Sadly the last in the present series of posts from Billy Ray Chitwood from his archives… We shall have to twist his arm to send us a few more! This week Billy Ray shares his memories of the weekends with his grandparents with ice-cream, watermelons and whole lot of love.
Sundays with The Grandparents by Billy Ray Chitwood
It’s been so long ago, but I remember the wonderful weekends at my grandparents – kerosene lamps, outhouses, and all… those inconveniences of the times that were taken for granted and did not spoil the most special feeling of family and love.
Many of my uncles and aunts were there with their families, and the setting was perfect – even with the L&N Railroad tracks within fifty yards of the old gray railroad section house. My cherubic Grandpa was an L&N Section Foreman and the finest dispenser of love and wisdom that I’ve ever known.
In the afternoon, some of us boys played catch and some played horseshoes. The girls were either helping, or, getting in the way of the women cooking up that good old southern food. I remember hearing the giggles and playful sounds coming from inside the house.
It seemed the weather was always sunny in Madisonville, Tennessee during those family weekends, but, surely, there would be no rain in my memory banks. The side lawns were freshly mown and that familiar delicious smell filled the air. Hedgerows separated the L&N tracks from the house, only minimally muting the sound of passing trains and their lonesome whistles. Lovely beds of flowers of all colors dotted the landscape.
In his coveralls (can’t remember ever seeing him in clothes other than his coveralls), my beautiful ‘Santa Claus’ built grandfather brought the old ice cream maker, the rock salt, and ice to the side yard nearest the kitchen, ready for cranking that handle round and round. We little guys would do the initial cranking while the cream in the cylindrical metal container was not ready to thicken. When more rock salt and ice were added, that old crank got harder and harder to turn. So, the little guys would reach a point where they could not budge the crank. Then, the big guys would take over.
There were watermelons and some would turn out to be a whitish-green inside – that is, uneatable – but we would all laugh about it.
Grandma and her inside crew, including my Mom and her sisters, were the real heroines of the day. There was so much good tasting food, most of us swore off eating for a week.
The really big thing, though! Well, actually, there were two really big things!
There was something almost sacred about those weekends. Happiness and Love were there in abundance and they showed on all the faces. Oh, there was always some mention of family and world’s problems, but most of all, it was a reaffirmation of family closeness.
The other big thing was Grandma’s prayers. Now, you have not heard anyone pray like my sweet Grandma prayed. She gathered us all in the big living room, and we knelt on the floor while she cried, laughed, screamed her long, long prayer of thankfulness, of hope, of peace and the great glory of Jesus and our ultimate eternal homes.
They were weekends I find easy to remember and, while we go through our orbits and wars and our political uncertainties, I can find in those childhood memories some semblance of unity and love…
We just need to find a way to dispense that unity and love throughout a troubled world.
I’m thinking we need more of my Grandmas and Grandpas.
©Billy Ray Chitwood 2016
Thanks to Billy Ray for another wonderful post and I am sure he would love to hear your special memories of time spent with your grandparents.
A small selection of the books by Billy Ray Chitwood
A recent review of Mama’s Madness
A chilling and disturbing story based on a true event. I had difficulty putting the book down hoping that the main character would be found and punished. There were some editorial issues and at times there was too much repetition, but overall a good book. I appreciated the author’s epilogue which gave the story more meaning.
And one for Stranger Abduction
“Stranger Abduction” is a well-written novel based on an actual event. A mother and daughter walk from their home to a store in Arizona and never make it back. Mr. Chitwood gives a very viable and chilling account as to what might have happened next. Doris and Deena find themselves thrown into the human trafficking trade, while the Deputy Jack Kiefer never gives up on finding them. The details and characters kept this a page turning book as well as the side story with the Deputy. This is a glimpse into an evil that is going on around us as “products” (a label used for Doris and Deena) are being drugged and used for other’s gratification or service. I highly recommend this book, because even with a dark subject matter there are always heroes.
Read the reviews and discover and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q
And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q
Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood
About Billy Ray Chitwood
An Appalachian hill boy from east Tennessee, Billy Ray Chitwood has family roots that go back to tenth century England and a hamlet just north of London called Chetwode.
Billy Ray received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, taught high school ‘Advanced Writing’ in Lorain, Ohio. He has served honorably and proudly in the United States Navy. Aside from sales/marketing management positions with top textbook publishers, he has been a model and an actor in film, stage, television. He is still active in his own business as the CEO of Chitwood, Inc.
Billy Ray has written fifteen books, most of which you will find on amazon and amazon UK. Many of his novels of fiction were inspired from actual crimes. His first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son,” is a fictional memoir which has much factual and historical accuracy about the author’s own life.
Currently, Billy Ray spends his time on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee with his lovely wife, Julie Anne, and their feisty but lovable Bengal cat named George.
Connect to Billy Ray
If you would like to share some of your older posts with a new audience, and promote your blog or books, then please take a look at this post that outlines what I would need. Thanks Sally