Two Roads, Finale

Eddie seemed to rally for several years after his accident, but well into his forties, his excruciating headaches returned and he had some behavior changes, becoming increasingly violent.  Neeley and the children avoided him as much as possible in an effort not to agitate him.  He began sleeping a great deal of the time.  Neeley knew something was terribly wrong, but Eddie would not seek medical care.  She and the boys were able to get the crop in when he could no longer got out of bed.  Not long after his  forty-seventh birthday, he suffered a major seizure from which he never recovered.  Since he was unable to object, Neeley sent word for the doctor to visit.  He examined Eddie in great depth and diagnosed a brain tumor, based on his history and physical exam.  There was nothing to be done except keep him comfortable.  He lingered a couple of weeks in a semi-comatose condition till a final seizure finished him off.

Though Neeley grieved for the man she had married and loved for many years, her gravest concerns were how she would manage to raise the children on her own.  All she had in the world was one-hundred twenty-eight dollars from the sale of their crop, the canned and dried produce from their garden, the hams and bacons in the smokehouse, and two milk cows. She sold one cow for one-hundred dollars, figuring she could milk one of Albert’s goats when the cow went dry. The two oldest girls had married and had homes of their own.  Her sixteen and fifteen year-old sons both went in the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933 as a part of Roosevelt’s New Deal. They were each paid thirty-dollars a month, twenty-five of which had to be paid directly to their mother.

Naturally, Neeley was unable to rent the farm after Eddie’s death.  She moved thirteen year-old Will and the two little girls back to the house on her brother Albert’s place.  With what the CCC sent her, she managed pretty well till they left that program.   Fortunately, In 1935, she was able to get thirty-seven dollars a month from Aid to Families with Dependent Children. On the farm, she was able to feed the kids from her own garden.  Mama’s  husband died not too long after Eddie, so Neeley made a place for her.  It seems ironic that Neeley took care of Mama much longer than Mama cared for her, but it filled a place in her sore heart.  Young Will soon dropped out of school and worked as a day laborer or seasonal worker, bringing home whatever he could.  He was a big fellow and got a job as a night watchman on a drilling rig at fifteen by lying about his age.  In 1941, he joined the Navy at the age of seventeen after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

He had an allotment sent home for his mother, making her easier than it had been been with a rent-free place to live and a bit of steady cash.  As the kids married and settled, she lived first with one, then the other, sometimes opting to rent from a widowed friend in town who made half her house available when Neeley tired of drama and grandkids.  They shared the bath, porches, and sometimes meals.  They watched their soaps with great intensity, especially railing against conniving men exploiting innocent young women.  Perry Mason and Gunsmoke were in a league of their own.  For some reason, she enjoyed moving and was able to save a little money by staying with her kids a while.  She’d always yearned for the ease of town life, so these were golden times.  She started drawing her old-age pension as soon as she was eligible.

Neeley lived a good forty years after Eddie’s death. To her great surprise, when she was in her fifties, her long-lost father showed up at her house wanting to see her just once before he died.   She never saw hm again, but did kindle a relationship with the unknown brother who brought him.  That relationship grew close and lasted the rest of her life. A few men came courting, but she quickly put them on the road, having no wish to be dominated by a man again.  Her children were supportive and protective of her, cognizant of the sacrifices she’d made for them.  Having her mother spend her last days with her did a lot to ease her soul.  Toward the end of her life, Neeley remarked, “I went through some rough times, but I got my younguns, an’ it all worked to a happy life.  God’s been good to me.”

 

 

 

Southern New Year’s Greeting

I think I might be on YouTube today!  I thanked some enthusiastic young party-goers for holding the elevator for me in a hotel sometime after  midnight.  The were delighted with my Southern accent and wanted me to “talk Southern” for them.  Apparently I was convincing since they videoed me amid great hilarity.  One young lady hoped I was frying chicken in my room, but I had to disappoint her.  I left them with some good advice, “Y’all be careful out there tonight.  Most people are good folks,  be there are a few just waiting to do y’all dirty.  

 

From Ashlandbelle’s Southern Page

Southern Sayings Page

A whistling woman and a crowing hen never comes to a very good end. (be who you are)
Ain’t that the berries! (that is great!)
As easy as sliding off a greasy log backward. (very easy)
Barking up the wrong tree. (you are wrong)
Be like the old lady who fell out of the wagon. (you aren’t involved, so stay out of it)
Busy as a stump-tailed cow in fly time. (very busy)
Caught with your pants down. (surprised and unprepared)
Chugged full. (full and over-flowing)
Do go on. (you must be joking)
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. (attempt what you can accomplish)
Don’t count your chickens until they hatch. (first know the results)
Don’t let the tail wag the dog. (the cheif is in charge, not the Indians)
Don’t let your mouth overload your tail. (talking too much)
Either fish or cut bait. (work or make way for those who will)
Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then. (everyone is sometimes lucky)
Every dog should have a few feas. (no one is perfect)
Fly off the handle. (angry and lashing out)
Get the short end of the stick. (not invited and treated wrong)
Give down the country. (give someone a peice of your mind)
Go hog wild. (have a good time)
Go off half-cocked. (have only half the facts)
Go to bed with the chickens. (in bed early)
Go whole hog. (go for it all)
Gone back on your raisin. (deny heritage)
Got your feathers ruffled. (upset and pouting)
Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine. (doesn’t grasp or worry what’s going on)
Have no axe to grind. (no strong opinion)
Holler like a stuck pig. (someone mislead you)
I do declare. (usually means nothing)
In high cotton. (rising up in society)
In a coon’s age. (been a long time)
Like a bump on a log. (lazy and doing nothing)
Like two peas in a pod. (act and think alike)
Mend fences. (settle differences)
Scarce as hen’s teeth. (no such thing)
Sight for sore eyes. (Nice to you!)
Stomping grounds. (familiar territory)
Sun don’t shine on the same dog’s tail all the time. (you’ll get what you deserve)
That takes the cake. (surprised)
Too big for one’s britches. (someone taking themself too seriously)
Two shakes of a sheep’s tail. (done quickly)
Well, shut my mouth. (shocked and speechless)
AIM TO- plan to do
AIRISH- cold
BIGGITY- vain and overbearing
BITTY BIT- a small amount
CARRY ON- to carry on foolishness
CLODHOPPER- heavy work shoes or large shoes
CHUNK- throw, toss
‘COON- Raccoon.
COW LICK- hair standing out on one’s head.
DIRECTLY- in a little while, or a couple of weeks
DIXIE- Southern States of the U.S.A
DO-HICKY- substitute name. Like the terms whata-ma-call-it or thinga-ma-jig
FALLING OUT- disagreement
FEISTY- being frisky
FIXING TO- about to
HEY- hello
HOLD YOUR HORSES- (be patient)
HONEY- affectionate term
LAID UP- ill, hurt, unable to work
MESS-one who carries on, “He’s a mess.”
MUCH OBLIGED- thank you; hope to return the favor
PIDDLE- waste time, doing nothing
PLAYING POSSUM- playing dead
RECKON- think or supose so.
SHINDIG- dance or celebration
SMOKEHOUSE- Shed with a dirt floor where pork and other meats is cured, and then smoked.
SORRY- inferior quality, worthless, and lazy
SOUTHERN BELLE- Southern lady
SPRING CHICKEN- young thing
SWEET TALKING THING- has a good line
TIGHT- stingy with money
WAIT ON- serve or assist
WART-TAKER-one who removes warts by charms or incantations
WHITE LIGHTNING- moonshine whiskey
WORRY-WART- one who is annoying
YA’LL or Y’ALL (can be spelled both ways)- you all, two or more people

 

Funny New Year’s Resolutions

Nutsrok

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageI resolve to work with neglected children. (my own).
I will answer my snail mail with the same enthusiasm with which I answer my e-mail.
When I hear a funny joke I will not reply, “LOL… LOL!”
I will not ring the stewardess button on airplanes just to get her phone number.
I will balance my checkbook. (on my nose).
I will think of a password for my computer other than “password.”
I will try to figure out why I “really” need 11 e-mail addresses.
I will go into McDonald”s and order a McSpreader
I will go into McDonald”s and order a McSlurry
I will find out why the correspondence course on “Mail Fraud” that I purchased never showed up.

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Two Roads Part 14

img_1697Over the next few years, their brood grew to include seven.  The boys were tall and strong, a lot of help to Eddie, so he didn’t need Neeley’s help so much.  A stern taskmaster, he was apt to take his belt to the boys should they dally.  When Will, their third son was about eight, he was given the task of planting corn as his older brothers made up the rows on either side of him.  The rows seemed to stretch on forever and his back ached with bending and planting four kernels per hills ten to twelve inches apart. He fell further and further behind.  Desperate to catch up, he buried a big pile of seed in one hill and caught up to his brothers.  It rid him of so much of the accursed seed, he repeated the process up and down the rows, finishing up in time with the rest.  He thought no more about it, glad to be done with the onerous task of planting.  Several evenings later, Eddie went out one bright moonlit night to check to see if his corn had sprouted late that afternoon.  Indeed it had, but not all in rows like he expected.  Big clumps of corn sprouts stood in patches up and down the rows.  Infuriated, he knew immediately what Will had done.  He strode toward the house, determined to set the boy straight.  In their exhaustion, the three boys had gone to bed immediately after supper.  Eddie stomped into the room snatching the covers back from the sleeping boys and started beating them with his belt. Though Will got the worst of it, the other boys suffered welts, too.  Neeley heard the screams from the kitchen and burst in to stop Eddie.  In his fury, he didn’t seem to notice her.  Neeley ..  got the fireplace poker and got between him and the boys, beating him about the shoulders. Finally, she stood him off.  Threatening to crack him over the head, she assured him she’d kill him if she had to. In the face of her ferocity, he backed down, putting himself on one side of a wall and herself and the kids on another.  This was repeated several times over the next few years, made worse as the boys’ hormones kicked in and Eddie aged. Neeley wondered if his meanness was due to his head jury or his nature.  It could have been a combination since Eddie had learned violence at he hands of his own father, many years earlier.

Eddie didn’t deal a lot better with the girls.  As they entered  puberty, he suspected them of all manner of misbehavior.  Always on the lookout for trashiness, they couldn’t smile at a boy without inciting his anger.  In view of Eddie’s violent tendencies, Neeley  always lined up on the side of her children, creating anger on both sides.  As Neeley became more defensive, the boys became more undisciplined.  Neeley had the girls firmly under control, determined they not be led astray as she had been.  Though Eddie never voiced it, Neeley feared he’d make reference to her dalliance before their marriage. Like any mother, she wanted her children to hold her in high regard. It was an uncomfortable situation.  Not only that, fearing more pregnancies, Neeley refused to have sex except immediately before or after her “curse,” increasing the tension between them.