Miss Laura Mae’s House Part 3

Three littI admired the way Miz Laura Mae’s daughter Glomie got her name, though I only learned later it wasn’t spelled the way it was pronounced.
“Betty Lou was the purtiest baby I had, even if I do say so myself. With her fat little legs, blue eyes, and curly hair, I thought for shore somebody would try to steal ‘er. She was my first an’ I held her all day. I didn’ know no better then. It’s a wonder she ever learned to walk. When she was about a year and a half old, Myrtle came along, red-headed and kind of puny. She had colic and squalled non-stop for seven months till my milk dried up. That’s when I found out for shore nursin’ wouldn’t keep me from gittin thataway. I had to put her on the bottle and table food and she took off. Purty soon, she was going ever’where. She wasn’t but about sixteen months old when Glomie come along.

Glomie was born long after midnight. Floyd had been drinkin’ and was purty well-lit by the time me and the baby was cleaned up an’ I was ready to get some rest. My two sisters, Oly was settling us in when Dr. Garnet asked Floyd if we’d picked a name for the baby.

“I done decided to call this one, Glomie, no matter if it was a boy or girl.” He asserted.

“Glomie. I ain’t never heard that name,” said Dr. Garnet. “How do you spell it?” He was filling out the birth certificate.
“Glomie. It’s got the first letter of ever’ state I ever been in,” Floyd answered morosely. “G for Georgia. L for Louisiana. O for Oklahoma. M for Mississippi. A for Arkansas. I don’t reckon with all these youngun’s I’ll ever git to go nowhere else.’

“If you’re sure,” said Dr. Garnet. “I hate to hang that on a kid, but I guess I’ve heard worse.”

By the time I found out the next mornin’, the namin’ was all over an’ that pore baby was stuck with Glomie. I never did let Floyd name another’n.”




Miss Laura Mae’s House Part 2


Be sure to go back and read part 1

houseMiss Laura Mae’s stories always held my interest, though they certainly weren’t intended for my ears.
“The twins come about a month after Floyd left. To tell the truth, I was kind of glad he wasn’t there to get me “that way” again right off the bat like he done before. They was a few weeks early, so I was up all hours of the day and night a’nursing ‘em. Floyd’s mama, Miz Barker was gittin’ kind of childish, so I brung her to come stay so I didn’t have to try to watch her, too. Turns out, she was purty good help, a’rockin’ one of them babies all the time instead o’ tryin’ to run off all the time. Seems like it kind of settled her. She was a sweet ol’ lady.

The garden was a’comin’ in an’ we had plenty to eat without buyin’ much groceries. Miz Barker, Floyd’s mama told me I could git her pressure cooker to do the cannin’ and that shore helped, not havin’ to worry about my beans and tomaters goin’ bad no more. I had got a check or two, so I was able to get a kerosene stove and git rid of that ol’ wood stove. I got Joe Smith to set it up out in the yard so I could do my cannin’ on it. It shore was better not heatin’ the house up.

I had always took in ironin’ at a nickel a piece to help us over times when Floyd was drinkin’. I was real careful to go straight an’ pay on my grocery bill soon as I got paid so Floyd couldn’ git in my ironin’ money. Sometimes that was all that was comin’ in. I got Betty Lou, Myrt, and Glomie started ironin’ as soon as they was tall enough. I tried to let’em keep a quarter a week of the ironin’ money when I could. I’d let ‘em play about an hour after school, then soon as they was through with their homework, put ‘em to ironin’. We’d all listen to the radio while we was ironing long as the batteries lasted. Purty soon, they was savin’ their part of the ironin’ money for batteries.

Things was good till Jody got burnt. He follered Jimmy out to burn to trash and caught his clothes on fire. He was burned bad all over his back, big ol’ blisters everwhere. Doctor Garnett come out to see him and gave me some salve and pain syrup and told me to keep them burns covered. He couldn’t say if Jimmy’d make it or not. It was right in the heat of the summer. Pore little Jimmy suffered so. I had all I could do takin’ care of him and them babies. I don’t know what I’d a done without Miz Barker a’rockin ‘em like she done. With Jimmy so sick, I couldn’t nurse ‘em all the time like I needed to, so I got ‘em on the bottle some to help out. Mr. Jones down at the store let me run my bill up purty high a time or two when I had to keep Carnation Milk without complainin’ a bit. The girls kept right up with the ironin’, never passin’ a word when I couldn’ give ‘em nothing.

My sisters Oly and Ory helped the boys keep the garden goin’ and when it come in, they done most of the cannin’, leavin’ me to take care of Jimmy and the babies. Bessie an’ Joe Smith took to milkin’ the cow in the mornin’ so I didn’t have to get up before daylight after being up so much at night. I don’t know how I’d a’made it if I hadn’ had all that help. In a month or so, Jody was doin’ purty good. By that time, I had them babies purty much on the bottle, and I was able to pick my work back up. I don’t know what I’d a’done without good neighbors, but I was so glad when I could pick my ironin’ and my garden back up and take care of my own young’uns. I was proud for the help, but ever’body needs to make their own way and not be worryin’ other folks.

To be continued

Miss Laura Mae’s House Part 1

houseMiss Laura Mae’s kids were long gone. I loved tagging along with Mother to visit her since she always took time to talk to me a little before offering me a buttered biscuit and glass of milk. I loved the biscuit, but refused the milk, repulsed by the thick layer of cream atop the fresh cow’s milk in the glass jar in her refrigerator. I thought the thick cream looked like snot as she carefully spooned it into her coffee. Most of Mother’s friends had a houseful of kids and shooed us out before pouring coffee. “The kids are out back.” Sometimes I got a hint of gossip, though Mother always shooed me out as soon as I got my biscuit. “Now, stay on the steps and don’t let that ol’ hound dog git your biscuit!” Miss Laura Mae always reminded me as I closed the screen door behind me. I knew from experience that if I didn’t stand on the top step and hold my biscuit out of his reach, Ol’ Boots would help himself.
jar of milk

From my vantage point, I listened in as Miss Laura Mae launched into her story. “Floyd was pretty good to me, but he never did hold a job long. I don’t know what we’d a done if we hadn’t lived in that old house on his Mama’s place. He always did plow and put a good garden in or we’d a’gone hungry. He’d work a little pretty good for a while, but then he’d go off on a toot and get fired. The only thing he was good at was knocking me up. I had six youngun’s in eight years. Seem’s like I got another one ever’ time he hung his pants on the bed post. Times was just gittin’ harder and harder, and Floyd got mad the last couple of times I told him I was that way. You’d a’thought them babies was all my doing, but Lord knows more babies was the last thing on my mind when I couldn’t hardly feed the ones I already had. We couldn’t even keep ‘em in shoe leather. I had Berry in 1941 just before World War II started and nursed her long as I could, hoping I wouldn’t get pregnant, but sure enough, when she was about eight months old, my milk dried up an’ I felt a baby kicking under my apron. I kept hopin’ it was just gas, but then I started blowin’ up and I knew it was another youngun’ on the way.
I dreaded tellin’ Floyd, knowin’ he was gonna git mad. Sure enough, soon as I told him, he lit out a drinkin’. That was on a Monday night. I waited till then on purpose. He got paid on Fridays and I didn’t want him to go off a’drinkin’ before I got my groceries on Saturday. Sure enough, he got mad, just like l was a’plottin against him and took straight off. I didn’t see him again till Wednesday evenin’ and was feelin’ purty low about the fix I was in, a man that didn’t work steady, six kids and another one on the way, stuck livin’ in a shack on his mama’s place. When he came draggin’ in, he looked kind’a hangdog and I figured he’d got fired again while he was layin’ out drunk.”

“Well, Laura Mae, I got something I got to tell you I know you ain’t gonna like,” he started, looking down at his raggedy boots.

“It don’t take no genius to see you got fired,” I told him.

“No, that ain’t it.” He went on. “I was a’ drinkin’ with some fellers and they was on their way to enlist in the army. I wasn’t thinkin’ straight and I went right along and enlisted with ‘em. I just got time to get my stuff.”

Miss Laura Mae paused a moment, saying more to herself than to Mother, “Turned out that was the best piece of luck I ever had. The army was the first steady pay Floyd ever made. He was put in the paratroopers. Right off I was gittin’ a regular check. Paratrooper was extra pay, and he got extra for the young’uns. The first month, I got shoes for all the kids. The next month, I paid down on a stove. The one in his mama’s house didn’t have but two burners. Inside of a year, I had saved enough to pay down on this house. This is the first place I ever had a’ my own. Floyd didn’t get home for four years. I mean to tell you, it was good not to be pregnant all the time. I must ‘a been going through the change, ‘cause I didn’t have but one more after he got home, and I was ready for another one by then. Things was better with Floyd workin’ more regular after that. Seems like having a home kind’a gave him a lift. You’d a’thought he done it all hisself.”


Cousin Mavis and the Heartbroken Philanderer

imageMany years ago, I had a Cousin Mavis, who’d inherited a really nice farm, together with her brother Beau, in an idyllic mountain valley.  She married Lloyd who greatly admired her farm.  They had a daughter, Sally.  Mavis quickly took issue with her husband’s carousing and tossed him out.  Quite willing and able to take care of herself, she continued to live happily on her farm with her brother Beau and Sally.  Beau did the majority of the farm work while Mavis taught school and kept the house running,   The three of them had a good life together, bumping along quite satisfactorily.  Beau never married though he was happy to keep company with a widow lady, saying, “No house was big enough for two women.”  In truth, I’m sure he felt he already had a wonderful homemaker who shared his expenses, a doting niece, and a prosperous farm he had no wish to divide.

Her husband, Lloyd, was never quite reconciled to the divorce, realizing what a mistake he’d made in losing Mavis.  Though he never lost his penchant for women and drink, he bought land just across the road, building a house there so he’d have a chance to worm his way by into Mavis’ affections and be in his his daughter’s life .  Little Sally saw her father daily, just like he’d planned, but Lloyd made a point to keep an eye on what went on at Mavis’s place all the time.  Unfortunately, this gave Mavis a bird’s eye view of his social activities, not a wise move for a man seeking forgiveness from a wronged wife.  Despite his many raucous parties and interesting friendships, he was forever hopeful, lo these many years later, that today Mavis would welcome him back into her loving arms.  Whenever an unfamiliar vehicle drove up, Lloyd was sure to amble over to check the guest out.   The first time we visited her, Mavis said, “Oh Lordy, here comes Lloyd to see if y’all are my boyfriend.”

Mavis, Beau, and Lloyd lived this way for more than fifty years, till the lovely Sally finally inherited both places, uniting them, as Lloyd had always hoped.

Facebook!!!! Wah Wah Wah!

discretion3-1024x765I hate the crybaby stuff people put on Facebook!  An acquaintance (not friend)put a post saying her husband wouldn’t by her beer anymore since she lost her nursing license!  I wonder why?  That’s mortifying.  Facebook should have a some of those buttons you have to push to prove you’re sober before you can post. Continue reading

Howdy! Joke of the Day

imageOld Joe had been out drinking late again and his wife had had enough of it.  She got herself a devil costume and was waiting for him whenhe came in.

She jumped out from the shadows, grabbed him and said, “I got you now!  I’m the Devil.”

He stuck out his hand and said, ” Well, hello, kinfolks.  I married your sister!”

Grandpa Was a Dancing Fool

toe on fire0006

When my Grandpa Roscoe and his brothers were young, they never missed the rare opportunity to attend a dance or church social, no matter how hard they’d been working on the farm. They’d work like mad all week to get through in time to ride out to any barn-dance, Continue reading

The Rooster and the Boozers


The Austins lived just across the pasture from us.  Jody Austin “drank.”  In our neck of the woods, “drinking” meant a man was disreputable, deprived and likely beat his wife and children, probably didn’t hold a job, and likely was prone to violence.  It sounded a lot like today’s alcoholic.  Jodie qualified magnificently.  It was rumored that he had shot a man in a bar.  Folks left Jody alone.  Every Saturday night Jody hosted his “drinking” buddies for a binge. The festivities started with a huge bonfire.  As they sat around on barrels, old cars, and broken lawn chairs, they tossed their cans out in the darkness. They got louder, sometimes had a friendly fight, occasionally rolling all around the fire, finishing off with a little singing…a treat for all the neighbors.  Continue reading