Saturday, September 03, 2005

Times Long Ago

As I have said, I had "big ears," always open. I listened very carefully to grownups talk about voting and who would be the best in office nationally, statewide, and even for the local sheriff. I was aware of all of this at an early age.

My grandma always took the Nashville Banner and read it from cover to cover, mostly outloud. She amazed me with the big words she knew and with her knowledge of politics. Late at night in my bed I would be thinking, "How does she know so much?" I knew her formal education was very limited. Now I know she was "well read." She and my pappa could sit and talk, discuss, and yes, sometimes argue on most any subject.

My pappa never held prejudices against blacks as most people did back then. Blacks were invited to eat at our table when most southern people fed them on the back porch. Sometimes a black quartet was invited to sing, and we would invite all the neighbors to come in and listen.

However, my pappa was a firm believer in a man being the head of his house, in the right way, of course. A woman was to have babies, keep house, cook, and be a "help mate." They were to work only at home. He felt that women folks working out of the house showed weakness or inability to care for a family. I guess he never knew about women's lib. But in return he worked hard to make a good living for us. He was our chief. We respected his opinion, felt he was wise, so he made all final decisions.

My Granny Adams lived with My Grandma Bullard as long as I can remember. She used to tell us about the Civil War. She was a young girl when her dad heard the Yankee soldiers were near their home. He made her take things of importance and the money box and go far into the woods and hide for days. Soldiers did come and take their horses and ransack their home, but she remained safe by hiding. It terrified her to tell us about how people were treated then.

This is why I stayed up every night as long as I could, to hear everything the old folks said. One night I went to sleep behind the big cooking range with a diaper over my legs. My mamma had to force me to bed every night, so this time she decided to leave me sitting on the floor against the wall behind the stove. She meant to teach me a lesson.

When the fire cooled down way in the night, I woke up. I will never forget. I was so cold. It was dark, and all was quiet. I got up and at first I could not remember what happened. Then I ran to my mamma's bed and said, "Mamma, I woke up and found myself sitting behind the stove!" I thought she would surely make a big to do, but she calmly said, "That will teach you to go to bed." And it did...