Christmas – 1974

A hearty Barker Greeting to all (Seasonal and non-inflated). Welcome to the 1974 Show and Tell of the South, or what you always wanted to know about “those” Barker’s but were afraid to ask.

At the outset, we should say that the year has not been punctuated by any long trips, treks or tours, nor have any great sagas, stories or yarn to spin. Rather, we spent a quiet year working on our estate. Oh, in case you didn’t know, we have purchased a small piece of property represented by the above sketch. With about 100 ft of lake-front on Little Orange Lake we have about .8 acres (notice were the point is). In addition to weeds, we have about 35 producing citrus trees. The following reflections or scenes describe our meager but bizarre efforts at property enhancement.
– Joyce, Diane and George in a mantle of white — they helped fertilize the trees after Bruce and Bob pulled and hoed weeds (fertile females we don’t need).
– Entire family sweating and swinging sickles (or how to make .8 acres seem like 8M acres). The effect of the fertilizer on the tree is unknown, but the ragweed, dog fennel and golden grew from two feet to 12 feet.
– Big wheeled Yazoo mower clanking, wheezing, whirring and banging ( alternately and in unison) out of sight in the thicket under an orang tree all by itself — Dad forgot to switch of the self-propelled lever and had to race around and catch it on the other side.
– Mom in a shroud of black, with white eyeballs peering from beneath as if a fugitive from the La Brea tar pits. She made the mistake of standing behind the spinning car wheel as she pushed me out of the muck (reaction indescribable, but measured 4.2 on the Richter scale).
– Dad up to his knees in concrete )beats gators). The truck dumped more than he thought at once; however 10×14 slab was poured, screened, floated and troweled.
– Dad and Mandy in stare-down, nose-to-nose. She followed him across the slab in the final troweling .. she is indelibly recorded thereon (almost therein).
– Shed christened end of August. Actually christened and blessed several times during the construction but we won’t go into that.

As to the kids; Karen is in her Junior year at Georgia Southern. She worked for St. Regis this past summer, mostly a receptionist and switchboard operator. I go to her to find what is going on in the company.

Bruce worked for me in Forest Research during the summer and spent much of his time slapping mosquitoes, stomping snakes and scratching red bugs. He worked with a foreign student from Austria. He has developed into quite a photo-bug and has is own darkroom and enlarger. I didn’t need my workshop anyway. He is enrolled in Florida Junior College in Jacksonville, and seems to like it very much.

Diane is a senior in high school and looking eagerly around for a college next year. (Groan) With the senior scouts she went to Mexico this summer and with the senior scouts remained ill a portion if the time (there are tacos and there are tacos). She part-time at Publix supermarket and has been able to keep abreast of the hourly escalation in prices (no joke son).

George is still George and is enthusiastic about every sport in the book. Unfortunately, his interest in sports is inversely proportional to his interest in school — so what’s new? He is life scout now, with one more step to eagle. This year he played Pop Warner football and I helped coach his team. (I am afraid the record reflects it).

That’s the end of the page, folks — Merry Christmas!!

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