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Today is October 20, 2019

Mississippi Seen

Fall back

By Walt Grayson

Fall back

Winter budding into spring is our most abrupt change of season. Spring just sort of melts into summer. And then summer into fall, like right now, is enough of a difference to notice — yet drifts on slowly enough for us to enjoy. And getting our savings-time hour back the end of this month doesn’t hurt a thing. Photo by Walt Grayson.

The funniest thing came on television the other day. It was a story about the newfound popularity of ditching the baby stroller and just strapping your youngster onto your chest or your back and carrying them papoose style. They showed moms and dads doing all sorts of things wrapped and strapped to their toddlers — jogging, yard work, shopping. I guess the oddest was a young mom who latched her child onto her back and then did her favorite exercise — poll dancing! I howled and turned to Miz Jo and asked if she could imagine my mom poll dancing.

Bob Dylan tried to tell us years ago that, “The times they are a-changin’.” Well, guess what. They have changed. Picture your grandmother (or great-grandmother or whoever in the 1960s) using Facebook. My grandmother always seemed like a frail, elderly woman to me. Imagining her paying bills online is completely foreign. But I don’t sell her short. Her recipe for fried chicken started with, “Catch a chicken.”

I think about the old days and the old ways a lot this time of year. I suppose it’s because fall and winter are when we had our gatherings at grandmother’s house in Fulton. Most Thanksgivings or Christmases we would descend on the old home place.

Grandmother still heated with coal and cooked with wood. There is no better alarm clock than the smell of coffee, bacon and wood smoke drifting under the covers and finding your nose deep in the feather mattress.

My kids don’t have those kinds of memories —  of a time when life was dictated by the calendar as much as by the clock. My grandparents lived that way —  planting and harvest, church on Sunday, celebrating holidays and always looking forward to something else.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of modern times and technology. I wouldn’t trade my computer for a typewriter under any circumstances. Spell check alone is worth its weight in gold, although sometimes my goofs still slip through and get me a bunch of emails.

But one thing I would like to retrieve from the old times is time —  or enough of it. Grandma had swings and rocking chairs on her porch and time to go sit in them. And they really did have enough time to finish stuff so they could go sit. I don’t seem to be able to get anything done. Too busy! That reminds me of the Yogi Berra story of why no one went to a particular restaurant anymore — because it was too crowded.

Speaking of time, we get our hour back the end of this month — the one we donated to “savings time” last spring. Knowing already it will probably evaporate into the vapor of life as soon as it arrives, I really want to try to use it wisely this year. If nothing else, relax on the porch swing for an hour later that Sunday.

Walt Grayson is the host of “Mississippi Roads” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting television and the author of two “Looking Around Mississippi” books and “Oh! That Reminds Me: More Mississippi Homegrown Stories.” Contact him at walt@waltgrayson.com.

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