From The Arbor Pre-winter Chores
Fall is such a joy. The cooler weather is a respite from the heat and humidity of summer. You can sleep with your windows open, if you have a quilt. The garden's summer bounty is in the freezer or basement or smokehouse. The barn lofts and sheds are laden with bales of hay and bushels of corn for the livestock's winter feed.
Greens and beans with chowchow relish, sliced onions, baked sweet 'taters, and cornbread with real butter, all make a delicious supper. In the old days we would be fattening up the hogs. I can almost taste fresh fried pork tenderloin with biscuits and redeye gravy for lunch on hog killing day.
The old folk would be reading the signs to see what the winter would bring. Had the livestock grown a thick coat? How heavy was the acorn mast crop? How wide was the wooly bears black stripe? Had anyone seen geese flying north?
The children, now firmly ensconced in schools and busy with sports, have begun to discuss what they will dress up as for Halloween, and some would already be counting the days till Christmas.
Spring brings hope and plans. Summer brings work. Fall brings rest from most of the gardening and farming, though a farmer's work, like a mother's, is never done. There are still livestock to feed and water, wood to chop for the fireplace, kindling to split for the wood stove, eggs to gather, cows to milk, butter to churn, clothes to mend, tools to sharpen and oil and put away, molasses to make, and the new calf to tend.
With a little more free time, fall was a good time for revival meetings. Some were held in tents, and some in brush arbors. These often lasted a full week, and most of the community attended, regardless of their Sunday morning affiliation. Singing and praying under the stars has to be experienced to be appreciated. I am afraid we have lost almost all of this. A three day gospel meeting is more the norm.
We editors of the Bodock Post reminisce more as we get longer in the tooth. We remember the good in the old times and old ways, and tend to forget the lack of air conditioning, having to catch and kill and clean a fryer for lunch, using an outhouse in the dead of winter, and losing a close relative to something that can be cured with modern medicine. But, the old days are remembered as the best times of our lives.
We are blessed with this modern way of us sharing our lives and some of you sharing your lives with all Bodock'ers. We trust you will find this month's edition will bring back memories and encourage you to share your own with us.
This is the last edition before that wonderful time of year we call Thanksgiving. My family doesnt want me to say the blessing for Thanksgiving Dinner because the food would get cold before I finished my list of things we are blessed with. With my daddy-in-law, Ralph Graham, at home under hospice care, this Thanksgiving will be different, but we still have him and our long list of other blessings. We editors wish you a Happy Thanksgiving this year and for many years to come, until He comes to gather us home, or if we pass away into His arms before then.
~ By Carl "Bo Diddleysquat" Hardeman
Note: From The Arbor is a regular feature of our newsletter from which our "Editor of the Month" introduces each issue, season, or theme, as the case may be.
Gardening With Tim End Of Hummingbird Season
There they go, zoom, zoom, zoom. The sound they make when they fly by reminds me of the sound that George Jetsons car made when it flew. Have you guessed what they are? Yep, youre right, theyre hummingbirds.
For the last few years, Ms. Janet and I have been watching the hummingbird population grow at our home. They start showing up in early March, and they stay until late October. We usually still have a few stragglers passing by in November. We put our feeders out in late February and leave them out until late November. We dont want to miss any of them. We are up to about thirty on a slow day to roughly fifty on a busy day. They are a joy to watch as they buzz about feverishly, visiting the flowers.
If you want to attract lots of hummingbirds, plant lots of brightly colored flowers in different spots around your yard as these little birds are extremely territorial. They also hang out pretty close to the feeders. We have four feeders and it takes an average of ten pounds of sugar a week to keep sugar water made for all of them.
When they are hanging all over the feeders is the most enjoyable time to watch them as they play their little games of tag and perform all the aerial maneuvers that they are capable of. They can fly forward, backward, side to side, and up and down. These little birds wings beat up to 200 times per second and can reach speeds of 60 miles per hour. They range in size from 2 ¼ inches long to 8 ½ inches long. Their weight ranges from 1/5 of an ounce to 3/5 of an ounce. Their heart beats at an amazing 500 beats per minute when they are resting to almost double that when they are excited.
The average hummingbird will consume half its weight in sugar daily along with the pollen from all the flowers they visit, as well as eating small flying insects along with small spiders. They also like to eat mosquitoes. They are healthy eaters and burn it up mighty quickly as they never stop moving or it seems that way. They actually spend roughly four-fifths of the day perched in trees and shrubs. We have three trees close to their feeders for them to hide in.
Hummingbirds also need a lot of water each day. They take in approximately eight times their body weight in water per day. They also like to play in the water when you have a sprinkler going. This gives them a chance to cool off as they fly through the misting water. They do not like most bird baths as they are usually too deep. If you do not have any other water sources for them, place a small pile of stones in the bird bath for them to land on.
In time they will actually get pretty accustomed to you and will land on the feeder if you will stand still and hold the feeder out at arms length. Last year at the end of the season on a fairly cold day, we had one get so cold that he passed out. Ms. Janet got so upset that she fixed him a box, wrapped him with a towel to help get him warm and had me hold him and try to force feed him with one of the feeders. During the day he disappeared so we assumed he got ok and went on his merry way.
Next March I hope everyone will get their own feeder and begin to enjoy them as much as we do. Remember, almost all the flowers that attract hummingbirds, also attract butterflies, but thats another story. These guys are a great addition to any garden. They are like brightly colored flowers that can move all over the yard at a high rate of speed. So you see, not everything beautiful that is in the garden is grown in the ground.
Happy Gardening, have a great day and enjoy all the beauty that the Lord our God has scattered about for us.
~By Tim Burress, Regular Contributor
For questions or comments, leave Tim a message at the Union County Extension Office at 662-534-1916 or drop him a line at email@example.com
Thanksgiving Day A Very Traditional One
In just a matter of days Thanksgiving will be upon us. We as a nation have set aside this day to articulate our thankfulness and count our blessings. We truly have innumerable blessings for which to thankful. Each day should be a day of thanksgiving, not just this one day in November. In these modern times, Thanksgiving often gets by without much actual giving of thanks. Many do not celebrate at all, for whatever their reason, and for many, it is just as another vacation day with no meaning at all.
While growing up, this day was a day of fun and fellowship with the family. We all gathered in our home in Pontotoc for a grand mid-day celebration and feast. There were often friends and guests around the table to share in the festivities. My Mom and her sister Myrtle Tallant, two of the best cooks around, would cook all their specialties. Pork shoulders and/or hams would be baked or boiled. No chickens life was safe around this holiday. Cornbread dressing with lots of sage and onions, some with bits of chicken, others without, was prepared each year. Vegetables of all kinds and descriptions were prepared in that good Southern traditional way. Sometimes, even a turkey would grace the table, although rarely, since no one in the family raised the big birds.
Homemade yeast rolls, biscuits, and cornbread, were there in abundance. Lou Jean always brought her special dishes along with her special pickled peaches, watermelon rind preserves, and other such delicacies. Salads and ambrosia were also abundant. Some of those dishes could be eaten as a salad or as a desert equally well. Chocolate pies, pineapple upside down cakes, orange cakes, fried apple pies, peach cobbler, pecan pie, chess pie, pumpkin or sweet potato pie, and just about any kind of desert you could desire was waiting on some side table.
Were we thankful? You better believe it! I cannot remember a time when we did not thank the Lord for all the bounty, goodness, fellowship of family and friends that He had poured out on us. We were Christian and did not hesitate to show it. We definitely knew from whence our help came.
Some years, my first cousin, Leon Tallant and his wife Lou Jean, raised several hogs and we "killed hogs" on Thanksgiving Day. Leon and his dad, Frank; me and my dad, Anderson; and two brothers that Leon worked with, Clinton and Knox Tutor, along with neighbors from the Hurricane community came to help. Of course there were wives and children that came along, also. The ladies did their share of the work in preparing the meat, and cooked a scrumptious meal for the crowd. The kids just had fun.
Some of the hardest and nastiest work we ever did was at hog killing time. It all took place just a few steps from several black iron kettles of boiling water at the beginning of the day, and it ended at the same place as the fat was rendered into lard.
Once the meat of the first hog was strung up and just before it was quartered, Lou Jean would be standing there with both hands outstretched for Dad or me to hand her the large fish-like strips of tenderloin. As she retreated to the house with this filet mignon of the pork world, we knew in just a few short minutes we would be sitting around a large table, eating the fruits of our labor, fresh pork.
Although it was such hard and messy work, the fellowship and camaraderie was well worth the effort. The fried tenderloin, hot biscuits, gravy, and all the trimmings were just the proverbial icing on the cake.
Now that the older members of these gatherings have gone on to their reward, there are no more down-home-traditional meals or hog killings for us. We still manage to have family gatherings with lots to eat, and this is what the youngsters will remember when they are older. However, it seems the time is less than traditional since TV has become such a big part of our days. No sooner have the Amens been said than everyone quickly loads a plate and heads for a seat to watch the Cowboys and the Steelers duke it out. Theres nothing wrong with that, except much of the family fellowship is missing.
I suppose our forefathers would have much to say about how we celebrated our day of thanksgiving sixty or so years ago, as we do about how our day was different than it is with our children today. But however we spend the day, whether it is in a particular way that we are accustomed to or not; whether we have stuffed turkey, or as many of our military men and women may have a can of C rations, may we all thank God for His bountiful Blessings and His watch-care over us.
O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name Remember His marvelous works that He hath done Psalms 105:1,5 KJV
~ By Ralph Jones, Managing Editor
One Frosty Morn Cold Thanksgiving
I guess we are, in some respects, products of that to which we've grown accustomed, and since both my parents grew up on a farm, they were accustomed to eating chicken. In those days, farm families relied heavily on food they could raise or produce on the farm, and chickens were relatively abundant. Typically, Sunday was the day to eat fried chicken, but preparing the meal was quite a chore, and as it involved chopping off a chicken's head or wringing its neck, it was a ritual of yesteryear that few of us miss, today.
Shortly after my parents Henry and Frances Crausby Carter began a family, they moved into town. I never heard either of them say much about the first time they ate a store-bought turkey, but by the time I was a teen, they had not only talked turkey, they had tried it and decided that turkey meat was too dry to suit their tastes. Until I bought a turkey one Thanksgiving for us to have at my parents' Thanksgiving dinner, I don't remember them having a turkey on the table.
One year in the late fifties, I remember gathering corn on Thanksgiving Day. My grandparents had moved to town to live with us in our house on Woodland Street in Pontotoc. The acreage there was fenced off to house a few farm animals around the barn, and the greater part of the eight acres was farmland that Dad used to help mold my appreciation of the plight of small farmers. Slightly more than five acres were cultivated, and as land for growing cotton was tightly regulated and controlled by the government, we had about an acre of cotton and four acres in corn. I suppose we raised corn to feed the two mules and to supplement the diet of the few hogs we raised. If Dad sold any corn, I don't remember it.
I still remember the heavy frost that particular morning of our Thanksgiving corn harvesting. For those unfamiliar with the process of breaking the dried corn off the dried cornstalk, I should point out that it begins as a fun chore, but the fun plays out after about ten minutes, and everything that happens afterwards is work.
As we broke the ears of corn from the stalks, we tossed them on the ground, not haphazardly, but in piles. We worked as a team spanning two, three, or more rows, but we all used the same row for the piles of corn, as we worked up and down the cornrows. There would be several piles of corn stretching along a given row. My folks referred to the piles of corn as heaps, and the rows that had the heaps were called you guessed it, heap rows.
I can't remember how much corn was pulled and piled before someone brought up the mules and wagon and drove it alongside the heap rows, but there may have been a mental formula that Dad and Granddad did not share with me. It could have been something on the order of so many bushels per heap and so many heaps per row that signaled the time to hitch the mules to the wagon. Bringing the wagon into the field was done to allow us to throw the corn into the wagon bed, which still had on it the side-planks put there during the cotton harvest. It was a laborious process, but it surely beat carrying corn, by the bushel, back to the barn. I don't remember any sore muscles associated with the corn harvest, but then teens are more resistant to muscle spasms and soreness that plagues their elders.
A lot of Thanksgivings have passed since the one I remember for the corn I helped harvest that cold morning, but few have had the appreciable cold air that once was typical of late November. These days, we're fortunate if the temperature stays below seventy degrees on Thanksgiving, which is not exactly the hog-killing weather remembered of yesteryear. Maybe, it's a part of a larger cycle of climate changes that some are now calling global warming; maybe not!
~ By Wayne L. Carter, Associated Editor & Publisher
Grannys Finest Tomatoes, That Is
Go granny, go granny, go granny, go!~Jan and Dean: Little Old Lady From Pasadena
We all call her Granny. Frances Strain lives next door to my in-laws Ralph and Opal Graham in the Hurricane community. I could explain how we are related but its not real direct. We Southerners would understand it right off, but our friends of the Northern persuasion never would. It involves my wife Mimis aunt being younger than her. Sadly, Carolyn Jo Graham Bouler is no longer with us. Frances was Jos mother-in-law.
Granny knows tomatoes. She not only knows how to raise loads of large tomatoes over the entire growing season, she also knows which varieties do best in various conditions. First time I met her they lived in Eupora, MS. She showed us her early tomato patch which already had loads of green tomatoes. I knew then she knew tomatoes, just like my in-laws know tomatoes and peas.
This year she had a large garden together with her grandson Allen, her son James, and his wife. They did it right, putting most of the work into the soil and the drip irrigation system and staking them just right. During the hottest part of the summer, she and Allen went twice a day to the garden to give the plants lots of TLC.
Here in early October the garden is spent, but she has big healthy vines loaded with large German Queen tomatoes growing beside her front porch. They are more than head high, the vines not the tomatoes, and are just the right height for picking from the porch.
Back in suburbia, my Mortgage Lifter tomatoes are beginning to come in. For our Northern and urban friends, I dont mean they actually come inside. I mean they are getting ripe. This variety has an 85 to 90 day growth period. The fruits are 1 to 2 pounds in weight and as least as large as a slice of bologna. They are not as tasty as a good old timey Marglobe, but are good for bragging rights. Plus, they mature just about the right time to show at the Fair.
Granny prefers three varieties. The German Queens are large tasty tomatoes. She also raises some she calls purples. I havent seen one, but I imagine them to be Cherokee Purples, a delicious tart heirloom variety, which I also raise. She doesnt have the name for her third variety. She got the seeds from her son-in-law and daughter in Michigan. He says they have been passed down in his family for many years. Both Granny and Ralph had a big success with them this year.
Granny, Ralph, and I have decided to raise fewer vines next year and tend them better to make loads of tomatoes with fewer vines and fewer varieties. We say that every year. I was going to cut back from 25 vines year before last, but somehow wound up with about 30. Maybe we will cut back next year. I want two each of Grannys varieties, plus Mortgage Lifters, Marglobes, Rutgers, Caspian Pinks, Cherokee Purples, and BHN 640s. Mimi is asking how many is that?
I suspect Ralph and Granny will not cut back either. They are saving seeds for us all. Grow, Granny, grow!
~ By Carl Wayne Hardeman, Editor
Patricia Neely-Dorsey Introducing A Mississippi Poet
In discussions among the co-editors of The Bodock Postat a face-to-face meeting regarding the creation of a monthly newsletter, we mutually agreed that the major emphasis of our publication would be articles relating to the region of Northeast Mississippi.
We also agreed to restrict submissions to non-fiction and to largely exclude poetry, but not because we dont like poetry. We are writers of prose and prefer to stick with what we know best. However, we have a page on our website to feature selected poems see http://bp.rrnews.org/poetry.html. That these poems are featured should not be construed as an endorsement of the material as good or bad.
We recently were contacted by a native of Tupelo, Mississippi and asked to consider adding a few of her poems to our publication. We felt her love of Mississippi and all things Southern, as exhibited in her poetry, would be evident to our readers and have decided to include selections of her work on the above referenced web page. Now, without further ado, well let her tell you about herself and her new book
My name is Patricia Neely-Dorsey. I am a 1982 graduate of Tupelo High School. I received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. After living for almost 20 years in Memphis, Tennessee, working in the mental health field, I returned to Tupelo in August 2007, where I currently live with my husband James, son Henry, and Miniature Schnauzer, Happy.
My first book of poetry, "Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia" was published in February, 2008. I didnt really try to come up with an idea for a book or intentionally try to write a book. It all sort of just fell in my lap.
I woke up on Valentines Day February 2007 with a poem dancing around in my head. I quickly got up and scribbled it down. The rest, as they say, is history. After that day, poems just started pouring out. They just keep coming and coming day after day. In about two months, I had well over 200 poems. A friend of mine was very instrumental and inspirational in encouraging me to publish them.
There are many negative connotations associated with Mississippi and the South in general, so in my book, I attempt to give a positive glimpse into the Southern way of life.
As you will see in my writing, I am totally enamored with the Southern way of life. I want to share at least a part of what I know and love with the rest of the world. I have always considered myself a "Goodwill Ambassador" for Mississippi and the South.
In college my nickname was Tupelo. Whenever my friends saw me coming, they knew that there would be some type of discourse about Mississippi and the South was sure to follow, trying to clear up their many misconceptions and inaccurate preconceived notions.
Yes we do wear shoes in Mississippi! Not all of the time, mind you, but we do wear them, or at least we have them!
One author/editor of the 19th century once said: "I don't read, I have an intimate conversation with the writer," which is what I hope to achieve with my bookan intimate conversation with the reader about the Southgiving an up-close and personal view of the Southern way of life.
Using poetic storytelling, I hope to, not only, entertain , but also, educate and enlighten, while helping preserve the beautiful, rich southern culture, history and heritage that I know, along with promoting and fostering an appreciation and understanding of the importance of cultural diversity, individuality, self expression and regional pride.
I believe that we can bridge many gaps of misunderstanding across regional, racial, cultural, generational and economic lines by simply telling or sharing our stories.
"Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia" is my story, and has been called a poetic autobiography and a poetic love letter to the South. I agree with both descriptions. I would have to say that the main characters in my book are Mississippi and myself. I invite readers to "Meet Me and Mississippi" through poetry, prose and the written word.
I love to speak for schools, colleges, universities, civic organizations, social clubs, bookclubs, retirement facilities, libraries etc., to share with others about this place that I love so much and call my home, this place that is so much a part of what makes me...me.
In one of my poems, I write..." I breathe Mississippi, I move Mississippi, I think Mississippi, I feel Mississippi. I am simply Mississippi through and through." I think that about sums it up.
Bubba & The Bees Problem Resolution Backfires
In 1945, the war was nearly over, but I was a small child and the war had been going on all my life. I remember everything was "rationed" shoes, gas, and sugar and other things, but I dont remember those other things. I remember gas because my older siblings were always trying to manage a way to go some place. I remember shoes because Mama thrashed me for wearing my shoes and walking in a "mud hole," but that is another story.
My older brother was in his teens and was "Bubba" to me, because I could not pronounce his given name, Laverl, and "brother" did not come out exactly right. Because sugar was rationed, my father kept bees. These were bees that he and his uncle had "captured" and placed in hives (also called "gums").
The bees lived in the woods in hollow trees. Daddy and Uncle Eddy would go at night, cut the tree, capture the queen and as many workers as possible, and place them in the hive they had made.
The hives were placed in the orchard, and if you came into the vicinity, the bees would find you and sting you multiple times. A honey bee can only sting once, and then it dies, but there were many bees on patrol. The bees were constantly searching for small boys who blundered into their territory.
My father worked some place other than our farm, and Bubba and Uncle Eddy worked the fields. Daddy always planted some corn in the orchard. This was the "roasting ear" or "rosinear" crop that was Pontotoc County speak for table corn.
All of the above brings me to the day of the "big event". My father had left instructions for Bubba to plow the corn in the orchard when he got home from school. We owned several mules and horses that were used as draft animals and as a source of income. Mules broken to plow brought a good price.
Bubba decided to use one of the brood mares to plow the orchard. Her name was Redbird. She was very difficult to manage and Mama told Bubba to use another animal. He put a harness on "ole" Redbird and started. The mare had a mule colt that had not yet been weaned, and he left the colt in the barn. The mare would not plow. She tried to go back to the barn where the colt was braying. Bubba fought the mare, but he could not control her. That is when he made his second mistake. He reasoned if the colt was allowed to follow along by the mare, she would work and the mule would not damage too much corn.
I was sitting on a road bank overlooking the field, watching Bubba. (There was not much entertainment for a small boy whose job was to "stay out of the way".) I was not going in the orchard because the bees would get me. It looked like Bubba had solved the problem as the mare plowed two "rounds" (from the end of a row and back is a round"). The colt began to look for other things to do than follow the mare. The colt made the same mistake that I had made more than once. She got too close to the beehives, and they made a fierce attack.
The colt began braying and running toward the barn with a swarm of bees in pursuit. The mare, seeing the colt in distress, also headed to the barn with Bubba in tow. He had the "plow lines" (reins) looped around his head and shoulders. This was a show to behold, and I ran to the house screaming "Mama come see Bubba." She came running to see if her child was still alive, but by this time the traces had broken loose from the plow, and the reins had broken leaving Bubba laying in the red Pontotoc dirt.
He was not injured except for his pride; he did have to repair the fence before Daddy arrived home. At the time, I was scared but later found it very funny to remember. Bubba also thought that I would not tell Daddy.
I do not remember much from that year, but I remember Bubba and the bees and when the war ended, because all the older people were shouting.
~ By Terry Stewart, Contributor
Biographical Sketch: Terry Stewart, while a native of Randolph, Pontotoc County, Mississippi, spent his formative years living in Pontotoc. Upon graduating high school in 1960, Terry enlisted in the Navy, and afterwards spent thirty years with the "phone company." Terry is retired, but continues to work as a part-time contractor in the telecommunications industry. He and Lynn, his wife, reside in Itawamba County, Mississippi.
Cuttin Wood Retirement Recommendation
At this time of year, my granddad would have said, "Iffin ya aint got yore wood in yet, youre too late!"
He knew those trees were not going to work themselves into firewood all by themselves. Heating a big, drafty house required many cords of wood, and it had to be cut before the rains started.
Since Dad worked for Pontotoc Butane Gas Co. we had the convenience of gas heating. However, after his retirement from the school, Dad began to cut firewood. Many folks still wanted the ambiance and nostalgia of a fireplace, Mom was among those, and he supplied the wood. Not until recently did I realize how much hard physical work that involved.
In June a tornado came through Olive Branch, Mississippi where my mother-in-law, Mildred Boydston, lives. Although her house suffered little damage, it did considerable damage to her trees, losing fourteen large ones.
Since my doctor has been after me to get more exercise, I decided to take on the task of cleaning up this mess. After all, Dad had done this after he retired, so why cant I? One little thing I had not included in my decision; he had been doing manual labor all along. Most of my "hard labor" consisted of planting myself on a drafting stool and sitting there all day.
Its a simple thing, this wood cutting get a chain saw and a bow saw, sharpen an ax, and go to it. Ignorance is bliss! Here I go to cut wood! Simple as that! After all, there are only fourteen trees, no sweat for a robust fellow like myself...this chain saw is lots easier and faster than the old two man crosscut saws I had used in earlier days. Why it just zips through timber, like butter. Of course, having the trees lying in a thousand different directions doesnt help a lot, with their limbs laced together like a chairs cane seat.
The ax is a fine tool, cuts the brush away so that the larger branches can be cut with the chain saw. But, it doesnt pull out the criss-crossed limbs it cuts, nor does it pile them on the trailer to be hauled away. This may be a slightly larger job than I had anticipated.
One tree has the brush removed and is ready for the chain saw. I am anxious to get this gas-powered beaver started and feel the power and see all the effortless work it will perform. This will be a cakewalk!
After yanking on the starter cord for what seemed like an hour, I finally figured out there was a switch that must be turned to "on" before it would even think of starting. After that mystery was solved we were off to make small pieces out of large pieces.
However, before too long, the saw that started out weighing just a few pounds began to feel like it had doubled in weight. It roared, shrieked, and vibrated until my last remaining nerve was on edge. With the limbs so twisted and bent, you never knew which way the limb might fall or which way to cut to keep it from pinching the saw blade. Hunkerin down, lifting a big limb, trying to loosen the saw blade, and trying not to cut off an arm at the same time, is serious work. Even then, if you managed not to cut off a body part, the stupid limb still falls on you foot.
Well here I am, almost two hours into this job and already feel like someone has whupped me with a big stick. I cant get enough to drink; it seems my skin has sprung a leak. The problem seems to be everything in sight and am so tired I cant even lie down comfortably. I gulp down a handful of aspirin and pray that Peggy will just shoot me and get me out of my misery. I either went to sleep or just passed out; at any rate, morning came way too soon and I awoke hurting in places that I didnt even know were places. It even hurt to raise my eye lids, chewing was labor intensive, getting dressed was sheer agony. Fortunately, there were other activities that would keep me busy most of the day, none of which involve a chain saw.
Realizing if this job was to be done, some changes must be made, so I opted to work just a few hours each day until my stamina increased. Purchasing some "Gatorade" to drink would satisfy my thirst, and securing some young able-bodied help would be helpful also.
My stamina did increase each day, and although tired afterwards, I began not to hurt so much. Finally I reached the point where I could work about four to five hours.
Now as the summer ends, the downed trees have been cleaned up, cut into firewood, and stacked. The brush has been hauled away, and except for a few pecan logs that will go to the sawmill, all is completed.
Dad, I have much more respect for you, knowing the labor you spent as you cut firewood. Would I do it again? Yes! Was it worth the effort and pain? Yes!
Hopefully, the next catastrophic storm that happens and the "Chain Saw Crew" from our church asks for volunteers, Pa Jones son will be listed among those who say, "Here am I, send me!"
~ By Ralph Jones, Managing Editor
Importance Of Women Often Overlooked
I doubt any of my siblings gave much thought to the importance our stay-at-home mom played in our respective lives; at least we never discussed it openly when Mom was alive. Yet, a recent visit by Dads youngest brother, Lamar Carter of New York, NY, gave rise to a conversation on how women dont often receive the credit deserved for their role in the family. Lamar asked that we set aside some time during his visit for sharing our thoughts on the subject, as he wanted to relate his early memories of our mom and his sister-in-law, Frances Crausby Carter.
Several family members gathered at my house to share memories. In addition to our special visitors, Rebecca Franklin and Lamar Carter, other family members included, Sara Sue Brown and Felicia Pollard- Rayanne and Anson Adams and their daughter, Katherine Jason Carter, Barbara Carter, and me.
Lamar mentioned how he remembered with much fondness, Fred Crausby, Moms dad, "I liked him," he stated, emphasizing "him."
"Our farm joined that of the Crausbys," he recalled, "and there was a fence separating the properties. When I heard Mr. Fred coming down to the road, I would run to open the gap to let him through. He always called out a friendly hello to me and sometimes pitched a nickel to me for helping him. I may have been four or five years old, at the time. I also remember when Mr. Fred came to visit my parents, wed sit in front of the fireplace, and Id crawl up into Mr. Freds lap, because I liked him."
Fred Crausby died at age 45 approximately six weeks after being hospitalized from injuries received in an auto/ bus wreck. He was survived by his widow, Nona Vaughan Crausby and daughters Christine, Frances, and Jo.
"After Mr. Fred died," Lamar continued, "Miss Nona bought a house on the main road, and one of the things she did for the community was offer dances for the young people. There was a community there that had a bunch of teenagers and young people and several had musical instruments. Henry Carter was one, as were some of the Smithermans. They would all get together at the Crausby house and play music and pretend they knew how to dance. We did something similar at our house, which had a long hall down the center that was ideal for dancing."
While much of what Lamar shared about my mothers early years was familiar to me, I found myself understanding the era in more meaningful ways.
"Frances," Lamar mentioned, "was eight years older than me. When she and Henry married, and came to live with us, it was like a normal thing. Frances was like an addition to our family and being only eight years older than me, she was like a sister to me. The day after Henry and Frances married we loaded into the car that was owned jointly by Henry and Earl and headed off to Vardaman to introduce Frances to some relatives there, the Gammills, I think. In the car, I noticed Henry had his arm around Frances. I remember that was the first time I saw Henry show affection for Frances; I thought it was a nice thing to do."
"I dont think Frances knew how to cook when she married," Lamar reminisced. "But, she quickly learned from my mother, who was a wonderful cook."
Most of us knew the familiar story of Frances first attempt to make biscuits for the whole family, which consisted of her in-laws, two brothers-in-law, and one sister-in-law, but to hear it told by Lamar was almost like hearing it for the first time.
Uncle Earl noticed the extra flour on the surface of the biscuits and commented, "You can sure tell what these are made of," and unwittingly embarrassed Frances, the newlywed.
In my mind, his remark was likely an attempt at injecting some humor into the situation, as I always found Uncle Earl to be a polite and considerate person, but Ive often heard my mother recount that day, and in her mind her brother-in-laws comment was a slight regarding her biscuit-making skills.
"Frances used my mothers recipes and could make a caramel cake that tasted just like my mothers," Lamar continued. "Years later, when I came to visit Henry and Frances and ate with them, it was just like coming home."
"One of the things, Ive experienced is that often women are the backbone of a family. And somehow or the other, I think of Frances as the backbone of this particular family," Lamar stated, referring to that of my parents. "Frances was the glue that held everything in place."
With that Lamar asked us to share our memories. Barbara told how Mom enjoyed preparing Sunday dinner for all her children living close at the time. This was something she chose to do for us rather than attending church services.
Sarah reminisced how Mom enjoyed the Christmases of her childhood, which carried over into our childhood and beyond with her cooking. Mama had a breakfast tradition going where all of us would eat breakfast at her house before the family opened presents. There were always plenty of homemade biscuits stuffed with chunks of hoop cheese, sausage and scrambled eggs, and of course, plenty of Golden Eagle Syrup.
The mention of biscuits reminded Rayanne that she learned how to make biscuits watching her grandmothers hands incorporating the milk, flour, and Crisco in a hollowed out hole of sifted flour inside a large stoneware bowl.
Felicia recalled someone nicknamed "Mad Dog" driving his car into our neighbors house and shooting a pistol on the premises, a stunt that so upset Frances that she took to the bed.
Rebecca recalled the family gatherings of our youth at the home place at Thaxton, where many of the adults present felt children should be seen and not heard.
"Aunt Frances," she stated, "didnt feel that way, so I always sought refuge near her where I felt safe."
I mentioned how Mama wanted all her brood around her in inclement weather, so if a storm came and blew us away, wed all be together.
These and many other family memories were shared in about a two hour period. Mama, who died twenty years ago, would have enjoyed listening to our memories. Perhaps, she did so without our knowledge.
~ By Wayne L. Carter, Associate Editor & Publisher
An Acre Of Corn High School AG Project
The movie "Sergeant York" told the story of World War I hero Alvin C. York. Much of the early part of the movie told of his unending quest to own some bottomland. He, like our family, was from a long line of hill country farmers.
Bottomland was not that important for those people who lived in town in mid nineteen hundred, but for those people who were trying to survive by growing cotton on the hard scrabble hill country cotton farms of Pontotoc County, Mississippi, in the 1940s and 50s, bottomland was everything.
My father was the third generation of our family who owned what we called the home place. This part of the farm consisted of mostly hill land, and trees. Then sometime during my very early years my father managed to buy twelve acres of creek bottomland. Though I did not know it at the time, the bottomland would also prove to be my only claim to fame as I was growing up.
The story told is that an elderly couple owned the large farm that joined our farm. Much of their farm was also hill land and forest, but it also had twelve acres of bottomland. After they became old, they were unable to manage the farm. Apparently the gentleman had enough money to own a car. The only problem was that he never learned to drive. So any time he would need to go to town, or anywhere else for that matter, he would ask my father to drive the car for him. Apparently because of this, when he was ready to sell the farm, he sold it to my father.
For those who were attempting to grow cotton on the red hills of Pontotoc County, twelve acres of bottomland was something that most people only dreamed of. Though there were several creek bottoms around the area, few had soil as rich as the twelve acres that my father owned. The hill part of the farm actually had a small area of bottomland, but about the only thing we were able to grow was hay, or soy beans. The soil would just not grow cotton or corn, though my father attempted it several times. The soil was sort of a white clay consistency, and just was not suited for much of anything other than hay or beans.
The hill country cotton would only grow a few inches off the ground, but the cotton grown in the bottomland was usually waist high to most adults, and where the hill land would only produce about a half bale of cotton to the acre, and a severe backache when we picked it, my fathers bottomland would produce at least a bale to the acre.
A twelve-acre field now looks very small, but to a boy growing up it was huge. Our little Farm-all tractor only had about an eight inch turning plow. It took exactly fifteen minutes to make the circle of the field, and since you only turned eight inches at the time, it took several days to completely plow the field for planting.
Now about my claim to fame: During that time period apparently it was assumed that all boys in the county would become farmers. So from grades nine through twelve all boys took agriculture, and belonged to the FFA (Future Farmers of America). If I remember the years correctly, it was when I was either in the ninth or tenth grade that the county agents office, or some office connected to agriculture sponsored a contest for growing the most corn on an acre of land.
My agriculture teacher signed several of us up for the contest. When I told my father about the contest he told me that I could use one acre of the bottomland for my corn field. They sent someone out to measure my acre of land. My father chose an acre at the bottom of the field next to the curve of the creek. About the only rule was that you had to do all of the work by yourself.
At the time it did not mean that much to me, but it did to my father. I think it was sort of like a father wanting his son to be the star of the baseball team. Anyway, when they came back out at harvest time, I seem to remember that I had grown over one hundred bushels of corn on my acre of bottomland. Apparently it was good enough to get my name in the newspaper.
As time passed, and my father passed away, the farm was sold, and I had completely forgotten about the acre of corn, and getting my name in the paper. Then twenty five years later I received a call from one of my neighbors asking if I saw my name in the Pontotoc newspaper.
I said, "No, what did I do to get my name in the paper?"
He said, "Its in the news of bygone days. Twenty five years ago today your name was in the paper for growing over a hundred bushels of corn on one acre."
The memories began rushing in, and I remembered that day as if it was yesterday. It was not the memory of getting my name in the paper that brought back thoughts of those good times, but the memory of the exact way my father looked as he stood by the creek bank and watched as I turned the rich bottomland soil with the little tractor. He has been gone for over fifty years now, but I know that his spirit must still be alive in that bottomland of the farm that he loved so dearly.
~ By M. G. "Russ" Russell, Contributor
Bubba Bodock Signs That Made Us Laugh
We liked this collection of humorous signs. If you seen them before, thats okay with us, as youre sure to appreciate them again.
Sign over a Gynecologist's Office: 'Dr. Jones, at your cervix.'
In a Podiatrist's office: 'Time wounds all heels.'
On a Septic Tank Truck: Yesterday's Meals on Wheels
At a Proctologist's door: 'To expedite your visit, please back in.'
On another Plumber's truck: 'Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber.'
At a Tire Shop in Milwaukee: 'Invite us to your next blowout.'
On a Maternity Room door: 'Push. Push. Push.'
At an Optometrist's Office: 'If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place.'
On a Taxidermist's window: 'We really know our stuff.'
On a Fence: 'Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!'
Outside a Muffler Shop: 'No appointment necessary. We hear you coming.'
In a Veterinarian's waiting room: 'Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!'
At the Electric Company In a Restaurant window: 'Don't stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up.'
At a Propane Filling Station: 'Thank heaven for little grills.'
Cuzin' Cornpone A Bodock Post Exclusive
Our Mission Purpose - The Bodock Post
It is our desire to provide a monthly newsletter about rural living with photographs of yesterday and today, including timely articles about conservative politics, religion, food, restaurant reviews, gardening, humor, history, and non-fiction columns by folks steeped in our Southern lifestyle.
Copyright © 2008 - 2009 The Bodock Post.