From Pasture to Park

You could hardly imagine now that a large portion of Southern Terrace Park in Cairo was a pasture only a few years ago. Somehow seeing it now I’m nostalgic but also very glad to see the old place in such healthy pleasurable use. It’s a little like the joy one can receive from making a quilt of favorite fabrics of another year, another time.

Our pasture at various times over the years was populated with young calves, a paralyzed cow, a very mischievous horse, numerous goats and sheep. And a mule. I can’t leave Raleigh out. He was without doubt the stubbornest mule in all kingdom come. Our back fence neighbors at one time owned a pot bellied pig. Our pasture became his escape. The pasture was not big but when chasing down a 20 pound pig it seemed to stretch.

It wasn’t just a pasture. Twenty or so pecan trees dropped their nuts into the grass every year. Many a day we spent on our knees picking up pecans or later picking up nuts with a clever tool. I’d never had pecan trees before and was always thrilled to spy the nuts forming in the trees by the end of summer. We learned certain trees were much more productive but some others had the very best nuts. It was really a letdown when we dragged our laden bags in at the market and learned they would bring so little we might as well take them home and have plenty of pies. Pecan pie was always a favorite dessert and, too, we loved sharing the nuts.

Whether mending fences, building a new one, rounding up sheep for shearing, herding goats up for a round of shots, trying to teach Raleigh to gee-haw, or nursing that paralyzed cow, our family spent a lot of time in that pasture. Some years in the fall we had a bonfire late on an afternoon and sat on hay bales telling stories while we waited for the fire to make good marshmallow roasting coals. Our son remembers helping his Dad on Saturday afternoons hauling limbs while listening to the UGA game on the truck radio. He also remembers shooting at squirrels down in the little woods where an old railroad bed made an interesting shelf. He laughs and says he never actually hit a squirrel, though now he really enjoys deer hunting.

Now the pecan trees are gone. A few oak trees have been saved around the edges for which I’m very glad. The railroad bed has disappeared after much bulldozing. Where there used to be a sluggish swamp during heavy rains and a thick patch of woods now there is a retaining pond. A very nice wide paved walking/biking trail winds all the way around what was our pasture as well as what was already a recreational park. The trail is one mile long and is very nicely situated where many people can enjoy it.

As the park was under development it was very ugly. The trees were toppled, clay clogged roots reaching for the sky. Every time we rode by more work had been done to change the landscape. There was nothing but mud and house-size piles of trees, stumps, and debris. It was no longer the peaceful place for goats and sheep to graze. Far on the other side of all the work I could see our old house and I imagined it saying something like “How could those people go off and leave me to deal with this?” The old barn is still there, too, owned by the couple who bought our house. Two goats graze in a small pasture, remnant of a farm of long ago.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon we took our first walk in the completed park. Even with a rollator I was able to complete the whole mile. There was another family enjoying a Sunday afternoon stroll. The basketball court our son used to play on is renewed and there’s a nice picnic pavilion with bathrooms. In time the city may plant small elm trees in the park. As we walked and paused to take pictures we were happy to see such a good place for families to come and play and exercise. But when I close my eyes I immediately see the old place as it used to be, sheep running to the feed trough, lambs gamboling in the spring, Charles happily mowing.


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5 responses to “From Pasture to Park

  1. Revonda Barwick

    What a beautiful transition !

  2. Such a lovely memory you shared, thank you Brenda! Even the sad part yet you had the blessing to let it go! I’ll never forget our home….

    We had such lovely home until Dad sold it and the new owners desrecrated it by painting the two lamp posts at the bottom of the driveway haphazardly orange and green. God only knows what they did to the inside. That’s why I thank The GIAM; (1 of the many names Jesus calls himself) The Great I Am every day for Carol for finding Madison Health & Rehabilitation here, in Mars Hill, NC. Never in my wildest dreams, would I’ve dreamt I’d be in be living in the planet of Mars!

    • Barb, I love your comment on our pasture turned to park. The house we lived in 42 years and loved dearly is really sad. But I’m so thankful the park is being beautifully used. And I remember very fondly your old place, Maple Bend. It was a wonderful home for all of you and for us too! How marvelous that you live on Mars now! Wow! I have a niece who lives on Mars!

      • LOL Yes you sure do have a niece who lives on Mars! However, I was not referring to our house at Maple Bend. I was referring to our house in Asheville. That’s the one that the new owners desrecrated the two lamp posts at the bottom of our beautiful driveway. That is one blurb that will NOT be submitted into barbsbodaciousblurbs !!!

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