We were sitting around the fire one Saturday night in Mr. Grady Rose’s sitting room. The only light came from the fire. All the little kids lounged on the floor in front of the fire, pleasantly tired from an afternoon of play with full bellies. Mr. Grady looked like a gray-haired bear in overalls, not so tall, as burly and powerful. I loved hearing him talk about raising his boys. “I had to kill a hog a day to feed them boys. I told ‘em lot’s of times, ‘Them that don’t work, don’t eat.’ I always go to bed real early and am up by four. That’s the way I was raised. I can’t sleep past four, even in the dead of winter even if I ain’t got a bunch of cows to milk. I used to be out milking while Bessie cooked breakfast. Now I just sit and watch her. Anyhow, one morning up in January, them boys decided they wadn’t getting up. Bessie called ‘em once and they didn’t make a peep. I give ‘em just a little bit and hollered for ‘em to get up. Then I headed out to milk, ‘spectin’ to be right behind me when I noticed, they ain” got up yet.
I hollered up the stairs for ’em. One of ‘em got smart and hollered back ‘We ain’t getting up yet. Ain’t no use in gittin’up at four just to sit around waitin’ for daylight.’
That got me hot. I ain’t raising no slackers. I went straight out to the barn and come back with the plow lines. I brung ’em back in there and gave one or two licks over them boy’s quilts and they come flying out of that bed just a hollerin’. All four of ’em was fightin’ and pullin’ each other back trying to git outta my way. I didn’t have no way of knowing then on account of all the racket, but the deputy sheriff had just raised his hand to knock on the door. Them four boys busted that front door down and gave him a good stompin’, trying to git away.
He grabbed up his hat, took off runnin’ the other way, jumped in the car and took off. Turns out he was comin’ out to give me a summons for jury duty. He went back to town and told the sheriff he wadn’t goin’ back. Them folks was crazy out there.”