Making ‘hay’ stacks while sun shines…

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 17, 2000

Features Editor

Oct.16, 2000 10 PM

Much of the good in "the good ol’ days" is in the memory of them but those who experienced them always have a tugging at their hearts to go back again – at least for a short visit.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Frank Bryan felt that tugging so he put the plow in the ground and "hoed" a row to the past.

Bryan was out of work for a long while during a battle with cancer and, now drives short runs to Memphis and back for Hudson Transportation.

One day late last winter, he was on the road, thinking about days gone by and how things used to be when he was a boy, growing up on the farm and picking cotton and shaking peanuts.

He let his thoughts skip quickly over the cotton picking – "I didn’t care much for that" – and on the peanut picking.

There was a sort of romance to shaking and stacking peanuts – the kind of romance that creates within you a closeness to something and a longing for it.

"I got home and told Jean that I had come up with something," Bryan said. "I had decided that I could plant a small patch of peanuts – just enough for us and the birds to eat and a few to give away. I thought doing that would give me a sense of being back in time. I miss those days and think about them a good bit."

Bryan planted about a half acre of peanuts and flanked them with several rows of sunflowers, gourds and brown top millet and waited for the summer sun and rain to make it grow.

The sun did what it was supposed to do but the rain didn’t come. However, Bryan’s peanut patch got enough "sprinkles" to make a few nuts and his sunflowers, gourds and millet survived the drought.

With the tough year, Bryan and his wife Jean were satisfied with their crops.

"When I was growing up, we had a truck farm and we raised anything women would buy to put on the table," Bryan said. "We had some dry years but I don’t remember one worse than this one. But, I guess, I can say we ‘made an acre crop’ this year."

Bryan often finds inspiration on the road and, once again, it came between here and Memphis.

"We had to come up with some way to dry the peanut and, driving along, I came up with the idea of stacking them like we did when I was a boy," he said. "This time it wasn’t work. It was just pleasure. I really enjoyed it and I’m proud I thought of it and proud I had the chance to stack peanuts again."

Bryan "harvested" enough peanuts for a lot of folks to enjoy them – boiled, roasted or fried. He is leaving the rest for the birds, deer and any other critters that want to come and raid the stacks.

Being back "working the land" on his family’s Century Farm has brought back a lot of memories for Bryan and he wouldn’t trade his chance to "make a crop" this year for a shiny, red Cadillac automobile.