By Otis Griffin
My fellow Southern country folks will tell you they spent more time in a corn crib than they like to admit. But we had to feed all the livestock if we wanted to eat.
So what was more important to Daddy, me or the animals?
That was a lonely life especially if no one was there except me and the tan Philco radio. However most of the time I did have some unwelcome company which included fryers, pigs and cows.
I made one of my jillion mistakes when I started chunking runty ears(under nourished)out in the middle of the stable.
There was an uprising war similar to Sir General Robert Edward and Useless Grant reenacting the battle of the Shiloh bluffs.
Chickens squawking, hogs squealing and cows bellowing while fighting over some kernels. Cats squalling, dogs barking and running around in circles as it resembled a combination stump blowing and Boer goat roping balled into one.
Finally I just quit feeding and went back to work shucking. The immediate zoo departed as me and Roy Acuff harmonized on the Wabash Cannonball since the Philco was my only company.
If you ain’t never been in a crib you don’t realize just how lonesome and forlorn it is.
The barn tin roof was hot as blazes in the summer and cold as an ex mother in law’s heart in the winter. My dear friends, Paul and Lynn, would sneak up behind the barn and bounce a few dirt clods on the rusty roof.
I’d jump out of my skin and swear the Shadow was after me as that would wake up the dead in the Mudville graveyard.
We’d get in high gear to finish the shucking and shelling so we could play ball, ‘it’ tag or have a corn cob fight. Emerson, Don, Arvis and Perry would arrive just as we had finished shelling. Rednecks are smart especially if it comes to work.
Friends can you remember being alone when it was so quiet you could hear a gray church mouse dance on a bale of middling cotton? Well over time other creatures decided they would unexpectedly visit, such as Casper the Ghost.
If you ain’t country you don’t know. My first experience with werewolves, haints and witches sent me to the house yelling for my Momma. Covered up all through the pile of unshucked corn were holes big enough to hide a Moline tractor.
Daddy had not warned me as the same learning you get for a good Southern snipe hunt.
Daydreaming as I shucked one day, I reached in a deep hole and withdrew a black chicken snake.
I had no idea any were burrowed and curled up hidden in the pile. I don’t remember what I thought it was, but the bone crusher tried to curl around my little bony arm.
I screamed bloody murder, ran out of the barn, tried to jump the garden fence, but I didn’t quite make it and bounced off the hard dirt. All the time I’m squalling as Momma met me at the edge of the garden as usual wiping her hands on her see-through apron.
She hugged me and assured me ain’t nothing gonna’ get me. We laughed about this episode many years later. Finally she calmed me down and guaranteed me I wasn’t going to die.
Momma took me by the hand and we toured the entire crib as she showed me those snakes have gone and won’t be back.
Scared to death, Momma stayed that day and I shucked as fast as possible so I could leave the haunted barn. I didn’t know it, but Momma had observed other hidden holes scattered in the pile. To soothe my fragmented nerves Momma quietly said, “Bo, don’t worry we’ll tell Daddy when he gets home and he’ll fix it.” That’s then, this is now.
I Ain’t Worried But I’m Just Flat Skeeere… GLORY!
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