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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Really True Story

The Really True Story of The Beauty Hill Cat Fiasco by Joe Holland, re-posted from the McNairy County History & Genealogysite group on Facebook.

It was in the mid-1940s, the summer that I turned eight years old and we were living in Southwest Tennessee. Dad had been in the Detroit, Michigan area for about a month when we found out that he was going to be there a few weeks longer.

While Dad was away on his preaching trips, Mother watched over us kids and ran our home like a German prisoner of war camp. Betty Ruth {my sister} and I were delegated specific chores that we were responsible for while Dad was away.

Betty had to wash the dishes, make the beds, gather eggs and help Mother churn the milk when we needed butter.Some of my chores was to feed and milk ‘Ole Bossy’ twice a day, chop stove wood and do what ever else Mother could come up with and she sure could come up with some doozeys. Some days Mother would send me to Mr. Deaton’s store at Bethel Springs with fresh butter and eggs to trade for coffee, sugar, etc. Mother could really barter. Oh well, let me get to “The Beauty Hill Cat Fiasco.”

The sunny day started out just great for me, except for a few of the following unexpected events.
Ole’ Bossy kept switching her tail across my face while I was milking. When I punched her side, she kicked the milk bucket. I caught the bucket, set it down and continued with the milking. I figured out that Ol’ Bossy needed an attitude adjustment so as I was delivering a couple of extra good side punches with my fists, Ol’ Bossy placed her right hoof firmly in the full milk bucket. When her hoof finally came out of that milking bucket, I strained the milk and took it into the house. Some things you should never tell your Mother

That morning Betty Ruth was gathering the eggs as usual, BUT she suddenly started screaming. Mother sent me to the chicken house to check out what the commotion was all about.
A snake had got into one of the hen nests and swallowed an egg, then the snake went thru the wire to the next nest and swallowed another egg.The snake had started thru the wire to another nest but the egg from the first nest and the egg in the second nest kept the snake from going forward or backward.

Betty Ruth had stuck her hand up into the nest to get the first egg but the egg that she was clutching was inside that snake. She was still screaming and holding on to that egg that was still in the snake when I got there. I could not control my laughter. Finally, after getting her to turn loose, I killed the snake and we took the eggs to the house.When we both got back inside the house, Betty Ruth checked and cleaned up the eggs while I filled up both churns with cream.

Mother sent me back outside to chop stove wood and, while Betty Ruth was churning the cream, Mother got out the two butter press molds to form and shape the butter.I had just come inside the kitchen with my arms full of stove wood when IT HAPPENED. A Day Burned Into My Memory Forever

Mother was laying out waxed paper and the press molds for the butter on the kitchen table. Betty Ruth had just finished churning and was standing by the stove. “Sleepy,” the calico cat, was asleep on the inside windowsill when I stepped inside the kitchen with my arms around the stove wood.I honestly did not know that “Moreover,” my dog, had followed me into the kitchen on that fateful day.Sleepy, the cat, hissed, bowed up ad started running. Betty Ruth, my sister, screamed and screamed.

Sista Freida, my mother, yelled “Git that dawg outta this here kitchen rite now!”

Moreover, my dog, barked and took off after the cat. AND I threw the stove wood all over that floor while chasing the dog all thru the kitchen. During that chase, the cat jumped up on the churn, the lid flipped over and the cat fell into the buttermilk.

Mother reached down into the buttermilk, grabbed that cat, and threw the cat out thru the kitchen window with the dog following right behind it.

Betty Ruth said, “Oh no, we’ve just lost all of the buttermilk and that butte.”

Mother said, “Maybe not.”

Mother then skimmed up the clumps of the butter and while carefully picking out all of the cat hairs, she placed the fresh clumps of butter into the butter press molds. Mother managed to salvage and mold two pounds of butter. She carefully wrapped the two beautifully molded pounds of butter with wax paper and then with newspaper.She then placed the two pounds of butter and one dozen eggs in my li’l red wagon. And I was sent to Mr. Deaton’s Store At Bethel Springs.

As I entered the store on that day, Mr. Deaton asked me just what did I have in my lil red wagon.

I said, "Mr. Deaton, Mother sent me here with two pounds of butter that she made this morning and Betty Ruth just gathered one dozen fresh eggs for you to sell. Mother said for me to try to get a dollar for the butter, but don’t take less than 50 cents.

Mr. Deaton took 50 cents out of his pocket and gave it to me. He patted me on the head and said: “Joe, you’ll get a whole lot further in this world if you learn not to tell everything that you know.”

I looked down at that 50 cents and quickly put it into my pocket. As I thought about Betty Ruth, the snake and the eggs, the cow stepping into the milk bucket, and the cat falling into the buttermilk churn, looking up at Mr. Deaton as he patted me on my head, I smiled and said, “I didn’t."

1 comment:

James Mark said...
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