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School Days

August 13, 2010

School days, school days, good ‘ole golden rule days, reading and writing and ‘rithmatic, taught to the rule of the hickory stick!”
The old rubber tire swing is still ‘jest-a-swinging cause the big yellow school bus has just come and picked up the children and headed on its way to take them to the first day of school. The bell has rung and its is back to school, those many school days ahead until next summer time rolls around, and the children can again “jest swing and day dream for hours and hours and all day long too!”
What a pastoral landscape of farming land we have here in Oktibbeha County. This is definitely scenery of a simple, naturally charming, and very countrified real life where... I can almost bet a countryman and a countrywoman who both follow country ways of down home living. I can “bet you a whole dollar” there is a cute little son and a precious little daughter who shares “God’s own Country Life” with them too!
Look at the gently swelling hill that this road is going to take us up and down, and where in the world does it go and come? Well, this pastural landscape with the almost white sky...now if you can imagine a touch of blue somewhere in that sky...and a big yellow school bus has just stopped and picked up the cute little boy and the precious little girl, and taken them on to school for the day. This is where this particular road goes...to the school house!
We are out in the country. What is country living? It pertains to rural life across the fields, as distinct from urban districts. Country living is belonging to or characteristic of the county as contrasted to town living. Have you ever heard the expressions: “country to the core,” “country cousin,” a countrified relation or other person who is out of place in a city or among city dwellers, “country people...” people who love the country! I just plain love the country, don’t you love it too?
We are going down a country road. A road that is made and maintained by our Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors, and this road leads us through our rural and pastoral, beautiful area into our countryside which is land and peaceful scenery of real, “true blue” country living right here in our great agricultural state of Mississippi.
A road is merely a path leading us from, to, and between different places usually wide enough for vehicles as well as pedestrians to ride or walk. A road is a route or a course which is followed as we all journey along in life each day.
Have you ever heard “hit the road,” “on the road,” traveling and journeying or during a journey, “take the road” or “one for the road.” These are all great expressions pertaining to the one word, road.
The year was 1970, and it is now 2010 which is 40 years ago, when I headed outside my back screened in back door, heard that certain slamming of the ‘ole almost 100 year old door slam behind me...hauling all my art supplies to the car outside...to head off down my city road turning on to the country road side of country life, countrified living.
As I road along I suddenly realized how peaceful and quiet the country side was becoming to me. I was out looking for a landscape to paint for the day. It was very early in the morning, and as I rode along I began to see the dark night becoming slightly lighter, and suddenly I saw the sunrise coming up. I was headed somewhere but really not knowing just where I was going. Most of everyday life is this way anyway, agree? We might have a destination, but sometimes we change where we think we are going down and up a road, and make a sharp turn and go a different way instead. This makes life more fun, colorful, and gives it a little twist and turn. We are happier when we dare to adventure down an unknown roadside.
This is exactly what I did that day 40 years ago. I turned down a country road, and found my landscape to spend my entire day and into the afternoon just painting for hours to my heart’s content.
This is what an artist does. She gets completely lost in her own world creating what she sees and loves right in front of her. My life, my family, my whole world has been right in front of me... or you might say in my own backyard waiting to be captured forever on my stretched piece of canvas. I know and love exactly where I as bred, born, and have lived my whole entire life. It is all just, not far from home, in Mississippi.
My world of possible portraits, landscapes, and still life are right outside the door. I just have to pack up, slam the back door, and go searching for the world I adore and love so much. It is waiting there for me as an artist to first sketch, squirt my paints onto my palette, and paint my colorful world all around me!
I found a wonderful landscape in the autumn of the year, 1970, where the aumtum leaves had made their own carpet of browns, yellows, and golds underneath the tree that each leaf had fallen from its limbs. There was one old rubber tire swing that had been hung by a old burlap rope from a huge tall tree limb above it.
Look at it, see, it is still swinging in the breeze because this cute little boy and precious little girl have just hopped on the big yellow school and headed off for the first day of the beginning of the new school year. Today was the first day of school, and the bell will soon be ringing for the first time since last May.
Look carefully, see the swing, ‘jest-a-swinging!
Look at the old barn. Don’t you just love the shape of this old, weathered “use” to be red, red, color...now faded to an almost light pink barn.
This old barn has great character and personality too! Look at the hay stored in the hay loft in the middle of the barn. Look at the old poles propping up the right side of the barn. Look at the tin roof and the left side of the barn. The enclosed room area to the left by the road. The barn is one quaint and most charming part of this painting.
The old trees are bare. One to the far right is probably the largest tree. Look at the trees surrounding the a back of the barn. One or two of them are pine trees.
Go back to the swing, and see how worn looking the dirt has become visible and the leaves are gone underneath where the cute little boy and precious little girl have been swinging and swinging until they both have just about worn away the surface of the land! It is becoming bare from “bare feet”... ‘jest-a-swinging for hours on end all summer time long!
Do you ever remember going bare-footed in the summer time? I do, and the grass felt so fabulous between your toes and the sand and soft dirt felt warm and pleasant from the sunshine above that had warmed up the sand and dirt. It is so much fun to go bare-footed in Mississippi! Try it, you’ll love it!
Look up the hillside road. We’re going up a hillside road . Trees line the left side of the canvas, Look at the different sizes and shapes of the trees.
Let your eyes find the little house or is it another barn like structure up the road from this neighbor’s country place.
See the three white spots in this painting. The white sky, but you know there is a hint of blue somewhere, the white sand/worn dirt underneath the ‘ole rubber tire swing, and the white at the bottom of the right side of the canvas where the brown, yellow, and golden leaves fell, but the light breeze has moved them around and away.
These three white areas bring your eyes into the painting, and go directly the old rubber tire swing dangling from a heavy tall tree limb, just waiting for the cute little boy and the precious little girl to ride back home after school today, and hop right back up on the ‘ole tire and begin to swing once again.
If the old rubber tire could just talk...I think “she” would say, “I missed y’all today! Why do y’all have to go to school anyway? Stay home swing, and play with me all day tomorrow!”
Take me to the country sides of Oktibbeha County, where life is laid back and living is easy.
Take me down our Mississippi country roadsides where we shall grow to love the countryman and countrywoman who follow country ways of simple living.
Take me always to a “countrified world and life!”
At the end of the afternoon, I packed up my art supplies cranked up the car, backed out, and looked back at my landscape for this autumn day, and waved “good-bye” to this day and this country world that I had spent a whole day sketching and painting the... “‘Ole rubber tire swing is ‘jest a-swingin’...the yellow school bus has come, the bell has rung, and it’s... “school days, school days. Good ‘ole Golden Rule days...reading writing and ‘rithmatic taught to the tune of the hickory stick!”

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