Sunday, June 30, 2013

This is Home, Part 18 - The double cousins, fun with Bea, Bea and I ride Tony, with an unexpected audience, Bea visits a saloon, Bea wins at hide and seek

This is part 18 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004. In the "Bea and I ride Tony..." story, where her father and Charley were coming back with the wagon and Frankie, Frankie was a dog, a fox terrier.



The double cousins

There is something I almost forgot. Jean and I had something special -- something that most people don't have. We had three double cousins. Daddy and Uncle Doc's younger brother Elliot married Mom's younger sister Edith. The children they had -- Mary Ellen, Lola Bea, and Katie Jane -- were our double cousins. We all had brown eyes and brown hair. Mary Ellen was the oldest, about nine years older then I was, Bea was six years older than I was, and Katie was about a month younger than Jean.

Fun with Bea

Mary Ellen and Bea used to come and stay for awhile with Mom, Daddy, and Uncle Doc before I was born. One time, when they were small, she left them with Uncle Doc while she went to town after something.

When she got back, Uncle Doc was sitting grimly reading the paper and Mary Ellen met her with eyes "as big as saucers." Mom said, "Where is Bea?" and Mary Ellen whispered "She stropped Uncle Doc." She pointed to where Bea was hiding under something. Mom thought it was funny. Sounds like she was the only one.

Bea was so much fun. I used to love for her to come. She would stay for weeks at a time.

She was the one who climbed up the ladder in the manger and got the baby kittens down from the loft so we could play with them.

She was also the one who went walking with me in the sheep pasture, stepped into a ditch, and sprained her ankle. She climbed on the stile over the fence and went to the mailbox with me.

Bea and I ride Tony, with an unexpected audience

One time when she was there I decided it would be fun if we rode Tony. The men were in the field. At least Daddy and Charley were. Anyway, I put a rope or halter on Tony and led him to the road beside the car house. I got him to put his front feet in the ditch and I climbed up the embankment above him. I got the bridle on him and the other off. I couldn't begin to lift the saddle, so I just left his back bare.

Bea and I had rolled our hair with metal curlers, which is what they had then. We decided no one would see us anyway.

Bea thought it might be fun to ride him, so we took off down the road. On our way back we suddenly saw Daddy and Charley driving back down the road with the wagon and Frankie. We were being smart and just as we were passing them we kicked Tony and took off at a gallop toward the house. When we got there, the farm insurance agent was talking to Uncle Doc. We couldn't get Tony to stop, he ran around the house a couple of times.

Uncle Doc and the agent ran and waved their hats in front of him and yelled "Whoa." They were going around the house on different sides. Tony stopped all at once and we fell off. We only sustained a little damage -- Bea got some curlers bent. She was mortified because she fell off in front of the insurance agent. She said later that she thought Daddy knew and had put the bridle on for us. Mom said "Maudie, what makes you act like that?"

Bea visits a saloon

One time when Bea was there we went to Moberly. Bea was a teenager. Mom bought her a pair of white high heels and a white purse.

We decided to get some ice cream. The ice cream parlor was on that street. Bea was trying to go in and pushed the wrong door, the saloon door. There was a bar with nothing but a row of men sitting, drinking. When the door opened, every single one of them looked our way. Bea was so upset that she hurriedly backed out, caught her purse on the door, and tore the handle. Nice women didn't go in saloons.

Bea wins at hide and seek

One summer evening, Bea, Mary Ellen and Lawrence, the boy who lived on the farm next to them, came over to see us. Lawrence was good looking, had sort of gold blond hair and was Mary Ellen's boyfriend. Bea had a best friend at school; I don't know if she was there. I can't remember if it was during the long twilight we had back there or during one of the bright moonlight nights, but anyway, we decided to play hide and seek. One time Bea hid so well she couldn't be found. Whoever was 'it' couldn't find her and the rest of us were trying to figure out where she was.

We only had the front yard to hide in, and she wasn't anywhere. Finally, the person who was it gave up and we heard a laugh. Bea was up in the oak tree by the garage. It had limbs that were high off the ground and very rough bark. I don't know what kind of oak it was; Missouri has several different kinds.

Anyway, she had climbed on top of their car and climbed up into the tree from there.

Bea was less than five feet tall, very slender, had light brown, wind blown hair, brown eyes and a mouth that turned up at the corners. She had a lot of energy and was always hungry. When her family brought her over, the first thing she did was raid the table and cook stove. And she never gained an ounce -- the rat.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is Home, Part 17 - Helping Uncle Doc with the weeding, or Bye-bye rhubarb, Uncle Doc's pet goose, company

This is part 17 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



Helping Uncle Doc with the weeding, or Bye-bye rhubarb

Uncle Doc had a hoe with a long narrow blade. He used to tell me he was "going grubbing." He was going to take the weeds and roots out.

I noticed some weeds in the yard between the meat house and the fence, so I decided to help him out. I pulled them all out, then I went in to tell Mom. She got this strange look on her face and said "where?" When I told her she said "Oh, Maudie, that was Uncle Doc's rhubarb."

He loved rhubarb pie and looked forward to it every year. When I told Uncle Doc, he didn't say anything except "Hmmm."

Uncle Doc's pet goose

We had six geese at one time. An old gray goose took a fancy to Uncle Doc. He talked to it and fed it. It kept getting into the yard and following him around. He was tired from work one time when he came home for dinner, so he curled up in the yard to rest. This was in the warm weather. The goose came and stayed beside him.

I took a picture with my little brownie camera, a somewhat blurred picture.

Company

We had company every weekend for years. I should say every summer weekend. They just showed up on Sunday. Poor Mom spent hours cooking. Mom cooked a special dinner for them with pie for desert. They admired the house, how nice the yard looked, admired the beautiful view from the yard with the rolling green hills in the distance, told Mom how good her cooking was, and sat around and talked. They were Daddy and Uncle Doc's ages, so no children. It was always a husband and wife. Sometimes two families came. These were not people from our neighborhood. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the roads were bad and they couldn't come. This doesn't include relatives.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, June 21, 2013

This is Home, Part 16 - Cemetery clean-up, the gravy yard, the cemetery on the farm, mowing the yard and the pasture

This is part 16 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



Cemetery clean-up

Albert had been their friend since they were in school together and maybe before.

There was a graveyard named the Barnhart Cemetery a mile or so past the school. Daddy, Uncle Doc and Albert used to get together every year to mow the grass, trim and remove anything that shouldn't be there. They also straightened the tombstones. David and I visited it when we went back home in 1997.

Grandpa and Grandma Rice and Aunt Joann were buried there. However, I think they were moved from the big farm between Jacksonville and Darksville. Their tombstones were beautiful and looked new. I think they were made of granite.

We had a cemetery on the farm and everyone was moved when the farm was sold in 1952. I remember Daddy and Uncle Doc saying some of the people being moved had to have new caskets and tombstones. Some of the people were moved to Huntsville Cemetery. I think Grandpa and Grandma already had relatives buried at both cemeteries. I guess Daddy and Uncle Doc wanted them close to the farm.

However, Daddy, Uncle Doc and Albert are gone, so there is no one to take care of the Barnhart Cemetery. When David and I were there, some of the tombstones that were very tall and in three pieces had fallen down. Grandma's, Grandpa's and Joann's won't because they have a single large tombstone each.

Barnhart Cemetery is quite small.

The gravy yard

That reminds me, I used to call a graveyard a gravy yard when I was small. Mom, Daddy and Uncle Doc used to keep correcting me and pronouncing it for me. I remember saying, "See -- that is what you are saying." I got so irritated one time that I said "Spell it." Then I remembered that I couldn't spell. It would be a few years before I started to school.

The cemetery on the farm

I remember walking over with Mom to the cemetery on the farm. It had a nice fence around it and a metal gate. Outside the fence it had cedar trees. It was on a high rolling hill like the house, barns and other buildings.

Mowing the yard and the pasture

Once, Daddy mowed the front yard of the house with a mower he used in the pasture. It was made of iron, was pulled by two horses, and had a blade that was very long (probably four to five feet) that was on one side. Daddy pulled a lever to fold the blade up when not in use. He couldn't mow the sides and back of the yard that way because of the trees and bushes. They bought a push lawnmower and later a gasoline one. I tried to mow with the push one but didn't get very far. Charley usually did it. We had a large yard.

Daddy mowed the pasture to keep the weeds down so the cows and sheep and horses could get to the grass. Besides, I think he liked the way it looked.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is Home, Part 15 - Democratic speakings, voting, Uncle Doc, influential Democrat, ninety candles, Uncle Doc the judge, election day

This is part 15 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



Democratic speakings

Back home at that time, we had what was commonly called Democratic speakings. I don't even remember hearing about Republican anything.

At the speakings, the Democratic women sold food such as pie slices, ice cream and cake, sandwiches of mutton, beef, barbequed pork or whatever.

The candidates would speak, we would listen and clap. People would also hand out cards for the candidates.

They were getting ready for a local primary election. Something we just had.

Voting

I remember when I first voted back home. There were two large circles at the top of the ballot. One was Democrat, one was Republican. If one wanted to vote a straight Democratic ticket, one would just put an X inside the circle at the top. I did.

Uncle Doc, influential Democrat

Uncle Doc had been a member of the Randolph Democratic Committee for years. Mom had a Missouri Blue Book from 1913 that had been sent to Uncle Doc because he was on the Democratic Committee. There may have been earlier ones. Mom said he was a young man when he joined. Uncle Doc's name, J.D. Rice, is in each of the Missouri Blue Books as on the Democratic Committee from Randolph County, Sheriton Township. The actual name of the Blue Book is Official Manual, State Of Missouri. You all have one for your year of birth except Sharon, who was born in Scottsdale.

Back to Uncle Doc. He became influential in the candidates the committee supported. I remember candidates coming to the farm to talk to him and being sent over to where he was working. There the candidate was in a suit and tie with nicely polished shoes, while Uncle Doc had on faded overalls, a blue shirt and work shoes. Not every candidate, but some.

I also remember hearing committee members asking Uncle Doc who he planned to support.

Uncle Doc met Harry Truman, shook hands with him and talked to him. Truman later became President.

Ninety candles

Uncle Doc went to Jefferson City to some Democratic Committee meeting in May 1960. He came back and happily told me that they had surprised him with a birthday cake with ninety candles on it. He said it looked beautiful with all the candles lit. I was so glad for him. We had celebrated his birthday just before he left, and had only put something like three candles on it so it would be easy for him to blow them out.

Uncle Doc really worked to elect the candidates he liked. He recommended them to people he was talking with and he arranged for Democrats who had no way to get to the polls to be picked up and driven there and back.

Uncle Doc the judge

Uncle Doc worked as a judge on election day. As he got older and was under stress, his handwriting got shaky. Mom worked as his secretary and did the writing. After Uncle Doc died, she became a judge.

Election day

Election day was strange. When we got home from school, there were no snacks waiting for us and Mom wasn't asking how our day went.

Usually, it was cold, but the roads were passable and Charley picked us up from school in his car. We went home to get Daddy, then to the voting precinct in Darksville so they could vote and get home before dark.

It was always well after dark when Mom and Uncle Doc got home. They had to help count the votes after the polls closed.

School, by the way, was always from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for all grades. We didn't have kindergarten.

Daddy, Uncle Doc and Albert Hooper were the school board the entire time we went to school at Hickory. Daddy was President, Uncle Doc was Secretary-Treasurer, and Albert was a board member.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, May 04, 2013

This is Home, Part 14 - Hot dogs, the little monkey, the puppy in the pocket

This is part 14 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



Hot dogs

We used to shop sometimes in Macon instead of Moberly when I was small. They had really good franks at Macon. They were a lot better than what can be bought today. They were large and I loved the skin. It was greasy. It could actually be browned.

The little monkey

I got out of actual shopping for anything if I could. While Mom was shopping one time, Daddy and I made a lovely discovery. There was a man with a monkey just off the main street. It had a little collar around its neck and a tiny chain kept him from disappearing. I'm not sure if he had on a little jacket and cap or not. He was a capuchin monkey. His owner may have had an accordion or something similar. Something attracted our attention.

Anyway, he was such a cute, friendly little monkey. Daddy gave him coins and he bit each one to see if it was good before he put it in a purse. He was in or on some sort of cart. Daddy asked what he could eat. One thing was coconut candy. There used to be candy that was about the size of and shaped like candy made with maraschino cherries in it. Coconut candy had a pale coating of one of these: white, pink, yellow, brown, or green candy. Inside was coconut candy. It could be bought in bulk at grocery stores. The store would put it in a small white sack.

We always fed the monkey coconut candy and gave him coins. I remember him holding out his tiny little hands. He was so cute.

The puppy in the pocket

Jean always stayed with Mom and missed all the fun. She never got into things like I did. One time Daddy and I were walking along a street in Moberly. A man stepped forward and fished this cute little puppy out of his coat pocket. It had huge eyes and a little blunt face and was furry. I really wanted that pup. I petted him. Daddy admired him. I wanted him, but Daddy wouldn't get him. He said that kind of dog belonged in town, not on a farm.

It was a Pekingese and looked like Bandit.

So far I have had three Pekingese since living out here. Sharon bought me two of them. They were all pure bred. Bandit was born in Phoenix, but Wojo came from Kansas and Mizzou came from Missouri.

Sharon also bought me a pure bred Boston terrier named Lady Bug. We used to have a book with a Boston terrier in it and I wanted one.

Daddy, Uncle Doc, and Charley always bought us a candy bar or an ice cream cone each when we all went to town. The candy bars were all chocolate and all different. Mom finally said that was too much.

Daddy and Uncle Doc always met a lot of men they knew to talk with. They were lawyers, judges, politicians, Democratic Committee members, farmers and others. They stood around in groups and talked.

The family I grew up in were staunch Democrats, as I am today.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is Home, Part 13 - The seasons change: Colored leaves and holidays, autumn in Missouri, Thanksgiving and snow, Mom sewed, Christmas

This is part 13 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



The seasons change: Colored leaves and holidays

Summer had drifted by. It was autumn or fall. In Missouri, autumn is a spectacular time of year. Very beautiful -- with trees of red and trees of gold. There was a vine that had dark red leaves. There were a lot of trees. There was a wooded area between us and Wayman Hill. It was on the side of a larger hill and very spectacular when all the trees were dressed for autumn. We also had at least ten trees in our yard, but only some changed color. Four were cedars.

In school for years, we were supposed to bring in different kinds of leaves and trace around them and fill in the veins. Then write the name underneath. I also remember vases of colored leaves. Mom used to also send a bouquet of autumn flowers.

For just about every holiday -- major -- we made booklets of pictures related to that holiday. For some holidays, we gave plays. I remember the windows being decorated with witches on brooms for Halloween. Uncle Doc or Daddy actually brought a shock of corn with pumpkins (they raised a few pumpkins, too) that were put around it.

Autumn in Missouri

Autumn back home is like no other place I have lived. There are certain days with a pale drift of sun, a gentle breeze, and a feeling of something lost just beyond the reach of memory. Slightly sad days with something long forgotten that can not be remembered. A drifting kind of a day. I could almost hear voices in the wind. Strange. I never thought that I would ever live any place but there.

Thanksgiving and snow

November and Thanksgiving. I don't remember about what Miss Hazel taught or did but usually there was the mandatory play and the whole neighborhood came.

Finally I was out of school for a few days. Jean and I watched Mom make pumpkin pies by the double kitchen windows while big flakes of snow came down outside. Soon the fence posts were wearing little caps of snow and the bare branches of the trees were wearing snow. The whole scene looked like a winter wonderland. It was beautiful and cold.

The men weren't that thrilled. They swept the snow off their gum boots outside when they got back and headed straight for the stove in the living room. After awhile they took off the mittens Mom had made them, their lined blue jean coats, their sweaters, and caps. They took off their boots and stretched their stocking feet toward the fire. There were always chairs setting around the stove waiting for them.

Frankie headed behind the kitchen stove. The stove set out quite far from the wall because of the stove pipe. It was a nice warm stop. Frankie slept there all year around. Sometimes the men sat around the kitchen stove when Mom wasn't working in there. Frankie sometimes moved his legs and feet when he was asleep. Uncle Doc smiled and told me Frankie was chasing rabbits in his sleep.

Back in those days, dogs were fed scraps from the table. Mom used to tell Daddy not to feed Frankie when we were at the table eating. But Frankie always got under the table and waited. Pretty soon, with a guilty little grin, Daddy would be holding a bite of meat out to him. It was only the first.

Mom sewed

The mittens mentioned above were the only thing the men wanted to wear on their hands. Daddy said Mom's mittens were the only thing that would keep his hands warm. The outside of the mitten was made with what I think was called feather tick. It was the dark gray and white striped material that was commonly used on pillows. Then another material or two was placed inside the feather tick, and finally a soft white material that was called a sheet blanket was placed on the inside. Mom made them on her sewing machine. She brought the edge of the sheet blanket forward, folded it on the outside of the gloves and sewed it down.

They looked good and they did feel warm. She always made them each several pairs a year. The gloves also resisted dampness.

Mom's sewing machine came in handy. She used to make us skirts and dresses when we were little. She also made dresses for herself. She recovered chairs and they looked professional. She made drapes and contains for the windows. She also made cloth dolls to entertain us on gloomy days. they had yellow yarn hair. She also made clothes for our dolls.

She "pieced together" (made) a lot of quilts also. Our pillows were white ones with embroidered flowers on them and sometimes lace along the opening. She made the cases and did the embroidery and lace. She hooked rag rugs in her spare time. They were round and used to be tightly put together. They were throw rugs. They were made from left-over material torn into stripes and sometimes from unfaded material from clothes. Even pajamas.

Mom also made and embroidered dresser scarves and scarves for the lamp tables. She often edged them with lace.

She also made herself new aprons.

Another thing that she made was footstools. She used to buy coffee in tall, wide metal cans. I know each can was at least two pounds, but it could have been more. When she got enough cans -- maybe eight or nine -- she put sand in each can, fastened the lid on, wrapped them in upholstery cotton and tied them together. Put cotton in any vacant space between them. She also cut two solid pieces of cotton the same size as the top and bottom of the foot stool. She had made a pattern that had the top and bottom separate from the sides. She sewed it on the sewing machine as much as she could, then put the fastened together cans in and finished it. When she finished, it was a footstool covered with cotton inside. Nothing ever shifted in it, and one never felt the edge of the cans. The outside covering was a heavy cotton material that didn't seem to wear. I have one somewhere.

Christmas

Since today is Christmas, I am thinking about Christmas on the farm.

We usually had the tree up about two weeks before Christmas and we took it down the day before New Year's day.

When it was time to get the tree, Mom would always say, "Now Ernest, we don't need a great big tree this year. Just a small one." Daddy would smile sheepishly and drive off with the horses and sleigh to get the tree. He loved Christmas just as much as we did. Frankie always went with him.

Sometime later Daddy came back with the cedar tree and yes, he did it again. It was too tall to stand up in the living room. So he had to saw part of it off. It smelled so fresh and wonderful. Of course, it should. It had just been chopped down over in the pasture. Jean and I -- and Daddy -- could hardly wait to get it up. Sometimes he shook snow off it. He always swept the snow off his gum boots before he came in. Gum boots were rubber boots that came up to a few inches below the knee. A couple of pairs of heavy, tall socks were worn with them, but no shoes. They were not made for shoes.

Finally, he had the tree up. We already had the decorations out. No electricity, no electric lights. We had beautiful breakable ornaments to put on it. Some of them were partly frosted. A few had Christmas scenes, a few were half an ornament with a deepening color and design. We also put foil icicles and a garland on it. It always had a silver star on top. Mom helped us decorate.

We knew Christmas was the birthday of Jesus and that he came so we could go to Heaven someday by believing in him. It was fun and exciting waiting for Santa, but still that period of time felt holy. The silence of the snow covered countryside probably contributed to this feeling. There was a peace not found today.

On Christmas morning, there were oranges, apples, nuts and candy for everyone. Two pairs of new overalls for Zack. Plus a sack of all the treats. He was a neighbor who was in college with Daddy and Uncle Doc. Zack got measles or something similar that caused him to run a very high temperature. He never recovered -- he became like a child of probably nine or so years.

He always came to our house to see what Santa had brought him. He ate Christmas dinner with us. His brother Albert was probably enjoying the quiet. Albert stayed a bachelor and spent his life farming and taking care of Zack.

Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley got new mittens sometimes. I don't remember what Mom got.

When Jean and I were small, we found dolls, stuffed toys like bears, little rocking chairs sometimes, slates and chalk and other things. Plus all the food.

The bears that we had were different than the bears that children play with today. The ones we had were stiff, not soft like the ones today. Their faces were different and they had heavy wires in the legs and arms. The legs and arms were movable. Sometimes the heads were, too. They could sit, stand and walk with help.

As we got older, we found sweater sets, skirts, pen and pencil sets. Also a huge dark blue box for each with powder, perfume, toilet water set on a white silk interior. It was called Evening in Paris and was in dark blue containers. The scent of the perfume "Intimate" that I used to buy reminded me of it.

Back to Christmas. We never had turkey; we had pork roasts, usually. Mom always fixed a fantastic dinner with different kinds of pie. One of them was usually mince pie. At that time it was called mincemeat and actually had bits of meat in it.

One time on Christmas, when I was in early grade school, I followed Daddy outside in the snow. There were sleigh tracks near the yard fence but in the sheep pasture. I showed them to Daddy and told him I thought they were from the night before when Santa brought the presents. He agreed that it sure looked like it. Jean and I were delighted.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is Home, Part 12 - School, Uncle Doc and school, chores and school, Mom at school, school, box suppers

This is part 12 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



School

All of a sudden the unbelievable happened. School was starting and I was expected to go. I felt like a queen who had just been dethroned.

Daddy and Uncle Doc had a cousin who taught school. He was young and his last name was Sears. He had come by every once in a while and taught me how to say the alphabet and read some. I could also count some.

When I started to school, I started in the second grade at the age of seven. You wouldn't believe how much I hated school.

To add insult to injury, Mom invited the teacher, Miss Hazel, to stay with us for awhile! She thought it would make it easier if I knew her. However, it just meant I could never escape her.

After a short time, I decided I couldn't stand the idea of going to school. I refused to go and I ran out of the house and under the honeysuckle bushes. They were like shorter trees and were quite wide.

I ran under one of the bushes and Mom and Miss Hazel tried to surround me and grab me. The bush was too wide and too low. They couldn't reach me. I just kept zooming from one to another. They tried for awhile longer, then finally gave up.

Miss Hazel went to school, but I stayed home.

No one yelled at me or spanked me. They didn't do that type of thing. They just went on with their work and ignored me somewhat. They answered questions, but just didn't engage in a conversation as they usually did. They made it clear they disapproved, without a word.

Next day I went back to school. I didn't do that particular thing again. I thought of others.

I went to school in a one room school house. There was a little room we entered first. It was a cloak room, but one wall was covered with books. It also served as a library. It also had a front porch before the cloak room. The front porch had a concrete floor and a roof over it.

Toys consisted of a ball and bat, chalk to play hopscotch on the porch, and a rope to jump while two other children turned it.

I don't know how many kids were necessary to have a school, but I do know there had to be a certain number. We probably had around fifteen or sixteen my first year. I found a picture of a year where I was probably around the fifth grade and there were sixteen children. The school had windows down one side and one in the library. I don't remember windows on the other side of the school room. We had to depend on the windows for light. No electricity. This teacher and the ones following made us go outside at noon and the two recesses. They also wanted us to join in playing. I wanted to stay inside and look at the books and later, I wanted to read and draw pictures. I hated baseball. It was so boring. I didn't mind playing hopscotch, tag, or jumping rope.

Uncle Doc and school

I asked Uncle Doc one time what he played when he went to school. He chuckled and looked like he was remembering. He said there was nothing to play with when he went to school. However, he said, there was a big tree with long branches. So, a bunch of the boys grabbed a branch and pulled it down. One of the boys got on it and they released it. The branch went back up in the air and the boy on it shot up even higher.

They also took hold of each others' hands and formed a long line, then they started running in a circle with the one on the inner end hardly moving. They kept going faster and faster. The ones on the outer end started being flung off. I think it was called Crack the Whip.

Chores and school

Uncle Doc told me one time that when they were in school, they had to get up early and do all the chores each morning before they left home. On a farm, this would mean milking the cows, feeding and watering all the animals, and maybe letting some out. I hope they weren't expected to cut out holes in the ice so a herd of cattle could drink. I'm thinking of farm chores.

No matter what the weather was, they had to walk to school. I don't know what school they went to -- maybe Darksville. Hickory didn't look that old.

At night they did the chores again.

Mom at school

Mom told me one time that she could run faster than anyone at her school. She also said she could climb trees. I guess this is what her school did.

School

When the East Fork got out, there was no way for us to get to school. I don't think it affected any other family.

Miss Hazel moved to Elmo Hudson's house beside the school while the weather was still good. Elmo and his wife had no children, but the teachers always stayed at their house thereafter.

I'm suspicious that the school board or just Daddy and Uncle Doc may have given them money to keep the teachers. Elmo Hudson and his wife were not known for their generosity. They were also a pain in the neck. Especially Elmo.

Mom bought blinds and curtains for all the windows at school. She bought a rod to run along the stage which covered one end of the room. Then she bought material for stage curtains. She sewed them and put gold colored rings on them so they could be drawn open and shut. Our family contributed all this.

There was no water, so a large water container (cooler) was bought.

Miss Hazel was young. She was tall with red shoulder length hair. She was actually a pretty nice teacher. I just did not want to be told what to do or to spend time away from home.

The sideboard at Sharon's house used to be in the living room on the farm. It had a square mirror on top. Miss Hazel used to come down, get on her knees in front of it and comb her hair. I have no idea why. She had a perfectly good mirror on top of a dresser in her room. Also, a very tall mirror on a dresser in the hall next to her room.

Box suppers

In the spring or fall, grade schools back home had a unique way of raising money. They had box suppers.

Each girl student had a box full of food that she shared with the person who bought it. The boxes had lids that were beautifully decorated with ribbons, flowers, anything that looked good. Parents and anyone else who was interested came, and the boxes were auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder.

Jean and I were in a panic even sharing a box with Roscoe. So Mom pointed out the boxes that Jean and I were taking to Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley. They outbid anyone else.

The women who came also brought boxes. So did the teacher.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, April 06, 2013

This is Home, Part 11 - Sheep shearers, harvest hands, summer nights, the wolf, Rowdy and Buster, a dog with a broken leg, hanging in there, yellow tomatoes and an apple tree

This is part 11 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



Sheep shearers

There were quite a few extra men eating at our house sometimes. In the spring when the weather was finally warm, we had sheep shearers who came and removed the sheep's wool so they would be comfortable in the summer. The wool was then rolled into bundles, tied with binder twine, and sold.

I took hold of Daddy or Uncle Doc's hand and went in to see how they did it. The sheep looked so silly sitting meekly on its tail while it had wool all around it. They were shearing evenly down the sheep. When they got through, the sheep looked very white where the wool had been.

While it is still weather for jackets or coats in the spring, the lambs have to have their tails cut off so they only have a short little tail left. It is done for sanitary reasons. Uncle Doc was cutting them off with a sharp knife while Daddy or Charley held the lamb. One held and one dipped.

I told Uncle Doc that I didn't want him to do this, because it would hurt the lamb. He said no, it really doesn't. Then he took my hand and said "Feel here. It is a joint; I'm not cutting the bone. It separates here."

I could feel that the bone was missing at that particular place and it felt like just skin. The lamb didn't even bleed that I saw. It's tail -- what was left of it -- was immediately dipped into a fairly thick substance that smelled really awful. Then the lamb rushed away to its mother.

Harvest hands

In the fall, harvest hands came to cut the hay with a combine. It was hot still, so they rested at noon sometimes and worked late at night. Daddy had two hay fields that I know about. The smell of newly cut hay is wonderful.

When the harvest hands came to dinner at noon, they had taken off their shirts because the shirts were sweaty and had hay dust on them. Mom asked Daddy to ask them to wear their shirts because of us. They shook them out and put them back on.

In the summer, we always ate on the long front porch near the kitchen door. Mom had a table with sides that folded down to about eight or nine inches from the floor. It had an extra leg on each side that was attached to the middle. They would swing out in the middle and hold up the folded down side. Mom put an oil cloth on this table instead of a table cloth.

I think it was called a gate leg table.

Mom always fixed a huge dinner. There were pitchers of ice tea and lemonade setting on the table. She made pie for desert.

Summer nights

It was cooler eating on the porch than in the kitchen. When we ate out there at night we had some determined flying insects who wanted to come in and join us. However, they couldn't get through the screen. The lamp was setting on the table and the light attracted them.

We had the most beautiful moonlight nights back home. There was a breeze most of the time. I remember when I was dating Edgar later that the weeping willow branches made lovely shadows on the porch when they blew in the wind. I always silently admired them when he brought me home.

We used to have moonlight almost as bright as day.

The family used to sit out in the yard on summer nights. The stars were so bright. Charley used to show me the little dipper, big dipper and other configurations in the sky.

Missouri had beautiful rolling green hills. The farm house was built on high ground. We could sit in the yard and see the light of Moberly and Huntsville in the distance. Those were good times. Moberly was twenty miles away by the road and Huntsville was fourteen miles away. Of course, they were closer "as the crow flies."

No matter what the season, Daddy always went to bed at 8 o'clock. He would let Frankie in and wind the clock. Then off to bed.

However, he slept poorly. He had injured his knee when a log rolled and pinched it, and it still ached. Besides, I think his legs may have cramped. Anyway, he slept in short naps. He walked around for awhile between naps and then tried a different bed, such as the living room couch, or the cot on the porch, or even the hammock between two of the cedar trees in the yard.

Uncle Doc had rheumatism and arthritis when he got older, so he was up with his hands and legs cramping. Night was a busy time at our house.

Every night at 4 a.m., I would hear the train whistle as it came around the bend before the crossing in Jacksonville. It was a lonesome sound, but a comforting one too, because it was dependable. I always heard it.

The wolf

Sometimes, we heard a wolf howl. Sometimes another one answered, but we usually just heard one. Daddy said he was talking to or looking for a mate. When some of the livestock such as lambs were taken, the neighbors got upset and stopped by on their horses to see if Daddy wanted to help hunt the wolf and kill it. Daddy was about twenty years older than they were. He just wanted to sleep. Besides, I think he hated to kill it. It looked like a dog.

One time they actually did kill a wolf. One of the neighbors (I think it was Roscoe) stopped to show it to Uncle Doc. He had it tied to the bumper of his car. It was so thin and small, I felt sorry for it. The wolves had a bounty on them at that time and the neighbor was taking it somewhere to collect.

We still heard a wolf howling. I told Daddy it was killing lambs and chickens because it was hungry. I said, lets get it meat from the meat house and put it close to where it is so it won't be hungry.

Daddy said wolves were too smart to eat anything touched by a person. There was no way to feed him.

Rowdy and Buster

We didn't get to keep Rowdy and Buster. When they were about half grown, Irvin Williams, who owned the farm directly up the road from us, came and told Daddy that one of his animals was missing and that he had seen the two pups running across his land. He said he couldn't afford to lose any livestock, and if he saw the pups on his land again he would shoot them.

Daddy asked if he had seen them chasing or trying to kill his livestock. Irvin said no. Daddy told him the pups were not hungry -- that they were fed a lot of food. He said pups run and play. Daddy reminded him that there was a wolf or wolves around. Irvin didn't care -- he wasn't taking any chances. He told Daddy to do something with the pups.

Daddy did something all right. He had a new barn for the sheep so he could put early lambs and their mother inside, instead of covering the snowy pasture with straw again like he did last time. He put straw on the floor of the new barn, a bucket of water inside and some food. Then he gave the barn to the pups. They could get sunshine in and see out, because spaces had been left between the boards so the sheep wouldn't be too hot. At least I think that was why. Maybe it wasn't finished.

Daddy and Charley fed, watered, and petted them. Jean and I petted their noses though the boards. Sometimes they could be heard running and playing inside. Jean and I were afraid to open the door. We thought they might run out and get shot.

Finally, after quite a period of time, Daddy said it wasn't much of a life for them staying in the barn. He asked if we would care if he could find a good home in town for them. We agreed. So away went Rowdy and Buster.

A dog with a broken leg

Rowdy and Buster's mother managed to break her leg. Daddy made a sling for her. It fit underneath her with four holes for her legs. Then he fastened it to a limb of the mulberry tree in the yard. She could just barely touch the yard with her feet.

She stayed that way until her leg healed. He also put a splint on her leg.

She got lots of petting and attention. She managed to get around a little on three legs while waiting for the other one to heal.

Hanging in there

One embarrassing incident I remember is when Aunt Opal and her kids came from Colorado for a visit one time. I had been told repeatedly not to step in between the wood supports for the unfinished floor on the right of the staircase upstairs. I knew better than to step on it, but I just didn't believe it wouldn't support me. I wanted to see what would happen. I found out immediately when I stepped there. Suddenly, I could see into Charley's room. I had gone through his ceiling and would have fallen if I hadn't doubled my arms and put each arm straight out so it would rested on one of the supports. The supports were close together.

Aunt Opal heard something and came in to find me suspended through the ceiling with my legs dangling down into space. She yelled for Mom and the two of them took hold of me and got me down. It was most embarrassing!

What was really bad -- the ceiling always had a place there that looked different even when it was repaired and papered. Every time I looked at it, I felt guilty.

Yellow tomatoes and an apple tree

Jean and I found something to do that was fun. The fourth garden was just off the chicken yard by a pond. There was a large, old, yellow apple tree there in the corner by the wood fence that separated the garden from the sheep pasture. This was inside the garden.

The tree had a trunk that separated into two parts that went outward. If the tree didn't touch the fence, it almost did.

We would get a play bucket or basket of little yellow tomatoes from the garden, climb up on the fence and sit in the tree to eat them.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is Home, Part 10 - Willow whistles and cat's cradles, the switch, my swing, helping Mom, Jean and I ride Tony, canning, Daddy and summer heat, churning the butter, ice cream, lettuce inspection

This is part 10 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



Willow whistles and cat's cradles

In the spring, when Jean and I were small, Mom would cut a little branch off the willow tree and cut a piece about 3 or 4 inches off, cut a little hole in the top and cut a path in the inside (I think), also she slipped the bark off and made us each a whistle. Charley did it too, sometimes. They each could make us a cat's cradle with string and also make other things. I never could remember how to do any of it, although they tried to tell me. They could make a blade of grass sound like a whistle.

The switch

Mom also found other uses for little branches -- probably willow. Jean and I kept arguing and were driving her crazy. She cut off a branch and made a little switch which she laid on top of the warmer on the stove. She said if we kept going, she would switch us. She used it as a threat several times after that until Jean took it down and broke it in two. She didn't bother replacing it.

My swing

I was telling Daddy one time that I wished the swing under the mulberry tree would go really high. Sometime later, he and Charley came with two horses and a wagon to a tall tree at the edge of the woods with really high branches. I went along as they tied a rope over a straight branch and Daddy fitted on the board seat he had made for it. I had my swing and this one did go really high. I felt like I could see everything. Just like a poem I liked.

Summertime was a really nice time on the farm for me. Days that were not too hot, filtered sunlight and puffy white clouds of different shapes. I spent a lot of time laying on my stomach on the floor of the South room reading, after I got old enough to read. I had the Nancy Drew books, Kay Tracey books, and lots of westerns. Uncle Doc used to read them and discuss them with me. He bought me my first Wyatt Earp book, "Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal."

Uncle Doc told me that when he was growing up there wasn't a lot of information that wasn't local. He said that the information received about happenings at other places was reported by people going through.

He also said that when he was young, he remembered hearing about Wyatt Earp. We used to talk about the O.K. Corral. If he had still been around, Uncle Doc would have enjoyed seeing it when I finally went there years later with my children and husband. I thought about him, and missed him.

Helping Mom

Sometimes, I helped snap beans or shelled peas. As I got older, I made different kinds of salads. But I really didn't help Mom the way I should have. I did things sometimes.

Daddy used to tell me to help Mom, but she really didn't encourage it. For one thing, she had an enormous amount of work to do and she was very fast while I was so slow I don't think she had time to wait for me. Maybe she wanted us to grow up carefree because she was working hard when she was just a little girl. Anyway, I feel guilty.

She used to tell me to talk to Jean. Jean was afraid of all the animals, except the dogs and cats. She really didn't pay a lot of attention to them, either. Later, she especially liked cats.

Jean and I had the same background, but you would never know it. I loved the farm and all the animals, except the ones that tried to get me.

Jean and I ride Tony

One time when we were small, I took Jean with me and followed Daddy as he watered Tony. When he started to lead him into the barn lot, I wanted to ride. He put us on Tony. Jean was behind me. We were going up the little incline from the road into the barnyard when Jean moved a little farther back.

She said, "I'm falling, I'm falling." I told Daddy. He stopped Tony, checked where she was sitting, and said, "No, you're all right." Jean slid off of Tony and held on to his tail all the way down. Tony just stopped and stood there. Maybe this is one reason she didn't like animals, but she was afraid to begin with. Daddy and Uncle Doc had a little brother who died when a horse kicked him in the head. Daddy was careful with Jean. She just didn't -- maybe couldn't -- hold on to me except very lightly.

Jean hated the farm. She didn't care about all the things I thought were interesting. By the time she was in late grade school, she wanted to live in a big city with lots of things to do and especially lots of dresses to buy. She wanted to do things with people her own age. I was so bored talking to her about clothes and styles. She has lived in Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles and Phoenix since she grew up. She has had a lot of beautiful clothes. I guess she knew what she wanted.

Canning

Anyway, back to the summer. Mom carried vegetables from each of the gardens and canned them. It was really hot in the kitchen when she was canning. Mom was proud of her canning. Daddy made, or had someone make, a lot of shelves in the cellar for her and she canned until they were all full and nothing left to can.

We had an apple tree with yellow apples, pear trees, several kinds of cherry trees, an apricot tree, two mulberry trees, a tree with damsons. She made preserves from some of these and canned them. We had little tiny yellow tomatoes in the garden. She made preserves of them. She said we could have some in the winter that way. Daddy and Uncle Doc also bought a basket of red apples, which she turned into apple sauce and other types of canned apples.

She made dill pickles and bread and butter pickles.

All this time, she was cooking three meals a day. I don't know how she did it.

When I was little, I remember Daddy or Uncle Doc sweeping the front porch for Mom. Then entertaining me so she could get dinner on the table.

Daddy used to come home for dinner, wash his face, neck, and hands. And also comb his hair. His hair was still dark, with threads of gray, and had a wave. He was in his sixties.

Daddy and summer heat

Daddy had trouble standing the heat of summer, more so as he got older. After eating, he went down to the cellar where he rested on the cot for awhile. As he got older, he stayed in the cellar for a longer time at noon and worked later at night.

The cellar was as cold as refrigeration. There were two ways to enter. The kitchen had a door in the floor which one could raise and then climb down the stairs, which is what Daddy did. There was also a slanted outside door laying at an angle on the framework. The head was higher. This door was never locked and could be raised so one could walk down the concrete steps to the cellar. Of course, if anyone opened the outside door, the warm outside air came in. The kitchen door was later blocked off, so only the outside door was used then.

I used to follow Daddy down into the cellar and talk to him. There was an old chair down there, so I could sit beside him.

Churning the butter

There was a churn in the cellar, also. Mom used to churn butter sometimes during the weekend. Charley also came and did part of the churning. I can't remember what the churn looked like, except that it was like a large wooden bucket with a lid and a paddle in the middle. I hope what I have described is correct. The handle of the paddle stuck out the top of the middle of the lid.

I think Mom used to skim a heavy amount of cream off the milk and use it to make butter. I don't know if it had anything else put in it or around it. It may have had table salt in it.

When the butter was finished, there was thin milk left with flecks of butter in it. This was called buttermilk. Mom and Charley liked to drink it. Jean and I didn't like milk of any kind. Maybe chocolate.

Daddy and Uncle Doc wouldn't touch milk if you paid them -- not since Uncle Doc was in college and saw it under a microscope.

The butter was put into a large cereal bowl or small vegetable bowl, and set on the ice in the ice box. When it was placed on the table, it looked like half of a yellow ball.

Ice cream

Sometimes on Sunday, during the summer, they made ice cream. There was a wooden ice cream maker in the cellar with a smaller metal container in it. The cream, sugar and flavoring such as vanilla were put in the metal container. If there was anything else, I don't remember. The ice cream maker outside the metal had ice and coarse salt put in it. A handle had to be turned until the ice cream was frozen. Jean and I thought it would never be ice cream. Just before it was finished, sometimes Mom would add small slices of peaches. We also must have had a peach tree, but I can't think where.

Everyone was given a bowl of it. There was a lot left for later.

Every time Daddy ate ice cream, he rubbed his forehead in the middle and complained that ice cream froze his forehead.

Lettuce inspection

Stephen insisted that I write this down.

When Mom made a salad with lettuce, I used to carefully inspect each piece of lettuce before I ate it. They grew leaf lettuce on the farm.

I think I irritated Mom. She would say, "Maudie, I put that lettuce through several rinse waters. There is nothing on it."

I still inspected it. It was the only thing that bothered me. I was just sure it must have a little bug somewhere. I don't know what age I was. Probably grade school.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, April 05, 2013

This is Home, Part 9 - Missouri spring, spring rains, a Rainy Day, lightning makes a call, tornados, when the wind is green

This is part 9 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

In the section on tornados, she refers to one that hit Moberly. The actual date for the tornado strike was July 4, 1995 (which matches what she said, a year or two before 1997, on the 4th of July).



Missouri spring

The whole year was interesting back home because there was always something to look forward to with each season. In spring everything was new and growing. The grass, the flowers, the baby animals. The spring showers really did make the grass and flowers grow, just like the song says. The lilacs bloomed and the next month the roses. The bridal wreath bloomed. It looked like a big snowball with all the white blossoms all over the branches and the fact that the branches all drooped.

Mom had made two flower beds -- one large rectangular one and one large round one. They were near to the honeysuckle on the end of the little porch, but nearer the three cedar trees. They could be seen from the road. She planted different kinds of flowers so they always looked beautiful.

Mom had a knack with flowers and with everything else she tried. She had different kinds of house plants inside. My favorite was the Boston fern.

I loved the old washing machine that she had taken everything off of and painted red. It was made of wood. She planted different kinds of moss in it. Some of the flowers were double. It set in the front yard near the well and between two cement walks.

You haven't lived until you have experienced a Missouri thunderstorm. The crack of the thunder is so loud it sounds like a tree trunk is being split in two right beside you.

I used to be afraid of it when I was little. The North bedroom felt very far away from the kitchen where Mom was working. I ran and jumped in Charley's bed and pulled the covers over my head.

But afterwards, there was a wonderful smell of freshness outside and a beautiful rainbow. Mom said the rainbow showed that God remembered his promise to never again destroy the Earth with water.

She looked forward to the birds coming back again. The wren, the blue bird, the robin, and the cardinal. She thought they made things cheerful. They didn't really stay around the yard much. Sometimes, one would sit on the fence in the back yard for a few minutes.

The wren seemed to get busy building her nest. We would see her fly by with something in her bill for the nest.

Anyway, we had the woods just above the Missouri henhouse.

Mom used to take us to the woods sometimes. We had picnics there and Mom used to make sounds like the different birds. They would answer and fly to a nearby tree. She could even sound like the whippoorwills and bob-o-links. They would also answer and fly to a tree near us.

One time when we were there, we watched a beaver (maybe two) build a dam across a little body of water. About the size of an ordinary ditch, only wider (Stephen said it sounded like a ravine).

Sometimes we found wildflowers. Mom knew the name of each flower.

Across the road in the hogs' upper pasture just inside the fence were berries to pick at the proper time. What I really found interesting there was the mimosa, or shame briar as it was called. It had long leaves similar to a fern. If you ran a finger along the middle of the leaf, the sides of it folded together.

I loved the dandelions when they came out. When I was small, I was sure I would find an elf sitting on one someday. After all, they are the color of gold.

I looked for four leaf clovers, too.

I also used to try to dig to China. I was just sure I would find their upside down feet on the other side of the world.

Spring rains

Often, spring rains caused the East Fork to flood and we couldn't go to school. Jean and I were just delighted if we woke up and found it had been raining all night. We knew we probably were staying home. Unfortunately, the teacher made us make up any work that we missed.

A Rainy Day

Charley used to tease me in grade school and it made me so mad. He used to say, "Well, tomorrow is Thursday," then he would grin, "unless it rains. Then it is a rainy day."

I used to argue, "You can't do that -- what happens to Thursday?" but he just grinned and repeated that it would be a rainy day if it rained. This wasn't only Thursday; it could be any day.

One time when high school got out for the year, it immediately started raining and rained steadily for a week. Martha Riley (my best friend) and I had really been looking forward to all the things we would have fun doing. Instead, we were stuck in the house writing each other complaining letters.

If Daddy had put any of the crops out when there was a rain like this, he worried that it would be ruined or washed away. If he hadn't put the crop out yet, he worried that it was getting late in the season.

Lightning makes a call

The fiercest storms at home are in the spring. I don't know if the following happened in the spring or not, but it sounds like it.

I used to like to explore upstairs in the house. I found interesting things. One time I showed Mom an old fashioned telephone I found. She said there used to be a party phone line through the neighborhood.

She said when Daddy came home from work in the evening, he used to call a neighbor and all the other neighbors would answer also, and everyone would laugh and talk to each other.

Then they had a really bad storm. The lightning ran in on the phone lines and tore our phone off the wall and slammed it across the room. After that, Daddy didn't get his phone and lines fixed and no one else wanted a phone either. If anyone wanted to make a call, they went to the switchboard at Darksville.

When I was pretty small, Daddy had someone add several lightning rods to the house.

Tornados

In all the time we lived on the farms, there were no tornados. But the grade school gave instructions each year about what to do in case of one. They said stay away from trees, lie in a ditch if there is no water (fat chance!) or lie flat on the ground face down. Always protect the head. If home, get in the middle of the house in a doorway or in a cellar or basement, if there is one.

Charley said he had seen a tornado. He said it drove a piece of straw into a tree.

A tornado finally struck the area. The second farm that Mom sold in November 1966 when she moved out here was three miles east of Moberly where I went to college. About a year or two before David and I went back in 1997, a tornado came in from the east, demolished Mom's used-to-be farm house and tore up a lot of the town of Moberly. This was on the 4th of July.

When the wind is green

We had a very strong wind one time. I haven't seen anything like it since. I looked at the horizon out front and there was a pale green color all along just above it. I pointed it out to Mom and asked why the sky was that color. Mom said it was wind.

Then she said "Help me open the doors and windows." We propped the doors open and raised the windows.

We weren't quite through when the wind started blowing through the house. Mom said to stay out of it and against the wall. It was over in a short time.

At this time, I was probably close to high school age.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dream - A visit with a leprechaun

On September 10, 2010, Friday evening/night, or maybe morning, I dreamed there was a skinny little man, maybe four or five feet high, with short dark curly hair, and a very short small beard. He was wearing a pale suit, open, with maybe a small bow tie, and a pale hat, something like a fedora. He was in a room in a house I visited I think. He was standing on something, maybe a low bed, that was unmade and close to the floor, maybe just a pad on the floor that was used as a bed. He tended to be facing to my left. We talked for a bit, from where I was, next to or in the doorway. He was a leprechaun of some kind, I felt. He seemed slightly upset, bothered by something, and kept moving his feet back and forth, in a kind of half pacing motion, while staying basically where he was.

I had come to the place where he was, from somewhere outside. I had been talking to some other people about something. It seemed that I almost expected to see him, but was still a little surprised. Perhaps I hadn't really expected him there, though I think I had expected to see someone, that I had gone there to do so, to check with someone about something, who should know something about what we were trying to find out.

I think I might have seen the leprechaun somewhere in the past years ago, in the past as remembered in the dream. It was not his room or his house, and I think he expected to be gone before the person whose room it was showed up. At least part of his nervousness seemed to be due to that, anxiety over the person coming back.

A lot happened earlier that I don't remember.

Labels: ,

Saturday, March 16, 2013

400th post

This is the 400th post on this blog. It took a little over three years to put the last hundred posts on, quite a bit longer than the previous hundred. Some major events that happened in the last hundred posts were the posting of a long series of events from my life, mostly early life and mostly involving my grandparent's farm (The house on the highway), and the posting of what I said at my mother's funeral, and other posts about my mother, and I started the posting of my mother's book about her life. I also did three small novels for National Novel Writing Month in that time, and posted short excerpts from them. Regrettably, the Wordzzle posts, the posts with stories made from lists of words, ended partway through 2010, as due to illness I became unable to continue them.


Some of these posts can be found here:

What I said at my mother's funeral (Tuesday, March 01, 2011)

The cat that came back (Tuesday, March 15, 2011)

Dream - My mother and the cat that came back (Tuesday, March 22, 2011)

Dreams and visions of my mother (Saturday, May 07, 2011)


Dream - James Bond and the picture of the rose (Saturday, May 07, 2011)

"Until we meet again" (Saturday, May 07, 2011)

Two, two, two comic books in one! (Monday, June 27, 2011)


The house on the highway, Part 1 (Monday, February 28, 2011)

The house on the highway, Part 2 (Monday, February 28, 2011)

The house on the highway, Part 3 (Monday, February 28, 2011)

The house on the highway, Part 4 (Monday, February 28, 2011)

The house on the highway, Part 5 (Monday, February 28, 2011)

The house on the highway, Part 6 - Some things I missed (Friday, June 24, 2011)


This is Home, Part 1 - My mother's parents, and the rug with the rabbits with the glass eyes (Tuesday, January 15, 2013)

This is Home, Part 2 - Uncle Doc, Charley, the farm house, the log cabin (Saturday, February 02, 2013)

This is Home, Part 3 - Gypsies, hobos and tramps, the new doll, starting the day, the back porch and the carpenter and the bananas (Saturday, February 02, 2013)

This is Home, Part 4 - Fixing the walk, the gardens, getting lost in the corn, the fruit trees, puppies and kittens, the mouse (Sunday, February 10, 2013)

This is Home, Part 5 - Uncle Doc chopping wood, baby animals, the baby pig and its mother, trying to put the calf in the wagon, washing clothes, making soap, making cracklins, the lamb in the kitchen, baby chicks, Frankie and the cattle (Sunday, February 10, 2013)

This is Home, Part 6 - The Tuley Hill, the Old Home Place, spring, spring cleaning, wallpapering the rooms and Mom, the ice box, the ice house (Sunday, March 03, 2013)

This is Home, Part 7 - Plowing with Japie, Little Tony, Grandpa, Buster and Rowdy, Tony (Sunday, March 03, 2013)

This is Home, Part 8 - The big, big turtle, taking a bath, Charley: tricks and treats, Charley and the doll, cars and tractors, cattle, crops and food (Friday, March 15, 2013)


Wordzzle 97 - Marshmallow threats (Friday, January 29, 2010)

Wordzzle 102 - The mountains and the road (Friday, March 05, 2010)

The story behind "The mountains and the road" (Monday, May 10, 2010)


National Novel Writing Month 2012 - Winner! (Saturday, December 01, 2012)

National Novel Writing Month 2011 - Winner!

National Novel Writing Month 2010 - Winner!


Related milestone posts:

300th post (Friday, January 29, 2010)

200th post (Friday, August 21, 2009)

100th post (Saturday, January 31, 2009)

Well, here we are (first post, Monday, August 22, 2005)

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, March 15, 2013

This is Home, Part 8 - The big, big turtle, taking a bath, Charley: tricks and treats, Charley and the doll, cars and tractors, cattle, crops and food

This is part 8 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



The big, big turtle

I liked to play tricks on Charley because of the way he reacted. He usually laughed. Daddy and Uncle Doc wouldn't have thought it was funny. Anyway, Daddy and Charley were cleaning out the stalls in the barn one time, and thanks to me, every time they got to the door with a shovel of manure and straw, I had closed the door. After the second or third time, Daddy said in a no-nonsense tone not to do it again. So I looked around for something else to do. I went out of the barn lot into the pasture beside it, where the pond was. I saw a huge turtle walking toward the gate from the direction of the pond. To this day, I have not seen a turtle that large. I looked around and found a stick. I poked it toward its head, trying to make the turtle tuck its head, legs and tail into its shell.

It wouldn't do it. It snapped at the stick and actually grabbed it. So I took it for a walk. When it let go, I repeated the procedure. I did it several times, then I took a good look at him. It had a face that reminded me of a snake, and taller and stronger legs than I thought possible. The shell was up quite a way from the ground and this turtle seemed to be moving pretty fast.

I was mad at Daddy and Charley, and Uncle Doc wasn't around, so there wasn't anyone to tell. I have often wondered where it went, and hoped it was far away and not in the pond across the road that the little lambs ran around in the spring and where Charley usually took a bath.

Charley was the only one of us who knew how to swim. There was a trough over in the pasture that could be used, I suppose. Just like the cowboys in the stories.

Taking a bath

When we were small children, we could take a bath in the rinse tubs, but when we got larger, it meant getting a pan of warm water and soap, setting it on the stove in the bedroom, and standing there washing from head to toe with a washcloth. One of the nurses in the hospital called that type of washing a spit bath.

We washed our hair in a wash pan. That is a pan one washes one's hands in.

Charley: Tricks and treats

I played other tricks on Charley. I used to climb up in Daddy, Uncle Doc, and Charley's lap and listen to them talk. Then I would go to sleep and whoever was holding me would carry me to the bedroom and leave me lying on the bed. Mom came in and covered me up.

Anyway, I decided to play a trick on Charley. I pretended to be asleep. He carried me in and left. I got very quietly off the bed and sneaked down right behind him. He was telling Mom, "Poor little Maudie, dead to the world. I put her on the bed." About that time, I said from behind him, "No, I'm not." He practically jumped out of his skin.

Charley used to bring me arrowheads from different places he worked on our farm. I wasn't really interested then, but now I wish I had kept them. I still have one. It looks as though they made it out of rock. Actually carved it out of rock. It has flat places on it and ridges.

He also described snakes he had killed. One of the hay fields has flat land surrounded by trees and brush. He told me one time about being chased by a blue racer in the hay field. He killed it. Sometimes, he found a rattlesnake in that field. If he killed one close to the house, unfortunately he showed it to me.

Charley bought my first wrist watch for me. It had a leather strap and lasted for years. He also bought Jean something when he bought a gift for me. One time, he went to a carnival and bought me a large red and white cow. It stood about fourteen or fifteen inches from the floor. He bought Jean a big sitting dog -- black and white with a red collar.

He also used to play ball with us. I got dragged into it -- too much action for me.

Charley and the doll

Charley gave me a little doll that his mother had given him when he was little. It had a stuffed body (straw, maybe) and white unbreakable arms and legs. I didn't know what material. It also had a white china head that looked like a cat. It had green eyes and painted ears. It was wearing a red and white striped dress and had black shoes painted on its feet.

I kept it for years, but I only have the head left. I have it in a safe place and always think of Charley when I see it. He felt like family. I miss hem, too.

This was either before school or during grade school.

Cars and tractors

Charley liked cars. He kept trading for a different one. Hood ornaments were a big thing then. So his cars had chrome or chrome-looking ornaments. Ours didn't.

Speaking of cars, I remember when Uncle Doc had to get out of the car to insert a crank in the front of it and crank it to make it start. It must have been the Model T or Model A, or something like that.

Daddy never learned to drive. He did all his farming with horses. In 1948, the Rice Bros. of Randolph County won a De Kalb corn growing contest with 141.48 bushels per acre. They received a plaque with this information on it. The plaque also had a little gold colored ear of corn with wings. There was also a certificate that I took off the wall so it wouldn't fade, and now I can't find it. It is here somewhere, though.

Practically everyone else was using tractors. Daddy and Uncle Doc bought a new tractor -- green and yellow -- only to find out that Uncle Doc couldn't take the jolting. He had nephritis the whole time I knew him and before. It is a kidney disease that causes chronically inflamed kidneys. Charley could drive the tractor, but it was also difficult to start. It was a brand that was and is well known. It was an Allis-Chalmers or a John Deere.

Anyway, they sold it later and bought a smaller one that hugged the ground more. It was a Ford.

Tractors can be hazardous to operate where the land has hills and hollows. Someone Daddy and Uncle Doc knew died when his tractor turned over and fell on him.

This was not that unusual. There were quite a few accidents reported in the paper.

Cattle, crops and food

Daddy and Uncle Doc raised black Angus cattle and sheep for sale. There were also a few hogs and maybe a couple of horses or so.

They raised crops of corn, Timothy hay, soy beans, wheat, winter wheat, oats, and alfalfa. There may have been others. They sold what wasn't needed as food for the animals.

Late each fall when the weather was cold, three of the hogs were butchered for meat. Coarse salt was rubbed into the outside of the meat to preserve it. It was cut into large parts first -- parts such as hams and bacon.

I remember when pieces of meat were fed into a meat grinder to make sausage. Salt, pepper and sage were added. Then the whole thing was mixed in a large galvanized tub. The grinder was fastened onto the side of the tub.

Mom usually cooked liver the first night. Uncle Doc liked it, but Jean and I hated it. Mom started cooking sausage, too, so we would eat some of the meat. There were huge crocks -- bucket shaped -- containing lard. Some meat was packed into large containers.

Daddy and Uncle Doc never smoked the meat. They preserved it with salt, instead. However, during one winter our whole family was sick in bed with the flu. A neighbor, Roscoe Wright, who lived two or three houses above us, came down and butchered, sugar cured and smoked the hogs for us. Every day, he fed all the animals for us, milked the cows, and did anything else that needed doing. I don't know what we would have done without him.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, March 03, 2013

This is Home, Part 7 - Plowing with Japie, Little Tony, Grandpa, Buster and Rowdy, Tony

This is part 7 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



Plowing with Japie

The garden near the ice house was the one where I "helped" Daddy plow sometimes when I was little. Daddy had a single plow and was walking behind it with the reins (long ones) fastened around behind his neck. He would have to remove a hand from the plow to pull the reins and try to keep Japie (Jap-ee) off the rows of garden plants. Japie came to us with that name. Daddy always asked the names of horses he bought so they would hopefully respond. I think he had Japie for a long time. I keep thinking she was around thirty. I might be wrong, maybe she was only in her late twenties. She was old, didn't hold her head up very high, and didn't really care where she slowly walked. Daddy was back there yelling "Gee!" (go) and then "Haw!" (stop).

When I asked if I could ride, he put me on her, put the ordinary reins in my hands and said to pull on the opposite rein to keep her off the garden.

I didn't have a lot of luck, but I helped some. After awhile I told him I was hungry, so we both went in for a peanut butter and cracker snack. Then back to the garden.

Little Tony

Daddy bought me a little Shetland pony when I was little, probably around seven. There was a bright red buggy with him and a little saddle. His name was Tony, so we called him Little Tony, because Daddy already had a saddle horse named Tony. Little Tony was so beautiful. He was white with black spots. He had tiny little feet, and white eyelashes. He was also really stubborn. I did better with him when someone was there.

One time I rode him when no one was around. He took me up the road and refused to turn when I tried to turn him. He only turned his head. Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley came home for dinner (lunch) and Charley came running up the road after me. I was almost to the neighbor's house when Charley came and turned him around. I was really worried by then. I was wondering if I would break anything or if the pony would walk on me if I just slid off.

Grandpa

Grandpa must have noticed. He was staying with us for awhile. He was the only grandparent I ever knew. He was Henry Albert, Mom's father. Her mother died when Mom was eleven and Aunt Opal was a young baby. Mom said her mother had to stay in bed for a long time. Her mother died with kidney failure. Mom's older sister had married and moved to Colorado, so Mom took care of her two younger sisters, Edith and Opal. Mom said when she went to school, she had to carry Opal along, because there was no one to watch her. Mom had a hard time. She washed clothes, fixed meals, took care of the house and helped raise her sisters. Aunt Opal always called Mom her "sister mother."

Grandpa had a mustache and was a very kind man. He used to sit on the back porch and talk to us.

Buster and Rowdy

When the pups got larger, Daddy or someone gave part of them away, but Jean kept one and I kept one. We couldn't think of good names. We showed them to Grandpa. He came up with names. Jean's dog was Rowdy (it looked like a police dog) and mine was Buster. Buster looked like Old Yeller in the movies.

Grandpa died when I was in the sixth grade. He didn't survive an operation at Kirksville to restore kidney function.

My Aunt Joann died in her forties from kidney failure, also. She was Daddy and Uncle Doc's sister. She died before I was born. She had not married and lived at home with her parents and brothers. There was another sister, Mollie, who married a Dean and moved to Jacksonville. Mollie also died before I was born.

Tony

Oh, well, back to Tony, the saddle horse. Daddy went walking over in the pasture every night after the milk cows. I wanted to go, too. I was little and it was fun. However, my legs ached every night, and Mom was up rubbing them a good part of the night.

Then Daddy bought Tony, a saddle horse. No more leg aches. Every night we went riding on Tony. He had such a nice gait -- about as easy as a rocking chair. Tony had definite ideas, though. When Daddy put him in the barn and gave him food and water, he tried to kick the barn door down. Daddy turned him loose in the pasture next to the barn lot. That's the pasture where we had cute little colts every spring.

Anyway, it had two or three other horses in it. Tony went over, backed up and kicked them. Daddy had to move the other horses out into the big pasture. There was only a well there with a big wooden trough, while the pasture where Tony was going to be staying in solitary splendor had a nice big pond.

We went along for quite a few weeks riding Tony after the cows.

Then one day, Daddy got a different horse for us to ride. It was not a saddle horse and didn't have the nice gait. I kept asking for Tony, and saying he rode nice and this one didn't.

After about three nights, Daddy and Uncle Doc got in the car to go somewhere. I asked them where they were going. Daddy said, "Down the road a piece." I wanted to go, too, but they wouldn't let me and drove off.

That night when we went after the cows, Tony was back. I was delighted. I found out later that Daddy had sold Tony to the man who frequently bought livestock from us. I think Tony was going to be auctioned off. Anyway, Daddy had gone and bought him back. He had to pay more than he had received when he sold him. Wasn't that nice of him to get him back? I had a really special Daddy.

Years later, after we moved to the farm by the highway, Tony came to the fence one time. Stephen and David wanted to feed him and we didn't have anything with us, so we pulled out some grass and they gave it to him. He died on the farm when he got old. He lived longer than both Daddy and Uncle Doc.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is Home, Part 6 - The Tuley Hill, the Old Home Place, spring, spring cleaning, wallpapering the rooms and Mom, the ice box, the ice house

This is part 6 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



The Tuley Hill

The Tuley (Tooley) Hill was above our house. It must have been close to Roscoe's or Dutch Andre's. There was a two-story house beside the hill at the top. The house looked deserted and lonesome. The paint was about gone. The Tuley Hill was named after the family who used to live there.

Uncle Doc used to take the Tuley Hill to Jacksonville. It was a very steep hill and I don't know why we were using it. It may have been a shorter road to Jacksonville, a shorter way than the road that went by our hayfield.

Mom would sit in the back seat with Jean and sometimes me. If Daddy went along, he sat in the front. Otherwise, I did. Jean and I were small and not in school yet.

Anyway, when we went up that hill or down it, it was usually covered with ice or mud. It was always bad weather when we drove over the Tuley Hill.

Mom was terrified of it. The car slipped and slid even with the chains on. Mom took a good grip on the front seat back (she always sat in the back) with one hand and held on to Jean with the other. She was back there saying, "Oh! Oh!" Then when it slipped sideways toward the ditch she was frantically saying, "Doc!" in a horrified voice.

Uncle Doc just sat there and grimly kept driving. I don't remember if we ever got in the ditch or not.

It was a difficult task getting out when the weather was bad. I always felt safer with mud than ice. One may bury the car in mud, but there isn't much control over it when there is ice. It was an adventure just getting to town sometimes.

The Old Home Place

The Old Home Place was a single story house and some other buildings. It was across the road from the mailbox and down a ways. It was where Daddy and Uncle Doc were born.

I was only at the Old Home Place twice. One time I was only at the house. I was interested to find out it had a pantry. Aunt Opal (Mom's sister) and her family were moving in for a while.

Another time I went with Daddy and Charley while they worked there. I don't remember what they were doing, but I spent the afternoon watching them work while I sat behind the little building, on the type of moss that is flat and green only and grows along the top of the soil. I think I probably tried to take some home with me. Every time I do this, the top of the soil comes up with the moss and when I get the moss home, it dies after a couple of weeks.

Spring

We -- Jean and I -- were excited to see spring come when we were little. I looked for blades of grass. By the time we were in school, we had a really good reason for wanting it to come. We had to wear long underwear with long cotton stockings over it during the winter. Girls in those days didn't wear any kind of pants to school or out anywhere.

The underwear wasn't heavy. It was thin cotton, but we still hated it. When spring came and we got rid of the underwear and stockings, we kept looking for grass. Finally, the yard was getting green grass and the weather was warmer. We happily took off our knee-high stockings and stood on the grass, and also dirt or mud if we could find any in our yard. The grass felt fresh and green and cool. We walked around a little. Then we put our shoes and knee-highs back on. We never went barefoot outside and I never went barefoot anywhere. I didn't like the feel of the grass or dirt on my feet. Guess Jean didn't like it either. It was something we did every spring. You would think we would remember from one year to another that being barefoot really wasn't fun. But, oh the joyful feeling of anticipation! Spring was really here and school would soon be out.

Spring cleaning

Every spring Mom did her spring house cleaning. She painted, she wallpapered and varnished things, if needed. She rolled up the "room sized" wool rugs and when the men came home for lunch, she got Charley to help her carry out the rug to the clothes line. In those days they had wire clothes lines. Anyway, the rug was hung over the line and beat with a broom to remove any dirt or dust still in it. She cleaned the floor. The rug was put back and the furniture, too. It took her awhile to do everything, but when she finally got through, everything looked really good.

Wallpapering the rooms and Mom

When she papered the rooms, I "helped" her sometimes. She had to boil starch to make glue. The glue was applied to the wallpaper with a paint brush. My job was to keep the wet, sticky wallpaper straight and off her.

The North and South rooms were so tall that she had trouble papering the ceiling. One year when I was in my teens and out of school (we got out in April), she had two straight chairs with several footstools on them and a board running from chair to chair. I can't remember how she got up there. She had a beginning of the paper strip and a brush. I was supposed to stand on the floor and keep the paper from tearing and most of all keep it off of her by supporting it with a broom. I was pretty far from the ceiling. I don't know what happened, but I dropped the paper. Mom had paper and glue on her hair, face and dress. She looked so funny.

I was better at helping put new screen on the front porch if it needed it. Mom and I pried off the quarter rounds. Screens were wire in those days, not plastic. We measured the spaces without the screen and pulled a wire out of the screen so we would know where to cut to make it straight and the right size. Then, after cutting it with scissors, we put it in and nailed the quarter rounds back on. The screen covered an area about half way down on the porch and it was pretty far from post to post.

The ice box

The house was T-shaped and had long porches that ran along each side. Since we didn't have electricity, the ice box was kept on the back porch. The porch had been enclosed into a long room with lots of windows. The ice box always fascinated me. It was much larger than a large trunk, and was made of wood and painted white and blue. It was very thick, maybe eight inches or more. It was lined with some sort of non-rusting metal. The underside of the top was also lined. The boards of the front, sides and back of the top rested on the frame of the ice box, but the middle of the top fit securely into the box. A large block of ice was put in there. Mom put the butter on it and other things she was especially concerned about. Everything else was set around it. It was really cold in there. It was much larger than my cedar chest. I have wondered if there was sawdust inside the space between the outside and inside boards.

The ice house

We had an ice house. It was over by one of the gardens. It was kept locked. Daddy or Uncle Doc let me look in it one time. There was a single room that went down into the ground, like a basement, with saw dust on the floor. The building itself stood up above the ground with the door standing straight up, like a normal door, with the top near the roof. The building wasn't very tall. I think there was a ladder inside it, so they could go down to the floor of the room.

Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley used to cut ice from the ponds and put large pieces in there for use in the ice box. I remember some of this.

Then we got an ice route through. The man used to bring a large rectangular block in with big ice tongs that stuck into the ice to hold it.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, February 10, 2013

This is Home, Part 5 - Uncle Doc chopping wood, baby animals, the baby pig and its mother, trying to put the calf in the wagon, washing clothes, making soap, making cracklins, the lamb in the kitchen, baby chicks, Frankie and the cattle

This is part 5 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.



Uncle Doc chopping wood

Since we burned wood in the stoves and the cooking stove was used three times a day, Uncle Doc chopped a lot of wood. He used to tell me to stay back at the fence because I could get hit by a flying chip. I wanted to see what he was doing and I kept getting closer. He kept stopping to tell me to move back. He was really pretty patient.

When I offered to chop some because it looked like fun, he chuckled. He was using an axe with a sharp blade on each side of the handle.

I also remember that he cut his foot with the axe one time -- probably thanks to me.

Mom came out and took a picture of us once, but she had both of us move back to the fence.

Baby animals

There are so many fun things to do on a farm. Every spring the bushes and trees burst into bloom. Everything looks like a fairyland. Wild flowers grow along the side of rural roads.

There are baby lambs, baby colts, baby pigs and baby calves. Mom used to take Jean and me to see the baby lambs go in a ring -- one after the other -- around the pond bank. They would run around the pond and every once in awhile several of them would jump to the side with their back feet. They were expressing the joy of being young.

The colt with his long spindly legs, short curly tail, and big eyes could be petted sometimes. After they were a little older, the colt or colts would run around the pasture, kick their heels high and pretend to nip at each other. They would also roll in the grass.

The baby pigs were cute, too, with curly tails like corkscrews, and I always wanted to play with them, but I listened when I was told that the mother pig would get me.

The baby pig and its mother

After asking repeatedly every time I saw the pigs being fed, I finally talked Uncle Doc into letting me hold a baby pig. He had just fed the adult ones and they were all eating. He looked at the mother pig, then grabbed one that was by the fence. He gave it to me to hold. The stupid little pig started screaming the minute he picked it up and didn't stop. No up or down, just one note. The mother pig left the food and came at a dead run towards the fence. Uncle Doc held out his hands and said "Quick, Maudie, give me the pig." He got it back inside the fence and on the ground just in time to stop the mother pig from going through the fence. They are large and very heavy. The fence was wood.

Trying to put the calf in the wagon

One of the milk cows had a cute little calf one time. It was a few days old when I asked Daddy if he would put it in the red wagon I had with me so I could take it to the house and play with it. He told me no, it had to stay with its mother. I was determined, so I asked Charley after he left. Charley said no and left, too. So I decided to do it myself. Unfortunately, I found that I wasn't even strong enough to lift one of its legs into the wagon, no matter how hard I tried, and I did try.

I sat in the wagon myself trying to figure out how to get it there and finally gave up.

Washing clothes

Mom washed clothes once a week. We had a building in the chicken yard that had a washing machine and tubs. When Jean was a baby someone named Bessie came and did the washing.

We used to have three big black caldrons. Bessie used to make a fire under a couple of them and put the white clothes and sheets in boiling water with lye soap in it. She took them out with a stick and put them in the second tub to rinse them. I remember Mom washing small things in the kitchen with a washboard.

There was an interesting thing about Bessie, she didn't want Mom to pay her with money. Bessie said her husband would just take it and get drunk. She wanted food, so Mom fixed a container with a lot of meat and vegetables for her. She wanted "fat back," she told Mom, to cook with beans. Bessie was black and a grandmother. She wore a kerchief over her hair like "Aunt Jemima" on the syrup bottle.

I remember when we got a new gas washer. It had a pull cord like a lawn mower to start it. Mom had a lot of trouble getting it to start. She had a washer with movable rollers that she put the clothes through into the first rinse water, then into the second. Bluing was put in the wash or rinse water, I can't remember which. The bluing made the clothes, sheets, whatever, whiter.

The way she ironed was interesting. She had two or three irons made of iron that she heated by placing them on the stove. Even the handles were iron. She used to use one iron until it started to cool, then put it on the stove and get another one. She sprinkled all the clothes with water and rolled them up tightly before ironing. She let them set awhile. Sometimes, she starched some of the washing. Starch had to be mixed and cooked and the items dipped in it, then wrung out by hand.

She washed a certain day of the week, hung the clothes on the line, then brought them in and ironed and folded them. Then she put them away. Washing took up most of her time that day. It was a big deal. She even ironed sheets and pillow cases. Mom loved the smell of clothes that had been dried outside in the sun and wind. They smell fresh.

Making soap

Mom heated one of the cauldrons to make soap when we needed it. It was lye soap made with lard, wood ashes, lye and I don't know what else. She was proud of how white and mild it was. She cut it into rectangular cakes. It was a lot like ivory.

Aunt Opal and her children were visiting one time and she helped Mom make soap. We had a big, old, black and white dog (Pete) that looked somewhat like a St. Bernard. He slowly followed Aunt Opal around that day and died that night.

Making cracklins

Mom used to also make cracklins. She cooked small, fat pieces of meat until the grease was gone and only a crispy shell was left.

The lamb in the kitchen

It used to snow into the spring sometimes, and the wind was very cold. Sometimes the lambs started coming earlier than they were supposed to and at least two or three had mothers who wouldn't have anything to do with them. They would wind up in a big tub in the kitchen by the fire. Daddy put straw in the bottom of the tub. We usually only had one at a time. The little lamb stumbled around the tub and never stopped going Ba-a-a. I liked being able to pet it but by the middle of the afternoon, Mom was ready to throw it out. She had listened to it almost all day.

The lamb was fed milk in a large round bottle. The bottle was washed by shaking buckshot around in the water. The bottle neck was too long and narrow for any type of brush.

I don't remember how long the lamb had to stay or how we got it to be quiet if it was overnight. Seems to me Jean and I were delighted to find it still there a day or two afterwards.

Baby chicks

Every spring Mom bought five hundred baby chicks. They were cute, soft, yellow and fluffy. She had to make the corners of their brooder house round to keep them from all crowding into a corner and killing themselves. They had a round heater with an extended roof around it so they would be warm under it. Every night at 2:00 or 2:30 a.m. she had to go check them to see if they were okay.

One time Uncle Doc went to town and came back with one hundred pound sacks of feed for the chickens. After carrying them, he had to see the doctor because he had injured his back. He had his back taped up for weeks afterwards. The doctor tried to tell him that sacks weighing a hundred pounds were too much for him, since he only weighed a hundred and thirty pounds himself.

Frankie and the cattle

Daddy's cousin Frank Rice and his wife Valere gave me a little fox terrier when I was a baby. He was born on my birthday. He was small, and white with tan spots and ears. We named him Frankie. When I got him, I was too little to play with him, and later when I tried, he happily went to work with Daddy. Daddy loved dogs and horses. I think he just liked animals. Frankie stood on the wagon looking pleased as Daddy left.

In the winter back home, the cattle have to be fed as they no longer have grass. Daddy and Uncle Doc had a herd of unfriendly Aberdine-Angus (or black Angus as they were called at home). Daddy and Charley were pushing feed for them off the wagon, when Frankie managed to get off on the ground. One of the cattle was ready to go after Frankie when Charley leaped off the wagon to get him and Daddy threatened the cow with a pitchfork.

The herd was started with registered black Aberdine-Angus.

When I was a teenager and used to walk down the road to the mailbox, every time I passed by the pasture where these cattle were, some were always standing under the trees along the road. At least one of them would back up, lower its head, and paw the ground. I used to wonder if they could come through the barbed wire fence. I wasn't even threatened by a bull; they were cows. The bull just ignored me.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

. . Older Posts