Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Girls of Beaver

In the very early '60's Erma and Curly Fruits purchased some land where the White and War Eagle Rivers empty into what would become Beaver Lake in northeastern Arkansas and built a small home.

Erma was a widow with three children. She met and married Curly Fruits when the kids we not quite grown. They were a fun couple, with a love of the outdoors, their family, dogs and a cold beer.

Their oldest daughter, Virginia, is my mother's mother.

I was born in '64 and spent so much of my childhood with them at the modest little home in the Arkansas woods. Rising early in the morning to fish with my grandpa Curly, snuggling into a warm bed in the back room reading Readers Digest, playing Yahtzee at the kitchen table, sitting on the front porch listening to the adults talk, sing and laugh.

My Grandma Virginia has four children. My cousins were such a huge part of my life growing up. Our family is close...sometimes painfully so...we fight, we laugh, we support, we protect, we love.

My mother's older sister has two girls. Two and four years older than me. I was the bratty little cousin who followed them around, wanting to do everything they did. They didn't kill me...I thank them for this.

My mother's youngest brother also has two daughters, very close in age to my sister. Thick as thieves, those three. We didn't kill them...they haven't ever thanked us for that...hmmmm.

The two boys, my brother and a much younger boy cousin...they were just "the boys". Not ignored...just, not girls.

The girls, well....we're pretty tight. Still.

When Erma and Curly were gone my folks bought the little place at the end of Pine Creek Hollow Road. It is the only place left of my childhood. It is where I return to remember...who I am and where I came from.

I spent the weekend in Pine Creek Hollow with my cousins, two very close friends (HP's-Honorary Petty's) and my oldest cousin's daughter...we are training the next generation of Petty girls.

It's our annual 'Girls Weekend". We began nine years ago. The participants have changed some...narrowing down to Pettys and two HP's. The best two days of the year.

Janet is wise, confident and cool headed, soon to be a!
Carrie...Carrie is a nut, a very accomplished, together, successful nut, crazy about her boys...or maybe the boys are making her crazy?
Kim is intense, loud and passionate, funny and fiercely loyal, my closest confidant, also crazy about or being driven crazy by her boys.
Bec is the most honest, real person I know, no middle ground.
Donna is the loudest person, funny...oh my god is she funny, she has two persona's...professional and lunatic and she likes to have her things lined up just so.
Tracy laughs more than anyone I know, bright and goofy.
Amanda, she is a Petty through and through...spunky, talks easy, loves animals, honest and only the young can be.
Me...I think I'm invited because I'm good at crowd control...that and I'm the only one who knows how to turn the water on and I have a key.

We laugh, we eat, we float, we talk about everything. Cold beer, sunburns, egg salad, enchialdas, the gooey feel of lake mud between my toes, the smell of a plastic float, blowing a fuse, the sound of the bathroom pocket doors, the smell of bug spray, coffee with sweetened condensed milk, oreos, the walmart stop, ETFB (estimated time of first beer).

These are the girls of Beaver.

Erma would be proud.


Donna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna said...

Take TWO (too many type-os in take one...

I love the sound of the pocket doors, too! My parents have a pocket door on their laundry room... I wish I did, too. Maybe in our next house.

Now... just one asterisk... please note that Kimmy and I are loud only because of our unrestrained joyful singing.

Gotta tell you... its such an honor to be an HPG. Love you!


Kathy said...

"unrestrained joyful singing"

Something I have never been accused of doing.

By the way...I have told the story of the frozen bird, the realtor's sign and Amazing Grace a few times. It always goes over well with the audience.

Unrestrained joyful singing definitely has it's place. :)

MUD said...

Does anyone give the Erma question? "Kid would you get me a beer while you are out there?" That was said to anyone going towards the cellar to get a beer. I am glad that Amanda is getting to be involved in your group.

PS, I never liked the cool beer from the cellar, I liked it icy cold but that would have taken a ton of ice. Case of beer per person per day was the planning factor.

Kimmy said...

Jenn, we also invite you so we can laugh our butts off when you paint the nails on those man hands of yours! Luv ya and you do look like you have lost some weight.

MUD said...

Did you see the Sunflower Games post on my blog? It has a picture of one of your rowers. MUD

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that the next generation is getting so many good memories from this place in Arkansas as Myrna and I have so many good memories that can never be duplicated with Curly and Erma hosting all who come to visit. We have hopefully contributed to Curly and Ermas adventures on this earth. Ray and Myrna

Rebecca said...

What a beautiful post. I had to wipe away a little tear. PS Your hands aren't man hands...they just look better with unpainted nails, thats all. Kim and Donna are snickering, I can hear them clear in Oklahoma.

MUD said...

Erma and Curly were in Pruitt in July 1967 and by Feb 68 had moved to the lake by Rodgers.