The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.








by Toneeke Henderson

It was not so very long ago when I was sitting on the beach care free and nothing pressing my mind. Young enough to have dreams and old enough to count the stars. I often wondered what the water people really thought about us who lived upon the land.

My endless hours upon the beach seemed to consume my physical presence here, in the now, the forever changing presence we call the moment. I never second guessed my existence, only wondered why I was and where it would lead me.

The nights would pass and the days linger with the most awesome  feeling of content. I could lay beneath the stars and forever count the dreams that

must have been made to place all those stars up there in that vast space of deepness.

I would think back to the days in the mountains out west when we would hunt wild asparagus along the road sides, where it was safe from pollution. The hollyhocks would grow taller than we could ever reach, the columbines as beautiful as ever and the morning glories that awaited our quick little feet to see them.

It wasn't that long ago, not really when you think about it. We use to go to the canal for a swim which was merely about a hundred yards from the house.

Toneeke Henderson

Seemed like a mile or more as small as we were. There were the cattails standing along the edge just far enough into the water for one to get wet, as good excuse as any.

Thinking about all the orange and black caterpillars who were fuzzy and didn't mind us playing with them. Soon they would spin cocoons on simple little twigs and one day become beautiful Monarch Butterflies that flew endlessly around us.

Not many kids can say they danced among the thousands of butterflies that God placed within their realm. There was never any rhyme or reason that things happened only that they did.

I would sit in the old dried creek bed pretending to be in a row boat, I could see the mountains that swallowed the trees around me and I would wonder "where would the water take me". I could smell the fresh bread Mom was cooking so I knew I was just a shout away

But in my mind I was traveling, drifting to another world beyond the circle of mountains that engulfed my world. I loved it where I could appreciate the ground and every smell that it contained. I would lean up against our house on hot sunny days in a wool coat just to soak up the sun.

In the winter we would transform the imaginary row boat into an icy fortress. Snowballs bigger then any of

us, would make the walls. We took our survival tools, made of sticks, cattails we had picked, and old bread pans. Using them to carve out small windows and the cattails would be our little explosives (we never knew what that meant). We would just get a chuckle out of them blowing apart and sticking to everyone's clothes.

If we really wanted to be mean (which was very rare) we could push the one who we thought was being mean to us off in the ditch into the tumble weeds. Yeah, guess what? They have thousands of little stickers on them that hurt like heck. I was never in the ditch but I did push one brother off (only once) for punishment. For that I had to stand and watch Mom pull each and every one out of the tumbleweed victim.

See how easy it is to travel from a warm sunny beach to a snowy mountain in a matter of minutes. I find it awesome to have such a chance to have a vivid memory to take me away when I want to go.

You are probably wondering where the title for this article came from. It is a part of my memory that is still flowing along. Just as I was sitting on the beach not so very long ago, just as I was in that row boat  paddling to and fro, there was a bottle.

Somehow, maybe I choose not to know, there was a bottle. I found it floating along the shore. It was oxidized from time and elements along it's road. The only mark on it was the letter "O". The cap was closed so tightly that perhaps it's content was to never be revealed. I tried endlessly to open it and my small hands failed at every grasp it made. I tossed it back figuring it must have somewhere to go. I sat in silence as the water seemingly washed it in the moons own glow.

I was standing a few years later in the middle of an apple grove, there was a bottle. I reached down to see what it may be. It was grayish like it had been aged forever and three. The lid was very rusty and seemed as though it would never open. The bottle bore the letter "O". I chuckled and thought to myself, I will put it on the fence maybe some collector will want it for fifty cents.

A day had come along not so long ago when the world drastically changed around me.  The light that was always there, now had a shadow in its view. The light said "shadows cannot last an eternity if your soul chooses to move". I had seen a secret glow. The light enhanced itself to be a beacon within the shadows to illuminate the way to go.

I covered myself with that warm glow so that I would know. I walked along the river paths and found a place to reminisce. There was a bottle. I picked it up looking in total amazement at its color, a simple oxidized grayish pink hue, an old rusted lid & marked with the letter "O".

Now why would a person want to keep a bottle that was this old. I decided I would take it home. I looked at it for a few days and decided to open it. The lid crumpled to pieces in my hands. Inside was a simple note. "To the precious soul who finds this bottle and takes the time to read this note, there is no magic genie in this bottle nor promises to uphold." I chose a bottle with a simple letter so every time you say the word of wonderment you will surely understand that someone loves you more then you will ever-ever know. Simply say the letter "O".... (OH !!!)

Now that I have totally confused you, taking you on trips unknown. I will close this adventure with a simple understanding. Not everyone can see what is held inside the bottles that we keep. Life, like a bottle holds many things, a memory, a drink or even a sweet dream. People are often like a bottle. We cannot always open the lid and maybe it is not our turn when we can't.

Everyone has a bottle in their life, they may not be able to see in it or read the secret notes contained within. But the light it holds is brighter than you will ever know.

Happy Valentines Day.