Wednesday, December 6, 2006
BACK ON HORSESHOE BEND
This is me, when I was a "little bitty thing" on Horseshoe Bend. Poor is not even close to the way it was back then...The building to the right of me was a shed and a smoke house. There was a huge coffin like box that had tons of salt in it...That is where all our meat was salted down and then placed. That box scared the living daylights out of me for years, because my sister told me that Frankenstein lived in it at night...and for years I had nightmares of him chasing me...with me trying my best to outrun him on legs that seemed to be mired down in quicksand! (I finally learned how to wake myself up while still in the dream, thank God!) The house had wooden walls inside that had never tasted a drop of paint...Real wooden planks that had become smooth and shiny during all the years. When I was little, I use to lay in bed on hot steamy summer nights and place my feet and legs upside those planks...and those old boards were always soooooooo cool. In the winter time, we had a pot-belly stove to heat the whole house...which it never fully did...During the night when the fire would go out, it would get so cold in the house that I would wake up seeing my breath coming from my mouth like a fog and ice on the inside of the window panes. We had no bathroom...just an outdoor toliet and a pee pot...otherwize known as a chamber pot by the rich! lol. Most times our "chamber pot" was an old Rex Lard can that would cut a ring into your hiney if you sat too long on it. Toliet paper? huh....No way...didn't even know it existed...We used pieces of rags. Or old news papers...but you had to be careful there too...paper cuts you know. There were six of us kids...eight counting my half brother and sister. Then there was Mama, Daddy and Granny too. Eleven people in a 4 room house....enough said there. We bathed in an iron tub...water heated in a tea kettle....Oldest first...I was the baby...so I got use to cold water baths. Our main meal, most nights was only gravy and biscuits...really....but it was always soooooo good. Some Sunday morings I was lucky enough to wake up to the smell of homemade fried chicken with the gravy and biscuits! Looking back, I understand now the trouble mama had to go through for us to have that meal...Sure wasn't as easy as going to the local grocery store and just picking one out...or going to Kentucky Fried....She had to catch that chicken first...then wring it's neck, pluck it, scald it, gut it, and cut it....She fried every piece of that chicken too...nothing was wasted...neck, back, feet, gizzard, liver...if it was on it, it went into the flour and then the hot grease!We were poor as church mice....but my daddy worked two and three jobs all his life...never took any public assistance...heck, I don't think it was any back then in the fifties. I remember when he had to have two hernias surgically repaired, and he had missed some days at work...(for the first and only time during his lifetime)Mama and all us kids went and picked black berries...Our supper that night was berries and milk. Daddy went back to work way too soon because we were hungry, which made the hernias "fall out" again. He cut our grass with a sling blade, plowed the garden,slopped hogs, and chopped wood, among other chores, and worked two and three jobs with those hernias like that for nearly 20 more years before he retired. He worked so hard for what little bit of money he earned. But you know what, even having said all this, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that we were rich when it came to havng the love of a good Mama and Daddy!