Mulberries and hot summer days

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Remember eating mulberries during the summer? They, and the bugs and whatever else lived on them, were delicious. Are there any mulberry trees still around?

They were part of my daily diet during those long, hot summer days of growing up and frolicking in the freedom from the daily boredom of school.

And, don’t forget some other things on the menu. There were plums in various stages of ripening, and green apples, if they could be found. Crab apples were also around.

Add some briar berries found along the railroad tracks, and an adventurous, carefree young’un lived in the luxury of nature’s grocery store while on summer vacation.

What do kids do these days?

Are they being cheated — shortchanged from the pleasures of lessons often learned the hard way?

Do they even know what a mulberry is, and do they know about a belly ache from eating too many green plums or crab apples?

I wonder if kids today enjoy swimming in a creek, or a river.

I wonder if they know about catching lightning bugs, sweeping the yard with a broom, living without air conditioning, listening to the “Lone Ranger” on the radio or eating without complaint what was put on the table.

Oh, I do wonder about those things, and I’ll bet you do, too.

I wonder how in the world we ever cleaned our feet after playing outside all day — not to mention “get behind those ears,” as mama used to demand while sending us off to the bath tub.

Do kids today run behind the truck as it sprays for mosquitoes in the neighborhood?

How about fried chicken on the table every Sunday?

Vacation Bible School was a huge pain, but there was a break with cookies and other goodies, and it was tolerated by most.

Families used to get together on Sundays with all the aunts, uncles and cousins.

Do kids today even know they have a cousin?

Are young’uns today being cheated from great opportunities to be creative in providing their own entertainment, not the store-bought kind operated off a battery?

I suppose each generation has these same concerns and fears the country is headed downhill.

It isn’t.

America is still great, and as Memorial Day has passed again, the way it is still observed tells me tradition is too valuable to see or let it fade away.

Still, where have all the mulberry trees, and green plums and crab apples, and cool, shaded creeks gone?

We wonder about those things, because we care.

Woe to the generation that does not.

William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune.

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