Robert's Childhood Memories Page 2
I remember we had a cow and a mule named
Frank, that kicked and killed my brother Walter when he was 8 years old. The accident
happened when he went to the saw mill with a black man named Thad Gill and when getting
his hat that fell to the ground, the mule kicked and struck Walter in the head. He died
before they could get help for him.
On the back of the lot there was a house used as a
tenant house when all of this area was a farm. This house was used as a workshop, a
livestock stall and a storage for hay and feed. There was a shed built out for wood
storage for the cook stove, heaters and fireplaces. There was another building where Papa
kept his 1917 Ford Model T touring car. A shed was built off this garage where Papa kept
lumber, mostly walnut, to make furniture. All of his tools were hand tools with the
exception of a manual drill press mounted to the wall. It had a fly wheel and a
handle you used to turn the press for the drill speed. A wheel at the top could be set to
feed pressure downward to drill metal or wood.
Chavis St. was in the front, Billy Goat St.
was in the rear. There was a tenant house across Billy Goat St. where Aunt Molly
Strawther, a black widow we all loved, lived. She would tell us ghost stories. We had
plenty of space to play and many places to explore, cotton gins, blacksmith shops, old
buildings, creeks, ponds and the railroad depot. I remember playing baseball, roaming the
woods and countryside, and working in Papa's shop making toy guns that shot rubber bands
cut from tire inner tubes and crossbows that shot arrows. I remember shooting marbles with
the young and old, watching the ball games and going with Papa when he had jobs building
or repairing property.
I remember going to Mitchener's Lake with
Papa and Uncle Jimmy Collins. After fishing and having fish fries, they would sometimes do
some square dancing. I can remember going to Cedar Creek with Papa and setting fish hooks
baited with toad frogs or scrap meat given to us by Pierce's Meat Market. Some times we
would stay at Jimmy Dent's for several days and our catch would be ten or fifteen turtles
that Papa would sell for $1.00 each.
We had family reunions when Papa would
barbecue several hogs starting by digging pits under the tobacco barn sheds. He started
cooking late in the day so that by 1:00 the next afternoon, everything would be ready. I
can remember having Cakes, pies, fried chicken, pimento cheese sandwiches and country ham
biscuits along with the barbecued pork. My favorite was the fried chicken, chocolate cake
and lemonade.There were other foods brought but the ones I mentioned seem to stick in my
mind the most. We would eat at Grandma Collins' house at Christmas, Thanksgiving and many
other occasions. People back then didn't need a special occasion to gather and have a
meal. Grandma Collins would boil a large country ham in the big iron wash pot. When it was
time to eat, Grandma would always let the children eat first and then the grown people
would eat last.
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