Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!

Nutsrok

So there was this Grandma who was late for a meeting. She is going 65 on a street where the speed limit is 40. A cop pulls her over and says “ma’am, can I please see your license?” She says “I’m sorry, officer, but I got it revoked two years ago for drunk driving.” His brow furrows and he straightens up. “Well, can I please see the registration of your car?” She says “I stole the car and I killed the driver; he’s in the trunk.” “Ma’am, DON’T MOVE, I’m calling for backup.” He mutters furiously into his walkie-talkie… Five minutes later, half the squad pulls up, the Chief of Police walks over to the woman’s window. “Ma’am, can I see your license?” he asks sternly. “Of course, officer,” she smiles demurely and pulls out a license from her purse. He squints warily at it. “This looks legitimate,” he mumbles…

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Just Folks Getting By Part 1

This story is not about my family, but from a time and place when my grandparents struggled to raise their family.  This is a picture of my grandparents Roscoe Gordon Holdaway and Mary Elizabeth Perkins Holdaway when they first married.  Mary Elizabeth Perkins and Roscoe Gordon Holdaway Wedding Pictu“Mama, how come I had to live in that orphanage for a while when I was little?  If you ever told me, I don’t remember.” Jenny sat in a porch rocker nursing her new baby.  Her mother Lucille sat across from her in another, crocheting a blanket for Little Lucy.

Oh, Jenny, I been wondering when you was gonna ask about that.  That like to broke my heart.  I don’t want you to think bad of your daddy.  He was a real good man, but got caught up in some trouble when you was just a baby.  We was a’farming the Henderson Place up in the Panhandle where The Dustbowl was the worst and he got caught moonshining.  You have to understand, back in The Great Depression, things was different.  They’d been a long drought an’ he hadn’t made a good crop in years.  Dust just kept a blowin’ ever’thing away.  It was just awful seein’ them dust clouds roll in, knowin’ we was gonna be a’smotherin’ and lose our crops..  That dust would git down in your lungs and turned to mud.   That’s what happened to your brother Jimmy when you was just a baby.  He died of the dust pneumonia.  Anyway, that’s what got your daddy moonshining.  We was a’starvin’ and then Jimmy got bad sick.  It was real flat out there and he put a still in the storm cellar.  The sheriff seen the smoke and come and broke it up and hauled him off to jail.  I didn’t know what I was gonna do.  Since I’m a’gonna be here a few days, it’d be a good time to tell you.  Now, you got a baby of your own, you ought’a be able to know what a hard thing it is to leave a young’un.  I always worried you’d hold it against me, but if I hadn’t a’put you in that orphanage, you’d a’died like Jimmy.  You almost did anyway.”  Lucille had difficulty speaking through her tears.

“Oh Mama.  I never held anything against you.” Jenny interjected.  “I remember you coming to get me on your days off.  I went there when I was so little, I didn’t know any other life.  I couldn’t wait to see you when Mama Margie and Mama Bertha told me you were coming.  Not many kids ever had anybody to come see them.  I thought I was real lucky, especially when you’d take me out on my birthday and Christmas every year.  Those were really special times.  Most kids never went out except when we all went.  I remember getting to sleep over with you a few times.  Those were the best times, snuggled close to you in your bed in your cute little-bitty room in that kitchen.”

“I’m glad you remember it that way, but that wasn’t a ‘cute little-bitty room.’  It was a cot in the pantry, but it’s a mercy that’s what you thought.  Mr. Jones let me clear out a space big enough for a cot.  Do you remember I had all them canned goods stowed up under the bed?  Till Mr. Jones let me git a cat, I had to set mousetraps all around and they’d be a’snappin’ all night.  I shore was proud of Ol’ Smoky.  She wouldn’t let a mouse stay on the place.  I sure slept a lot better after she come.  She was a good old cat.”  They both got a good chuckle out of that.

True Love at the Library

The world opened up to me on my first visit to the library the summer before I turned four.  My sister had just finished first grade.  Mother took her to enroll her in the summer reading program, bland enough sounding, as we pulled up to a white clapboard building just next to Davis’s Barber Shop.  I knew Sandra Davis was in first-grade with my sister, so that was important.  The small library was divided into an adult and children’s room and lined floor to ceiling with shelves.  The picture books were on low shelves under the huge windows of the front room.  I stood there staring, till a tiny, white-haired lady came out from behind a desk, pointed to the shelves and told me, “Choose anything you like.”
I’d never seen such wealth.  We had books at home, but nothing like this bounty.  I’d never thought the world might hold such wealth.  I dropped to the floor and pulled one out. Having no interest in little girls at a tea-party, I hastily slid it back in its place, looking for something a real kid might read.  I rejected a valentine book, a kitty, and an A B C book, I had just settled on a cowboy book when Mother said we needed to go.
“I didn’t get to read my book yet!”  I wailed.
“We can read it when you get home.  Don’t you want some more? You can get three,” she finished.
I’d never been offered more of anything this good.  I was stunned.  “That ol’ woman is gonna’ give me three?”
Mother covered my “that ol’ woman outburst” the best she could.  She grabbed the tea party book and the valentine book, while I handed over my cowboy book.  Miss Temple stamped the little date sticker in the books, had Mother sign the cards, and we were on our way.  As soon as we got to the car Mother hissed. “”Don’t ever call somebody an old lady again. Or I’ll warm your britches for you.”
“Why? Doesn’t she know she’s an old lady?” I asked.  I was still having a lot of trouble figuring out manners.
“Well, if she doesn’t, it’s not your place to tell her.”  She was mad.
As soon as we got home,  Mother read me Rory and Rocky the Cow Pony.  After a couple of readings, I had it memorized.  I had to take back in two weeks, but checked Rory and Rocky out all summer.  I never did read the tea party or valentine books.