Friday, February 17, 2012

Part 3 of Papaw's Remembrances

There was a commissary on the place where the farm hands got their supplies. These supplies were mostly meat, meal, and molasses. The farm hands were supposed to raise their own gardens and other food. Some farm hands did raise nice gardens and had plenty of good food. The lazy ones weren't so lucky. The Chapmans had their own milk cows, so everyone had plenty of milk and butter.

Buddy learned to milk the cows when he was small. It later became his job. He would have to get up early each morning and milk the cows before he went to school. He said that in winter when it was so cold, the cow's teats would chap and crack open. When they tried to milk her, she would kick the milk bucket over and spill the milk. Sometimes she would kick them also. His sister Lucille helped him milk the cows. The cats in the barn would hang around when they were milking. They would squirt some milk in their mouths. The cats loved it. They didn't waste any of the milk. If dirt got into the milk, they took it to the house and the dirt was strained out and the milk was used.

In the summer Papaw herded the cattle to the pasture on the hillside. He had to stay with them all day. His father would bring him lunch. He got to ride the horse and kept the cows from running away. One day one of the cows wandered into the woods, and he couldn't find her. He was afraid to go home and tell his father that he had lost the cow. He found the cow a few days later; she had a new calf.

Summers were fun and sometimes hectic at Avie Acre. Uncle Jim, as the relatives called Mr. Chapman, was prospering. He was an easy mark for all the Tennessee relatives. They would come to visit by the carloads. Uncle Jim would put them to work on the farm, and they would stay all summer. Times were tough for the relatives, so Uncle Jim was glad to help out. This got to be common knowledge, so there was a constant stream of relatives in and out of the house at all times. One Sunday while the preparation for a big Sunday dinner was underway, Buddy decided to liven up the group a bit. There was a big cat curled up on the kitchen floor and a little dog in the yard. He picked up the little dog and tossed it into the kitchen. The cat went berserk, and a big fat cousin jumped up onto the kitchen table. She was screaming her head off. Buddy got a good punishing, but he said it was worth it.

Helen had a boyfriend that her mother did not like. She forbade her to see him. Helen would sneak out of the house to see him. One night when she had been out, her mother waited up for her. When her boyfriend let her out of the car and started to drive away, her mother shot the back window out of the car. Her boyfriend wouldn't date her anymore. He was afraid of her mother. He was afraid she would get him the next time.

Malcolm (Mike) married Marie Chandler. She was the daughter of one of the sharecroppers. Mrs. Chapman fixed up one of the tenant houses for them to live in. They soon had a little baby son that was retarded. They named him James. All of the family loved him.

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