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Wild Flower Safaris

By T/Sgt. James Lee Hutchinson


April showers bring May flowers


April showers bring May flowers and my mother was a country girl who firmly believed the ritual of ‘Flower Picking’ had to be performed each May or we would never see June. She dearly loved sunshine hikes through fields and woods to pick wildflowers.  Furthermore, she encouraged neighborhood kids and adults to join her. Spring, showers and the first warm days came on time in 1935 and one day Chad asked at recess if I was going to the creek after school. I told him,

     

“Yea’ I’m goin’ to the creek alright, but Mom says I have to go flower pickin’ with her and my sister Jean’s girlfriends. You can come along if you want to.”

     

“Well heck, why does she make you go? She knows ya’ don’t like going to the woods with the girls when we could be fishin’ or huntin’ mushrooms?”

     

Well,  I’ve told her that lot’s of times, but she just smiles, like she knows a secret and says, ‘Time will tell’, besides, I haf’ta help her watch after little brother Kenny. You know how Mom is about getting’ out of the house on a warm spring day, so there ain’t no way around it, I’m goin’ flower pickin’ with the girls after school. I hafta to keep my liitle brother Kenny out of trouble and make sure old Boots and Zero do their job. Mom’s afraid they might run across a snake or something and me and the dogs are her scouts. She likes to have us along to search the woods and fields. Besides, the dogs like to go with us and swim in the creek. I guess Jean’s pals feel better with while they’re picking violets, buttercups, .bluebonnets and any other wildflowers they find. Chad giggled,

     

“Boy that’ed be a screamin’ contest to hear fur sure, Jean and Phyllis hate snakes!”

     

“Well then, why don’t cha’ come along? We might even find a mushroom or two. Mom’ll be glad to have the extra protection and if we can’t find a snake, terrapin or toad to scare the girls.

     

“OK, I’ll run home after school and git back here, but I ain’t pickin’ up no toads, they give you warts, besides, ya know your Mom won’t let us tease the girls!”

     

He ran home to change while I tried to recruit a couple of other guys but they turned me down and went fishing. Jean’s five buddies had changed clothes and were already gathering when I got home. Chad made it in time and Mom led her Wild Flower Safari down the street to the path over Slaughterhouse Hill. There were a few flowers near Jake’s spring, but Mom said to wait and pick those on the way home. We went on down, found buttercups, bluebells and a lizard in the sunny edge the woods behind the Slaughterhouse. The next hike was across the pasture to the banks of Leatherwood creek where Mom’s favorites, purple and yellow violets grew and there always were hundreds to pick or enjoy. I called Boots and Zero to stop digging for the lizard and lead our safari on a cow path to the creek. We kept our eyes open for field mice and blacksnakes. Flowers and mushrooms weren’t the only things that come out in the spring! The dogs, Chad and I waded in the shallow cold water during the violet picking and later Mom and the girls put down their bouquets and joined us for a few minutes. It was a good day for all on Leatherwood Creek. The possibilities of finding box turtles, frogs, lizards and a snake now and then, kept the safari interesting for boys and the girls were happy to carry home scads of flowers. Sunshine and wild flowers mix well with pre-teen girls and build pleasant memories. Many drab homes in the Depression were brightened by bright bouquets for a few days after one of Mom’s Wildflower Safaris. Mom’s wild flower expeditions were a tradition for several years-- I think of her when I see wild violets and buttercups.

     

 

Hutch’s seven books: on-line or

  • Smokin’ Jim’s

  • Crowder's Pharmacy

  • Lawrence County  Museum

  • Inklings Bookstore

  • Twelve Months of Christmas

  • Paoli - Persimmon Tree Gifts

     

 

     

 

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