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Yester Summer Day


By Don Kenton Henry

There are times – most often when this planet drifts a little closer to the sun for the season to come

My mind turns to the days when these old legs could run

No direction; and only because they could

Only difference between me and a June colt was a colt had more sense. And I had no fence.

It’s often down to the crooked creeks of Southern Indiana , past Trafalgar, Gnaw Bone, Bean Blossom, Milltown down to Cain-Tuck way …

Back somewhere in time, somewhere in yester summer day

In the hollers off the back roads far from the paved road of the revenue man

I go where the smell of corn malt is sweet and the squirrels and coons are fat as farmer John’s spotted hogs

That’s where you’ll find me many a yester summer day

Me and King Henry, my orange spotted English Setter dog

We slide that red cedar canoe into the cold spring fed Blue and drift with the current past caves and limestone cliffs

Past sand bars we float like a leaf adrift, dancing in the sunlight

Sleeping turtles on rock pay us no mind nor a frog on the reeds seemingly frozen in time

And we bank in an eddy

And I swear that dog smiles and his tongue goes a waggin’ when I strip off my clothes – which doesn’t take long

Since I left the house with almost nothing already on

Just a pair of old cut offs was all I did need – ‘cept a pair of bvd’s both of which I hang on the branch of a sycamore tree

And I dive to the sandy river bottom and King Henry swims along up above

Have you ever looked up at dog swimmin’ by, like a four legged angel –

Or a dog paddlin’ dove, way high in the sky

Then the eddy shoots us out in a big pool of blue still

Where I sit and watch Henry do it time and again

Have you ever swam naked with your dog

And lay on a log and with your buns in the sun while being watched by a frog

Cause if not, you ain’t nare been young, friend

And after awhile the cane pole comes out

And catfish and croppies fight to get on my string as Henry tries to assist

He’s a field bred setter that goes on the point whenever the bobber bobs in the reeds

And lets out a yelp when spiked by one big catfish

Once more I tell him, “Henry, don’t try to retrieve!”


That night at my paw paws we fry up that fish on the porch of his cabin

And Betty McSweeny comes out of the woods

Says, “something smells grand!”

She’s wearing a red bandana disguised as a top –

Her Daisy Dukes, long blond hair and a dark summer tan

But I know the truth

Betty McSweeny didn’t come for no fish

Though she certainly likes it, it’s not first on her list

See, Betty McSweeny likes to be kissed

But we all get our fill of catfish, croppies and frog

So as Paw Paw plays some Earl Scruggs on his banjo

Uncle Bob breaks jumps in on Foggy Mountain Breakdown till his fiddle smokes and I swear Bill Monroe’s gonna show up anytime


Then Betty walks right by the pump toward the river sayin’ let’s go clean off this griddle!”

I look up and hesitate cause–my foot’s a really tappin’–and Paw Paw gives me a wink, “Get along, boy or you’ll be an old man of twenty before you can blink!”

Yes, Betty McSweeny liked to be kissed

And that night Betty got her everything that was at the top of her list

Not the least of which was catfish, croppies, fried frog an’ kissin’

And if you weren’t nare there boy, you don’t know what you were missin’

And yester summer day is where this mind goes as this planet drifts a little closer to the sun



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