Sunday afternoon was a good time for visitors as the grown ups would sit and talk.Â With the company homesteading out in the front yard the youngsters were told, âget out of here and play, but behave.âÂ Now thatâs simple enough to understand.Â Back âen, all the crumb snatchers had to get permission if they wanted to do anything or go anywhere.Â Neighbor, it wasnât any of this, âwhy? or Bubbaâs Mom will let him.â âYouâre mean to me stuff.âÂ No sirreee!Â Any back talk and Daddy would shuck it all the way down to the cob, with no questions asked and no answers given.Â As a matter of fact, every parent in our small community abided by that rule.Â Period!Â The curtain climbers certainly did!
After the grownups got settled and talking real good, we had to stay far enough away so we couldnât hear anything.Â Usually some more of the kids would come over and after awhile weâd head to the barn.Â One thing we knew was the parents couldnât see us real well as long as we didnât scream very loud.
The excursion to the barn meant we had to go through the garden.Â Friends, country folks remember in the beautiful garden, the vines might hang and fall over in the middle of the rows.Â Believe me; I had rather fight a mountain lion than step on vines in the middles. So we had to jump, skip and hop reminding the ones behind you.Â âDonât hurt the vines or you will get hurt.â
Hog wire encompassed the entire garden.Â Additionally this kept out the elephants, bears and buffaloes as well as the cows.Â Ainât rednecks smart?Â Neighbor, farmers donât allow anyone to bend their fences.Â We put some smooth sawed off stumps on each side of the fence, dearly hugged the post and side tracked over very, very carefully.Â It was permissible to break yoâ leg, but donât dare touch the wire.
Some of my friends werenât raised in the country so all this livestock, gardens and tools were fascinating to them.Â Dennis lived in Millington and Sonny Turner lived over close to Bolton, but they loved to play in the old barn.Â What Arvis, Paul, Lynn and I took for granted everyday was exciting to them.Â One hot afternoon just as we approached the hog fence, Dennis stopped dead in his tracks and let out a war cry, âheâs gonna git you.âÂ I looked around and it was just a Duroc sow, hoping I would feed her.Â Dennis was still a little âskittishâ, (which is Southern for scared).Â With a little proddinâ from Emerson, he hopped the fence and stood behind me for protection.Â That was probably a bad idea âcause if anything had gone wrong, Dennis would have had toe nail scratching, bare foot prints all down his back.Â But this time, we were lucky.
As all my Southern country farmers remember, usually all the livestock are pets.Â Maybe someone that has been under a creek bank for a hundred years might think they are mean, cruel and vicious.Â Not so!Â Southern gentlemen donât put up with that mess.Â Oh well, you might have a little trouble occasionally, but an affectionately well placed, double bit axe handle, called an attitude adjustment, will cure the problems.
Now country folks know the Duroc wanted an ear of yellow corn, as she blinked at me with those deer in the headlight, sad chartreuse eyes, ready to bawl like a white face bull.Â With the sow following me like a dog chases a coon, I shuffled to the corn crib and quickly shucked a couple of fine ears, politely rolling the silk off the kernels.Â Since Dennis and this Duroc hadnât been officially introduced, he circled around the stable keeping both eyes on her in case she wanted to dance the Rosemark Hog Trot and become loving friends immediately.Â Similar to circling that Custer should have done at âBig Little Hornâ and maybe âSitting Steerâ wouldnât have made jerky out of a jerk.Â You never know when a city boy goes to the country.
Watch Frontâards And Backâards When You PlayâŚ.GLORY!
Griffin is the author of the book âSouthern Raisin.â He was born inÂ Charleston, Tenn., and attended Rosemark Grammar School and Bolton High School.