I wake to the honking sounds of a flock of geese outside my window. I can also hear the clear high-pitched whistle of some of the younger birds in the flock.

Late at night, or in the wee hours of morning, I often hear the loud shrieking sound of a pack a coyotes in the woods around the house.

While not in the same house, I’ve lived on the same property all of my life. Growing up in the country you have wonderful memories. While I love visiting big cities, I’m thankful to have grown up and still live in the country.

Some of my favorite memories and things I still appreciate about country-life include:

•making mud-pies in the yard with my sister on a big rock we used to play on.

•catching lightning bugs and putting them in a Mason Jar and looking at them for a while and then setting them free.

•taking hayrides around the woods on the property in the fall with family and friends. Sitting on the trailer piled with bales of hay with my nephews, mom and sister around me, with my dad or brother-in-law driving the tractor through the woods. A fire waiting by the lake for us to make s'mores as the sun sets over the water.

•in the hot summer months, squirting a cool stream of water from the water hose at my sister to get some cool relief from the brutal Georgia summers. Then, taking my turn with my sister grabbing the water hose and sending the cool water towards me. Both of us laughing and enjoying the outdoors.

•taking a tractor ride in the evening with daddy when he got home from work.

•riding in the back of the pick-up truck to Twin Tanks Service Station to visit Mr. Eli and get a bag full of candy. I'll never forget is falling out of the truck one night and landing in the middle of Hwy. 441. There wasn't nearly as much traffic back then and Daddy stopped the truck and quickly scooped me up and Mama checked me out to make sure I was O.K. when we got home. I don't remember being scared but I do remember that I lost my bag of candy in the fall!

•visiting our Nanny Mozelle and gathering vegetables from her garden. Then spending the afternoon on the front porch with Mama shelling peas or shucking corn to put up in the freezer for the winter months.

•gathering around outside at a table as Daddy sliced a watermelon. We would all gather around while Daddy cut it into good size wedges and then we would enjoy the sweet treat.

•going to Hurricane Shoals or Hill’s Lake for the day. I remember going after church one Sunday and my sister, Amanda, jumping in while still wearing her Sunday dress. She was 2 at the time.

•listening to our favorite songs on the 8 Track (Fats Domino and Charlie Pride were favorites) and dancing in the living room or perhaps putting on a talent show outside on the rock we played on.

•getting up at the crack of dawn to pick blackberries so Mama could make her delicious jelly.

This past year has been so difficult for everyone with all the uncertainties in the world. It has forced me personally to slow down and take a closer look at my life. God has reminded me of a simpler time from my childhood and how special growing up and living in the county has been. Many of my memories make it clear that those early days were a time when technology wasn’t an idol that distracted people from enjoying family and friends. Simple pleasures are all around us if we can take the time to disconnect from the world and enjoy God’s creations, our family and friends and living in the country.

Angela Gary is an editor with MainStreet Newspapers Inc. She can be reached at angela@mainstreetnews.com

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