The Thanksgiving celebration gathering at Suzanne and Bobby's house. Around the back row are Philippe, Dorothy, Orvetta, Naomi, Shirley, Ronnie holding Jennifer, Bobby holding Brent, Edgar holding Sheri. Around the front are Mary Sue behind Mark, Jim, Dave behind Jeff, Suzanne Nave, Suzanne Lassiter, Paul, Rod.
Edgar, Dorothy, Naomi, Philippe, Rod
We had an active celebration at Mother's house. Mark, Suzanne and Paul are gathered around Dave. Mary Sue, Suzanne, Mother and Orvetta watch with amusement.
Jeff and Mark with Grandmother Naomi Nave.
This is a picture of our old homeplace near Newport, Arkansas. It is taken from Jim's plane from the southwest. The road runs close to east and west.
Every detail in this picture will mean much more to me than to the casual observer since I spent my first 17 years tromping over every foot of the land that is in view.
In the foreground is the railroad track that runs diagonally across the middle of our farm. The house on the left is Dorothy's house, built after our original homeplace burned on October 21, 1960. The old barn is gone, which was behind the house, but the old pear tree near the barn can still be seen standing in the field. I used to sit at the back door of the barn with a 22-rifle to help keep the blackbirds out of the corn. Blackbirds always post a lookout, and it usually was in the top of that pear tree. From my post at the barn door, I could see the lookout and take a shot at him, and he would flush the flock of blackbirds out of the corn.
By the road in front of the house are the large black walnut trees. We never lacked for black walnuts if we had the patience to pick them out. At the extreme left in the field is another pear tree which Philippe and I used to climb regularly. Next to that tree in the corner of the field was our baseball field when it was not covered with crops. We spent many hours playing baseball with the Burlisons.
To the right is Suzanne and Bobby's house and shed. On the near side of the railroad tracks in this view is the sand hill which was our watermelon patch. It was deep sand and hard to cultivate with a tractor, so we had a pair of big Belgian horses with which we plowed the field and pulled the wagon to pick up the watermelons.
This more distant view of the farm is from the north. Dorothy's house is now second from right. At right is the old Burlison house. By the large tree left of the Burlison house was our baseball field when it wasn't in cultivation. Phillippe and I and the three Burlison youngsters spent many hours there. To the left of Suzanne and Bobby's house is Jim's mobile home.
Across the tracks from Dorothy's house is our watermelon patch, and the lower areas were used for pasture. You can see Bergen Lake, which looks more like a river, but it is not flowing. It might have been part of an old riverbed for the White River, which is a couple of miles away now. Our farm extended past the lake. We sometimes planted soybeans in the small, oddly shaped field across the lake. To the right of the fencerow was our largest flat field, and we grew hay there. I love working with the hay.
Philippe and I spent a lot of time over on that lake, and it gave rise to the "Gar story" that I used in teaching for many years.
Mark was excited to be in the plane with Jim. Jim was flying a good bit at this time.
Jeff and Mark take inventory of their fireworks collections at Grandmother Nave's house. It was our habit to stop at a big fireworks shop on the way across Tennessee to Memphis and buy a big assortment of fireworks. Usually we stopped in South Pittsburg, TN, just before we got to the Monteagle mountain ridge. Since we couldn't buy fireworks in Georgia, this was a big treat, and the process of dividing the fireworks entertained the boys in the back of the stationwagon for much of the trip.
While we couldn't tell what was going on in Mark's head, it was a pretty good bet it had to do with what he was going to do with his fireworks assortment.
Finally they are able to fire off some of their fireworks in Dorothy's back yard out in the country. They are setting up to fire some bottle rockets.
Mark draws back in anticipation of the blast as the bottle rocket takes off with a satisfying "swoosh", and then blows up high in the air.
I think I may have made a mistake by teaching the boys how to get a great deal more accuracy and power with a flipped rubber band. All of a sudden it has become more dangerous to take pictures, so I think I'll beat a hasty retreat!