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Just Say Ahh…

Just Say Ahh…

by Taryn McColpin

Ahhh…August.  Backyard gardens are giving up their crops, and pantries are filling with jewel-toned glass jars of canned goods.  The air is ripe with the sound of ice cream truck music, air conditioner hum, childrens’ swimming pool squeals, and…cell phone ringtones?

As recently as 60 years ago, some places in this country did not even have landline phones. This is the story of The Time The Phones Went On In Texas.

Once upon a time, there was little girl who lived on a farm waaaay out in the country, on Garrett’s Creek Road, with her grandparents.  She spent her days playing with baby chicks and climbing the peach tree behind the farmhouse, which was covered in hot pink blossoms and butterflies in the spring, and carefully-avoided reddish fruits in the summer.

On a steamy day in July, the bushel baskets and Mason jars were pulled from the dry cellar, and Mammaw walked the path to the peach tree in her sundress and wide-brimmed hat. Carefully inspecting for worms, she dropped the winners into the baskets, and soon the kitchen counter was covered with piles of fruit.  The little girl watched from her yellow metal chair-stool, wistfully yearning to help Mammaw can the peaches, but such a dangerous process is not for the young.

Soon the big black cookpot of peaches was boiling away to help with the peeling process, the scented steam roiling above it, then they were cut in half, pitted, stowed away in the hot Mason jars, and carefully lowered into the canner, with its ominous-looking gauge on top.  After what seemed like hours but was only ten minutes, the weight on the lid began its jiggling dance and off went the fire. More “hours” for the pressure to subside, then the golden jars were carefully lifted from the canner and set on hotplates to cool, covered with dish towels. The little girl had been told that this was important, in case one of the jars exploded, and when she saw a towel slip off, she leaned over from her perch to re-cover the jars, and….bang! Too far of a reach, too top-heavy of a stool, and down she went.

Mammaw turned around at the noise and saw her unconscious baby lying on the floor, a knot already forming on her forehead.  Panicked, she scooped her up in her arms, calling out her name, and when no response came she ran cold water in the tub and immersed the fully-clothed child, hoping to waken her.  Still no response, and with the girl again in her arms, she ran out the door and down the rock road, not noticing the rocks cutting into her bare feet. The closest neighbor, the local nurse, lived an eighth mile away, and Mammaw flew there on wings of adrenaline and love.  By the time she arrived, the child was awake; the diagnosis, possible concussion and “keep her off high stools.”

In those days, telephones were an option and a luxury, not the necessity they have become, and the small and poor country community had seen no need for the expense. But the little girl’s fall, and the cloud of “what might have been,” put things in a different light.  Within the month, phone lines were in, and Garrett’s Creek Road was connected to the rest of the country.

Nowadays, there is no longer a landline at the old farmhouse.  Everyone who lives there has a cell phone, connecting them not only to the country, but to the world.  The rock road is paved, the peach tree is gone, but a little girl’s memory of peaches – and love – lives on.

One Response to “Just Say Ahh…”

  1. Ogrody says:

    I don’t bookmark sites but i will bookmark this! LOL!

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