By Otis Griffin
Sunday afternoon was a good time for visitors as the grown ups would sit and talk. With the company homesteading out in the front yard the youngsters were told, “get out of here and play, but behave.” Now that’s simple enough to understand. Back ’en, all the crumb snatchers had to get permission if they wanted to do anything or go anywhere. Neighbor, it wasn’t any of this, “why? or Bubba’s Mom will let him.” “You’re mean to me stuff.” No sirreee! Any back talk and Daddy would shuck it all the way down to the cob, with no questions asked and no answers given. As a matter of fact, every parent in our small community abided by that rule. Period! The curtain climbers certainly did!
After the grownups got settled and talking real good, we had to stay far enough away so we couldn’t hear anything. Usually some more of the kids would come over and after awhile we’d head to the barn. One thing we knew was the parents couldn’t see us real well as long as we didn’t scream very loud.
The excursion to the barn meant we had to go through the garden. Friends, country folks remember in the beautiful garden, the vines might hang and fall over in the middle of the rows. Believe me; I had rather fight a mountain lion than step on vines in the middles. So we had to jump, skip and hop reminding the ones behind you. “Don’t hurt the vines or you will get hurt.”
Hog wire encompassed the entire garden. Additionally this kept out the elephants, bears and buffaloes as well as the cows. Ain’t rednecks smart? Neighbor, farmers don’t allow anyone to bend their fences. We put some smooth sawed off stumps on each side of the fence, dearly hugged the post and side tracked over very, very carefully. It was permissible to break yo’ leg, but don’t dare touch the wire.
Some of my friends weren’t raised in the country so all this livestock, gardens and tools were fascinating to them. Dennis lived in Millington and Sonny Turner lived over close to Bolton, but they loved to play in the old barn. What Arvis, Paul, Lynn and I took for granted everyday was exciting to them. One hot afternoon just as we approached the hog fence, Dennis stopped dead in his tracks and let out a war cry, “he’s gonna git you.” I looked around and it was just a Duroc sow, hoping I would feed her. Dennis was still a little ‘skittish’, (which is Southern for scared). With a little proddin’ from Emerson, he hopped the fence and stood behind me for protection. That was probably a bad idea ’cause if anything had gone wrong, Dennis would have had toe nail scratching, bare foot prints all down his back. But this time, we were lucky.
As all my Southern country farmers remember, usually all the livestock are pets. Maybe someone that has been under a creek bank for a hundred years might think they are mean, cruel and vicious. Not so! Southern gentlemen don’t put up with that mess. Oh well, you might have a little trouble occasionally, but an affectionately well placed, double bit axe handle, called an attitude adjustment, will cure the problems.
Now country folks know the Duroc wanted an ear of yellow corn, as she blinked at me with those deer in the headlight, sad chartreuse eyes, ready to bawl like a white face bull. With the sow following me like a dog chases a coon, I shuffled to the corn crib and quickly shucked a couple of fine ears, politely rolling the silk off the kernels. Since Dennis and this Duroc hadn’t been officially introduced, he circled around the stable keeping both eyes on her in case she wanted to dance the Rosemark Hog Trot and become loving friends immediately. Similar to circling that Custer should have done at ‘Big Little Horn’ and maybe ‘Sitting Steer’ wouldn’t have made jerky out of a jerk. You never know when a city boy goes to the country.
Watch Front’ards And Back’ards When You Play….GLORY!