Thursday, May 10, 2007

Whenever I have lunch with George, as I did yesterday, I'm reminded of things I hadn't thought of in years. Yesterday I recalled seeing the mailbag being left atop the pole by the railroad track, and watching as someone (was it Cecil?) took it down, then delivered it to the post office. Why I would have been down by the railroad track watching the mail drop is not something I recalled, just that I saw it. Seems I was on my bicycle at the time.

This led to remembering the coins left on the track for the train to flatten. I had several of those, at one time. The hikes we took with Cecil to Tulip Creek to swim always included a trek down the tracks, too.

I miss hearing that train whistle in the middle of the night. I heard it 3 different times one night when we were at the Monaghans in March. When I mentioned how much I enjoyed hearing it, I got very strange looks from all the adults who heard me say it. It's just one of those sounds I associate with being "at home." There are no train whistles where I live now.

As most Plantersville people know, Cecil could be downright peculiar sometimes. George did not know that Cecil ate raw eggs for breakfast. Seems he mixed it with orange juice, but maybe not. I did not realize that Cecil's weakness was candy, as George told me yesterday. I knew he enjoyed sweets, Deedo and Mama always sent him part of their cakes, pies, and cookies, which he was always delighted to get. Cecil's regular diet was spartan, consisting mostly of Campbell's soup and sandwiches.

Cecil had odd jobs, too. I remember his going to Florida in the spring to work in a fruit processing plant, mainly so he could watch the spring training baseball games. He worked as a watchman in the fire tower at Verona some. He mowed the grass at the cemetery. And didn't he take a job pressing pants in the Blue Bell factory after they first opened in Plantersville? He lived so frugally that he didn't have to have a lot of money. The money he inherited from his parents provided his primary support, or at least that's what I heard.

I wonder why Cecil waited so long to get his own telephone and television. He must have been in his 70's. He enjoyed watching ballgames with Daddy, and Daddy always enjoyed having his company. If Cecil had had his own TV, they would not have shared all those hours together cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals, or the Atlanta Braves.

George's memories are mostly of pre-park Cecil, as he left for the Army then Ole Miss about the time the park opened. (Or was it Ole Miss, then the Army, George?) My memories of him are mostly after the park opened, but a few have nothing to do with the park. My favorite non-park memory is of playing rook and Parcheesi in his kitchen after school. The 3 preacher's kids and Cecil made a foursome, then Ken joined the group and Cecil coached our card-playing from the sidelines, teaching us strategy and concentration. We played in his old house and his new house. I got mad at him for tearing down the old house, because it interrupted our game routine, or because I liked old houses even then, I'm not sure. "It just doesn't suit me," was the only explanation I remember him giving us.

George remembers pecan trees being cut down to make room for the tennis court. I don't remember it that way, but he's probably right. I have noticed in the recent photos we've seen that there is a tree in the middle of the back court at the west end, so there was probably at least one removed to make room for the court. One of the pictures he posted today shows the croquet court when it still had grass. Did we wear off the grass, or did Cecil remove the grass?

We're getting positive feedback on the new site from the few who have seen it. I want to copy some of the accounts written by others that have been posted on George's blog and paste them to the new site, also some of the old, old pictures. He's received priceless pieces from people over the past year that deserve to be re-run. Maybe some of these writers will begin blogs of their own, several good writers in the bunch. I'd also like to make Judy Borden's history of Plantersville available, but the scanned copies are not very clear. Maybe we can find a copy that is clearer, or a volunteer will agree to re-type the whole thing. There's some wishful thinking for you.

1 comment:

George Kelly said...

I have no memory of a tree being where the tennis court was or of Cecil cutting one down; I just assumed he had to cut down at least one because in my memory they were so close together.