July 6, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Our Yard

Summer time always makes me think of the fun we had as kids growing up on the Island.  With the exception of the electric football games my brothers played, there were no electronic games back in the 1950s and 60s to keep us inside the house.  Our preference was to be outside.  Outside in our yard.

As far as I can remember we were one of only a few families 'in town' with a huge yard.  Therefore, most of the kids from our little village found their way over to our yard to play games such as baseball, football and basketball.  I have recently been informed that some older kids played deer and dog in our yard even before I reached the age to play outside.

My mother always believed in giving us big birthday parties; complete with her own special recipe for homemade punch and bakery cakes ordered from Holsum Bakery in Monroe.  The cakes were delivered to our local store (Wynn's, then later Gordon's) by the 'bread man'.  The birthday parties were always held outside in our yard and often recorded by my grandfather with his movie camera.

Our yard had the best basketball court around.  My father had two poles put in the ground and then had Scott Cobbins build wooden backboards on which we hung rims with nets.  What was once an area covered with grass, the court became nothing but hard packed dirt from goal to goal.  One of the old poles can still be seen in the background of the photograph at the top of this page.  Not quite a full court, but it sure felt that way.  I spent many a day shooting basketball on this homemade court.  I suppose my love of the game was born in our yard.

My friend, Mary Elizabeth, and I made lots of mud pies just behind the old shack seen in the background of the photograph.  A little water added to the rich, dark dirt was perfect for 'hamburgers' and the fig leaves made the best buns!

Pecan trees graced our yard and provided much needed shade during the long, hot and humid summer days of Louisiana.  These were planted by my great grandfather, Isham Alfonso Steele, back in the early 1900s.  Several of these trees are still standing.

Honeysuckle grew wild along the fence row on the right-hand side of the photograph.  To this day, the smell of honeysuckle takes me back home.  Back home to our yard.

The sidewalk in the foreground of the photograph ran from the corner of the bank to the school house.  I wrote about this sidewalk in a previous post.

The old storm cellar sat against the side of the house and just to the left of the scene captured above.  An absolutely perfect fort for a rambunctious bunch of kids playing Cowboys and Indians.

On this Sentimental Sunday, despite all the fancy video games, smartphones, computers, and tablets, I yearn for the days when fun was found in our yard.

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