By Otis Griffin
Now having a garden is hard work but it’s cheaper than goin’ to the sto’. In the country uninvited guests such as rabbits, ’coons, ’possums and deer come in the middle of the night and gorge themselves.
Daddy finally caught a ‘coon and stored him under the big, cast iron, black wash pot. The same we used for washin’ clothes, heatin’ hog killin’ water and cookin’ out lard. Well, I got nosy and lifted the pot to spy on Randy the raccoon but he got away and ran over me.
Friends, I fell back’ards over the chicken water bucket and ‘pert nigh’ broke my ribs. I wallowed around in the mud, scared to death. All of the hogs came to the corner of the lot to see what was going on with the cows and calves lined up in the corner of the pasture fence. The chickens had circled the pot and I think all the animals in the county were now laughing at me. Two people were not laughing. Daddy and me. When he heard all the commotion he came a runnin’ and brim fire mad.
Three big mistakes were made that day. First was breathin’ with the second leavin’ the corn crib where I wished I had stayed. But the third was the biggest, regrettable and worse by lettin’ Randy out from under the heavy wash pot prison.
The ’coon ran up our huge pecan tree by the chicken house with every dog in the South in hot pursuit. I crawled on my hands and knees right in the middle of the chickens and dogs trying to retrieve little masked Randy. Daddy shouted, “Bo, get my ’coon out of that tree.” Daddy was madder than a bitin’ sow and country folks know, that is mad.
I got a long cane used to stick English peas and made a few swipes, but the ’coon just climbed a little higher. The dogs knocked me down and ran all over me trying to claw up the trunk of the tree. I started climbin’ the tree holdin’ on with my left arm and slingin’ the cane with the other. Now friends, if you never been up a big pecan tree barefooted, shirtless, it will peel off the skin. But I had a flashback of a leather strap hangin’ on the back porch, used to sharpen his straight razor, so I picked the lesser of two evils.
Neighbor, Daddy was practicin’ a sermon, but I don’t think he would have wanted the preacha’ to witness. The only way I’m comin’ down is with that ’coon, even if it takes all day. I’d climb and Randy shimmied. A sure death is on the ground. Either I fall out of the tree or you know the other half of the story. I threw down my stickin’ cane and held on for dear life.
Finally, Randy the raccoon jumped on top of the chicken house and scampered out across the field with all the blue yodelin’ dogs in hot pursuit. I slid down the tree and took off chasin’ the ’coon with the dogs. He crawled up a corner cross tie post and disappeared through the cotton field. The dogs couldn’t jump the fence, but they were insane jumpin’, howlin’ and barkin’. I’ve got to return to the wash pot, which I dreaded.
Daddy lit me up with another preacha’s sermon and sent me scamperin’ back to the corn crib where I should have stayed in the first place. Even today if I see a wash pot turned upside down, I check first before I look under it, since it’s safer that way. Wash pots and ’coons, now ain’t that a smoooothhhh combination? Only in the wonderful South… GLORY!
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