In June of 1968, and again in 1972 and 1978, we went to Franklin, Virginia. My mother had a pair of aunts and uncles who lived there, and she’d been there to visit before.
Luckily Mom's cousin Georgia had kids close to the ages of Pat and me. This meant that instead of spending our vacation days inside with the female adults, while they shared tea and stories, we could be outside where her son George would dare us to curl up inside a tractor tire so he and his sister could roll us across the yard. OK, Pat accepted the dare; I was too chicken try it.
At night, in the backyard, we caught fireflies in a pint jar and then released them in George’s room. With the lights on, the drab insects seemed to disappear into the furnishings of the room. When we threw the room into darkness with the flip of a switch, the fireflies would appear as if by magic, bringing a glow to the room.
Mom’s other cousin Shirley raised horses, trotters, and lived in a restored plantation house. Riding up the long driveway was like entering a different era. The house looked like something out of "Gone with the Wind". The interior seemed to go on and on and on, one room leading to the next until I felt lost, antiques everywhere.
The animal life at Shirley’s farm was quite varied. In addition to the beautiful sleek mares and their gangly foals, there were several riding horses along with a small herd of round furry burros. A pair of Great Danes was off set by a pair of Welsh Corgis, with their German shepherd type heads and short stubby legs. And everywhere there were either peacocks, their long iridescent feathers or their droppings. The birds would constantly be emitting their loud cries, scaring those of us who had never seen the exotic creatures before.