Monday, February 23, 2009

The Things We Forget

The last manuscript I completed for State Standards Publishing was in the third grade set on Georgia habitats. At the last minute we separated the large coastal plain and added a book on the Upper Coastal Plain area. So I had just written about the long-leaf pines and the wire grass when I had reason to head over in that direction for my aunt's funeral. She lived well, loved much, and had a good funeral (if such a thing exists). I spent some happy moments as a girl building cities in the sand of my grandaddy's driveway, reading a book by the pond while my parents and brother fished (I wasn't much for worms in those days), and pushing the wide porch swing as high as I could get it to go.

One of the defining factors of this area of Georgia is the soft, sandy, soil. You can stand in what looks like solid ground and sink to the tops of your shoes.

I rode with my brother and his wife in the back seat of his car past towns like Junction City, Tarversville, Danville, and Allentown, all the way to Swainsboro. When I went there as a kid, our car slowed down to pass through all these little towns on the coastal plain. Now we just bypass most of them and I wonder who lives there and what they do and where they got their names.

When we got to Swainsboro, I climbed out of the back of the little red car. My feet tangled in the seat belt and I plunged forward onto the sandy soil. I had forgotten about the sand spurs. Memories of running barefoot across the yard rushed back to my conscious mind. Balancing on tiptoes until someone came to pick me up and carry me back to the porch and pick the wicked little burrs out of my feet.

My brother came to my rescue. Apparently he had forgotten about the sand spurs, too. He tried to brush the sand off my coat and they attacked his hands.

I was still picking sand spurs out of my coat when I got home. One stuck fast in the fur collar had to be cut out. My mother and dad made sure I didn't leave any on my shoes or feet to be carried back to the harder ground of the fall line. Apparently one little seed will grow a whole field of the things. Make sure they land in the garbage can!

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