This is the first excerpt from Mama’s Book, I Remember. After attempting to make a list of Mama’s stories to put them in some sort of chronological order, I’ve decided that if I take the time to do that, it will take forever and I’ll never get them written down here. So, I’m just going to go through the book and pick out random stories that hopefully stand alone, so that their randomness doesn’t make a difference to the enjoyment of reading them.
I do need to make one disclaimer. Dates and ages and events don’t always line up from one story to the next, as I suspect it would be with most people who were writing down memories of many events that happened over a long period of time. But if I start editing where I think something is incorrect, then these would no longer be Mama’s stories. So, I’m going to pretty much print Mama’s memories the way she wrote them down. I will tell you that Mama was born in April, 1907, as a point of reference.
Of course, I’ve already made one exception to my own rule of not editing, in this first post. Hickory Creek was in Missouri and I know, when I’m reading a story, I like to be able to envision what part of the country it’s taking place in, so I put in the state name. Oh, well.
That winter was a hard one. Dad took the flu and was in bed over a month. That was the winter so many people died of the flu. It was considered contagious so no one would come near us except the doctor. A neighbor cut a load of wood and brought it up to our yard and dumped it. He stood out in the road and asked how Dad was, and asked if we needed anything. Mom told him Dad was out of chewing tobacco so he threw some up in the yard.
Dad began to get better but he still wasn’t able to go to town so he asked me to go. I was 9 years old. It was three or four miles to Hickory Creek (Missouri). There was one horse gentle enough for me to drive, but he was in the pasture with a herd of steers. There was a windmill and watering tank out in the pasture. Dad told me to wait until the cattle were up at the other end of the pasture and then run out to the windmill. There I could call the horse and he would come to me. He did, and I rode him back to the barn. Mom helped me harness him. Then I rode him to the next farm and borrowed a buggy. They helped me hitch him up and the daughter, a couple of years older than me, went with me. We had a great time. We sang lots of songs and laughed and talked. Oh yes, we had gone back to our house and picked up a crate of chickens to sell, so I could buy flour, sugar and coffee. We sold the chickens, bought the groceries and then didn’t know how to turn the buggy around to go home. She was as dumb about it as I was. We ended up getting out and lifting the back end of the buggy around so we were headed home. We made it back okay. We took the groceries to my house, then took the buggy back to hers, then I rode the horse home. This all took most of the day. When I got home Mom and I had six cows to milk before dark. It was a long day.
I remember something else about this story that Mama told me. She said that when she and the neighbor girl couldn’t figure out how to turn the horse and buggy around, they were in front of the general store and there were several men sitting on benches outside the store watching them. I assume, if the girls hadn’t been able to figure out how to get it done, eventually the men would have helped. But, I bet they got a good chuckle out of just watching the girls work it out for themselves, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they even laughed out loud when they saw the girls’ “creative” solution!
By the way, when I asked Mama how two young girls could pick up the back of the buggy, she said it was a very small one and pretty lightweight.