Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This is Home, Part 38 - Hickory school and Uncle Doc's hand, Uncle Doc, Assessor

This is part 38 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Hickory school and Uncle Doc's hand

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but Uncle Doc drove us to Hickory School each day. He picked up any children that were walking and also gave them a ride back.

He came and played with the students for a short time after school sometimes. I don't remember what we were playing, but we had to choose people for each side. Everyone called him Uncle Doc and wanted him on their side.

One time when he was getting ready to go home, he was taking the Hill children in the car with us and he said, "Now, be careful, I'm going to close the door. Keep your hands out of the way." He was leaning over and looking in with his hand on the door opening. Then he closed the door on his thumb.

His thumb was cut along the middle lengthwise. It was broken and bleeding a lot,

The teacher -- I think it was Miss Hazel -- wrapped his thumb in his red or blue handkerchief that he wore around his neck when he worked in the field, and drove really fast to Jacksonville to a doctor.

He always had a deep line where it was cut and the nail had a caved-in line after that. His thumb was thinner, also.

When the weather was bad, Charley took us to school and picked us up in the buggy. Mom used to come running out with hot wrapped bricks that she put under our feet.

When it had snowed and we went to school, I always admired the outside of the turn to go down the hill below the barn. Snow always drifted there and it looked like layers of whipped cream.

Mom used to make extremely good chocolate pudding with real whipped cream and send it in our lunch. The whipped cream had layers and tasted cool and faintly sweet. Her chocolate pudding was really good. So is Sharon's chocolate pie.

I remember a spring day when it was too muddy to drive and Uncle Doc came walking after me. He couldn't take the jolting from riding a horse.

Anyway, this particular day was nice except for the mud. Walking was fun and different. When we almost reached the road going to the house, we went through the large gate into the pasture and walked through there. Just about where the large gate was when we were there, David. However, the fence used to run along the side of the road. It was straight.

When we got home, Mom, Daddy and Charley were working in the garden behind the barn. Uncle Doc went back to helping. Someone had made a raised bed for onions to be set out. They had rows dug in the garden and they were dropping seed in them and covering it. It was interesting and fun. This was the garden where sage grew along the fence every year.

Uncle Doc nagged the county until they finally put gravel on the road to our mailbox. From the mailbox on through the neighborhood we had dirt roads.

In the spring, cars made deep ruts in the road due to trying to drive in mud. At other times of the year, also. When it dried out, if something wasn't done, cars would follow the deep ruts and scrape on the underneath side of the car.

Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley made a drag with very thick, heavy, rough boards. They bolted them together in a rectangular shape with the same type of boards on the top. Then they put a huge rock or two on it and Daddy or Charley dragged the roads themselves with the horses. The graveled roads and up past our house.

Uncle Doc, Assessor

When Uncle Doc taught school, he had a pupil who later became the Randolph County Assessor for years. His name was Walter Wright. His secretary was Frances, who became my boss' wife. They had three children when I worked for James Stone -- real estate office. A couple of the children were twins and really fast at snatching things off the desks when Frances brought them to the office.

Anyway, Walter Wright contacted Uncle Doc and asked him if he would assess some farm property for him. Uncle Doc did this every year for maybe four or five years, maybe longer.

Farm families are different. If you are there at mealtime, they expect you to eat. Uncle Doc wound up eating with a lot of different people. Sometimes, he took lunch with him if he didn't know the people.

I think he enjoyed the work, although sometimes he looked pretty tired when he got home. He worked at this job for maybe a couple of months each year. Maybe three. I'm guessing. I remember him being gone in the summer and early fall.

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