No. 360

Author Benna Roberts Williams has written a wonderful book titled, “Down the lane to SWEET HOME USA” This book is a collection of true stories and memories of a freckle-faced barefoot country girl who grew up in Sweet Home, a rural community in Grant, County Arkansas. As I read her book, my mind traveled back to the days when I was growing up and while there were many differences, the values, morals and ethics were basically the same. The stabilizing influence in the life of her family was her grandparents or Grandpa and Grandma, as she called them, and this it is true for me. Like Benna, my parents were certainly there, but my maternal grandparents, is what kept our extended family together.
For me, and I bet for you too, grandparents were or are, very special people. They gave us an anchor to hold on to during the storms of life and we knew what it meant to sacrifice, because we saw them sacrifice day in and day out for the benefit of their children. Grandparents have also reared thousands and thousands of successful people in this country when parents were out of the picture for one reason or another. Many times I have seen a professional athlete, movie star, successful businessperson or other famous person being interviewed on television and they thanked their grandparents for raising them. To be sure, grandparents have made a tremendous contribution to the success of our nation.
If you have ever thought about or have longed to travel back in time when life in America was much simpler, Benna’s book can certainly take you there. Even though she is still a relatively young woman, her story really began back in the mid 1800's when settlers began to migrate West and establish homes and later small communities grew up around a school, church or a post office. In Grant County, some of these small communities were Paxton, Turin, Buie, Coopers Corner, Davis Creek, Harvest Bell, Philadelphia and Sweet Home. These were the days of brush brooms, wooden radios, feed sack dresses and old screen doors.
My mind was flooded with memories when she talked about the games country children used to play. In those days there was no such things as children being “bored”, as they were creative and learned to entertain themselves for hours on end. Some of the outdoor games included, Hopscotch, Red Rover, Ring around the Rosy, London Bridge, Statute and Hide & Seek or Chase, Drop the Hankie, Red Light, Green Light, Simon Says and Mother May I. Something else that was interesting, and may still be used in some circles today, is when an argument broke out, “Grandma would step in and make us hug and kiss each other.” But even here the kids were creative, as they tried to put off an argument until Grandma wasn’t around.
But speaking of kissing, I picked up something from her book that may be overlooked by the casual reader. When a young boy and girl began to ‘spark’ the other girls would sing them a song like this, “Marvin & Kathy sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first came love, then came marriage, then came Marvin pushing a baby carriage.” My comment here is believe it or not, this is the order that it used to be in. Children came after marriage, not before. Of course, back then there was always Grandma to teach the girls right from wrong. This is a sad commentary on us guys, but in most cases, never the less true.
As I said in the beginning, this is a wonderful book and would be good reading for anyone. It would be especially good for young people, because they could definitely relate to it. Unfortunately, I have only been able to scratch the surface of the memories and true life experiences of this gifted and talented writer. If you would like to have a copy, contact Benna Williams at . HYPERLINK or call 501-262-2101. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)