It was a warm sunny day in Southern Arkansas. I remember sitting beneath the trees on the side of Bradshaw’s Pond with a notebook and pencil, writing. I don’t remember if I was writing a story or a poem or a diary entry, but I do remember the feeling of peace I had at the time. Of course I’d been there many times before that day, but that day sticks in my memory for some reason.
I went to Bradshaw’s Pond often to be alone. I lived with my mother at my grandparent’s house and was constantly surrounded by about 15-20 cousins. My grandparents had 15 children with 9 living at that time and believe it or not my mother was the only girl in the bunch. We all lived door to door and there were quite a few of us, so a little peace and quiet was hard to come by. Bradshaw’s Pond became my sanctuary.
There are a lot of memories linked to that place. My grandfather took me fishing there when I was very young and I have a scar on my back from climbing under the fence while he held it up for me. He even let me keep the first fish I caught in a bucket and bring it home as a pet. My first kiss took place under the trees there and of course it’s where I went to write.
Why this day was special compared to any other I don’t know. Maybe I was writing my first “just for me” story or maybe something “teenagery” had happened and I’m remembering the feelings I had about it. Or maybe it was just a beautiful day. Either way it’s a wonderful memory that I will hold onto forever.
Now, when I go back to visit, everything has changed. Very little of my family is left on the street, just a few uncles and aunts and none of my cousins. And my wonderful sanctuary has been filled in and is now just an open field. It saddens me to see the desolation when my memories are full of beauty. I know things change but my memories will be with me always. And Bradshaw’s Pond will always be my special place