By Otis Griffin
I can’t say it was a lot fun or enjoyment. However we had to do it if we wanted to eat and survive.
Our parents showed us and their parents showed them and our ancestors back as far as Eve and Adam. In the wonderful South folks have always taken a lot of pride in agriculture. Nature is one of the greatest educators one will ever experience.
Go on out there, sit down on a gum stump and study on it. Even though us ole country redneck hicks don’t want to brag too much, down deep the entire world has got to admit that farmers are probably the smartest, hardest working folks in the entire universe. Now Ben might have messed around analyzing lightning hitting that key hanging on a clothesline and calling it ‘lectricity, but probably the most important intellect he came up with was Pore Richard’s Farmer’s Almanac.
Noah worked on his book for 36 years trying to make us speak words right. I’m right proud of the boy for anyone to hang in there with sumpin’ means he was trying to accomplish sumpin’. But us country folks don’t need no Northerner teaching us nothing. Think about this, have you had any problems talking to yo’ neighbor here in our wonderful South? My problems start when I have to communicate with up North folks that talk through their nose and gurgle faster than a squirrel clawing up a white oak tree running from an alto yapping black and white feist.
Some of the city folks that have been under a root cellar and may not know just what ole Ben’s book is about should be pretty disheartening to us rednecks. Ben and his farmer friends will tell you about the ‘signs’. Now I ain’t talking about road, bridge, neon, billboard, and hand sings whether to throw curve or a fastball. Nawww Suhhh!
Friends, this little tan book has got the most amazing information incorporated you ever read. It is all about nature. Such as when to expect rain, sun and clouds. Throw in some snow, frost, and blazing sun in the summer while chopping, trying to suck some fresh air to no avail. This is a warning to take yo’ dirty, greasy, tattered, floppy, straw hat and slap it on your noggin and don’t forget to wrap the faded, stringy bandana tightly around your already sun stroked neck.
Neighbor, as my beloved farmers know, we are going to have a little frost in the fall. But when the killing frost comes, that shuts down struggling growth of vegetation only months previously had gravitated toward the blue hazy sky. This was time to pull out the old wool, scratchy mackinaw and grapple the oversized black buttons.
Locate the stretched, thin, long handles, usually with missing buttons. Make sure you got ’em on correctly, not upside’ards, front’ards , back’ards turned inside out’ards.
You had better wrap up and be prepared as the cold frosty air will cut you a frock. Don’t forget to tightly snap those six-buckle galoshers ’cause you know you gonna’ step in a frozen-over, small mud hole, hog wallowed out this past summer.
Beloved, ole Ben was extra smart and remembered our most important asset. He did not forget our wonderful Southern Belles that keep our universe spinning. If Momma ever had a question about time to mark the setting hen’s eggs, candling eggs, planting perfect flowers, treating a nick on the arm, possibly a spider bite, or make some lye soap the answers were in this little book.
In my upbringing we had two books that had their special places. Of course, the most important was the Holy Bible, which still has all the answers. The other was the Farmer’s Almanac with some pretty good answers too.
Sad to say, but I reckon neither get used as much as they should nowadays—GLORY!
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