To think that I could forget windrows,
why it’s important to put hay up dry,
where to hook a chain on the truck
when you’re pulling it out of the mud.
To think that I could forget tobacco barns,
how to sort the brights, the lugs, and tips.
The sweet smell of it hanging in the rafters,
a need for moisture and the foggy mornings.
To think that I could forget black coffee,
the taste of JFG brand, no milk, no sugar,
Family seated on tall chairs at the counter,
when they got up, they’d say stay with us.
To think that I could forget winter evenings,
the heat of the fire from a Franklin stove,
the laughter of Papaw in his big chair telling
stories about logging camps and driving trucks.
To think I could forget how biscuits are made,
soup beans, slab of onion, chunks of cornbread,
the squint in Granny’s eye when she spoke of
the one’s she despised or told of their stupidity.
To think I could forget how crops and seeds
must be planted during the full moon or as he
used to say, “when the sign is in the head”
Sixty eight days from planting to picking.
To think I could forget about cows in the field,
Black Angus, Charolais, classic red and whites.
riding the fence line, doctoring a sick heifer,
gathering young bulls in the barn on the hill.
To think I could forget about the hunting,
how running rabbits made the old guys
lament a pack of beagles and basset hounds,
how sadly men spoke of the long gone dogs.
To think I could forget which exit to take,
how odd roads run north to south and even
run east to west or the names of the rivers to
cross over, the Pigeon, Nolichucky, or Holsten.
To think that I could forget those words,
when you come here you get that dirt in your shoes.
No matter how far away you go or how long you leave,