Days Gone By - stories from the past

Why don’t you look behind you? – A simple lesson to learn from a grandfather

A Simple Lesson to Learn

by

Johnny Ponder

When I was a small kid I spent many weekends and summers at my Grandparent’s small farm south of Talladega on Talladega Creek.


Talladega Creek

Talladega Creek from cypruspartners

Feller wouldn’t get burned out on any one thing

I really enjoyed helping out with all the different farm chores that I was responsible for. I think one reason I loved doing it so much was because the farm was so small there wasn’t that much to do and a feller wouldn’t get so burned out on any one thing.

I learned how to do a lot of different things, many of which I still use today. I hunted, fished and roamed those hills, hollers and streams until I knew them as well as anyone could. I tried doing many things including trapping, panning for gold, digging roots for medicine, cooking critters on an open fire, making a coon skin caps, exploring caves and many other things associated with plain country living.

Loved to drive the tractor

When I would help Grandpa hoe out his corn patch he would say, “Johnny, when get finished with a row of corn, drive up a stake so I’ll know which rows you have done and which you haven’t”. I never did understand that until I was much older. I think this is where I developed such a keen interest in the outdoors and I wish every kid could have the type of childhood that I had.

Grandpa had an old Farmall A tractor that I dearly loved to drive and when plowing time was here I would ride that thing for hours. When I wasn’t plowing on it, I would sit in the seat while it was in the tractor shed and pretend I was.

Farmall A tractor

Farmall A tractor from 1940s

Why don’t you look behind?

On Saturdays my Grandpa generally always went to town. He had a long circle driveway and another driveway off of it that was about 50 yards long that went to his car-shed. That was back when they had car-sheds and not carports.

When I would go to town with him I noticed that he wouldn’t ever look back as he backed his car out of the car-shed all the way to the main driveway.

After seeing him do that so many times, I finally ask him “Grandpa, why don’t you look behind you when you back up like Daddy does”? He answered “I don’t have to, I can tell where I’m going by where I’ve been”.

The older I get the more I realize how true that statement is. That is why history is such an important thing for us all to know. It fits environmental issues as well. Remember, “We can tell where we’re going by where we’ve been”….Too bad our elected officials cannot learn that.

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About Johnny Ponder

Johnny Ponder lives in Munford, AL. He is a retired forester after about 40 years. Needless to say, he has a keen interest in the outdoors along with old places and lifestyles. He was raised here in Talladega County and writes very short stories about life in Talladega County back in the 50s and 60s.

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11 comments

  1. Enjoyed your story so much. My father was an engineer with the Alabama State Highway Department int the late 30’s. They were paving the highways throughout the state. We would drive into a town on an unpaved road and stay until we moved to the next town. Talladega was one of our “homes”. My mother raised two children in boarding houses for the first six years of our lives. Her goal in life became to drive into a town on a paved highway! In between moves we would stay with our grandparents in Brookwood. We finally settled in Birmingham and then Trussville. World War II changed everything. Thanks for the memories.

  2. Thanks. I am interested in Georgia genealogy and Coosa co Al. History. Also, Clay Co. Al.

  3. Gloria Langley Vaughan

    Your Grand Pa was a smart man!

  4. Marsha Owens Smithers

    Randy Miller Do you know Johnny? Talladega Creek holds lots of memories and of course Munford!

    1. Randy Miller

      Marsha, I’ve known Johnny for a long time. We’ve been involved with a number of projects when I worked for the Forest Service. He’s a great guy and has been a advocate for helping maintain nature and the outdoor lifestyle. Haven’t seen him in several years so maybe a visit is past due. My prescribe burn background, methods and advantages of burning was always interesting to him. Especially since he lives on the edge of the forest.

    2. Marsha Owens Smithers

      I love it that we know more and more of the same people!

  5. Leslie Phillips

    I wonder if he is related to us? Faye Ponder Kay Smith

    1. Kay Smith

      I don’t know Leslie but if we are it is very distant. If I find out anything I will let you know. He had a picture of his grandparents on his Facebook but I did not recognize them.

  6. Nancy Vickery Clark

    Amen!

    ~ Remember, “We can tell where we’re going by where we’ve been”….Too bad our elected officials cannot learn that. ~

  7. Dave Cooper

    Looks like a scene from DELIVERANCE!

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