Back to Pioneer Days

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal 6 Comments

Saturday I got up planning to get everything done. Well, not everything but lots of things. Painting the outside door facings, touching up paint inside that has been waiting several years for the touch of a paintbrush. I was going to paint a chair, cook for today’s church dinner, maybe get crazy and mop the kitchen floor. You get the idea. I had a chore list a mile long. And it was a beautiful day. Sunshine, low humidity, high in the seventies. That’s practically unheard on in Kentucky the last weekend of July. So I’m out there scraping off the old paint and washing down the wood. You can practically see the after burners heating up, I’m so ready to get these chores done. But then my cell phone rings. I actually had it in my pocket. I actually had the ringer turned on. I miss a lot of calls by turning the ringer all the way down and forgetting to turn it back up. Anyway, I answer and it’s my son asking if I want to go on a day trip with them to Fort Harrod.

Hmm, stay home and work all day? Or go have some fun with the grandkids? I’m guessing you know which I picked. Dropped the paintbrush. Traded the paint clothes for something a little better, grabbed my purse and headed out the door. Grandkids grow up fast.

Fort Harrod State Park is a replica of the first permanent European settlement west of the Alleghenies. For a modest fee, you can tour the fort where interpreters await in some of the cabins to tell you how things were back when James Harrod and thirty-two men claimed the land and laid out the fort they called Harrodstown in 1774. They also told about the hardships and dangers the settlers faced in the years that followed. We heard how these early pioneers managed to make or grow everything they needed or they did without. When the fort was under siege things got hard with the men unable to go out to hunt for game, but somehow they holed up in the fort and found enough to eat to stay alive while continually guarding the walls of the fort to keep back the enemy.

The younger granddaughters had never been to the fort. The youngest was very interested in the blacksmith’s fire that he kept hot with a huge bellows. They learned how a flintlock rifle worked. They listened while the worker portraying Ann Kennedy Wilson Poage Lindsay McGinty told how she came to Kentucky and brought the first spinning wheel to Kentucky on her horse. She operated an ordinary which was a store, trading post and inn. The kids were amazed when she explained that you didn’t rent a bed in those days but only a space. Generally the traveler had to share the bed with up to six fellow travelers he might have never met before. A little different from today’s motel rooms. Then she talked about spinning and weaving and then dying the cloth. Now the kids are ready to try some new dyes next year when they dye Easter eggs. The real Mrs. McGinty was widowed four times and lived to a ripe old age. Pioneer women had to come from sturdy stock.

And then the kids got the treat that generations of children have had and that’s climbing on a tree in the park. Not just any old tree but the largest Osage orange tree in the nation. Years ago the trunk of the tree split and while part of the tree stands tall, the branches of the other half are spread out on the ground simply inviting kids to hop aboard. My children climbed on that tree when they were kids and now my son’s girls have too. They weren’t the only ones climbing around on the tree and I tried not to gasp when some of the smaller kids climbed out on high branches. I didn’t know the kids, but I was very glad they hung on and didn’t fall.

I should have taken a better picture of the tree, but you can get the idea of what the fallen side of the tree looks like in this picture.

So did I make the right choice? Grandkid fun or painting? Some decisions are no-brainers.

Thank you for reading. August is almost here. Then one short month until my new book, These Healing Hill comes out on  September 5th. That might be as much fun as climbing on the Orange Osage tree at Ft. Harrod.

Have you ever stopped whatever else you were doing to go have fun?


Comments 6

  1. Barbara Laughter

    Oh, I would pass up working around the house any day to go out with family and make memories. The work was still there waiting on you when you got home I bet, but the chance to make those memories might never happen again. Life is too short to not enjoy the little things. It sounds like you had a wonderful day. Stepping back in time is one of my favorite things to do.

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      We do, indeed, need to enjoy the precious moments of life, Barbara. The ordinary, the unexpected, the cherished moments that warm your heart. We did have a fun time.

  2. Melissa

    There are times when I am easily distracted. “Hey look, there’s a squirrel.” I believe that pausing to have fun is a vital part of every day living. Those special moments when I stop and venture out another way are often times of great joy. 🙂

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      Squirrel!? I can get distracted in a second, Melissa. I think I’m worse about that than I used to be. But it is according to what I’m doing. If it’s cleaning house, then everything and anything can be a distraction. Not so much when I’m reading. Sometimes when I’m writing, but that’s usually because I’ve hit a knotty spot in my story and I want to do something easier for a moment. But it is fun to venture out on new adventures even when it’s something you’ve done many times.

  3. Lou Annne Panning

    Stop to have fun? Every single day, Ann, but how one looks at fun is all in the eyes of the beholder. For instance, this morning, making a list and heading to a supermarket named, Woodmans. It us enormous, full of food with numerous choices, piles of produce, cheeses from everywhere. There is no edible items we have not found. I do this on my own, we have separate lists and go to separate areas, texting when done. It takes 2 or 3 hours to finish so two people needed to cut that time in half. It is a mini adventure and we always check which basket succeded in costing the least. Gotta get going because it is a beautiful day here in northern Illinois too.

    1. Post
      Ann H Gabhart

      Sounds like you’ve worked out a system and in a store that big, you can get your exercise too. But if you can make grocery shopping an adventure, Lou Anne, then I’m all for it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *