October 12, 2010

The Eddy Farm

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The Eddy Farm was the piece of land that the cane we feed the cows was planted. The process of planting the cane and gathering it was not too, bad. It was actually quite pleasant. The location of the field of cane made there be distractions from just work. The Eddy farm was named after the old man that lived almost to the back north side of this spot of land. There were stories about him that I always paid close attention to. The ladies in the neighborhood that swapped work with my grandmother talked as they worked. I listened as I worked. This passed the time making the work seem interesting. I gathered the words of the women as well as what ever crop we were harvesting. Whatever subject they discussed was entertaining to me. There were many things were just good ole gossip. The subject of Ed Corum came up when we were on the Eddy farm. These women, my grandmother included, seemed interested in the small man that lived at the corner of the cane field It was that they were jeolous of their lady-neighbor/cousin. She was an interesting women. She had the witt any man would love and could drink whiskey like them any day. They talked about her and watched which way she went to fetch dinner. Listening to them I found out that he may have had TB once. He inherited all of the land from his parents, because he never married. His siblings did not like him, because of the land. He also was a ladies’ man. Well one lady anyway; A married lady at that; It did not stop the talk when her second son looked just like Ed. 
 Not far from his house was an old cemetery that was not kept up. It had saplings growing right in the place people were buried. That was always creepy to me. This was the cemetery that had the Sledge's buried in it and was called Brown. The cemetery on the way to Lexington was the Sledge and had the Brown's. From Ed's house the rocks marking the graves could be seen. I was less than a quarter mile down the field road leading to Sam's Creek Bottom were we swam in the summer.
 Then there were the mice. Mice often had the babies under the cane that was cut. It was like opening a gift to find a wad of chewed up cane with baby mice. They were pink and skinless. I ran after mice and rabbits as if I were a car or a dog. Never catching either if it had not been crippled by the tractor. The baby mice did not have a chance; They were in tiny nests their mother's made out of cane leaves. Most of the time the nests were hidden in the bundle that was tied with twine. I could spot a mouse nest easily and opened it as if it was a surprise Easter Egg. Inside would be as many as nine tiny skinless, pink mice. Look was all I did. I never touched the tiny babies and put the next back as in tack as possible. 
Grandmother did not dislike Ed like she did many of the men in the community. He really was not one of the worst people around. His house was really dirty. She always told us not to drink from the cistern behind his house. Yeah, like we weren’t going to draw bucket after bucket of water. That was one of the neatest things for the kids to do. We had a cistern at home, but there was no bucket tied to a pulley to bring the bucket up. We tied a rope around a bucket and dropped it down. The pulley made the bucket much easier to get a bucket of water. I confess that I did drink the water. I have always been smarter than the average kid; I thought so anyway. He could not have a disease. He looked perfectly fine to me. There were not many things that I thought was edible that I did not taste as a child. The cane if twisted had sweet juice in it. A wild honey suckle bloom had a drop of sweet liquid if you pinched the bottom of the bloom off. I even ate Billy goat grass. This is the small weed that looks like a clover, but the leaves are heart shaped. It has a tangy taste. Plums, persimmons, muscudines, and anything else that was mentioned that could be eaten I tasted. I did listen if the adults said it was poison. Sucking on a twisted piece of cane was something I did while shocking the cane and feeding it tot the cows.
The house that Ed lived in was an old non-painted farmhouse. It was a large house compared to most around. It had a large front porch. Daddy and I sat there many late afternoons just passing time. He and Ed would usually sip on moonshine while I explored the house. Ed gave me things that I would find. He gave me a broken glass decanter. I have seen this in antique stores recently. I took it home and kept it for years, until Grandmother finally convienced me that it could not be glued back together. He also gave me his mother's side saddle. Daddy would not let me take it with me, because he thought Ed was just being nice giving me something that might be special to the old man. They told me I could leave it there until I had somewhere to store it. The big house caught on fire later and the saddle burned.
The fire could be seen for miles. Grandmother and I stood at the corner of our yard and watched the flames rise in the night sky. Both of us wondering aloud what he would do without a home. Fire seemed a common event in those days. The old frame houses that burnt were replaced by small brick houses. The typical house that was built after a fire was kitchen livingroom and down a hall to three bedrooms The bathroom was the first door at the left before the three bedrooms.

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