Footloose and Fancyfree (Part 2)

reblog of old post

Nutsrok

Repost:

True - Wedding Dresses for Pregnant Women

Even though the occasion of Bobo and Inez’s marriage preceeded my birth by a few days, Mother has told me the story so often, I feel I was there. Bobo showed up with his bride just hours after they married. No doubt, he was proud of her. He was twenty-seven; she, fifteen and visibly pregnant. Now, he’d be arrested. Quite a buxom lass, she was lovely.

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Linda Swain Bethea on Tell Me a Story

Hey, check out this program Monday!

Annette Rochelle Aben

tmaslindabethea

Monday, September 26th, 1:30-2pm EDT ~ Welcome to Tell Me a Story, today, Linda Swain Bethea!  Those who follow her in the blogging world, can attest to the fact that she is a gifted storyteller. Everyone is hooked on her blog Nutsrok.  http://www.nutsrok.wordpress.comLinda has recently published her first book, Everything Smells Just Like Poke Salad. This is actually a collaboration with her 88year old mother, Kathleen Holdaway Swain. There’s got to be a good story here and we’re sure to hear it, today on The Magic Happens Radio Network. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/themagichappens

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/themagichappens/2016/09/26/linda-swain-bethea-on-tell-me-a-story

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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 provided 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, often harvesting turtles for the table.  He happily peddled watermelons, fish, 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, eggs,  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

Well, Black My Eyes!

image

This post might not make sense to you if you’re not from the South, but I had a near calamity today.  I had a taste for black eye peas, so I got my trusty cast iron pot out and started washing peas.  Bud made a pass through and nearly swooned with happiness when he saw how lovely I looked washing peas next to the garlic, celery, and onion waiting on the chopping block.  There would be unhappiness in our home this evening if no peas and ham were forthcoming.  After seasoning and starting the peas, I went to the freezer to find the meaty ham bone I’d squirreled back a couple of weeks ago. Ham bones are a gift of nature.  I even knew a family who nicknamed their son Ham Bone.   I think to a Southern Cook, the ham bone is more important than the ham itself, a delicacy to be hidden from nosey freezer plunderers at all costs.  In fact, I have been known to threaten bodily harm when a home-wrecking guest asked Bud, not me for the ham boneafter a meal.  I put a stop to that hussy then and there!

At any rate, the precious ham bone must be retrieved at the perfect point of denuding.  Too much meat on the bone is wasteful.  Too little just leaves the pea soup a bit anemic. I knew I had the most darling ham bone hidden away in the freezer awaiting its rendezvous with my peas.  I reached in the freezer for my ham bone  and found………..nothing!  Well, actually I found ground beef and pork, chicken parts of various types, several kinds of sausage, vegetables and fruit a plenty, but no ham bone. I panicked.  Earlier in the week, I’d asked Bud to get the frozen meat trimmings and scraps to the trash.  God forbid?  Had he mistaken my foil-wrapped ham bone  for scraps. Worse yet, had he sneaked it out to another woman? I was almost too shattered to look, but finally found my ham bone shoved to the back of the bottom shelf behind a bag of ice.  Never has a ham bone been so welcome.  The peas breathed a sigh of relief when I dropped the bone in.

Our marriage was saved.

2 1/2 cups black eyed peas
8 cups water
1/2 tablespoon salt or more to taste
1/4 tablespoon black pepper
1 medium onion (whole)

1/4 c diced celery if desired
Nice ham bone 

1/4 teaspoon vinegar (or pepper sauce)

Simmer all ingredients in large cooking pot on stove top burner on medium heat. Use cast-iron pot if you have one.

Cook 40-60 minutes or until peas are tender. Do not allow water to evaporate entirely. If peas are dry they will burn quickly.

Serve with hot cornbread.  It is against the law to throw the pea soup out.  Have it for lunch tomorrow is ver cornbread.

Home is Where the Heart Is

image                                      Uncle Russ’s camper wasn’t this nice!

Bud’s Uncle Russ was ahead of his time, since he came up with the first camper/Tiny House anyone had seen in our part of the country.  Back in the late1950’s and 1960’s, the family occasionally awoke to find his old Ford truck with its homemade camper parked in their yard.  Enclosed within its two by four frame and galvanized sheet metal covering were a bunk and a bit of storage for his camp stove, personal belongings, and other gear, though his hygiene products didn’t take up a lot of room.

Uncle Russ was not encumbered with a regular job.  He travelled till he ran out of money, then stopped off and found a little job like mowing, helping with a harvest, or pumping gas to get enough ahead to make be on down the road a bit.  He never went naked or hungry, and always had a roof over his head.

When the Bethea boys, Dell and Louis were growing up on a farm in Warren, Arkansas, their Uncle Russell would show up from time to time.  He’d hang around and work with his brother Joseph till they got crosswise and he’d get mad and leave or Joseph would run him off.  Apparently, his grooming was lacking even then, since the boys, “I don’t know how you boys can stand to wash your face and comb your hair before every meal.  I don’t comb my hair but about every six months and it nearly kills me then.”

Early one Saturday morning, Miss Mary noticed his truck in the drive and called out to let Dell, Bud’s Dad know his uncle had come to call.  Uncle Russ knocked when he saw them up and about.  Miss Mary let him in and went to put the kettle on for coffee. Without a doubt, Uncle Russ had just acquired some instant coffee he was curious about, since he asked Miss Mary if she minded if he made his own.  “Not at all.  The water will be hot in just a minute.”

He stirred in four or five heaping teaspoons of granules.  Knowing he had concocted a powerful potion, she and Dell watched with interest as he tried to choke it down.  He made two or three attempts before remarking, “I made that a little stout.  I’m gonna had to pour it and have a little of yours.”

When Bud was about seventeen.  Uncle Russ made a trip down, asking Bud to sign a signature card to be put on a joint checking account, though Bud assured him he wouldn’t have anything to deposit.  “That’s okay.  You just sign this here card and feel free to write a check anytime you need to.”

Bud signed the card and never gave it another thought, knowing how odd Uncle Russ was.  Several months later, he got a letter from Uncle Russ, telling him how disappointed in him he was.  In fact, he was going to take him out of his will. Bud never saw Uncle Russ again.   Uncle Russ retired, an interesting move for a man who never worked more than a day or two at a time.  He sold his old truck and its fixtures, somehow acquired an old mobile home, and moved it to the family farm.  He died a few months later.  Bud never heard who beat him out of his inheritance.

 

 

 

 

Ya Have to Laugh…

Reblogged from Openuated

O-pen-u-nated

     My writing has been pretty heavy lately, so here is some light humor:

     When our daughter was working at a pharmacy as a tech, a really buff guy was in line dressed in his workout clothes. Here’s the thing, he had a stream of toilet paper hanging out of his back waist band. All the girls working in the pharmacy were trying to get each other to tell him, but no one did. She said what made it funnier was that he seemed very cocky but little did he know… Wouldn’t you think at least one of the other customers would have told him?

pe0064675

    

11861286-young-shopper-on-the-car-parking     My mom, sister and I are all seriously ADD so when we get together, crazy things can happen. The best part about it is that we can laugh at ourselves and each other. So, one day the three of us were shopping…

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Mrs. Johnson Sets Me Straight

Nutsrok

imageThe time I spent getting to know my patients was the best part of nursing.  As a hospital dialysis nurse, during the course of a four-hour treatment, we had a lot of time to talk.  One of my favorite patients was a lively little seventy-year old lady, the mother of twenty-one children.  I never knew what she’d have to say.  When I expressed my amazement at her having so had many, she told me, “It wasn’t so bad. I had a set of twins, so I was only pregnant twenty times.”

“You must be proud of your kids,” I answered.

“Huh,” she snorted.  “Ain’t half of ’em worth the powder it’d take to blow ’em away.  I gotta keep my purse right with me.”

“Oh.”  I had no other response to that.

She was always full of wild tales about getting the best of her “old man” who was twenty…

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