By Otis Griffin
Although I had fallen off my self-made podium trying to open the smokehouse door, I was not going to give up. I’m ‘gonna’ impress my Momma and “git” on her good side. Additionally I would get a good look at my treasured trike I was no longer allowed to ride.
Friends, remember the old silver, gray stew pot or pan, yo’ preference, that yo’ Momma could no longer use in the kitchen? Well, we never ‘th’owed nuthin’ away.
Hang onto it, as it might come in handy later on. In our case, that was why the original Ford coupe was parked out under the big pecan tree, as the so-called, garage, was full of “don’t th’ow nuthin’ away.”
Since I was so young and small, I had no idea what oyster shells actually were, or where they came from. On top of that, I had no reason to even inquire concerning their birthplace. I did know Momma would take a pan full out in the back yard and feed the egg layers, or so I thought, everyday. Wrong!! I’m doing good. Momma will be proud! Wrong again!
City folks just plain don’t understand, or have never heard of a smokehouse. We kept the meat from the hog killing hung up on nails so the rats, cats, coons and possums couldn’t get a sample. Additionally the salt box and barrels of feed with metal lids to keep out unwanted visitors. Cottonseed meal, salt, tankage, ‘shorts’ and shelled corn were delicacies for our flocks, herds ands droves. Further, there were tools, plow lines, halters, bridles and some of what we called, valuable artillery, to keep the home place churning. My Southern country folks know ‘zactly what I’m speaking about.
The old smokehouse evidently had been constructed when General Nathan Bedford had visited our community. Under penned by gigantic blocks, age had taken it’s toll, as the smokehouse sagged and leaned. Although I wasn’t afraid, as I didn’t have enough between the ears to realize the potential problems. I had even crawled around under the smokehouse and fetched some misplaced laid eggs for Momma, as well as extracting balls, chasing cats and dogs under the “about to fall down building”.
I was determined to assist with the so-called feeding of the oyster shells to the herd of chickens. At least, they looked like a herd to me, since the roosters were just about as big as I was at this young age.
I climbed back on the turned over bucket and grunted, pushed, pulled, click, click like the old Gillette razors advertised on the Friday night boxing matches. I found out the hard way, the door would smack me in the face, so I jumped off the bucket and again landed in the dirt. Finally, I got lucky and pried the door open. Just inside to the right, stood the half empty sack of dinner for the hungry egg layers.
The old pan had been placed out in the smokehouse due to one of the brads missing on the handle. Although I had helped, (watched), Momma feed several times, but she didn’t’ have any trouble. Not me! The handle twisted and I came up empty. Why? I dipped again and got just a mole’s mouth full of these treasure shells. Not enough. I dipped and hand fed the elusive pan. Looks full now. As I was going to step down on the concrete block just like Momma always did, the pan handle twisted and the entire load poured out on the ground. I hope Momma ain’t looking.
Consequently, I got on my knees and raked all the shells along with three acres of dirt, back into the afore mentioned stew pan. No problem. Holding the pan with both hands now, I slowly made it to the high-tech chicken feeders. Actually, these were old pie pans, possibly cornbread pans bent, warped, twisted and served no further use in Momma’s kitchen. But we don’t th’ow nuthin’ away.
The harder I tried, the further behinder I got. The pans flipped again and I missed the entire chicken feeder. I hope Momma ain’t watching. Back on my bare knees, I go to scooping again. I can’t win for dropping. These breakfast fruit layers are going to starve waiting on me to feed them.
Just another Day in the Life of a Redneck, Trying to do Right — GLORY!