Mama Remembered: A Panther’s Scream

 

When Mama was about 12 years old and her family lived on a small farm outside Chadwick, Missouri, she got a job working in a restaurant in Chadwick owned by Belva and Guy Hastings.  Because of the long hours she (they all) worked and also that she went to school in town, she lived with Belva and Guy in their house next door to the restaurant during the week. 

Mama had fond memories of that job and one of her favorite memories was of her and Belva getting up very early each morning to make the pies for the day.  Mama always made great pies for us, and I would guess her early pie-making experience with Belva, might have been the reason.

Here is a story from Mama’s book, I Remember, about something that happened while she was living with Belva and Guy:

Dad always told me the scream of a panther sounded like the scream of a woman.  The only time I ever heard one was when I was working for Belva and Guy Hastings at the restaurant in Chadwick.  It was about 9 o’clock in the evening and I had gone to bed.  All at once I heard this terrible sound.  I can’t explain what it sounded like, but it sent chills up and down my spine.  I called to Belva in the next room, “Bell — what was that!”  She answered, “That was a panther.”  I got up and closed my window, all but about four inches, although it was August and hot as blazes.

The next day a hunter brought the big cat into town.  It was scary even though it was dead.  It was so big its front feet drug on the ground as the man carried its back legs over his shoulder.

I felt better when I went to bed that night, knowing the panther was dead.

Our granddaughter Coco is, in my opinion, a very responsible, mature 12 year old.  But it is hard for me to picture her living this life.  Living away from home, working in a restaurant, and during the school year, going to school too!  But I think 12 years old was much older back then than it was even in my generation, but especially today.

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5 Responses to Mama Remembered: A Panther’s Scream

  1. Chrissy Witt says:

    I’d never heard about the scream of a panther and how scary it can be! I agree, kids do grow up a lil slower now, although it still seems to go by so quickly! I can’t even dream of letting one of my kids work at the age of 12, let alone stay gone all week!

  2. lesley says:

    How scary for her! The only big black cat I’ve ever seen was at London Zoo! That was close enough!

    You’re right about growing up faster years ago, I left school at 14 & started work at 15 & 2 weeks old lol…unheard of these days I now, but I’m none the worse off for it, I’m happy to say :o)

  3. Sandra says:

    Chrissy — I’ve never heard one either, but it sounds bone-chilling! And, you’re right, I couldn’t see one of my children working and/or living away from home at that age either — buy those were definitely different times when children many times HAD to grow up fast.

    Lesley — I’m impressed that you started working at 15. Obviously, you landed on your feet and have had a great life! 🙂

  4. Hilary says:

    I’m wondering what it is that would make a panther scream? Was it a result of being hunted?

    I so agree about 12 being so different then and now. These days, they’re still wee ones at 12.. no matter how mature. Funny how our perspectives change over time.. and as parents/grandparents.

  5. Sandra says:

    Hilary — Two other reasons for the scream that I can think of would be as a mating call or to scare off competitors/declare his territory! Who knows. All I know is that it must be really frightening to hear!

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