creek from our house. Little Alice was never bitter over my pestering. She told me to bug out most of the time but her and I were pretty close. Alice knew I was joking. Heck Alice was by best gal. There was this one time I tied the bow in her hair to the bow in her friends hair and when the two stood up they ended up pulling each others hair. I tried so hard to keep from laughing. Anyhow that is beside the point.
Sunday school finally ended. "Hey Alice." I say. Would you like to join me and the folks for a slice of pie and hot chocolate at the cafe. "I can't today Richy." Alice said. "I've got chores to do when I reach home." "Alight well I'll see ya." I replied. "see you later Richy." Alice always called me Richy for some odd reason. Never did understand it. I never called her anything other than her name. "Boys hury up now, daylight is wasting." Ma says in front of us. Charlie and I catch up to father and Pa. Charlie grabs Ma's hand and I walk aside Pa. The afternoon goes by slow as we spend it in the cafe. It's finally time to head for home. Pa and I had chores that day and lookin back we should have skipped the cafe. The work load was sure heavy back in the day.
Soon we arrive home and I unsaddle the horses while Ma and Charlie spend the rest of the evening cleaning the house and tending the garden. Charlie was to young to help Pa and I cut wood or build fence so we left him with Ma until he was old enough to not hurt himself. The day grew shorter and the weather seemed to cool down quite a bit. I could smell Ma's cooking from the barn and man oh man did it smell delicious. "Boy's come on in to eat supper." I hear Ma yell out to us. I never ran so fast in my life. My stomach was eating itself. "Pa! Pa! come on." I say already at the front door.
"I'm comin son, give this old man some time." I laughed and headed inside. Ma had cooked up some steak, buttered beans with a nice chopped salad. " Thank you Ma, dinner looks good." I said to her. "Well you are very welcome son, you deserve it you boys worked hard today." I dish up and start to dig in. "AH, AH, Richard. Say your prayers." so I do. "Dear Lord thank you for this food, Amen." I begin to dig in again. "Richard no. That is no way to pray." Ma tells me. I sigh and start to pray.
"Dear Lord, I thank you for this blessed food. Lord I thank you for the rain and the green grass below us. I thank you for the crops in the field and the meat in our freezer. Most importantly I thank you for the love you give me, my Ma, Pa, and Charles. In Jesus name we pray Amen."
"Thank you Richard that was a very well said prayer." Pa says to me. "Now lets eat for God's sake." Pa says as he laughs. Ma chuckles. I loved how Pa could always make Ma laugh. They truly did love each other.
It soon grew dark outside and it was time for Charlie and I to head for bed. The morning came quick and I seemed to be the first one up. I got the stove running and coffee brewin for Ma and Pa. If the coffee wasn't ready by the time they woke up they got pretty short with each other. The coffee was ready so I poured myself a cup and head outside to the porch. I loved spending my mornings watching the sunrise. The sunrise was a gift from the heavens. Every day new again. I took a step out the door and I step and almost fall over on what seems to be an acorn. "What the hell." I say. As a 12 year old hell is the last word I should be sayin. I picked up the acorn and on it there are letters carved in the side. "Richard" it reads. "Well Hell, This is my name." I was pretty confused when I saw it there on my porch like that. I ended up grasping it to hard and the top of the acorn had come off. The acorn was hollowed out with a knife and inside it was a note. It was small and the writing was neatly printed. "Meet me half a mile down creek by Robertson's fence at noon." The writing surly had to be from a girl so I figured it might be Alice. In fact I knew for a fact that it was her. An acorn was quite a mysterious way to send a message though, I never heard of such a thing. I admired Alice for it.
I soon began my chores for the day. Pa and Ma had awaken and the day was started. That day I was in quite a hurry. I had fed and watered the cows. Then fed, watered and groomed the horses. I collected the eggs, fed the chickens and chopped two stacks of wood by noon. Once It hit noon though, man was I gone quicker than you can say Piper did pick a pickled pepper. I saddled the mare and ran her all the way to Robertson's fence. By his fence was a nice willow tree right by the creek. I liked to fish there a lot as a kid.
I hoped off the mare and walked on over to the big willow tree but I was only half way to the tree when a young gal runs up to me, grabs my face and kisses me right on the lips. "Woah woah, what are you doin Alice Lynn?" I shout in slight disgust. "Well Richy, I have been meaning to tell you." Alice paused for a minute. "Alice." I say. "What Richy?" "Well what was that for." I ask not knowing what to say. "I like you Richy." I smiled at her and said. "Alice your a whole year younger than me." At that moment I wished that I had not said that. Alice became sad and her bright smile faded away. I never had seen her without her beautiful smile up until that moment in time. "I'm sorry Richy, It won't happen again." I forgave her quickly especially after she asked if I wanted to try and catch a fish in the creek. "Alice?" I asked her. "How come you like me?" Alice's face lit up. "Well Richy, you make me laugh." When Alice told me that I instantly thought about how Pa makes Ma laugh. I loved it when Ma laughed with Pa. "Why cause I'm funny lookin or somethin?" I say making a funny face. Alice Lynn laughed and when she laughed it warmed my heart. I made her laugh the very same way Pa made Ma laugh. That afternoon we caught 4 fish. I brought two home to Ma and Pa and she brought the other two back home to her folks.
From that day on I received an acorn every Monday morning from Alice Lynn. Each one told me to meet at Robertson's fence at noon. I met Alice at that spot every day until I was 18 years old and old enough to know I wanted to make her my wife. Alice Lynn and I have been married 33 years today. I am an old man now, much wiser than I was back then. If I could redo that day she kissed me I would have kissed her back three times more. Who knew I'd marry the gal I pestered so much as a youngin' but in a way that was just my way of saying "I Love you Alice Lynn."