Friday, January 4, 2008

Some of my background-1

I went back to see the old home place year before last and was amazed to see that it was still standing. Although the vegetation was grown up around it, and the front porch was gone. The brick chimney that my Dad built somewhere around 1945 or 1946 was still standing. I was about 4 years old at the time and I guess the reason I remember it so well is because when he hooked the old horse up to the old mud and moss chimney and pulled it down, snakes scattered. There was a nest of them in the base of it. My mother was screaming and my dad and the neighbors were trying to kill them with sticks and shovels, it was a sight to see.

I lived the first 9 years of my life along with 2 brothers and a sister in this old house in Columbia La. in what my older brother dubbed ‘skunk holler’. There were only 2 bedrooms and one of those was the master bedroom/living room combination. They were happy years, I guess because we as kids, had no idea what our mom and dad had to go through just to keep clothes on our backs and food in our bellies. My dad died in this house, in July, 1950. He was 37 years old and died of TB when I was 9 years old. I remember standing on the front porch watching as they carried his body to the hurst, it was raining…...
This old house had no electricity, no indoor plumbing of any kind. For heat, we had a fireplace and one of those old Ben Franklin potbellied heaters. My mother cooked on an old 4 eye wood burning stove with a side oven on it. I can remember my brother and I running along each side of the trail through the woods as my dad would ride on a slide pulled by our horse. We would pick up pine knots and put them on the slide, they would be used in winter to make a hot fire in the fireplace and wood burning heater to heat the house. I could tell you a lot more about life in this old house during those 9 short years and the things I found myself in trouble for..! But I will have to save that for another post…..
Like Meryl Haggard sang,- "No amount of money can buy from me the memories that I have of then, and no amount of money can pay me to go back and live through it again"…!
After my dad died, us kids started spending a lot of time with our grandparents, My grandpa was the blacksmith in Columbia, A.E. Perry, Shop #9, above the door hang a sign that read, ’We can fix anything from a broken heart to the crack of dawn’
Now my grandpa was a shade tree philosopher, He had many words of wisdom that didn’t mean a thing to me until I grew older and started thinking of the things he would say. As I would analyze some of them, they would come clear to me, like the one that struck the hardest in my mind was, “You are the master of your thoughts until they are spoken, then you become their slave”, A profound statement. Another one is, “Time is a long time coming, but a short time gone”. And it only seems like he told me that 15 minutes ago………! He told me once that a tree wasn't half as far up as it was down, and he said, if you don’t believe it, just climb up there and look down..! He was always free with his words of wisdom after he had indulged in a few snorts of his, ‘sweetheart wine’. He loved his sweetheart wine.
One day my Grandmother told me that if I would go out to the shop and round up all his hidden wine bottles with some wine in them, she would give me a dime for each bottle I found with some in it. Well being such an enterprising young man of about 10 years old, I found a bottle that was ¾ full. Then I went out in the field behind the shop and found several empties and poured a little in each one of them and took them to grandma, Yep, you got it, she saw right through it and told me that she would give me the first dime she caught climbing a skinned sapling backwards! Well, I learned my lesson right then and there, I got into trouble with grandpa….!
I’ll have to give you’ll a run-down on Grandma one of these days, and if you’re not 60 years or older, then you probably won’t believe a word of it…!

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