Escape to the backwoods

Out 'N The Woods Again

Ya hear a lot these days about bullying in schools. Nothing new under the sun. There was a lot of us who went through it. Some older boys and girls are just plain mean. And tweren't raised right either.

Along the back trails of my memories there was a family from the coal mines of Pennsylvania. The Dad had black lung. They ended up as far as their old jalopy would take'em, right at a dilapidated, run down homestead shack owned by a Mennonite farmer. They just moved right in with what little they had and the farmer let them stay. Our bus driver was a nice man but he never tried to stop the bullying. It's my opinion he's in charge and any bus driver who allows that to go on needs to seek a different job. He or she ain't worth their salt.

The bus picked up Annie and her siblings and the bullying started. Poor Annie had the self esteem of a earthworm. So poorly dressed for a teenage girl. And the shack had no running water. It had to be got from the creek. My Mom went around the neighborhood and asked for clothes for them. Don't remember if any of the churches helped or not. Can't imagine how they survived the winter.

I often wonder what ever became of that family.

Still back in them there days none of us that got bullied ever thought of shooting anyone or committing suicide. But thank God we were never influenced by a social media that can be rotten to the core. And God save our children from these awful violent video games.

Be'n a child of the great outdoors, when I turned 16 I'd had it!! Gathered up my books and walked home. Mom had a fit. But there was no go'n back to the bullies. I had big dreams of be'n a woodsman and to spend the summer at Gramps old' log'n camp cut'n timber. What was it the hermit of Waldon's pond said? Something like "down at the settlement the masses live quiet lives of desperation."

Anyway, up the ol'logging road I went. Pack on my back, old gear drive McCulloch saw and my dog. The trees along the way seemed to bend and wave their approval. That saw got awful heavy by the time the cabin same in sight. It held lots of memories already. Gramps built it in 1910.

A old mountaineer named Jed Smith once said, "I returned to the woods, the river, the camp-the game with a feeling somewhat, that of a prisoner escaped from his chains."


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