2018-09-12 / Editorial

WISHING

Don Lively

The dinner was great and the company was even better.

My family gathers a lot for no particular reason other than we enjoy getting together, not just for the myriad weddings and baby showers and family reunions.

We just seem to like each other.

We like to reminisce.

Apparently, we also like to wish.

As in, "I wish I could taste Mama's caramel cake one more time."

Or, "I wish I could talk to Daddy about this."

Even, "I wish I could smack Cousin so-and-so upside the head."

Every family has a few Cousin so-and-sos. Mine has some and so does yours if you're honest enough to admit it. You know what I'm talking about.

But, I digress.

Reminiscing and longing for old times is normal to every family.

I do a lot of wishing myself, usually about things that meant a lot to me when I was younger.

I wish that the county hadn't seen fit to pave most of the best dirt roads. I understand why it was done, safety, security, all that. But I really miss a time when most of the roads in our neck of the woods were unpaved and therefore much more adventurous. When you could walk barefoot down a road without burning, cutting or otherwise maiming the soles of your feet. When you could spin circles in the middle of a remote crossroads, no matter how scrawny your car's motor was. When getting stuck in a ditch and summoning your buddies to come help you get out became a social affair.

I wish there were more dirt roads.

I wish that local farmers still busted up their fields with bottom plows.

When I was still on Daddy's farm one of the jobs that he actually trusted me with was bottom plowing. It was done with an implement called, coincidentally, a bottom plow. The purpose of it was to bring up dormant soil and nutrients from as deep as two feet below the surface. Over the years I bottom plowed thousands of acres. These days farmers have perfected farming methods whereby they only have to go a few inches deep but back then bottom plowing was an important first step in a new planting season.

For me there was another benefit.

Arrowheads.

Having learned to love hunting Indian artifacts early in my life, I knew that every time we bottom plowed new arrow and spear points that hadn't seen the sun for thousands of years would be brought to the surface where I could spend hours of my leisure time, when I wasn't bottom plowing, hunting the treasures. I still have boxes full of the flinty weapons.

I wish local farmers still bottom plowed.

I wish that there were still wild quail around these parts.

Thanks to a new good friend I've been able to participate a few times recently in the only kind of hunting that I ever totally enjoyed, quail hunting. It's great fun and I eagerly anticipate another invitation. But I can remember when there were literally dozens of coveys of quail all over our property. All it required was a free afternoon, a box of shells and my old double barreled, twelve gauge Savage. (Which I no longer have because some lowlife broke into my house in Colorado and stole it.) I would go out alone walking the hedgerows until I scared up a covey where I might bag one or two birds. Then I'd spend the rest of the day stalking the singles and doubles. I was my own bird dog.

That particular wish is a twoedged sword however, because I believe that the shortage of quail is in part due to the resurgence of the coyote population in recent years and I do love to sit on the porch and listen to the coyote packs keening late at night.

Still, I wish the quail and coyotes could live in perfect harmony.

I wish that Coca Cola still came in 6.5 ounce bottles with the name of the city where it was bottled stamped on the bottom.

I wish that churches still had tent revivals, as long as they'd take place in late Fall when the weather has cooled.

I wish that going to the movies still cost a quarter, I might actually go see one every now and then.

One of my Grandmas, I can't remember which one, when she'd hear me wish for something, would say, "Wishing for it doesn't make it so."

She was right.

But I still wish there were more dirt roads.

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