April 2007
Farm Fresh Memories



It was 6:00 o’clock A.M. when I walked through the old double front doors of The Flat Rock General Store on Wednesday morning. Slim was setting over behind The Store counter in his old recliner. He looked up/out over the counter at me with this saughter dazed and confused look about him, like he was way off out there somewhere.

The first words out of his mouth beyond "good morning" was "Do you ever ‘Thinkabout’ growing old?" Slim’s "Thinkabouts" seemed to snowball downhill at me from there. Since I was the only one besides him present in The Store at the time, I got the whole load.

Slim’s "Thinkabouts" continued to roll from his tongue. "Do you ever ‘Thinkabout’ when you were young growing up around Flat Rock and Hatton? Things like when you got driver’s licenses, your first kiss, first date, church, playing sports, football practice, teachers, preachers, coaches, college, past birthdays, or.... Do you ever ‘Thinkabout’ the simple things your parents taught you, especially the example you set, what having a million dollars would mean, not even being able to read?"

Slim continued almost solid with his "Thinkabouts," not even giving me a chance to answer in between; on and on, more "Thinkabouts" followed; food/cookin’, friends, politics, religion, retirement. His "Thinkabouts" got deeper as he went on—like being alone, dying, heaven—Slim appeared to be on a non-ending roll. Then suddenly he stood up from his recliner put his hand on my shoulder winked, grinned and said, "You know what we need to "Thinkabout?" Sunday being ‘APRIL FOOLS,’ that is the first, right?"

By now the regulars began to trickle in; first, my Daddy "pop" C.C., Bro., S.R., Farlow, and "Truth." Estelle entered next on her way to the "hair factory;" she had one of them "by appointment only" Wednesday two-hour cut and perm deals.

Essex followed close behind with Slim holdin’ one of her egg salad sandwiches topped with fried Spam. Wow, that was a true "Thinkabout"— remembrance for me. My Daddy "pop" C.C. always made the "very best" egg salad sandwiches loaded up with some kind of meat, during my growing up years. They were especially popular when we worked off the farm and had to pack a lunch, truly some fine "homemade" eatin’.

About this time, Ms. Ida, the Widow Cora and Willerdean entered The Store, then Harley Hood, J.R., and "Hatch" strolled on in shortly. Ms. Ida had a copy of the Farmer’s Almanac in hand and she started readin’ about spring gardenin’. Course by this time the topic had moved from Slim’s "Thinkabouts" to plowin’, plantin’ and other warm weather activities—even fishin’.

At this point, I turned Slim over to all the regulars and the other Flat Rock folk that had presented themselves down at The Store.

As I drove away from The Store I began my own series of "Think-abouts"—reflecting on my growing up years on The C.C. Potter Family Farm at Flat Rock and my school years at Hatton, then college, raisin’ my family and even my years in Extension as county agent in Colbert County. This also made me "Thinkabout" some of my writings and sayings that I use from time to time. At this point my "Thinkabouts" turned to my mother, Allee Masterson Potter (deceased); she always encouraged me to write down my thoughts and feelings or "Thinkabouts." Many remain today as part of my "Farm Fresh Memories" or my everyday life – all "Thinkabouts" encouraged by my Mother, Allee Masterson Potter. Thank you, Mother.

I do hope that from time to time each of you have true "Think-abouts"— good memories relatin’ to your life and growin’ up farm or city, maybe even a good old all in fun "APRIL FOOLS" prank. Happy April Fools!!!


Joe Potter is a former vocational agriculture teacher, FFA advisor and retired county agent (Colbert County).