Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Small Town Youth

Sometimes I think nostalgia may be my middle name; sometimes I remember happy times, and sometimes I remember sad times. This is not to imply that I live in the past, rather I seem to bring the past into my present life by remembering. For instance, the harness racing festival in neighboring Hawkinsville is right around the corner. My memory is vivid about a “sideline job” of selling Coca Colas at the old track. “Heeeyyyyy! Git yore ice cold Co Colas! Right here! Only ten cents!” The loud chant rang out as I walked the old steps of concrete, selling the famous cups of soft drinks. Even at that early age, I envisioned that advertising helped to sell my product; even if the advertising was the high pitched voice of a young boy trying his best to sell as many cokes as possible. In those days the horses trotted around the track as the county fair took place just outside of the stands.
The Ferris wheel rolled over and over, the Merry-go-Round went in an endless circle, and the relentless voices of the side-show and game barkers called out for the nickels and dimes of those walking the fairgrounds, “Hey buddy, come over here and shoot the ducks. Win that pretty girl a Teddy Bear!” Not too far from there one might call out “Come on in and see Jo Jo the dog-faced boy! He walks! He talks! He crawls on his belly like a reptile. Only fifty cents! Step right up here!”
In those earlier times, young children could walk all the way to the fairgrounds without fear or concern on the part of the child or the parents. One could go swimming in a favorite watering hole such as Bembry’s Mill, Fountain’s Mill or at Limestone Creek. One could say they went swimming at Mock Springs, however anyone familiar with that place knew they were lying. That water was too cold—coming out of a fresh spring. One could jump in, but they would quickly exit. Goose bumps came to the surface of the skin abruptly. No one could stay long enough to swim.
In those days we completed twelve years of school in the same building. There was no lunchroom in those days, but school turned out for a lunch period sufficiently long enough to run from the campus all the way to “Eddie’s Green Grill.” Once there, you could purchase two of the best tasting hamburgers, and a coke for a quarter. A quick stop at Jones Bakery on the way back, two doughnuts or two cinnamon rolls could be bought for ten cents. A quick jaunt back to the school grounds, eating the dessert on the way, a boy could be back in his desk in plenty of time. My mother worked long and hard at the old Superba Cotton Mill in order to leave four boys thirty-five cents apiece each morning. I sure would enjoy one of Eddie and Ruby Dunn’s hamburgers or one of those Jones’ Cinnamon rolls today.


Sha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sha said...

makes me want to go to the fair!

Anonymous said...

You didn't tell about going to fair
down along the river bank and slipping under the fence to the fairgrounds without paying.

Those are some great memories for me also. I too, sold Co Colas and hot dogs at the harness races, and we didn't have to pay for the ones we drank. One day I remember drinking nine cokes or was it nine hot dogs? Afterwards I went out and rode the fairswheel and got sick to my stomach and lost all that I had eaten and drank. YUK!!!

yo bro crow

Lizzie said...

Pawpaw you are so good!!
i hope that I am that good one day!
love ya

Dar said...

Growing up, we lived next to my middle school's baseball park where they held several carnivals for a few years. The best part about that was being able to hear and see all the activity right in my backyard and I could check in with the parents every now and then to let them know we're ok. Cellphones were not in existence yet. At school they sold bracelets for $10 to ride all the rides you could stand for the entire weekend. I would bring my little brother with me and most likely find some of my friends there. I rode so many rides that I still felt dizzy when I finally got home and put my head down to sleep.