Cow Pasture Ball
Watch Out for That Pasture Muffin!
I enjoyed watching the movie Field of Dreams some years ago and most recently, Mill Town Pride, a movie produced by Bob Jones University. A portion of the film had scenes depicting a small hospital using the classrooms within a small school building. The school was Tuxedo Elementary where I began my formal education and attended the first six years of school. The movies each brought back many memories from my days as a boy when growing up in a cotton mill village and a rural mountain community here in Western North Carolina.
The cotton mill village of Tuxedo, North Carolina, always had a baseball team sponsored by the CEO of Green River Mill. The team consisted of employees working at the mill. The team was always competitive and some team members were actually scouted by professional baseball clubs and at least one played in a professional farm team for a brief period of time. The mill played in the area industrial league. Baseball was very popular in our county especially during the 1930's and through the mid 1950's.The sport provided for rare opportunities to enjoy free entertainment for the local sports enthusiasts and fans. A full size baseball field was centrally located in the mill village and mill workers and fans would attend the games held on Saturdays sitting in the covered bleachers provided as an amenity by the mill owners.Many chose to sit on the grassy ground near the playing field.
The community barn was also near the baseball field and when the field wasn't in use for a baseball game or during one of their practice sessions, cows kept at the nearby barn owned by mill residents who had the animals for mil and butter to help feed their family, were sometimes were staked on a chain in the baseball field outfield and allowed to eat the nice green grass that always had lots of clover, munchies cows just seem to love.Of course anyone who knows cows, also know a cow is not discriminating when the call of nature comes and pasture muffins left on the outfield and sometimes deposited in the infield provided treacherous running lanes for players chasing a fly ball or attempting to slide into second base.
Cow pasture baseball was common throughout this mountain community during those days. Almost on any Sunday afternoon folks would come to the baseball field in the village and have a game.Families tended to be much larger than today and it was not at all uncommon for families to play games pitting families against each other. In those days not much in the way of recreation or other forms of entertainment were available and on many a Sunday afternoon, after church mind you, a baseball game was an activity many enjoyed.In the surrounding countryside boys and girls visiting family and having those Sunday dinners of chicken and dumplings would often go to the cow pasture after filling their stomachs and play ball.
Poverty kept most of us from owning or having real baseball gear. Bases were rocks and few had gloves or any other nice equipment. All that was needed was a ball of some kind, a good sturdy stick which could be used for a bat. A pair of watchful eyes and an alert mind were all that was necessary to avoid any pasture muffin in the playing area. There is nothing that can ruin a good pair of Sunday shoes (many played barefoot) or clean blue jeans as an encounter with a freshly deposited pasture muffin!
We've come a long way since those carefree days and I dare say many kids today would snub their nose to a game of cow pasture baseball. Nice parks have been built in our county with multiple fields for youth activities. Jackson Park in our county has nine fields and and several nice soccer fields which get a lot of use. The Parks and Recreation Department keep busy maintaining the grounds as well as organizing adult as well as youth activities that range from T-ball for the younger children to competitive adult softball leagues. Soccer has also become popular and fields for soccer are also in the park complex.
Even with all the nice parks available, there is still the occasional cow pasture ball game. When our sons were younger they played in the pasture of their grandparents and those Sunday afternoon games are a part of their memories they cherish.
Cow Pasture Ball
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- Jackson Park - Hendersonville, NC
Jackson Park is largest county-owned park in Western North Carolina, covering 212 acres. Jackson Park offers basketball courts, tennis courts, softbal
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