Our Awful Friends Part 5

The fallout from the birthday party continued when Mr. Awful got home and heard the sad saga of the missing birthday shoe.  Loss of a shoe was a weighty matter in that time.  Many families usually got shoes in the fall and perhaps a pair of sandals or tennis shoes in the summer to get kids through till serious shoe season in the fall.  I suspect this may have been true at the Awful’s as well, since he bellowed at the kids and put them to searching for the lost birthday shoe.

Naturally, they returned to the last place the shoe was seen, the pigpen adjoining our property. They truly searched for a few minutes, this time not harassing the pig family.  Before long, their inherent high spirits overcame them and they began sliding in the black mud and manure mixture created by the pigs.  They were so joyous in their search, we watched enviously, begging Mother to let us join in the fun.  Unreasonably, she refused, though she did join us in watching their fun.  They cavorted in the ever-increasing slime till the entire pig pen became one enormous excremental slide, spread universally over the entire lot, erasing all the hills and valleys the pigs had carefully constructed for their wallows.  From a running start, the kids could skid from one end to the other, spraying slop high on either side as they flew by us.  The squealing pigs fled from one end to the other as the slimy kids approached them.

I have never been more jealous.  Eventually, it occurred to Mr. Awful no one had returned with the missing shoe.  He was reunited with his filth-encrusted children and shrieked his disappointment to High Heaven.  “You kids better find that shoe or I’m gonna tear you up!”  To demonstrate his intent, he picked a wispy weed and smacked his own leg, demonstrating the beating they could expect.  I suspect those poor kids had never heard such a threat, since they set up a wail and started diving into the slop in earnest, eventually uncovering the filthy lost shoe near the feed troughs.  I couldn’t tell a lot of difference in the search and what they’d been doing before, except that they squalled all during the real search, as Mr. Awful periodically shouted threats and swatted his leg with the switch to terrify them back into action.  Altogether, it was a wonderful show.




See No Evil

muddy feetI didn’t like having syrup for breakfast on school mornings when I was a little kid since I was lazy about washing up afterwards. In class, my papers stuck to me all morning till I went out at recess. Then I usually romped around and came back in with dirt sticking to the syrupy patches. I never saw much point in washing up before meals anyway. I knew something as tiny as a germ couldn’t possibly hurt me.
Now, there were occasions I had no problem with washing, but really felt soap was overrated. I had my standards and expected to wash after contact with earthworms, snails, slimy animal carcasses, blood, axle grease, or chicken poop between my bare toes, sometimes even using soap voluntarily. I was on the fence about frogs. I wasn’t altogether sure they didn’t cause warts. Sue Lunsford played with frogs all the time and had lots of warts, so I erred on the side of caution, washing with soap after quality time with frogs. After I smelled a dog once who’d tangled with a skunk. I put that on my list, too. I figured if you could see dirt or it would rub off on people or furniture, it was good to wash. I also believed in washing loose sand off. I hated walking barefoot on gritty sand on smooth floors. I was also happy to take a bath if I’d been playing in sand. I hated the way it made the sheets feel. We threw sand and dirt at each other a lot, so I’d done the research.
Unfortunately for me, Mother didn’t share my philosophy about washing, insisting I wash my hands and arms up to my elbows with soap and water before every meal. Naturally, I fell short as often as possible, often just running my dirty hands and arms under the running water and drying on the towel by the sink. The dirty, streaked up towel ratted me out quite a few times.

Washing after meals would have been insane.

Bears Just Ain’t That Bad


Growing up way,way in the country the last place bordering a game reserve, the nearest neighbor a mile away, I was always aware we didn’t live in the sticks, but I hoped to someday. The woods were full of wild pigs, deer, coyote, foxes, alligators, a few black bear, snakes, birds, and a plethora of other wild creatures.  It wasn’t a great idea to go stumbling around in the dark out there, especially without knee-high boots, a pistol, and a light.   Continue reading

World’s Best Birthday Party(Part II of II)

Awfuls chasing turey

Awfuls chasing turey

Awfuls in Pigpen

Awfuls in Pigpen

(Continuation of story of Jamey Awful’s birthday party, without a doubt, the most fun I ever had in my life.  If he gave a party today, I’d be there!)

Jamey’s birthday party was the most fun I’ve ever had. There had been no “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”, no party hats, just fun, fun, fun. When my mother walked over to get me, I could tell she was not happy. She didn’t even go in for coffee like she always did at neighbor lady’s houses. Boy was I in trouble with my ruined party dress, lost shoes, and muddy self. She said I could never go to the Awfuls again.

I figured Mother would forget after a few days, but no……….No visits to Continue reading

Jody’s Name Was Mud

It usually took two or three tries to get Jody out of bed on schooldays, but weekends were a totally different story.  He was always up before daylight watching cartoons.  He wasn’t supposed to go outdoors before Mom and Dad got up but today, it was impossible to resist.  Rain had been coming down all week, so the ditches were muddy rivers, a perfect Continue reading