Hand-Me-Downs

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I just spent most of my evening in the yard among the ants and mosquitoes. But it was worth it because I was doing one of my favorite fall activities: burning yard trash. I know it probably sounds a little strange (especially if you’re citified). But there’s something very peaceful about a controlled fire. Watching the sunset and then the slow, solemn emergence of the stars and smelling the warm, woody smell of smoke has brought about a fit of nostalgia. I decided to share that nostalgia with you by sharing another of my happily mediocre Eastern North Carolina poems. Enjoy!

Hand-me-downs

 

Like a Mason jar brimming

with lightning bugs, my small town world

seemed full of possibilities—

 

long summers, Little League games,

hot breezes that blew across the dug-out

where my big brother would sit, warming

 

the wooden bench, mouth full of bubble gum,

his navy blue uniform dirty,

its yellow numbers faded.

 

Entertainment back then was as simple

as sitting on the front porch,

watching the lightning reflected

in the puddles on the sidewalk.

 

Mama played the 12-string Martin

she’d had since her teens

and taught us to harmonize on

old Crosby, Stills, and Nash songs,

Simon and Garfunkel,

Peter, Paul, and Mary.

 

Saturday nights, we’d watch

Hee-Haw while daddy shined his worn

black shoes for Sunday morning

when he’d preach in the old church

on the corner.  We didn’t have

much money—still don’t, if truth be told.

My new clothes and toys had been

broken in by my brother, hand-me-downs.

 

I knew, but didn’t care really.

The grass always seemed green in our small town,

the sky clear and blue, and each day seemed

measured yet endless, new and constant

as all the days that came before.

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. Thanks for reminding me about the past and hand-me-downs. Some folks just really don’t know what living really is. I was thinking just the other day about when I started the first grade in the fall of 1953 at that brand new elementary school–Graham A. Barden in good old Havelock, NC. I had a new shirt my mama made me. It had large vertical stripes of white, brown & gray on a yellow background. It had one pocket and a collar like a real shirt. When you realize that my young childhood was spend in pull over t-shirts, colored and striped. I remember going to school that first day in my new blue jeans and that striped shirt. The only real flaw for me was a pair of strange colored brown shoes that had been passed to me from a distant cousin. I’ll never forget those shoes–I’ve never owned a pair of brown shoes again in my whole entire life. I love hand-me-downs. (ha ha)

  2. PS,
    You really do need to get that clock fixed

  3. A beautiful poem that evoked the more pleasant memories of my childhood as well. I miss being outside just after the sun went in for the evening, when the lightning bugs twinkled like those little lights on a Christmas tree and the tree frogs sang summer carols. It did seem endless, didn’t it?

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