Friday, May 26, 2006

Ol' Time Religion

My folks had very strict rules, both moral and religious. We were not allowed to "sass" or talk back to parents or anyone older than we were. We were not allowed to swear, cuss or use bad language of any type. Church was our main place to go.

If we did not have church at our home church, Scott's Chapel, a Freewill Baptist Church, we were allowed to go to the Methodist Church or Church of God of Prophecy, a new movement in our neighborhood.

We thought the latter very odd. The members spoke in an "unknown tongue," danced in the spirit, handled fire, and even handled copperhead snakes. So to be honest, we went not to worship, but to see what they would do next.

Once they decided the Lord wanted them to "rebuke the devil" out of people. One night it happened to be my good little Baptist grandma's turn. Two or three ladies were in a state of what they called "under the power." They sort of danced up to my grandma and started beating her with their fists, tearing her dress open to the waist.

By this time my grandma was up on the pew with her feet. She forgot she was a good Baptist, I think, for she started hitting back. She did a good job of fighting off about three women.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cat Catastrophe & Baptizing Chickens

One of our new amusements was to catch big tobacco worms and tie thread to the horn on their tail. About four worms were a good team. Then we would fasten them to a small match box and add little pebbles until they could hardly pull the box. Oh, this was so much fun! We just rolled and laughed to see the worms work so hard.

To add to the fun, we decided to tie the cat to a shoe box and load it with tobacco sacks full of sand. It was easy to collect tobacco sacks, small cloth bags with drawstring tops. Everyone who smoked then "rolled their own" from this sack-type tobacco.

But we did not know that cats do not like to work. The cat went wild and ran under the house as far as he could with the load still fastened behind. We knew we were in trouble then, as we had been taught never to let an animal loose with a rope or leash because they could get caught in brush or a fence and hang themselves. So that game was over fast.

We found other diversions.

My mamma kept rain barrels under the house drains to collect rainwater since we were always short on water. When the hens got in the setting stage to stay on the nest for hatching the young, sometimes there were too many setters and not enough layers. So we were allowed to "baptize" them in the rain barrel, dunking them as many times as it took to break them from setting.

That was real fun then, but seems cruel now as I look back on it.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Childish Games

We always loved to make playhouses out in the woods in the summertime. Each person cleaned out a spot around a big tree, walling it in with rocks and using big rocks and pieces of scrap lumber for seats or tables.

We would make beds from soft leaves. We used old pans or pieces of discarded dishes. We worked like beavers making a place that was ours for the whole summer. We cooked make-belief cakes from mud and lizard or turtle eggs if we could find them. Usually it was not hard to find some kind.

We stripped off the brown seeds of dock plants. Soaked in water, they looked just like coffee. My little brother with the black, curly hair always had the store. He was never content. He moved his store every day to a new location.

On cold rainy days, my pappa let us use the big stable room. We cleaned it all down to hard dirt, then we put our better dolls and toys there. We ate real food there, like cold biscuits, onions, turnip greens raw form the garden, persimmons, wild grapes, and raw potatoes of both kinds. When my mamma made jelly, she let us fill small face cream jars, or whatever we had saved and cleaned for this time. So, we ate jelly also.

We had to use our imagination for games to play and for toys. We played a lot with corn dolls made from small ears of corn with pretty silk for hair. We made leaf hats of all colors and kinds of leaves pinned together with thorns.

We made slingshots and whistles from pieces of tree branch. Whistles had to be made from a branch that would shed its bark whole after a few taps on it. Marbles were a big game then.

I most always wore high-back overalls. I had pockets full of marbles, slingshot and rocks, ruler, knife, pencil, handkerchief, and most always a small packet of salt , just in case I found something to eat that needed salt.

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Long-Johnny Doll

One of my fondest memories is of market time for tobacco. When my pappa sold tobacco, he had to stay two or three days in Clarksville for the auction. He always came home with each of us a dimestore gift. Some of the gifts were scissors, rings, watches, crayons, coloring books, or little toys. We usually told him what we wanted before he left.

Once, however, he surprised us with what was called a Long-Johnny doll. These were wax dolls of different colors and flavors. They were about six inches tall. Well, we all chewed them up within a few days, except for Sissy. Her doll was black, licorice flavor. She kept it upstairs in her playhouse.

One day I decided I would just take a taste, and she would think it had broken off in a crack in the floor. So, I bit its foot off. Boy, was it good! So, I took off its head. Now I could not leave it or I would be in trouble for sure. I decided to eat it all, and just maybe she would think the rats ate it.

Well, when she discovered that it was gone, no one, but no one knew its whereabouts. My mamma said, "Let me see everyone's gum." What I did not know was that the wax stayed black after it was chewed. Needless to say, I had black gums, tongue, mouth.... and gum.

I got my behind blistered, and I never wanted to see another Long Johnny doll.

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