An excerpt from my column, originally published in 2008. A local nursery owner had taken us on a tour of the property to look for paw paws. Rather than writing a regular column, I decided to write the piece from the perspective of our little boy, then six months old, and put it under his own by-line and photo.
My name is Tommy, and I’m six months old. My mama and daddy are teaching me to apurse… appreek… They’re teaching me to like nature.
Nature is the things outside your house. Trees are nature, and so are flowers. Sidewalks are not nature, but you can go for walks on them. Mama likes walks because she says they help her lose “baby wait”. That’s good, because I don’t like to wait for anything.
A long time ago, it was last Saturday and we went for a walk with Mister Ken and Miss Anna. Missus Monica stayed at the plant place. Mama called it a nursery, but I didn’t see any other babies.
To go on our walk, we had to drive to a big field where there was a lot of mud and grass. I got my blankie and Mister Ken got his orange jacket and away we went. The first things we saw were deer footprints. Mister Ken is mad at the deer because they bite his trees and knock them down. There were turkey footprints in the mud, too. Mama says people eat turkeys for Thanksgiving. I hope they wash their feet first. Mud is yucky to eat. Daddy says so.
We walked for a long time until we got to a place called Sand Creak. Mama’s rocking chair makes a creak, but I think this was something different. There were lots of trees. One kind was called a sicky-more. A sicky-more has big leaves and white skin called bark, and they get really tall.
Mama looked at the ground while we walked, and she found something called a mush-room. It’s not the kind of room you sleep in. It looks like a little round table with no chairs, and you’re not supposed to eat it until you take a spore print. That’s like a footprint, and it tells you if the mush-room is safe to eat.
Mister Ken found the trees we were looking for. They’re called Paw Paws, but they don’t look like my daddy. They are little trees and they make fruit. Miss Anna likes the fruit, but she has to get to it before the raccoons do. I like bananas. Paw Paws are green and have big brown seeds. Mama says you can make pie and cake from the fruit, but Mister Ken says she doesn’t have to make any for him.
We saw more deer and turkey footprints on the way back to the car, and there were lots of Daddy footprints, too. There was a fuzzy brown thing up in one of the trees, and it threw something at us. Mama called it a squirrel, but why would the fuzzy thing throw a squirrel at us? That doesn’t seem like a nice thing to do.
Anyway, that’s some of the nature things around here. I like to look at fishies and birds, too. Sometimes it’s cold or raining, so we look out the window to see nature. Mama says nature teaches us a lot. Daddy says nature makes him mow the grass every time it rains.