Spring has sprung

Jerry Apps
Author Jerry Apps reminisces about springtime's of long ago.

I remember those words from my childhood. After a long winter on the farm, oh, how we looked forward to spring. Spring was a time for hope and anticipation. A time for green grass and spring flowers. A time to put behind us the challenges of winter and enjoy sunny days and warm breezes.

Spring at my country school meant the start of the softball season. With the snow gone, we once more found the softball and the bat—we had only one of each—and began practice in our special softball diamond back of the woodshed.

The bases made it special and different from other softball diamonds. First base was a box elder tree, second base was a black oak tree, and third base was a white oak tree. Home plate was a sandy place where the grass didn’t grow. Need I say that no one slid into a base.

The neighboring country schools also played softball; none of us could afford the special gloves worn by baseball players. Softball was strictly a barehanded game in those days.

Softball teams that came to our school to play complained loudly when they saw our diamond.

“We can’t play ball in the woods!” they would shout. But they did, and they usually lost because their balls hit high often got caught in a tree.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Spring is a time for hope; a time to leave our troubles behind and enjoy the new season.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to