Smackover sounds like a hillbilly town, but it was far from it. It was a quaint, nice-sized country town that they lived in, off of the highway.
We lived twenty-five miles away from Mawmaw and Pawey in a town called Camden Arkansas. This allowed us to be able to visit every Saturday, as well as every Thanksgiving and Christmas during my growing up years. Their house was an older home with three bedrooms, a living room, den, and a double carport; my cousins and I used to play under that carport on real live cast-iron cars that rode around like bicycles.
I especially loved to go to Smackover in the spring time; it was like stepping into another world. When I would get out of the car, I would immediately smell the giant Magnolia tree’s lemon-scented blossoms with its big white blooms. Mawmaw had a beautiful yard neatly arranged with many varieties of flowers. I imagine it was like stepping into a botanical garden at a state park. I still remember the scent as we kids would be running around the house about our play. They even had a big pecan tree out front, while in the back Pawey had the biggest garden I’d ever seen which he tended to on a daily basis. The wonderful garden grew a variety of string beans, squash, and tomatoes, too many to name, all through Pawey’s tender loving care.
While I was playing in her yard I would have to be very careful of the wasps that were hanging around the flowers. Seems like I would get stung on occasion, and Mawmaw could always doctor me up with a baking soda mixture, as well as Dr. Techinor’s antiseptic preparation which she used to treat my mosquito bites.
I found the inside of Mawmaw’s and Pawey’s home with the antique dresser’s from my mom’s childhood to be just as alluring as the magic of the grand Magnolia, their hearty pecan, and the beauty of their outside gardens. The closets had their special smell of cedar and mothballs. I was always meddling in there, finding interesting toys and old pictures. I would find colorful post cards and sometimes Hot Wheels race-cars.
My mom would always scold me, “Bubba, stop meddling,” but I couldn’t help myself with my investigative nature. I really believe Mawmaw would put little goodies in those dresser drawers and closets just so I would find them. When I asked Mawmaw concerning ‘whatever it may have been at the time’ if I could have it, she always said yes.
The smells of Thanksgiving and Christmas would come and go throughout this old house over the years, yet their aromas have lingered in my memory. I especially would remember the deliciousness of a smoked turkey and savory dressing that penetrated the air during those special times, and how could I forget my very favorite dessert made from our home-grown pecans; pecan pie!
I can still smell the deep fragrance of this precious home deep in my soul, and even the images of Mawmaw and Pawey are etched in my mind, and will be forever. Remembering my Mawmaw and Pawey helps me to respect and appreciate the simple things in this life. Mawmaw always had such a big heart. She was always smiling and laughing with such a carefree spirit about her. She had a big hug for me and told me that she loved me every chance she got.
As I got older, they would come to our house on Friday, and we would go to their house on Saturday. We did that for many years. She would always bring a full grocery bag which consisted of Lemon cookies, Little Debbie’s, and a Three Musketeer’s candy bar, my favorite. Of course, there were always many fresh and colorful vegetables from Pawey’s garden.
Heaven will be a special place because I will get to see all of my relatives like Mawmaw and Pawey who have gone before me. It will be a glorious reunion as we bask in the presence of our Heavenly Father and tell the treasured stories of long ago. Jesus was truly there during those early years, as I remember in childlike wonder.