This past week I have seen two posts on Facebook that really took me back to my childhood…Honeysuckle and Lightening Bugs. It made me start thinking about the really cool things I remember from way back when. I grew up in a small town and while sometimes it was just entirely too small for me I do have some amazing memories of life in the country. I decided to devote this blog to my top 5 favorite things about growing up in a Southern small town.
1. Catching lightening bugs on hot summer nights.
I remember by great grandmother always having left over miracle whip jars laying around her house. Why miracle whip? It’s what we eat down South. You find the occasional Southerner that prefers true mayo but miracle whip is definitely king. My granny would poke holes in the lid of the jar and my cousins and I would run through the front yard catching lightening bugs and putting them in the jar. It was amazing to see you could create a night time lantern with just a jar and some bugs. Eventually, their lights would burn dim and you knew it was time to let them go back into the world so that someone else could enjoy them. Good Times.
2. Football Friday
Moving out west has shown me that not everyone thinks football is a religion. Friday nights down South, especially in small towns, is a night that the whole town comes together to support the local football team. It is a HUGE deal! It isn’t just for parents of the players or cheerleaders. The whole town gets behind a group of boys just trying to get the win. Our town businesses would even shut down during the annual Homecoming parade so that all employees could attend. You never had to make plans for Fridays in the fall because you knew where everyone would be.
3. Sweet Tea
One of my absolute favorite things about growing up in the South is sweet tea. It is the nectar of the gods and always takes me right back home when I manage to find some here in Colorado. The sweeter the tea the better and goes perfect with a rocking chair and a front porch. Back home, if you order tea you get it sweet unless you specify you want it unsweet and then everyone assumes you are either a Yankee or diabetic.
4. Walking in the Woods and Swimming in the Creek
This is an interesting one because I would never do either of these things today but when I was a kid it was AWESOME! My friends and I would just walk through the woods for what seemed like miles and see where we would end up. No matter where you ended up, you always knew how to get home. There were no cell phones in those days so our parents just trusted we could take care of ourselves and would make it home by dinner time. I can’t believe my mom was okay with me heading out in the morning and not having clue where I was. I would never let my kids do this! Creek swimming was fun too and creeks were everywhere. Again, I would never do this today because I now know there are gross things like leeches and snakes in those waters but back then it was fun. You would get your best creek shoes on and head down to the banks with the best picnic you could buy at the local IGA. There would always be other families there and a fun time would be had by all!
I love honeysuckle and I am incredibly sad that we do not have this in Colorado. A friend of mine living in Oregon has inspired me to plant some. Wish me luck! We had a huge row of honeysuckle along the side of our property when I was a kid. My grandmother, sister and I would pic the flowers from the vines and suck the nectar from the middle. The flowers had the most wonderful smell and looked so beautiful growing wild. This seems like such a small thing but it is definitely I remember and miss from back home.
While I am glad I eventually moved to the city, I do cherish some of the amazing things about growing up in a small Southern town. I think this is the best thing about getting older. You start remembering the good things and slowly forget about the bad as you age. I hope my kiddos can look back on their childhood and remember some cool things about growing up. I often worry that technology will take the place of the small things in life that can give us so much joy. I hope not!