By Dirk Thayer
The Star Herald
Right before I sat down to write this article, I had to get out in the dark and work on my septic line.
My wife was washing clothes and we know by now the sound it makes when it’s not draining correctly.
She reminded me that I'm not as nice as I write when troubles occur.
We all have a dark side, but some of us are better at keeping it subdued than others.
Anyhow, after spitting some venom and using my magic hose with a device that seems to clear all obstructions––I am back on track.
I hope by the time I finish this story I can go from the dark side back to the ultimate light.
It has been a beautiful day and we started with the big church as my grand daughter was singing in the Christmas program.
It seems when the Lord blesses you so, the devil tries his best to steal His thunder and I ain't going let that happen.
My wife and I went to Branson, Mo., on a work related trip for her company and we attended a cowboy Christmas on the trail at the Shepard of the Hills.
We had authentic chuck wagon food cooked in Dutch ovens, a cowboy band singing old Christmas songs and 160 acres of Christmas lights with a different scene every 50 feet of so.
During all of this we found out via the black box (iPhone) that our daughter-in-law was involved in a wreck.
She is several months pregnant with our next grandchild and it was a damper to say the least, but with much prayer, she and the baby are fine.
See how that ole devil tries to steal the Lord's thunder.
As long as I'm breathing, I'll do my best not to let it happen and when I quit breathing I won't have to worry about it.
At any rate we had a good time and saw some beautiful sights and country.
On our way up there and back we passed right by where my late Granny used to live-Ravenden, Ark., population 500.
This was a short trip and we didn't have time to visit, but I still have a handful of kinfolks there.
I told my wife on the way home I was going to make a short detour off of Hwy 62 to see if I could find her old house place.
From there on into Missouri it is all mountain roads, where your headlights meet your taillights in some of those curves.
I made that short detour on the way home and a flood of childhood memories came rushing through my soul.
This little town was booming at one time with the timber industry.
During this time and with roads like they were, the railroads were the main mode of transportation.
One of those tracks went close to my Granny's house.
One of my younger sisters was taking a bath in a foot tub near the kitchen door when the train came by blowing its whistle one evening.
She jumped out of the tub to see it and leaned against the unlatched screen door leading into the backyard.
She fell a few feet from the house into Granny's dishwater, grease and whatever else Granny had thrown out back there.
She was covered in mud, grease and blood.
She had to take another bath, but other than that, a small scar left on her forehead was the only damage done.
There was a well-to-do, or at least well-to-do lady for those parts that lived behind Granny.
She had a well with a hand pump and we would tote water from her house to Granny's.
So taking a bath and washing dishes was a little more laborious then.
I remember one particular Christmas when my dad was stationed in Thailand.
I had to grow up quick in those early teenage years because I was the eldest of four siblings and had to be the ‘semi-man’ of the house.
Anyway, as we approached Memphis going to Granny's house that Christmas it began to snow. I don't know if I was dreaming or delirious but I swore I saw Santa Claus and his reindeer on the rooftop of a northern Arkansas home.
Nobody believed me and I have my doubts now but then it was real as night and day.
The snow got deeper and it began to snow harder as we got to Granny’s old house, and we had ourselves ‘White Christmas’.
I could go on and on about that time in my life, but to make a long story short, my wife and I found the old house place.
The old home we used to pump water from was still standing, but it was in ill repair and appeared ghostlike. Time sure does take it’s toll, but the memories will never leave me.
Well, my wife and I eventually made our way back to these red clay hills of Attala County and I was able to get another fat doe for the freezer.
I am hunting horns now and with the balmy weather we had, I was lucky to get the meat I have thus far.
Well, the Christmas season is upon us and let us not forget the true reason for the season, the ultimate Light that out shines all darkness.
May you and yours have a Merry Christmas.
On the Porch with Dirk is a recurring article written by Dirk Thayer, an avid outdoorsman and storyteller.