Being an Army wife I get the privilege to meet so many different people. It is a great experience to interact with these people, hear their different accents, learn about their way of life (outside the Military) and hear the many differences in how we were raised. Now, most of my “Army family” will tell you that my accent is definitely that “country twang” we Southerners get picked on for so often! But the accent is not what makes me… The way I was raised, as most country folks will say, is what made me the person I am today. So, I decided to take a lil trip down memory lane to share my past with you.
I think a lot of people will agree that Southerners are well-known for their down-home manners, work ethics, and friendliness. I was taught to treat others the way I want to be treated. I was taught to use my manners and respect my elders. You use “yes ma’am”, “no sir”, “please”, and “thank you” all the time out of respect! You help others in need and you stand by your word. A hand shake means a helluva lot more to me than a signature on a piece of paper. My family owns a store back home. It was a sporting goods store that was always filled with old men in the back playing cards and talking about hunting and the weather. We had rubber band gun wars with all the customers and walked down the block to Buddy’s to get an ice cream. We shot down mistletoe in the winter to sell to everyone in town. I guess that was our “lemonade stand”! LOL
We were taught about responsibility at an early age. We had dogs and chickens and even had pigs at one time. Feeding the animals and helping out in the garden had to be done. Daddy even made me a strawberry patch that was all mine! I was working at an early age at the ballpark with my Mom too. My brother and I played every sport that was available. We played soccer, baseball, softball, tennis, football, cheerleading (yea, i did it…ugh!), and even basketball. I also learned that I had to balance my sports with my work of keeping score of games and helping in the concession stands. In the winter we heated our house by fire. So, yes we chopped wood every winter. My brother and I, of course, complained. Looking back on it though….I am so glad we had to do all these things.
My parents took time with us too. I’ve noticed, in today’s time, most people don’t take the time they should with their kids. It wasn’t all work and no play for us. My Daddy would take me fishing…aka: rock collecting! LOL I loved every minute of it. He would take me deer hunting and dove hunting. I think my role during the dove hunts was sitting on the bucket drinking my Yoohoo, eating a Lil Debbie cake and being told constantly to be quieter! My Mom would put on a record and dance around the living room with me! I have so many fond memories of this! And when we did something wrong…they would talk to us and explain why it was wrong and teach us the way it should be done.
Punishment….the worst was gettin’ in trouble and not being able to go outside and play! We played outside from sun-up to sun-down! We knew we had to be inside by dark and when you were thirsty you went and found the water hose! And my brother and I both knew we were in trouble if Daddy raised his voice or Mom called you by your full name!
I can’t leave out the boys down the street! There were three boys down the street that were and still are like brothers to me. We climbed trees, rode go-carts, wrecked on skateboards, got in fights, played football and accumulated lots of stitches! We built forts and founds bugs all year-long. It was nice growing up out in the country and having friends that were always on the same street. You grew up together and went through the same struggles that all kids go through. So, thanks to M, D and A…it was awesome growing up with ya’ll!
Being in a small country town had many advantages that most other people find boring. We had one little bitty post office. The town square had everything on it! You could call the doctors at home and I don’t even think they had to pull your file for an appointment. Everyone knew everyone! All the kids that went to Kindergarten graduated High School together. Nothing happened in our town without everyone knowing about it within ten minutes. And everyone rushed to help when one family encountered a tragedy.
There weren’t many worries out in the country that I think most kids face in cities. We never worried about straying too far from the house. No one was coming down our road that we didn’t know! We never hesitated to play in the street or the woods. Our parents were comfortable. There were no locks on the doors and all doors and windows stayed open in the summertime. The only protection we kept with us was our dogs! Everyone was welcome at our house anytime. Friends and family would stop by at a moment’s notice just to say hi. We didn’t have to worry about the school violence that happens today. Kids didn’t bring guns to school and metal detectors weren’t needed.
Teenage years…Wow! Those were great! We partied out in the fields, on the farms and around bon fires. We went mud-boggin’ and paint ballin’. Old dirt roads did exist and we tore them up with our pick-up trucks! We didn’t have gangs just good ol’ country fights. Rivals with other schools and highschool football teams were normal. Friday night football games were a must! Friends were there for you no matter what…anytime, day or night. Daddy not only had to know the boy (for a year or more! haha) that was taking me on a date but he also demanded to know his family and friends. And yes, Daddy always made it known he had a shotgun! Our parents knew all of our friends and where we were at all times. And honestly, all of our friends loved our parents!
Living in the country (with great parents!) taught me about hard work, discipline, manners, responsibility and the importance of family. I’m sure that others will say that living in the city taught them the same things….but I don’t see how! No offense, but I think growing up in the South is the best! I think my parents are awesome and my brother is one of a kind…so I’m very thankful for the family I have and the way we were raised is priceless!