Albany – I came from here

Posted June 16, 2020 at 12:23 pm

Hershel McKinleyF.psd

by Hershel I. McKinley

Sweet cedar smoke hangs heavy over the courthouse square

Acrid spit of tobacco stains the sidewalk and road.

Mules, horses, and knives traded, sold and given away

Empty bottles of Coke, Nehi, and RC stacked in pyramid piles.

Sergeant York sat on a wooden chair in front of my Daddy’s store

Golden twists of tobacco in a hip pocket and a bandanna in the other.

Red tins of Prince Albert peek from faded overall bibs

Straw hats, broken and crumpled from toil, shaded sunburned necks.

Hamburgers cooked with onions on a grease covered grill

Corn cob pipes brown from heat and roll your owns licked.

Cedar shavings whittled so thin they floated in the breeze even if there wasn’t one

A joke or story told traveled around the crowd and returned unrecognizable.

Old cars, trucks, horses and mules circled the square

People parked and walked and talked and laughed and sometimes fought.

Each summer Saturday lasted till midnight when the weather was warm

A child still yearns in an old man’s heart to smell, see, feel, and again play.

Hershel I. McKinley

(Hershel I. McKinley, an Albany, Clinton County native, is the son of Hershel A. and Anna Vitatoe McKinley. He is married to Shirley Long McKinley, the daughter of Russell and Betty Long. They have two children and five grandchildren.)