Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

Christianity Oasis has provided you with this inspirational writing titled Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from our Sojourn With Luz Leigh collection. We hope these short stories bring you understanding and peace within.

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

Welcome to Christianity Oasis. This is Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from our Sojourn With Luz Leigh Collection. We hope you enjoy this enlightening reading and it helps you on your own be-YOU-tiful Christian walk.

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Sojourn With Luz Leigh

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)

Written by Luz Leigh - June 2007

A few years ago, I took a drive deep into the national forest of East Texas. It was one of many such trips that I took that year, searching for information on my father. Oh, I knew who he was, when he was born, when he died, but I wanted to know MORE about "the dash" in his life. You know the story ... someone told about looking at a headstone in a cemetery which showed the year the person was born and the year he died, with a dash in between. The dash held all the accomplishments, even the secrets, of that person's life.

I knew that my father served in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the early 1930s. From him and my mother, I had heard stories about the camp life and the work that was done by those men who lived there. Near the site of the camp, which now has reverted back to forest land, was a little country store, now closed. The man who ran the store had lived in the area many years and knew just about everyone for miles around. As I was "picking" his brain about anything and everything about the area, a local gentleman entered the store. Mr. Brown, owner of the store, stopped chewing his big wad of tobacco long enough to introduce me to Mr. Waters, the man who had just arrived at the store for his usual morning visit.

After Mr. Waters paid for his Dr Pepper and package of salted peanuts, he turned his attention to me. Since he, like Mr. Brown, knew everyone for miles around, he inquired what my business was on such a fine summer day. His inquiry was in no way rude, but the way people there greet strangers. After explaining briefly my mission to the little spot in the road of the busy highway, he said he knew exactly where the CCC camp had been situated. Excitement reigned. I had found help more quickly than I had dared imagine.

I bid Mr. Brown goodbye, thanking him for his assistance. Mr. Waters knew I would feel more comfortable driving my car rather than getting into a vehicle with a perfect stranger in an area unfamiliar to me. So he told me to follow him. Only a mile or so down the road, he pulled to the side of the road and exited his pickup truck. With a reassuring smile, he pointed to the wooded area to our left. "That young lady is the camp site you are looking for."

You can't imagine how I felt. Many years before, back in the years before my parents were married, before I was even a dream in my mother's eyes and heart, my daddy had walked on that very ground. Mr. Water described as best he could what it looked like when the CCC camp was in operation. I listened as he explained about the housing that looked like Army barracks because after all the "corps" was fashioned somewhat like Army life.

The men wore khaki colored work clothes, work boots. They ate in a mess hall. Although not of "Holiday Inn" quality, the living conditions were much better than what most of the men had left behind when they came there to work.

I thanked Mr. Waters for showing me the way there and sharing his knowledge of the days when the camp was a flourishing part of the community.

He got in his pickup and drove away, leaving me with my thoughts. I walked a short distance from the road and stood beneath a large pine tree. Judging by its size, it was probably there when my daddy lived there. Listening to the silence, I thought I could hear voices of the men as they returned from a long day's work in the national forest. Their job, under the direction of my daddy, was to build roads and bridges in the forest. The sound of the voices told me they were glad to be "home" where soon they would be sitting at the long mess tables for a nourishing meal. But before the supper bell rang, the men would head down to the swimming hole which had been fashioned out of the little creek that was located on the camp's edge. They were not going there for a swim, but rather for a bath. The swimming hole served a dual purpose, recreation on the weekends and for personal hygiene on workdays.

It is now night. The men have had their evening meal and are retiring for a night of rest. In his living quarters, my daddy is sitting at the little homemade desk. By the glow of the kerosene lamp, he is writing a love letter to his sweetheart. With a sadness that broke my heart when I read one such letter, he is telling her that he cannot come home this week. The camp superintendent has asked him to remain in camp so the superintendent can visit a sick child. I smell the odor of the kerosene when Daddy blew out the flame. He then climbed onto his cot to sleep and dream of that black haired young lady waiting for him.

A hoot owl breaks the silence of a CCC camp, but the men do not hear him. They are resting. I realize what I thought was an owl, was actually a car horn blowing on the nearby road ... bringing me back to the present time. My walk down memory lane has ended for now.

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