Categorized | Opinion

Sometimes You Just Need to Pay Better Attention

By Otis Griffin

Otis Griffin poseMaybe that’s the best way to learn sumpin’.  Just keep messin’ up ‘til you get it right.  The harder I tried to get on Momma’s good side, the further behinder I got.  It seemed I always ended up on the bad side.  Friends, it is about like trying to milk a White-face bull on the right side using a left-handed number three, wash tub.  After a while, you finally ‘figger’ out this ain’t ‘gonna’ work.  City slickers are still trying to decipher what I just said!  Heh, heh!
The slop-bucket emptying went sour, the water-dipping scheme didn’t work.  Neither did the banquet for the cacklers.  I’m having about as much luck as an elephant trying to ride side-saddle on a red squirrel.  There has got to be a way to get my ‘blue torpedo’ out of the smokehouse and back on the on the dusty trail again.  Several years later, when Momma and I would visit on the front porch and catch up on the local and international gossip, I was amazed at the little game my parents had played on me.  Friends, I guess all of us had to go through it growing up.  However, I got more than my share.
When Daddy went to work, Momma had all this cleaning, cooking, washing and all the things housewives and homemakers scheduled each and every day.  At my young age, time was not of the essence or important either.  It has always been hard to try to help, and not get in the way.  You could and would get kicked back, like a runt at the hog trough.
In the summertime, when the garden was flourishing, it seemed like Momma had to gather vegetables everyday.  Usually before it got too hot, she would put on her little bonnet and slap it down tightly on her head.  I do not ever remember Momma ever tying the long, twisted strings as they seemed to always dangle.   Additionally, I do not recollect the ‘sun-shielder’ ever falling off.
When Momma was gathering in the garden I was right beside her.  Actually I should have paid better attention to how this little job was supposed to be handled.  But ‘Naawww Sirreee’, I had my mind on my trike, still incarcerated in the smokehouse fortress.
We never, ever threw anything away.  “It might come in handy, later on.”  The heavy (metal back ’en) slop buckets were strategically located by the hog lot fence, next to the sagging, wooden gate.  The clothes pin bag that swayed back and forth, hung desperately to the wire line.  The bag was always slid up against the huge Maple tree.  The water bucket had a fixed location on the back porch table.
The silver colored, galvanized dipper with the twisted handle seemed welded to the sixteen penny nail slightly tilted and hammered into the wall right above the bucket.
Momma had her favorite bucket to pick in the garden.  This too was steadfastly positioned right as you entered the garden.  A piece of the wire fence had been bent so you could causally hang the handle and not lose the container. At one time the bucket had been a milk bucket.  However, over the years the bottom split, and refusing to throw it away, now we had us real good garden bucket.  See how smart ‘pore’ rednecks are, but please, don’t let it out!
When Momma finished her gardening and had toted all the vegs into the house, she would walk back out to the fence and position the bucket.  Don’t lose, or misplace anything.  You ‘gonna’ need it later.     If that bucket wasn’t where it should be, Momma called a frantic prayer meeting immediately.  After observing a million times, I ‘figgered’ out how to get on the good side of Momma.  Yep!  Go to the garden and pick.  Wrong again!  I hadn’t graduated ‘some come a lawdy’ about gardening just yet.  I wasn’t a Boy Scout, so I wasn’t prepared.  Neighbor, if there is a way to mess up, I’ll find it.
A Country Boy Sho’ Learns The Hardest Way- — GLORY!
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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