Life At Home
August 12, 2007
6020 Orlando, Lubbock, Texas

In order to write from memory, you have to put yourself back in time and think of the way things were; much different than they are today. Today young children live in a more complicated world; unlike the way it was when I was much younger.

Young people are faced with drug problems, pornography, kidnapping, drive-by-shootings, abuse and parents killing their children and children killing their parents. Children are steeling and thinking nothing of it; also, being disrespectful to their peers and their parents and teachers. Discipline in school has become very difficult to work with because of the system we have today; complicated by the many rules and laws that are in place. I know, because I have been a teacher for 30 years. We have more problems today in school than when I attended school. It’s unbelievable the way life has changed from being simple and fun to a life that is filled with all the conveniences but yet so unreal. I feel like we are living in a world without a conscience.

Technology has brought the internet, video games-Nintendo 360, Play Station, X-Box, Wii and much more. Children do not even have to get out of their chair to be entertained. They spend hours on the computer or Play Station playing video games or watching television that is not even fit to watch anymore. They are over weight and lazy and have had no practice using their imagination. It’s up to the parents to take control and teach their children responsibilities; and when they don’t, we get undependable, uncaring, selfish and low self-esteem children that grow up into adults who can not think for themselves and who will not be responsible enough to run this country.

Although technology has made life much easier with all its conveniences like the micro wave, instant photographs, HD televisions, video cameras, cell phones, iFones, iPods, CD players and much more, but at the same time it has complicated our life.

Because of the technology we have today, many children are deprived of the simple fun and games we had as children. We had each other and entertained ourselves with games we made up by using our imagination or learned from our parents. We were so active that I don’t remember anyone of us being over weight. We got the exercise we needed and the nourishment from our gardens that our parents worked hard to plant.

We had cows that gave milk and chickens that layed eggs and never gave it a thought about E-Coli. We butchered our own cows for steak or hogs for bacon and cooked our own golden fried chicken from the chickens we raised. There was no KFC nearby. Although I was too small to participate in the killing of chickens, cows or hogs that my dad, Uncle Charlie and older cousins would do, I was able to work in the garden pulling weeds or gathering the squash, picking black-eyed-peas or okra. Along with that we had watermelon, cucumbers and green beans. We had the best dinners served with hot yeast rolls and a glass of ice tea. And sometimes mom even cooked a cake when we had the money to get the ingredients.

I remember when we lived in Farwell that daddy would get paid every two weeks. I think he was a farmer at that time. Daddy worked for one farmer and Jenk worked for two different farmers. Anyway, Daddy would go to Lubbock and buy $35.00 worth of groceries. It was always exciting to see what daddy brought in. Sometimes he would come home with coke and ice-cream. We didn’t get that very often; maybe, once a year, so it was always a big treat for us. I just have this picture in my mind where all of us kids would gather around the table to see what we got. Daddy would always bring home Brier Rabbit Syrup or Ribbon Cane syrup in a tin bucket. One of the worst tasting syrups he would bring home was Sorghum Syrup. It was thick, very dark and tasted like it was burnt. But, we pretty much ate anything that Daddy brought home, because we didn’t have a whole lot of choice. When those cans got empty we would take those cans outside and punch holes on each side on the bottom. Then we would put bailing wire through each hole to reach from one side to the other to make a handle to hold on to. Then we would walk on them (sort of like stilts but they were closer to the ground than those made from boards). We were always making our toys. Daddy didn’t make enough money to spend it so frivolously on toys. We would use empty medicine bottles for cars when we played in the dirt and some one in the family--a cousin or someone made a wooden rifle and a pistol when we played cowboys and Indians.

I remember being at McAdoo playing in the dirt out at the tank under the cottonwood trees that “Ma” (Daddy’s mom) had planted. We would play for hours until Ma or Aunt Jewel would call us in for dinner. Then after dinner Uncle Nath and Aunt Jewel would play music in the living room. Uncle Nath played the fiddle and Aunt Jewel played the piano. They were both fine musicians. Uncle Nath had a swing to his fiddle playing and Aunt Jewel could play such beautiful music. I can see and hear her now just moving those hands back and forth in rhythm. Uncle Nath with his head cocked to one side with his short stubby cigar in the corner of his mouth playing his fiddle. Half the time the cigar wasn’t even lit. Joe Nathan, their son, was at the age where he was learning how to play the fiddle. Joe did not always want to play his fiddle, because he wanted to be outside with us playing in the dirt or playing “King of the Mountain”, “Freeze Tag” or “Hide-and-Go Seek”. Sometimes he would run and hide outside so that he didn’t have to practice.

Music was always a part of growing up at McAdoo. When all the family got together there was lots of music. Uncle Kermit played the Mandolin, Uncle Barney would play the base guitar and Mandolin and Aunt Roe would play the chords. It was all just for entertainment and having fun. Ma sure liked the music. I remember she always tapped her feet. Joe Nathan, today, is a fourth generation musician. Joe is Uncle Nath’s son. He has played with many country musicians. He has even played at the Grand Ole Opry and was on Hee-Haw while he played with Johnny Rodriquez. He played on Austin City Limits, The Ralph Emery Show and Country Crossroads. He played with Johnny about 7 years, but tired of the traveling and wanted to find something close to home. So he played back up for several other musicians just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. I think he lived in Aurora, Tenn. at that time. Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Mel McDaniels and Barbra Mandrel are just a few he played for. Afterwards, he became a Flying W. Wrangler playing at the The Flying W. Ranch in Colorado Springs, Colorado for 15 years. He is currently a Colorado Wrangler playing his music for the Lord in surrounding churches and resorts. He travels occasionally to distant places. Fiddle playing, guitar playing and piano playing has been around all my life. Daddy played the fiddle, although, he was not as good as Uncle Nath. But, that was because daddy didn’t play the fiddle to make a living like Uncle Nath did. Daddy also played the banjo, mandolin, and guitar. Daddy just played for his own amusement, even though he did like to show other people what he could do. One of his good friends that he played with was Raymond Brown from McAdoo. He was always coming over to the house. They would sit for hours and play, talk and laugh. Daddy once entered a fiddling contest in Abernathy. I have part of that on video. There were only 3 contestants and he got 2 nd place. He really had fun doing that.


Carolyn Stephenson