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.

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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)

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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.

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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 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.


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.

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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.


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.

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