R is for rock.
It could have been for so many things, like rabbits--the eastern cottontail variety, or roosters--crazy flogging roosters, or rhubarb--the pucker power of which is likely unequaled. Oh, can't leave out the home made root-beer--yeast, water, sugar and extract. Let the bottles lay in the sun to ferment and voila--fizzy homemade root-beer. And the Raleigh man comes to mind. He came back old farm lanes, selling his Raleigh brand extracts, seasonings and mixes to housewives, out of a big old station wagon.
But rock won.
The reason I say this is that people who live in a place where they regularly traverse a large area, often comes up with names for places. Sort of landmarks on a mental map. And we had THE big rock. It was on top of the hillside. Hillside was specific, too. There were several sides of hills on the farm, but only was called THE hillside. From THE big rock, we could see THE little hill and THE big hill on the lane. There was another hill, but it never earned a title. :-)
When I was a child, there were no less than 5 gates on the farm, but the one on the lane was THE gate. If you said "back at the gate", you meant the gate at the backside of the property where it connected to the neighbor's coal mine property.
There was THE pine tree. We had at least a hundred pines on the property, but if you said THE pine tree, we all knew you meant the white pine right beside the house. And while we're talking about THE pine tree--that was over four stories tall, there were two sections of climbing challenge that earned their titles of the THE ladder, and THE little ladder. Each so named because they had at least four branches in a row on the same side of the trunk--sort of forming, you know... ladders. ;-) The pine tree is in the background next to the house--left of the foreground garden shed.
And THE bee tree--so named for the nest of honeybees in it, year after year. And that tree was on THE flats--one of a very few sort of level pieces of property on the farm.
There were three orchards, but if you were up at THE orchard, you were at the one beside the 3 acre field. And that was a couple fields below the four-corner woods.
Picking berries in THE orchard.
And we had THE woods. There were lots of little patches of trees but only one was THE woods.
It's funny, how some of those places evoke feelings, just for having typed them on this page.
THE big rock probably still has a pair of initials chipped into it. We watched across the valley when my cousin and her boyfriend walked up to the top of THE hillside. And when we later walked over there, their initials with a plus sign between were freshly chipped into it. That was nearly 45 years ago. They're still married. It really was carved in stone ;-) And we watched a pair of foxes with their young frolic in front of it one day--their burrow was beneath it.
Using car hoods for toboggans on THE hillside.
THE big hill--oh, the winter memories, getting stuck on that hill and not making it out the lane. And riding sleds down both hills on the lane.
Climbing THE pine tree. When my head emerged from the top pine branches to the open air, there was always a breeze up there--even on hot summer days when the air was still next to the earth. And you could see almost forever.
And in THE woods, there was a hollow oak tree where mom used to tell us the elf that made shoes lived. He obviously took a vacation ever summer. We ran barefoot from June till September.
How about you--do you have landmark names for places in your world--names that someone outside out of your family might not understand?
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