Two Roads Part 11

img_1685Image pulled from the internet

Eddie made a good crop that year. Neeley canned and dried all her garden produced. The children cheeks filled out with the good food and all the milk they wanted. Once the crop was put by that fall, Neeley’s brothers Albert and Willie, and Eddie’s cousins came over to help with the well-digging. They’d dug down about twenty feet and were just starting to see water seep in, when Eddie broke his shovel handle and called out for a replacement. As one of the men was lowering it, he lost control and dropped it, hitting Eddie in the head. They dragged Eddie out of the well unconscious and hauled him ten miles to town in the back of a wagon.  He was transferred to Charity Hospital forty miles away by ambulance.  He awoke after a couple of days later, to their great relief, though he was never quite the same. He suffered from debilitating headaches and frequent seizures that left him confused. Worst of all, he raged and had little impulse control. He would have beaten the children if Neeley hadn’t gotten between him and them. Fortunately, she was larger than Eddie and able to control him.

Despite his problems, he was determined to take care of his family.  He’d work till a headache or seizure disabled him, then go to bed and get up and try again the next day.  Neeley’s brothers helped him get his crops in the next spring, hoping he’d rally with time.  Neeley and the children worked beside him, the baby toddling right along behind.  When it came time to pick the cotton, they all picked with the baby either riding along on their cotton sacks or playing between the rows.  Despite their best efforts, they barely made enough to pay the rent for the next year.  They’d be able to eat what Neeley canned or dried from the garden, but there was only enough money for shoes for the the oldest kids, the ones in school.  The others were resoled, reheeled, and passed down.  Neeley always bought brown lace-up oxfords, so they could be worn by boys and girls.  They had fattened six shoats to put in the smokehouse, but decided they’d best sell three for supplies and next spring’s seed.

It would be a hard winter, but they’d squeak by.  Neeley was exhausted from picking up Eddie’s extra load as well as keeping up her own work.  She was relieved to anticipate things easing up till she started throwing up in the mornings and realized she hadn’t had a visit from “her friend” in a couple of months.

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25 thoughts on “Two Roads Part 11

  1. I’m going to look at the bright side of this and be thankful that that shovel-handle didn’t kill Eddie, and leave Neeley a widow with a new-born on the way. They’ve proven to be a resourceful couple so far. My bet is that since they shared your heritage, they managed just fine. : )

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  2. I love my children but I hated pregnancy. I always said the best part of pregnancy was the delivery. I was a champ at delivery, it was like gitterdun!
    Poor Neely. Poor Eddie, doing well, things looking up only to have a bump on the head mess things up. Did they get the well dug for him? I’m sure her brothers had to make up for it somehow.
    Had he died, she’d be in a worse pickle. There’s nothing like a widow woman with a bunch of kids. Such hardship we can’t even imagine.

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  3. It is your friend if you are approaching menopause too – you would wonder why you ever cursed it. Also why is it that calamity always seems to affect those who work hard and earnestly and might never have hurt a soul in their lives ?
    Susie

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