Life on the Mountain
Ellie S. Thomas
2011 by Ellie S. Thomas
and Mam brought up eight of us right over yonder on that there
rise. You kin still see part of the old foundation and Mam's
yellow rose was still bloomin last year, right there at the corner.
Jest where she planted it; yes sir."
"T'was just a little farm, as you kin see and we all had to help. I remember turning the grindstone for Pap so he could sharpen his scythe or axe. Oh, how I hated doing that job. I was young, of course, and my father would bear down to get a good edge on them. I had two sisters and three brothers still home and we all took our turns; hauling water, pulling weeds, chopping wood and it seemed there was no bottom to that old woodbox!. But we used to play and have a good time, too, leastways until the neighboring boys came over, then nobody wanted to play with me any longer. I remember my brother rolling on the ground , laughing at me being mad, until I thought his sides would split.
Sometimes Mam went fishin with us. I remember the old gent who lived just beyond us considered himself quite a fisherman. He was alway braggin on himself and sometimes he fished by lantern light. He built a little bridge over the crick where he sat and fished for hours. One day, Mam and my brothers and I fished for a right long time and got nothing; however, there on the bank was a beautiful big trout washed up on a rock, the leader still in its mouth. Mam picked it up carefully; it was a fiine fish even if it was a little bit ripe. When we passed the old man's house, he hollered as usual, "Any luck?" and Mam carefully held the fish up but she kept on walking. By the time we got on home, the fish had fallen apart, piece by piece.
Times were hard and one winter, we had to live with my father's parents while Pap worked in a sawmill. I was very fortunate as I had two grandpaps at that time and they both worked at the mill, too. One of them skidded the lumber out and the other drove a team of oxen transporting it from the mill to where it would be piled for sale.. The oxen were beautiful, big, red and white creatures with large horns. When the sled was empty, I'd ride back with Grandpa to get another load.
My older sister was
about eight years old then and she had to help and fetch, too.
One day Granny sent her to Pearlie's Store for some sugar. In
those days, sugar, flour, crackers, etc. came in large barrels.
When my sister got to the store, she informed the lady storekeeper
that Grandma needed a bag of sugar. Well, the sugar was purty
low in the barrel and when the storekeeper bent to scrape the bottom,
her transformation fell off. When she straightened up without
any hair, she nearly frightened her small customer to death. My
sister never bothered with her order, nor anything else, she fled the
store and ran home to Grandma who got a good laugh because she knew
About that same time, many of the men were making 'squeezins' and somebody was always being picked up on suspicion. One night there was a dance and the officers came by. By the time they'd reached the top of the hill, most everyone had vanished and the rest were in the beds supposedly sleeping. The officers came in anyway and told them to get up and come out into the light. Well, my two brothers got up while the third quietly rolled out the backside and slid underneath. The first two never said a word becasuse the hidden one was married and had two young'uns, so they took the rap. All are dead now, sad to say. Too bad, too, because all turned out to be good citizens.
Ah, times are not the same. We didn't have much then but we had each other and we had a lot of fun together. Everything's different now; it's each man for himself. It used to be that anyone who took one of us on, had the whole family to contend with: not any more. Folks scarcely know where their loved ones are any more. That's why I come back here.
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