Footloose and Fancy-Free Part 1

imageCousin Bobo was footloose and  fancy-free, unperturbed by the economic responsibilities of four children in three years. He doted on his child-bride, Inez, living quite happily with her and their family in an old unpainted, farm house on her mama’s place. Despite his aversion to a regular work schedule, he and Inez managed fine. There was no power to the house, so no bills, the wood stove and fireplace sufficing for heat and cooking. The house was abandoned when they moved in, so he tacked wire over the open windows to keep varmints out, shuttering the windows for bad weather. Mama was real proud he did the right thing and married Inez, so she wasn’t about to stir up trouble, especially after the young’uns started coming. Bobo plowed and planted Mama’s garden, later helping get the peas picked and corn cut. Except for the few days he spent plowing, and cutting firewood, he fished and hunted every day. He happily peddled watermelons and turnip greens out of his old ’49 Ford Truck. They never ran short of game or fish. Sometimes he’d help a neighbor butcher a beef or hog, bringing in extra meat. He wasn’t averse to helping family with a little painting or carpentry work from time to time, as long as it was understood that his labor included a few days’s hospitality for his brood.  He kept Mama’s freezer full. That along with Mama’s chickens and eggs, the cow’s milk and butter kept them going just fine. Getting clothes for the kids wasn’t a challenge. Inez was the youngest of six spectacularly fertile sisters. Their cousin’s hand-me-downs were plentiful. All those little blonde tykes lined up in overalls year round was awe-inspiring. Most of the time, they wore shirts under their overalls in winter. Plenty of old tennis shoes lay casually around, should any of the kids decide they needed footwear. Some even had mates. Size wasn’t an issue. Should a shoe be too big, it worked fine to slide-style and let it flop. The kids weren’t partial to shoes anyway, unless they were picking around in a trash dump with old cans or broken glass. Strings were scarce, but I never noticed anybody complaining.

I loved it when Bobo, Inez, and the kids showed up. Mother wasn’t always so enthusiastic, figuring they had run out of groceries and needed a place to roost for a few days. They did seem more likely to show up in bad weather when a warm house was a comfort. Sometimes they’d stay a few days with this relative, a few with that one, moving one before the tension got too thick. Mother complained about relatives giving them gas money to help them down the road to their next hosts. I know I saw her slip Inez a little of her grocery money once, after Daddy went to work. They moved on. We ate gravy and biscuits till Daddy got paid the next Thursday.

to be continued


33 thoughts on “Footloose and Fancy-Free Part 1

  1. People raised like that seem immune to many of the germs that cause illness to the rest of us. The family doctor told my mother once to let me get used to germs. That was quite a story. Bobo actually sounds quite creative. 😀 — Suzanne


  2. My dad’s story was eerily similar. As a result of a less-than-sanitary gypsy childhood, he wouldn’t eat anything that had a hair on it (even if it was his own), steak was cooked to shoe leather and if it was dropped on the ground (before or after cooking) he wouldn’t eat it.

    Funny what the final product (adulthood) of our childhood can create.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was a very interesting portrait of your relative. He reminded me slightly of one of my uncles who my brother and I liked because he was funny and played with us, but who also used to drift about from place to place a lot. He would turn up out the blue and stay for a while, which could be a little annoying for my parents.

    Liked by 1 person

Talk To Me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s