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Monday, January 6, 2014

IT DON’T MATTER Chapter 1 Out on the Farm


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Ma Aint Purty - But She is My Ma
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Being nine years old I ain’t completely satisfied with myself.

Maybe there aire some other folks that feel the same but I ain’t gonna ask them for two reasons.

One is because folks around here lie about everything and two… I can’t remember number two - -  If it comes to me I’ll writ it down fer you.

Almost every day fer some reason it always comes to mind that I think Pa could have done better than Ma.  First off she ain’t what you might call purty.  In fact she is closer to ugly than nice looking.  I guess Pa has got used to looking at her but I still notice her looks.

The one thing that bothers me about Pa having got another wife is how that would affect me.  It is possible that I might not be here and that makes Ma’s appearance lot more likable. 

Did I mention I ain’t the only one in our family?  There are several other boys and girls.  I would have to catch them at the dinner table and count them to know how many.  Of course there are many other kin like cousins, who hang around here so much you can’t remember whether they are part of our family or uncle or auntie’s off spring.

Another problem the family caused; there are so many of us we can’t all get into school at the same time so part of us go one year and the rest go the next year.  I figure we should all be out when we are thirty year old.

I like to go to the monthly dances.  They are the best times of all.  I would watch in awe when the women would jump around and things were flopping up and down.  I thought it surely must hurt badly.  That convinced me that women could endure a lot of pain if they were having fun. 

When I was older I asked one of my sisters if all that flopping didn’t hurt and she said no that was part of the fun.

When I was older I asked one of my sisters if all that flopping didn’t hurt and she said no that was part of the fun.

The men usually drank too much and have to be hauled home in the wagon. We let them sleep out there for it is always about four in the morning when we get home just in time for Ma to cook breakfast and milk the cows.

My job or one of them has been to gather the eggs.  I have been doing that ever since I could without breaking them.  I broke one on purpose and told Ma I was too young to do it.  She told Pa and after he aged me with the strap I did just fine. 

One of my cousins got married.  She had a special wedding called a “shotgun”.  We all got together and walked over to the parson’s house and he stood on the porch and said the marrying words and it was over.

The man moved in with the bride’s family and the dad put the shotgun away. I couldn’t figure what part the shotgun played in the wedding for he didn’t shoot it. 

That kind of wedding must have been popular for they had one of them ever so often. Asked my Pa if they ever had any other kind and he said once in a while they did.

I hooked the team up again to the wagon and hauled Pa out to the plowing spot but he wasn’t ready to plow just yet so I did it until he could walk steady.  Once he had hold on the plow shares he did alright so I went back to the house and tended to the bees.

They had been busy and needed to have the hive raised with a super over the brood box. They must have had a bad night for they got mad quickly. 

I wasn’t going to put up with that attitude so I put some rags in to a couple of smokers and lit them.  I smoked them with both hands until they got sick, settled down and then I added the supers to their home.  The silly suckers didn’t realize I was doing them a favor.

Ma rang the dinner bell so the rest of them bees would have to wait until I ate dinner.  I washed up and when I was going to sit and eat, she handed me a bucket and said go feed the plow hands and your Pa cause he gets nasty if his dinner is late.  She added you wait until they are finished and bring back the bucket I need it for milking time.

As I watched them gobble down all that food I wondered if there was some way to turn off the hungry in me for I was in pain watching them.  At last they finished and I made it home.

Ma said did you wash out the bucket for it has to be clean for the milking.  I was so hungry I lied and said, “Yes ma it’s clean,” and headed for the table.

She cut me off with the bucket in her hand and said Liars don’t eat at my table go finish your chores.

I was so hungry that I felt like sucking a couple of eggs but I couldn’t eat them raw.

I was thinking, that ma ain’t only with an ugly face she has an ugly, mean spirit in her. I was wondering if I could get the preacher to come over and cast it out of her but I didn’t have any money to give him so I guess I will have to live with it.

 Ma sent me to the general store to get some flour, at first I argued about going until she said you won’t get any biscuits and gravy for breakfast if you don’t go.

On the way I passed the house of the Dickson’s.  As usual Ditcher and Annie were sitting on the front porch.  Ditcher chewed tobacco and Annie dipped snuff.  Between the two of them there was a whole lot of spitting going on.

They invited me to come and join them on the porch but I wanted to stay out of spitting distance.  After we told everything we knew about everything and everybody I said I had to go so I could get home before dark.

Then after saying good bye for another five minutes I headed to the store.  I met Mr. Johnson while there and he offered me a ride home or near to it and I said for that twenty five pound sack of flour was going to get heavy.  He put the flour in the back and away we went.  

We were going really fast.  His trotter was in training for the coming race. Faster and faster we went until the sack of flour fell out of the buggy and busted open.  Johnson said he was sorry and left as I tried to scrape up the spilled flour what was Ma going to say?

As I got what I could Johnson came back with a sack of flour under one arm. He said get in the buggy and we will finish the trip.  I didn’t mention this episode to anyone for I didn’t want to have to live it down.

The next big issue of the evening was if Ma was going to let me eat at the table this evening.  She stared at me and had the; I remember the dirty bucket look … this is one of life’s darkest moments.

I dare not run and sit down like the rest of the family and to just stand by the table makes you look like something is wrong.  This was one of the longest minutes of my life so far.  While waiting I thought, “Eat or don’t eat it doesn’t matter.”

Then Ma said, “Sit down and eat your supper.”  Those were the sweetest words Ma had ever spoken to me and I realized; yes there are things that does matter.

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