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A. Ray Lee ss

The good old days 

By A. Ray Lee

Columnist 

I spent a few pleasant hours Saturday at the Falkville Fall Festival remembering old times while visiting with friends and viewing rusting relics of farm equipment used when Morgan County depended upon an agrarian economy driven by “king cotton.”  

It was a refreshing change to step back to a time when self-sufficiency was essential – as the jars of canned fruit and vegetables and handcrafted items on display indicated.  

The festival presented scenes from a past that is now but a distant memory. My children and grandchildren have no point of reference to imagine what life was like then.  

The old farming implements, brightly painted antique tractors and restored pickup trucks provided a misleading picture of a time when much of the work was done with teams of mules and manual labor. Even early tractors, without power lifts and assists, required a lot of physical strength to operate.  

The critical months on the farm began with March and continued through November. Attention was focused on tilling the soil, planting the crops, cultivating the cotton and corn through the hot summer, bringing in the hay crop and gathering the harvest before the winter rains degraded the cotton and made fields impassable for the corn wagon.   

In the cold of winter, daily chores continued. Harnesses were repaired, plows were sharpened and worn sweeps on cultivators were replaced.  

The barns were cleaned of manure to be spread on the fields as soon as the soil dried. Fences were patched. Wood for the kitchen stove and fireplace had to be replenished. A multitude of other tasks vied for attention.     

That era is often referred to as “the good old days.”  

Those of us who were born and reared in the country on small farms never seem to be able to get away from our heritage, no matter how hard we might try. Yet, we have ambivalent feelings when we remember the harsh elements that accompanied many of our days.  

There are those who say life was simpler. I say it had purpose and was focused on things of lasting value.  

Family solidarity was developed. Children and parents worked together as a unit to provide the needs of each individual.  

School attendance was a privilege. In addition to general academic subjects, emphasis was placed upon development of personal morality, patriotism and character.  

The country church attended with neighbors was not an entertainment center but a sanctuary where the word of God was powerfully proclaimed by dedicated pastors. Sunday school, taught both by example and word, molded the lives of countless individuals. 

The good old days?  

Any day one focuses on eternal values and things that really matter is a good day.

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