July 29, 2010

Animal experiences; I have had many. Let's start with the cat. Stray animals were always something I was eager to take home. It was the norm for me to leave early on summer mornings and just walk around from Nubbin Ridge way down the Corum Hollow Road and the opposite direction towards Anderson. I would walk as far past Edgar Newton's store as time allowed in a day. I was always hanging around to hear what I could hear the grown ups say. This was part of my early education in the characteristics of adults. I am sure I knew much more about them than they wanted me to know.

The women were always giving me stuff to take home. Old dishes, clothes and once my granddaddy's sister wanted me to take a stray kitten home with me. Asking permission from Grandmother really did not occur to me. I didn't have a cat at the time. We didn't even have any dogs, which was unusual, because most of the time Grandmother was threatening call in the Human Society to come get a few that we had collected. If the number reached more than six dogs it was time for her take over the pet problem. The cat was not going to be a problem I was sure. The cat was just a plain skinny black cat, it may have been more of an adolescent than a kitten. Catching it was not that hard. I was really good at cornering a stray cat or dog.

I even caught a minnow crane once. It could not fly was how it was easy for me to catch. The thing about wild animals was they would bite sometimes. Even a big bird that really had no other choice, but let me carry it home. Daddy made me let it go when the wing healed enough for it to fly. This big bird was mesmerizing to me. At that time I did not see as many as there  are now. I thought I had captured the only one in the world.

The cat was going home with me like it or not. I caught it and was doing all my tricks to make it my friend. Every cat I had ever seen loved to be rubbed under its neck. This one must have never been told this. I didn't squeeze it. I just tried to be easy and carry it up the hill home. It just kept on getting away. The last time I had it in my arms, Aunt Mae had a brilliant idea. She came out on the carport with a burlap sack. We called them tote sacks. I had the cat in my arms and carefully put the skinny black cat in the sack. With the cat in the sack I started my walk. I crossed the branch cat still in the sack. I got on the paved road and started up the hill that would lead me to the shortcut across the pine thicket. The cat was moving a little, but I was not worried. I did not have that far to walk. I had almost reached the top of the hill when that cat ripped that back open and bit my arm three times before it hit the ground and ran. I did not and would not ever try to catch that cat again. I was so mad that I huffed and cried the rest of the way home.
Characters and Places
All the places that I walked to had been named by the members of the community according whatever was most described the area the best. Names of who lived close by was commonly used. Corum Hollow, Newton Town, and Whitehead were sir names used to name that area. Churches were a theme used to name the area; Nebo, New Hope and Bethel were a few that were used to pin point a location.
The ridge directly behind our barn was Knubbin' Ridge. This was actually were Locks Crossing Church of Christ was, but a drunk Pearcy Collier owned the land before the church was built. He in one of his comic moments declared the hillside Knubbin' Ridge, because it only grew knubs of corn.

The store closest to us was Edgar Newton's Grocery, thus Newton Town. Edgar Newton's wife had the biggest breasts I had ever seen. She was always quick with a question that really seemed none of her business. My grandmother always asked me what she had said when she knew I had been sitting on the porch of the store. Sybil and my grandmother always seemed jealous of one another, more so after I had seen my Uncle Luke nudging Sybil's boob with his nub; that the arm was cut off just below the elbow.  I walked in the store one day. I by accident figured out why they were so curious about each others visitors. Aunt Mae died about four years after we moved here. That left her husband, Uncle Luke, as the most eligible bachelor in Newton Town.
This to me only meant that he took my grandmother to the Fish Creel on Friday night to eat. Many times their sister-in-law the brother of my grandfather's widow would go along. This was as my grandmother explained it none of anyone else's business. I believed what my grandmother said almost. My mama was always telling a story that she had seen Grandmother and Uncle Luke wrapped up on the sofa. This tale was easily made false, because Mama was crazy, everyone knew that.

I visited my Great Aunt Mae often before she died. She was just down the hill at the beginning of the Corum Hollow. She was fascinating to me. Her hair was way down her back, but she wore it braided and twisted up in the back. She also dipped snuff, this was especially different to me. Her taste was different from my grandmother's. She was a little bit foofy. The house that her and Uncle Luke lived in was new. They like us had lost everything in a fire years before we came from up-north. She had built back a fancier house than grandmother. She put sparkles in her sprayed on ceiling, grandmother didn't. Told you she was foofier.

She also was known to take a nip every once in a while. This was not common for me to see in the ladies my grandmother's age. She was really bow legged and sorta limped. She was also more than ten years older than her one armed husband. My visits there many times was playing in the branch that went beside there house under the road then in the front of the house. Going under the bridge was lots of fun. When I got to the other side a ways down was a deeper spot in the branch. This was the favorite place for my brother, cousins and me to swim. Swim was really not what you did in waist deep water, but is was great on hot summer days. To be continued

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