…”What does it mean? Interestin’ “…

Have you ever found yourself just sittin &  watchin’ the swirls of steam, & aroma, slowly escape from your mornin’ Mug-O-Joe? It’s somewhat hypnotizin’. As I watch mine my eyes try to separate the various different independent swirls as they climb upwards & blend into one just at the point that they disappear into the room around me, never to be seen again. Where do they go? But durin’ this same time my mind wandered back & I see “my Papa” sittin’ there with his Mornin’-Joe, as he re-reads his paper from the night before, doin’ the same thing. It’s strange how somethin’ so insignificant can reach so far back into the recesses of our minds & relate to a similar situation 60 (+/-) years ago. I can almost smell his “Joe”! You just never know what memories you have locked away in those annals of your memory until that little bell go {{{Ding-aling, Ding-aling ! }}}. Then {{{{ Bam ! }}}} there it is & yet so vivid & yet it’s just a singular “Flash in Time”. Is there a deep meanin’ hidden there? What does it mean? Interestin’…My “Mug-O-Joe” is runnin’ low so I need to get me a refill…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

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…”Now, don’t you feel better just knowin’ “…

On this fine Sunday afternoon I found myself relaxin’ & enjoyin’ myself a few {{{{{ COLD BEERS ! }}}}} down in “The Cave”. TV got somewhat borin’ & my mind started wanderin’, as it has a tendency to do. Ohh but the places it takes me when it does. Today’s wanderin’ took me back to my raisin’ years. We really should show a little more appreciation for those that raised us & the fact that we survived it, what ever & where ever IT was.

Aahhh…Mother (I can’t say & Father, because mine passed when I was less than two (2) years old, but @ age 11 I gained a Stepfather). I guess I’ll just say Parents! I like to think, with lovin’ memories of course, that not only ME but that 99.99% of you remember how they (our Parents) expressed their love & understandin’ to us thru all those little quips, phrases, promises, threats, & {{{{{ Srceamin’ Warnin’s }}}}} they used to express themselves to us durin’ our formative years. In these different homes & different families you might have heard any number of the different phrases. I mean where, who, what would you/we be without them? We learned & we learned they meant what they said more times than not…RIGHT? Take a moment & remanence with me, through our minds eyes & ears, for a few moments…

The Earliest Recollections:
I love, love, love you!…I love you…Yeah, I love you but you’re pushin’ it!…
No no…NO NO!…I said “NO NO Damn-it”!
Don’t do that…”No, don’t do that” I said…Damn-it, I won’t tell you again!…
I’ll spank your hand…I’ll spank your bottom…I’ll beat The Tar out of you!…(I never understood “The Tar”?)

The Intermediate Years:
Now, eat your supper…You’ll eat what I put on you’re plate…You’d best choke that stuff down, you hear me!…
Use your manners…I taught you manners for a reason…Did I waste my damn time on You!…
You know I love you & this is goin’ to hurt me more than it will you… No, I don’t care, you’re gonna get a whoppin’, now drop your pants!…All your Promises/Lies ain’t changin’ a damn thing you’re still gettin’ a Ass-Whoppin’!
Excuse me but someone else is speakin’…Hey, I’d like to hear what they are tryin’ to say…Shut-up Damn-it, I want to hear’em!…
Use your napkin please…Clean your mouth off & don’t use your sleeve again!…Are you waitin’ on the Damn Dog to lick your face!…
Do you want a spankin’…I’ll whoop your butt…I’m gonna beat the hell out of you! (hum-m-m here’s another one “
beat the hell out of you!)…

The High School Years:
Think about what you’re doin’/sayin’…Do you realize WHAT you just did/said?…You don’t know what the hell you’re doin’/sayin’ do you?…
You be Home by 10:00 p.m…I don’t care how late they are allowed to stay out…You really DON”T want ME comin’ over THERE to drag your ass home, You Hear Me!…
That looks & fits very nice…I think that’s just a little too tight, small, & revealin’, go your change cloths…Oh Hell No! Ain’t NO child of mine goin’ out lookin’ like THAT!…
You don’t have any clean cloths?…Do you know where the dirty cloths go?…Wash’em your own damn self!…
You have a good head on your shoulders…You’re not as smart as you think you are…Ahh-hahaha, You Dumb Ass!…

Cut the grass?…What, you couldn’t crank the lawn mower? I don’t care if you have to use your teeth, get it done!…
It’s a good starter car…You want a New Car? Get You a Job!…You’ll drive what the hell I buy or you can WALK!…
Oh, that’s not what you want?…So, you’re tellin’ me you don’t like it?…I ain’t gittin’ a damn thing for you anyway!…
We have rules in this house…So, YOU don’t think My/Our RULES apply to YOU?…Don’t let that Door hit you in The Ass on the way out & the locks WILL be changed!…
I’m sure there were/are many, many, many others that were/are favorites around your house too. Now, don’t you feel better just knowin’ you weren’t/ain’t the only one who has lived/is livin’ through it…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

…”The Message was received”…

The Holy BibleIt was quite NIPPY this mornin’ (I just love that phrase) as we settled in our seats. My Bride sittin’ to my right side. The Moon shone Bright in our faces. Bark was flyin’ of off a couple of the massive Pine Trees in front of us. Was it a sign? Naw, it was just The Tree Rats scamperin’ through’em as they seemed to play their mornin’ game of Chase. The Sun was Risin’ on our backs, but with the temperature a brisk 45 (+/-) degrees it wasn’t too warmin’. But I had thought ahead (bein’ prepared) & brought me a good ole Hot Mug-O-Joe with me to take care of my need for warmth. Lucky, for us all, there wasn’t a breeze ah blowin’, comin’ off of the water, as we were there at the waters edge  in the back of a slough. The crowd continued trod in, as they scuffed across the gravel pathways & fill the Pews there at “Chapel In The Pines”. It wasn’t “Brother Love’s Travelin’ Salvation Show” but THE MESSAGE was already there. We were just waitin’ on the Presenter to properly deliver it, with His Emphasis, & in his particular fashion He Did! I could tell that folks were receivin’ The Message, cause there was lots of head noddin’ goin’ on & accompanied by the sporadic {{{ Amen’s ! }}}. No, they weren’t dozin’ off to sleep, cause it was too chilly for that! I found it kinda strange as I sat there, maybe it’s just me, but I found myself hearin’ & receivin’ The Message yet my mind wanderin’ back to my youth as I sat beside my Mother in our Church back in “The Ham” all the way through my life to the present time, yes, with my Bride sittin’ to my right. And then as quickly as it began it was over. Brief & yet on point, The Message was received, as it has/had been thru the years. {{{{{ He Is Risen ! }}}}}…Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

…”pick your targets/enemies well”…

barrett-school-5th-grade-63

As the Seasons, again, began to slowly change the Squirrels gave us the first clues, IF we payed attention. For many of us, raised in The South, we start to notice the under developed Hickory-nuts (Hickernuts), Pecans & Walnuts on the ground. By that I mean, we saw/see these scattered across the ground under mentioned/named trees. Cause the squirrels would pluck’em, gnaw what they could, & cast off the ruins of the nut. We knew these came into full development in The Fall. By that I mean they are startin’ to bust open their protective outer hulls & begin to fall, from their respective trees, to the ground. Now! If you’re walkin’ under a Walnut Tree & there is a light to medium breeze ah blowin’ you’d best cover your head or pick another path to travel. They do hurt fallin’ & hittin’ you on the noggin’! Now, once they start to hit the ground we were taught to collect what we could & bring’em home cause Mama would use them in homemade cookies, pies, & cookin’ other seasonal dishes. We’d sit out on the back porch & crack the Pecans by hand, showin’ off our developin’, man hood/strength. Then pick the nutty flesh from the hulls. Then we moved up to crackin’em Hickernuts & Walnuts. Now we needed either a hammer or a good rock, goin’ back to our primal instincts, to crack these. And to clean/pick the nutty flesh from these we’d need Mama’s nut pickin’ utensils. I’m sure you’ve seen those sets before. Leave it to us kids to always come up with alternative uses for these nuts. Walnuts were really good to chunk at someone you were tryin’ to ward off, or just lookin’ to start somethin’ with. Now the Pecans & Hickernuts worked well if you had the proper type of “Sling Shot”. If you’d knock off the little tip of a Hickernut that ole scutter would shoot nice & true. If all you could find were Pecans, then you had to “Test Fire a few”, cause those rascals had a hell of a curve when you’d fire them off. So you had to get your gauge just right. Like a Pitcher tryin’ to throw a curve ball across Home Plate! Gettin’ hit by one of those hurt too. If you happen to catch one upside the head you could hear it {{{ Crack ! }}}, & well, you knew you’d been HIT!  Now, once you started somethin’ like that you had to know your options. Were you #1) stocked with enough ammo to fight off the enemy, #2) hid so the enemy couldn’t see where it was comin’ from, or #3) be able to {{{ Out Run }}} the enemy. Cause if they caught ya it usually meant a good fight. So you had to pick your targets/enemies well. Oh well, you just had to find your fun where you could…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

…”Indian cigar tree”…

Us kids, back in my years of early youth, were somewhat like animals. What I mean by that is that we were always patrollin’ “our territory”. You know, lookin’ for new experiences. Sometimes we found somethin’  but most times we didn’t. I remember there was a yard down on 3rd Ave South that had several Catawba Trees growin’ in it. Now Catawba Trees were good, to us kids for two (2) things. #1) Catawba Worms which were a free & abundant Fish Bait if you could climb a tree to pick’em. They were always available durin’ early summer months. For me they were most effective with the heads pinched off, turned inside out with a match stick, & used on a long shank Bream hook. Bream, Bass & Cat Fish could all be caught with’em. Some of us also learned we could sell’em to local Bait Shops, across from East Lake Park for pocket money. #2) Later in the Summer months the Catawba Worms would play out by the Birds that fed on’em, spinnin’ their cocoons to transform into butterflies, & of course us catchin’em for our use. The Catwaba Trees had “long green bean pods” on them that would eventually start turnin’ brown as they were gettin’ ready to split open & distribute their seeds & then fall to the ground or scatter in the winds. We always heard’em called “Indian Cigars”! I don’t remember where that came from but we did… Well guess what? Some one always seemed to have a couple of matches with’em. Now, never really knowin’ for a fact I did some research on the “Indian Cigar” this very mornin’. Here is a quote I found in an article, about the “Catawba Tree”, by Taylor Wilson from April 28, 2005 that the Native Americans smoked the bean pods of the tree for questionable “medicinal” or hallucinogenic purposes. Therefore, the tree has also been called “smoking bean,” “Indian bean” and (yep!) “Indian cigar tree.” Damn, ya just never know what you’ll find when you’re out on the prowl as a kid. We never really knew what we had, but we either puked or we were feelin’ good!…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

Neighborhood Fruits #9b….”Shew me out of the Patch”… continued

Remember the “Row Sacks”, from earlier, well Mama would slit open the sack & scrape those Fish Eggs into a bowl with the Chicken Eggs & Scramble’em all up together. Um-m-m-m GOOD! Back to the tomato Plants…some time in late March or early April, when ever “The Poor Richards Almanac” said it was time, Papa’d get his seeds out on the back porch, send one of us to go get him a 5 gallon bucket of dirt from where we had been buryin’ fish guts and bring it to him. He’d mix up that fertilizer in that dirt real good & then take the ole egg cartons he’d have Mama save for him & he’d fill twelve (12) holes there with the mixture then plant one seed in each hole. When he was through he would gently water’em by hand to just the right moisture & set’ em on a shelf there on the back porch. The two weeks later he’d do it again for twelve (12) more. Now, some time in the first of May, again according to “The Poor Richards Almanac” he’d call us out again & tell us to “get our tools” & up in the yard we’d go. He’d then point to a spot on the ground & say “give me a One Foot x One Foot x One Foot hole right there! Then move two feet in a line & repeat it. I want twelve (12) holes & make’em in a straight line”. “Yes sir” we’d respond! Papa always seemed to pick the hottest day to do this! Then he’d wait two (2)  weeks & we’d go do the same thing right beside the first twelve (12) holes. When all was said & done there’d be 24 healthy Tomato Plants growin’. As time passed those first twelve (12) plants started producin’ Big Ole Tomatoes. And we were blessed with’em. Then in just a couple of weeks the others started to come in. WOW! Now with so many tomatoes bein’ available you’d think a few wouldn’t be missed. I had a bad habit of sneakin’ the salt shaker off of the table & sneakin’ up to the Tomato Patch & just ah helpin’ myself. Somehow Mama always seemed to show up wantin’ her salt shaker & then would “Shew” me out of the Patch with her ole broom. It beat gettin’ a Switchin’!…”hold’em Hook”!…..BG> 

Neighborhood Fruits #9a….”Shew me out of the Patch”…

Dependin’ on where you are & who you ask depends on the answer you’ll get! Sound confusin’? Yeah, it did to me to. Ask people for yourself & you’ll probably get two (2) different answers. It’s a Fruit! But many still consider it a Vegetable. Well, if I’d been told it was a Vegetable when I was a child I probably wouldn’t have eaten ’em. There were very few vegetables this child would eat. Now any kind of Dried Beans, Peas, or String Beans I’d swell up on ’em. But! Bein’ told it was a Fruit I found out I dearly loved the taste of “Vine Ripe Tomatoes”. Now my Grandfather/Papa grew some of the best Tomatoes I’ve ever eaten. He insisted on “Big Boy Tomatoes” & he had “His Process” to grow ’em. He had Mama save ole cardboard egg cartons for him. He would go down to a Hardware Store in East Lake & buy his seeds & a bucket of pellet type fertilizer in the late Winter each year, & would store them in a dry warm space in the house until he was ready to plant’em. Now as I said above “he had a process”! Papa was an avid Fisherman. He’d go at least once a week & sometimes twice. Now Papa was a Night Fisherman. He felt the Big’uns bit better at night. He was a “Bass Fisherman”. Now Papa always brought fresh Bass/Fish home & he’d clean’em out on the back porch. Papa filleted every fish he brought home. There was NO wasted meat.  Now if it was durin’ the spring & early summer months when Bass had Row/Eggs in’em he would carefully cut the Row Sacks & gently put’em in a waitin’ bowl of water Mama had set on his cleanin’ table. He would then wrap-up all of the Fish Guts/Remains in the News Paper, from the day before. Well, except for some choice scraps he’d keep out for our Ole Cat Tramp! When he’d finished & washed down the porch & the Cat, just to have some fun, he’d tell my brother & I to “go get the shovel & rake”. He would then lead us up to the upper level of the back yard & tell us “right there! Now dig a hole & Bury’em, the guts, right there”. The next time he’d tell us to go bury the next batch a couple of feet apart from the last batch & so on each trip. After all of the mornin’s work was done Mama would fix us some breakfast. Oh yeah, Bacon, Scrambled Eggs & some Biscuit with Homemade Jelly…to be continued