Thursday, August 28, 2014


In the tiny town of Cumming, Georgia, only fattened by urban sprawl, sits the local KRYSTAL. It could just as well have been any other chain drive thru, all small towns have their local hangouts, and this one is certainly no different.

I have been coming to Krystal’s infrequently since I moved to Sugar Hill a few years ago. Most times I have business in the area, if not I invent some just to stop in and have a favorite breakfast of mine; 3 eggs, grits, wheat toast, bacon, with extra bacon, and a reasonably good cup of coffee. I order, sit down, and the clerk of the day brings it to my table, usually quickly, and usually correctly, if not I eat what they bring. That is my way of dealing with life’s little challenges.

I have never tried to interact with the locals, although through unintended eavesdropping I have learned much about this same little cluster of community life. Ole Walter quit selling Fords at the dealership and spends more time fixin’ up the old home place, his Daddy would be proud. Arnold should quit his job, he is the danged best fiddler this side of Nashville, maybe further. Shorty is in the hospital again with a tumor; hope it ain’t as bad as the last one.
All the daily matters that are important to that click, but foreign to anyone more than 10 feet away. 

 Hal is probably the one I noticed most. One reason is that in error I parked in “HIS” spot once and heard about it in tones louder than usual and meant for me to hear. ‘His’ spot was the best parking place on the lot, right next to the door, with a low curbing, making it easy and quick for him to help his Mamma out of the car and into the comforts of the restaurant. For some reason the Handicap parking was a good 6 spaces away from the door. The particular morning that I arrived before Hal and parked in that space, I could feel the eyes of the group on me. I just figured my pants were unzipped again (something that happens more often than I want to admit).
“He’s in Hal’s spot. His Mamma is gonna have to walk A MILE.”
“He’s that new fella that comes around every so often. Guess he don’t know the parking arrangements here.”
“He don’t know no better, wonder what he does with all that JUNK on the back of his truck?”

That was sort of the way it went that morning. So for the first time I paid attention to this Hal when he entered, lovingly assisting his Mother in every way as he directed her to their tables, made the rounds of ‘Good Mornings” and went back to order their meals. I paid attention because Hal mentioned that he was a few minutes late and somebody’s old truck was in his spot. This was accentuated by the heat of the stares that I knew were being sent my way. From then on I made sure to park far enough away as not to be in the way of the 'old folks.'

I also starting paying attention to Hal and his Mamma. I am in my mid 60’s, but she seemed to be ancient. I think I heard 95 or 96 at one time referring to her. She was frail but full of life. She always greeted each of the group by name, asked about their kin, and when asked about her health, “She was still kicking, just not as high!” I do not recall ever hearing about her aches or pains, just local gossip. If she had any pains, she already knew about those, she wanted to hear what she didn’t know.

Being this outside observer let me absorb the local culture without having to learn names, birth dates, addresses, and all that other stuff that goes along with it. They are a kind bunch and when Hal walked in that morning alone and dropped that load on us, there was not a person there who did not shed a tear, including me, and I do not even know Mamma’s name.

I think I might introduce myself next time I drop in.

Monday, August 25, 2014


We were blessed(?) to have received a dachshund puppy a few weeks ago. The phase, "Time flies when you're having fun." does not always apply here. Don't get me wrong, she is a puppy and to boot a doxie, which makes her doubly adorable. Her registered name at the vet's office is Coco Cook, but around the house she mostly answers to Hell Hound or more aptly, Pee Pee Head!
My Janet is a very thorough person and researched everything about this breed. The one recurring theme was that they are stubborn and hard to house train. Looking into those beautiful, big brown eyes, I naively asked, "How hard could it be to train a 4lb. cute little puppy?" The answer: more than you thought! Oh,and as I have found out, those are lying eyes!
Janet went on-line and bought a book about dachshunds and the 'proper' way to train them. Well that is about as useful as how to train children(I am still waiting for that 10 volume set to come out), but, Bless her Heart, Janet tried.
THE CRATE METHOD says to feed her, put her in her very small crate, wait approximately 20-30 minutes and take her outside to do her business. If nothing happens in about 10 minutes, take her back to her crate, wait 10 minutes and repeat this process until she does her business. when she accomplishes this she can then be 'trusted' to play around in the house, having related freedom to pooping/peeing outside means free range of the house. This was evidently written by an evil dachshund who possessed opposable thumbs. Our little bundle of joy would do her business outside, run around the house a few minutes, then, while staring us in the eyes, squat and poop again, as if to say, "Let's get this straight, I make the rules around here." BACK IN THE CRATE! Now as unpleasant as that was, it was the jumping up on the sofa and peeing that almost sent out the 9-1-1 call to save that dog's life. We have a mini-carpet cleaner for the floor, but Janet's sofas are sacred. All I can say is, THANK GOD FOR SCOTCHGARD, or there would be a suspicious, albeit, small mound it the backyard under the Crepe Myrtle tree. Janet tried to circumvent part of the problem by putting old quilts on the sofa and love seat until the 'training' took effect. We washed 2 quilts a night the first week!
THE PEE PADS! This was my ante into the poker game, a game we were unwittingly playing against a 'Sharp', as the were known in the Old West. They must work, I thought stupidly to myself. They have them in the pet aisle of every major food store. They even have them in 'store brands' which means they are big sellers. Never equate being a big sellers to a product that works. The instructions say to place the pad near an exit door, put the pet on it and let it smell it, as it is treated with a chemical that makes the dog want to do its business. I would love to buy a spray bottle of that stuff(I know some People I would spray it on, but that's just me). Then after a few times of your dog going to the pads, remove it to just outside the door, and keep moving it until you are in a suitable outside area for the dog(more instruction written by that evil doxie). I put Coco(a.k.a. Pee Pee Head) down on the pad that I had so neatly and lovingly spread on the hardwood floor at the front door. Like a little angel she stood there, looked up at me with those beautiful brown(again LYING) eyes, reached over and grabbed a corner of the pad in her mouth and took off running through the house, head held high, pad flapping in the wind like a banner, looking very much like she was the victorious general in a grand game of Capture the Flag! It is hard to be mad and laugh at the same time.
A few days ago, Janet sent me an e-mail while she was at work, saying that a patient had told her to try "Doggie Diapers". This had worked for her small dog and should work for us. Apparently that lady has no experience with our particular bred. On the way home that day, Janet stopped by Petsmart and bought a packet of the diapers. They looked all the world like diapers for newborns with the exception for a hole to allow the tail to poke through. Our plan was that after feeding her in the evening, taking her out to do her business, then bring her in, put on the diaper and let her run and play at will, hoping that she would associate this with proper toilet training, and at best, not soil our furniture.
This was one of those moments when you look back and say, "Damn, why didn't I film this?" We put Coco on the counter in the kitchen, and while Janet did her best to hold that 4lbs. of dynamite still, my part of this comedy act was to thread the tail moving a blurring speed into the tiny hole and then attach to tabs to the diaper as are normally held in place. The first couple of tries, Coco whipped the diaper out of my hands with that little brown rapier known as a tail. At one point I had the diaper held with my teeth while I held her hind legs with on hand and her tail with the other---instant problem, not enough hands! Finally, between the two of us, we managed to get it on her. When we stood her up on the counter, we both broke into simultaneous laughter. That poor dog looked like a Rap singer with his pants hanging down, it was pitiful. So it was back to the operating table. The second attempt managed to get the diaper on properly and looking pretty good. Janet put Coco on the floor and off that little dog ran and within a distance of less than 10 feet, had that diaper in her mouth, playing Round 2 of Capture the Flag.
Does anyone know where I can buy a doggie diaper made like Lederhosen???

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


They step on your toes and tug on your heart strings. They will tug on your wallet, too. They will even drive you to the poor house if you let them, all the while charging the gas for the trip on your credit card.
Well, of course, grand kids put "the touch" on Grandparents, that's why we are here, that and to fill them with sugar and send them home wound up tight. When we were kids we could always count to Grandma and Grandpa to see to the 'extras' that we needed in life.
With schools opening around the state now and in the next few days, there naturally has been a buying frenzy for all those needed, as well as, not needed, school supplies. Like kids of every generation, everyone wants to be cool and have all the things that the "in" kids have. Coming from a reserved and conservative home, my grandchild not come close to all the cool stuff.
Not to be deterred, the call went out. "Hey, Grandpa, whatca doin'"? The child might as well have said, "Grandpa, could you e-mail me your card number, expiration date, and don't forget the security code!"
After a little chit chat about the life of a retired guy and new school, new grade, new friends, it got down to business.
"Grandpa, you remember when you were and high school and wanted all the latest improvements?"
"Oh, you mean like an ELECTRIC typewriter?"
"A type-what, oh never mind. You know what an ipad is don't you?'
"Well of course, I used one not too long ago."
"Weeeelllllll, it sure would be nice if I had one. All the kids are getting them and Momma just won't buy me one, but she said it was OK if I asked you.
"I can't understand your Mother not getting you something as important as an eye pad. You say all the kids are using them?"
"They sure are, and I just know you don't want me to look funny if I show up without one."
"Personally, I think you would look funny WITH one, but you kids are sure different these days. I mail you one today, honey, love you, bye."
That was THREE WEEKS AGO and that little ingrate has yet to text me a thank you or anything. What is wrong with children today?!?!

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Here is another "fractured fairy tale" for you to enjoy(I hope).

There once was a giant who lived on the top of a mountain(ain't that the way it always is). Down in the valley below was a village of below average little people, known as the Kingdom of TRID.

Now as this giant would move around on the top of his mountain, doing whatever it is that giants do to past the time of day, he would occasionally dislodge a boulder that would roll down the mountain side and squash a villager or two.

As you can imagine, this was very disconcerting to the villagers, so they called a town meeting to decide what to do. Since no one would volunteer, it was decided that they would draw straws to see who would confront the giant and ask him to stop.   

The next morning, the poor chap who drew the short straw made his way up the mountain. When he arrived at top, he found the giant and began to tell him why he was there. After the villager finish, the giant drew back his huge foot and kicked the hapless villager of the mountain and to his doom.

The town council decided to try again to negotiate with the giant, but this time send 2 villagers. Again the giant quietly listened to the request, then when the finished, he kicked them both off the mountain.

Undeterred, 10 messengers were sent, kicked off, 20 were sent, kicked off, until finally, the Church got involved.

An envoy of 30 Trids(villagers) and their priest marched up to the giant. Upon hearing the same old request, the giant booted all 30 villagers off his mountain.

After the dust settled, all that was left was the lone holy man facing the giant. With up stretched arms, the priest cried out in a loud, albeit, small voice, "Why? Why? Why? Why have you booted off all the villagers, yet left me alone?"

With a very large grin on his face, the giant bent way, way down until he was almost nose to nose with the little man and said those familiar words we all know:

"Silly Rabi, Kicks are for Trids!!!"

Friday, July 11, 2014


Many, many years ago, before modern medicine and the ability to diagnose ailments as easily as we do today, seizures we frightening and much feared. 
In ancient Persia, the ruler, the Shah, had a very young son, called a Shan(meaning son of the ruler), who was prone to violent bouts of seizures of unknown causes. But whatever the cause, the only treatment was to take silk ropes and gently tie the Shan to his bed until these fits past.

Now the Shah had a small detail assigned to the task of watching the Shan every minute of every day, to be ready to protect the young boy, otherwise, while in this state of wildness, the child could, and would destroy priceless vases, statues, and any objects he could get his hands on.

One day,while sitting around for what seemed like an eternity, the guards began to talk among themselves. The boy had been free of his malady for more than 2 months without any signs, there was music coming from the bazaar out side the window in the streets below, the laughter of the dancing girls was hypnotic, and the aroma of the wine was more than they could bare.

They decided that they would go out the window and down the balcony to have a few drinks, a few laughs, and watch the dancing girls for a short time, and then return to their posts. No one would be the wiser.

They had no sooner landed on the street and began to enjoy the festival when the Shan had the worst episode of his short little life. He broke vases, turned over tables, toppled marble statues, ripped silk curtains, and would have chewed through the walls if his teeth had been strong enough.

The court guards heard the commotion and summoned the Shah, who soon got matters under control. The had the palace guards arrest, bind and bring the Shan's attendants before him.
As the men were on their knees, with an axeman standing over each one, seconds before the fatal blow, the Shah asked that famous question that we still ask today,


Friday, May 30, 2014


First let me say, Thank you, to all those of you that take the time to read the drivel that I pass off as ‘writings’. They are just things that come to mind from time to time and I have to get them out. It is much like the “artwork” that I do. It means little to most people, but it is my male equivalence of giving birth, of sorts. I do not sit and try to create or ‘build things in my mind’, they just happen. On the contrary, when I try to think of amusing stories or projects to make, NOTHING, I just come up blank.

This is why I laugh every time one of you posts the comment, “You should write a book.” I would if I could. Maybe, if I live long enough, I will have a collection large enough to incorporate into a book worth printing and more importantly, worth your money.

I will say that, as a young man,if I had this wonderful computer with all the amazing editing capabilities, or even one of those early word processors, I would have written far more while it was still fresh on my mind. Old fashion typing was out of the question, what with number of errors that I make on a single page, and HANDWRITTEN, forget about it. I can’t read most of my own writing as soon as I write it. Even with this modern system, I still cringe and think of Mrs. Carroll when I hit a wrong key. Let me be my father right here and say kids just don’t know how easy they have it. I think it would be good training to have and occasionally use the old typewriter, correction paper, carbons, and the like, just to give prospective to their lives.

I have toyed with the idea of buying one of those voice recognition units, but I see two problems right off the bat. First, it says it can recognize any voice, well; I would have to have a money back guarantee to believe that. Second, even if we get past my severe Southern Drawl, I talk so much that it probably would burn up the processor on my Dell. I envision a Star Trek scene as done on SNL: 

“Capt. Kirk, “Computer!”
Computer, “Huh, you talkin’ tu me?” 

At any rate, much like an old man wearing Depends, the stories will leak out from time to time. Not because I want to, but I have to.

Thank you for reading and your comments

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Today's on again off again rain is very taxing if you are trying to paint some projects and let them air dry in the sun. It is a merry go round of take in, the rain stops, take it out, the rain starts, take it in, repeat.
During this little dance with the rain gods, I recalled an earlier time when I was not as patient as I am now. If you laughed at that statement, clearly you did not know me 20 years ago. 


Being the inventor/artist/nosy Nellie, that I am or was, I decided that since it was going to rain every fifteen minutes and quit long enough for me to haul everything back out in the sunshine to dry only to have to repeat the process, I would come up with a better solution. Now right then where I should have looked at the Weather Channel to see what would be a good day to paint and let dry in the sun, but hell, I don't need no stinkin' Weatherman/woman to tell me that. If it won't dry naturally, I'll do it artificially.(Sorta sounds like that tag line, "Hey, fellas, I wonder what will happen when I ....!)

Like any good handyman, I have a heat gun lying around that is seldom used. Now a heat gun is much like a lady's hair dryer, just on steroids and PCP and Speed, with a little diet pill to even things out. They are normally used to heat the paint on wood just enough to make it turn loose from the wood, so that you can take a large putty knife and scrape it away and save hours of time or paint strippers or sanding. The only problem is it takes a very delicate touch and keen attention, both genes that I seem to have been born without. What I lack in natural talent, I can always make up in bravery(that;s city talk for stupid).

On the utility table, I had my boards that I had just painted and taken back out for third time. I had the extension cord plugged in and ready, along with the "ACME HOTTER THAN HELL HEAT GUN", much like the one that Wiley Coyote sometimes uses, another ignored red flag.

I will take a moment to crow and say that I was being unusually careful and attentive to my work, an anomaly for me to be sure. Then it happened. I confess that I have the attention span of an goober hull---on a good day. I used to say that I had the malady that all 'artists' are afflicted with, that special brand of ADD, OCD, or any combination of letters that meant I could not stay focused. I no longer make excuses and attempt to tag along on the coat tails of real suffers. I CAN NOT STAY FOCUSED!

I had finished drying a few boards to the degree of readiness that was needed, when my gaze slipped past the lumber on the utility table to another table where there were many cast iron toys I had been pricing and getting ready to box up for the next sale. THEY ALL HAD GOTTEN WET, and in just a minutes nature would take its course and they would begin to put on a light coat of rust.

I walked over to where the iron pieces were sitting on the table and began to give them a blast from my HEAT TERMINATOR. Like magic all the fronts were dry in an instant. Now for the backs. A quick science lesson, cast iron is a GREAT conductor of heat, hence all the millions of cast iron stoves invented and sold since Ben Franklin's day!
As I picked up the first piece, I did not even get to the point of rotating my wrist when the pain from the DEATH RAY heated iron reached my brain. I immediately tossed the piece about five feet straight up in the air. In the mili-seconds that it took that little piece of cast iron to make the trip up and back down, I realized that if it hit the ground from that height, it would break(yes, cast iron will break like glass in some cases--usually when heated and owned by me). My left hand being rendered useless, I dropped the heat gun(thank goodness they have a 'dead man's switch for just such users as me) and proceeded to try to catch the iron with my right hand. Second science lesson: iron will not cool off sufficiently in a 5ft. toss to be catch-able. As soon as it hit my hand it was airborne again.

Now, I had two burned hands and was in great pain, to me at least. I ran over to another table that held assorted tools and the important first aid kit. I know I must have looked like Frankenstein trying to put a model airplane together as clumsy as I was opening that box and retrieving that Unguentine but success was not to be mine that day. I sat down in a chair and as I was fumbling around with the cap, got a large glob of it on the top of the tube, then I dropped it in my lap.

My wife, Janice, had witnessed the entire proceedings and was walking past me as I dropped the salve. "Did you just see what just happened?"

In one of her rare moments of "Fractured Sayings", as we called them, she said without breaking here stride, "Yeah, looks like you got an ointment in the fly!"

Monday, May 26, 2014

IT'S A GATOR! IT'S A M******F******* GATOR!

Somehow the original post was lost, so I will try to retell this story as best I can to the first time. This is a true story!

IT'S A GATOR! IT'S A M******F******* GATOR!

From the car I remember driving back then it must have been the Summer of '65. It could not have been the Summer of '66 or later as that damned Draft was taking Hogansville's finest young men off to war. Dwayne Robinson was there, so it had to be 65 because he left early in '66 when we graduated.

It was the middle of Summer, another do-nothing Saturday night. There were several of us sitting on the steps of Jabley's Dept. Store, our usual place to hang out. We had rounded up a six pack and were all having one. One each was enough, the point was not to get drunk, just say that you had a beer with the guys and not be lying. The talk was the usual BS; girls, cars, girls, movies, girls, etc., etc. As I recall we were content, not looking to get into any trouble--but would not pass up the opportunity if it presented itself.


I am guessing that it was probably around 9 to 9:30pm when up roared a car load of the 'Williamson Brothers'. Now there are several different families of the Williamsons in Hogansville, but this branch is of the junk yard fame. I remember Ed was driving, as Charlie was what is know as "shot in the ass" drunk(I have not clue of the origin of that phrase, although I did GOOGLE the term and found out you can 'BUTT CHUG" alcohol and get very, very drunk--a strange world we live in). There were several other guys in the car, cousins or something. Ole Charlie, riding shot gun, hangs his head out the window and slurs, "Y'all want a gator?''
It only to a second for Dwayne to look at me and me to look at him and in harmony say, "Hell yeah!"
Charlie gets out of the car and opens the trunk. Now it was a hot as hell Saturday in Georgia. Those boys had seen the gator along side the road as they were coming back from the beach, Panama City Beach, to be exact. Instantly one of them had said it would make a good pair of alligator boots and without any more discussion, a large caliber pistol was drawn from the dash and the gator met his fate. Now there were no 4 lane roads form Fla. to Hogansville back then and it took a while to get back to Hogansville. I say this to give you an idea of how long that gator baked in that hot trunk on a hot long trip. Also on that long ride home, someone had come to their senses enough to mention that the possession of an alligator was a felony. The possession of a DEAD alligator was an added charge. Well, when Charlie opened that trunk, I think the odor was enough to sober him up. Smell or not we still wanted him. Charlie grabbed that 4 1/2 carcass by the tail and dropped it at our feet, and off they roared, jail time avoided.

"What are you idiots going to do with a dead, stinking, ILLEGAL, alligator," on of the guys asked, as if expecting an intelligent answer. I looked at Dwayne, then looked at the side door of the Royal Theatre then back at Dwayne. "Hell, yeah", was his response a second time. I scrounged around in my trunk and found a roll of twine that they made in the mill. It was good for all sorts of things.

We each grabbed a front leg and off we went to the side door of the ROYAL. We put the gator in the street with its head and front paws on the curb. I took twine and tied it around the neck and ran it along the gutter around to the front of the Theatre to the CAB sign out front. I made a loop in the other end of the twine and slipped my foot in and we waited.


The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had just be passed a few months earlier, but had not migrated that far South by the Summer of '65. That meant that the movie theater was still segregated, with the whites sitting on the main floor and the blacks sitting in the balcony(which, by the way, were the best seats). The entry and exit to the balcony was the side door.

Around 10pm the movie was over, as the volume of chatter would indicate. You could hear the mass of young people coming down the steps and the creak of the metal fire door swinging open. I was looking over my right shoulder and just as I saw the door swing open, I get several jerks with my foot in the loop of twine that in turn giggled the head of the long-dead alligator.

Dead or not, it caught the attention of the group. I saw one kid with his arms wide apart backing up and sweeping everyone back into the building, exclaiming as he went, "IT'S A GATOR, IT'S A M*****F******GATOR!" the door slamming with a loud report, especially loud in that alleyway. Almost instantly the door opened again, just a little, and heads started popping out all around the door almost like a scene from a cartoon. I giggled the gator a second time, again the door slammed shut, barely missing the opportunity of decapitating several young children. Screams erupted and you could hear and see wild eyed children jumping over the back candy case to the front candy case and running out the front door.

I swiftly slid my foot from the loop and Dwayne and I walked to the front door, asking, "What's going on, what's happening?"
The Police had been called and were not too far away. You could hear that old style siren that takes time to wind up and is still winding down 5 minutes after they arrive at the scene.
Assistant Chief Dick Staley and his partner, Norman Smith jumped out of the car, both with shiny .357 caliber S&W's drawn, pointed in the direction of where the children were pointing and screaming. Both officer were about to kill the gator even deader when Dwayne and I wandered up, peered over the heads of the smaller children, to ask, "What is that thang, Dick?" At that point Dick and Norman holstered their cannons, Dick ordering Norman to disperse the crowd, while he called me and Dwayne to the side, "I know you two sumbitches had something to do with this and if I prove it, I'll put you both under the jail"
We could have gone back to Jabley's and sat down and continue our BS session, but, I just couldn't--I just couldn't.
"Dick, is there any way you could sell me that gator, it would make a great pocket book for Mother." Not before or after when I worked on the Police Dept. with Dick, had I seen him get that red or that mad. He probably came close to having a coronary right then. "Git your damn ass out of town now, the lot of you, and I just hope you scratch of or run a stop sign!"

They never did solve the case of the Damn Gator!


Have you ever been sitting around, just talking about nothing in particular or important, when out of the Blue, you hear a statement or phrase that makes you think, "Hmmmm, that would make a great Country song,"?

Well of course you have! Warped mines think alike!

Here are some of mine:

That white wedding dress ain't the only lie she told!

How can I miss you if you won't go away?

I don't know whether to kill myself or go bowling.

I keep forgettin' to forget about you.

I wanna whip your cow(I do not even know what that means)

I wouldn't take her to a dawg fight, cause I'm afraid she would win.

I'm just a bug on the windshield of your life.

If you don't leave me alone, I'll find someone who will.

If you are leaving me, can I come to?

I'm so miserable without you, it's like having you here.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


The morning of December 2, 2013, a friend of mine that I worked with at the Troup County Board of Education, posted that on this day 6 years ago, she woke up and decided it was time to go. So she went to work and served notice of retirement. No big deal you say. Well, it was a big deal, only it was like the old saying, "You don't miss your water until the well runs dry."
When I went to work for Transportation, Donna Beall Pate was that water. A little double wide trailer behind Whitesville Road Elementary School housed the hub of all bus transportation for Troup County. Donna would be there 1st thing every morning always wearing more hats than her tiny frame aught to be able to carry. I never knew her official title, as most of us just tried to get the job done back then. She was John Thompson's secretary, time keeper, dispatcher, events scheduler, and I am sure on many occasions, janitor. She would answer the angry phone calls from the parents, which were mostly stupid, she would field questions from angry drivers, which were mostly stupid, all the while doing her part to keep the buses running and getting kids to school.
She saw to it that drivers got paid, even though many times they failed to turn in the paperwork on time(if ever). That was one of the big wake up calls to 'field trip' drivers when Donna retired, the new 'accounting queen' flatly would not pay if she did not have paperwork.
I seriously doubt that she will, but only Donna can tell you of all the drama that went on when we moved to the current location with lots of room to put lots of desks to fill with lots of unneeded jobs. Mark Linstrom was now the director and believed in having many levels of command, which is another way of having buffers and passing the buck. The Lead Driver Program was a good idea in theory, but any time you promote someone, give them a title, well if they were any good to start with, that sure ruins them. The only one that was immune to this was ole Bob Duffey. I loved that man. He always told me that I knew how to do my job better than he did and if I needed him to call him. He stayed out of my way and let me run my job. He also "jumped the director's case" on my behalf when I had a run in with another lead driver.
Back to Donna, her leaving put a tear in the cosmic time continuum of transportation life. There were those that were quick to want the job, what could be so hard about writing numbers on a time form?? When the realization of what our beloved Ms. Pate actuality did(and not get paid for) hit the fan, well, at one time, I counted 3 people doing the job and not very well at that.
While it is true that no one is irreplaceable, it just takes a few extra to replace some people.

You were missed the day you left Donna.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Summer is fast approaching and of those that were wishing the cold would go away are only days away from cranking the air conditioning down to the lowest point. Janet has already gone into semi-summer-hibernation(if that is possible). That poor girl can not take the heat. While sitting here at the computer, trying to ward off the onset of frostbite, I started thinking of our childhood days in Hogansville. I know there were some families with the ability to afford such a luxury, I just can not call any names.

I think we all sat through some of the worst movies ever made just to enjoy the cold air in the Royal Theatre. When I was a pre-teen, I would do my chores on Saturday morning, wash up(Mother would not let me go to town looking like a 'hobo'), get my 25cents, and take off in a steady trot to the Royal. By the time I got there I was so hot and sweaty, it felt like the North Pole when I walked up to the counter to get a very large nickel bag of popcorn and a 10cent big orange drink with lots of ice. Who cares what movie was playing, comfortable seat, cold air, your best friends sitting with you, popcorn and soda. What else could a person want?

TOM DENNEY'S ICE HOUSE was the second place that came to mind on this cerebral journey. You could get the BIGGEST, COLDEST, WATERMELON for little money. I want to say we bought some for 50cents, but I can not swear to it, but knowing the Cook Family Finances as I do, I would say that was about right. Also, if you were polite and friendly, Doc Black, would take his ice pick and expertly knock off a long sliver of ice from a block of ice and hand it to you. There are many of you that have never seen 'block ice' or an ice house that will not get that thrill.

McKIBBEN FUNERAL HOME is an early place of coolness that I remember. I still think many people came to 'sit with the dead' because it was cool more so than their closeness to the departed. I once asked Mother if we could go to the Funeral Home to see someone and she asked who was it and did we know them. I told her no. it was just cool there. That woman blew a fuse as she did not take such things lightly.

I think the first car we owned with A/C was a 1964 Chevy Nova. I had rolled the 1962 Nova and Daddy bought a much nicer one(an for some reason would not let me drive it, hmmm). After your first car with that luxury(?), you can never go back. I have owned 'piece if crap' trucks that I had to strap the door shut with an old belt, BUT the A/C was blowing as cold as the North Pole. Some things just move from the luxury column to the necessity column pretty quick.

I do not remember the date of your first window unit at our house on Power Plant Road, but an image of Mother coming home and walking over and standing directly in front of it, with the look of pure contentment comes to mind. You could only afford to cool one room, maybe two, at a time, and then not all day long. I remember when I worked for Daddy, he sent me home a few minutes early on particularly hot days to turn on the unit and crank it up on high so that Mother would have a cool room to come home to. The first time I saw a house with Central Air, I thought, how wasteful! Now even my laundry room has cold air. How times change.

Now you can't have school if the building is not air conditioned and almost all school buses are as well. These poor children! When I drove the bus for Alternative School, I refused to drive an air conditioned bus. That was part of their punishment from me----a hot as hell school bus! Behave and you can go back to riding a cool bus.

The days of buying a car or a house that does not come standard with a good cooling system are gone. Our children and certainly our grandchildren have missed out on just one more life defining event in their lives----looking for a place to get cool!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014



In the very early 1970's, I-85 barely made it to College Park, so the only way to go north or south was on U.S. 29. It was usually quite most of the time and we liked it that way.
The police departments, sheriff's department and Georgia State Patrol all operated on on main radio channel back then, much like a c.b. channel, only closed to the public. If another dispatcher was talking to their officer, you had to wait until the channel was clear to talk. There was usually little to say, so that was not a great inconvenience. It was helpful, however, in that we were in constant contact with Grantville PD, which only had one officer on duty at a time and no dispatcher. The officer on duty would either tell Hogansville PD or Coweta SO when he made a traffic stop or was answering a call. We looked out for each other back then as best we could. Constant communications was also helpful on those rare occasions went some dang fool thought it was a smart idea to try and outrun the police. The saying was, "You might outrun my car, but you can't outrun my radio!" Someone tried just that one summer night many years ago.
Dick Staley, the Asst. Chief worked from 8pm until 4am every day, while I was the 'relief' man and would work everyone's shift in turn.
I do not recall the time of night, but it was late. Only a car or two would come down the road every so often. The weather was clear. Dick and I happen to be at the Police Station talking with Mr. Frank Thornton when Jackie Storey can on the air talking 90 miles an hour. "I got one running on me, he's heading South, set up a roadblock Hogansville!" Jackie was the night officer for Grantville Police Dept., a real nice guy, but easily excitable. As I said the only way to get South was on Hwy. 29 and the best place to set up a roadblock was at the bridge over Yellow Jacket Creek. As the Chief and I jumped into action, he told me to take the back up car. That way we could fully cover the bridge and have a car to continue the chase should the unthinkable happened and the suspect got by.
We were at the bridge and in place within 3 minutes. The 'chase' was slowed somewhat by a semi truck that was in front of the fleeing car.
It seems that no sooner than the Chief and I were in place than a car that was northbound pulled up close to us and a rather large man got out on the passenger side. "Y'all fellas need any help? I got a good squirrel gun in the back seat and can hit what I aim at." That man turned out to be the famous Junior Samples of HEE HAW fame. He and his friend had been hunting in South Georgia and were on their way back home to Cumming, Georgia.
Heck, you can set up a roadblock any day of the week, but a chance to meet someone that you watch on TV is a rare event indeed. While we were talking to Junior, our blue lights flashing, the semi, suspect, and Jackie came around the curve at the junk yard and immediately all jammed up on the bridge. As soon as the vehicles stopped, Jackie was out in a flash and the fleeing suspect, who had no driver's license, gave up. Dick, Junior, the friend, and myself together watched all this unfold. Jackie did an excellence, a credit to his department. At first he was puzzled as to why we had offered so little assistance, but when he recognized who we were talking with, he cuffed and stuffed his violator in the back seat of the police car and came over to catch up on the conversation. The semi driver even got out and joined to group. We must have talked another 15 or so before another car came along, breaking up the party. By the time Junior had left, felt like I had known him for many years. Every time I would watch HEE HAW after that I felt a personal connection to the show.
That was the second famous TV star I had met, Officer Don(Smith) of the Popeye Club was my first!


I have always imagined to myself that I would have made a great U.S. Senator or Representative or dog catcher, but with a dark cloud hanging over my head, I never aspired to any of these lofty positions. Some might think that having a criminal background might be an asset to the first two choices, but what about the dogs, they deserve better.

The background:
Early in the 1960's, after many years of suffering with 'asbestos on the lungs', as it was called back then, U.S.Rubber Co. retired Daddy out of the mill on medical disability. Those few dollars were hardly enough to run a family with five children, one of which was going to college. That and the fact that Daddy always provided for his family until he could no longer draw a steady breath led him into the service station/tire store business. My 1st cousin, the late Bobby Norwood, was kind enough to offer Daddy a job. Bobby being the restless soul that he was, soon wanted to move on to something else and sold his lease to Daddy. This was the old Gulf Oil Service Station that was across the street from Smith Gas Co.(propane) and just next to Thompson Brothers Garage.
In the service station was an old coke box, the kind that you open the lid on either side and reached down a picked out the bottle you wanted. There were Cokes, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, 7Up. Double Cola, and a few more. They all were 6 1/2 oz. size, because that was all that was made then. They were also 'returnable' bottles, which meant that you either had to bring in an empty bottle in exchange for the bottle soda you were taking, or you had to pay the penny deposit on the bottle.

Since drinks were a nickel back then, if you had 6 bottles rattling around in your car, you could trade them for an ice cold drink and have a bottle for your next deposit. Not very often, but if you looked hard enough, you could find bottles along the highway that thoughtless(and evidently, wealthy) people had tossed them out of car windows. A short time scouring the roadside would often reward you with enough money for a candy bar or a Coke, or if you were really, really lucky--both!

My crime wave begins:

As I mentioned, next to the service station was the Thompson Brothers Garage owned by Reid and Robert Thompson. I remember Mr. Robert being the quieter of the two, while Mr. Reid was a joking, fun-loving fella. That trait surely was inherited by his daughter, Marie Hines, my partner in crime. Yes, Marie and I devised a foolproof plan to lavish ourselves in chocolate and sodas, or so we thought.
Behind the garage and service station runs a small stream and for what ever reason, over time, people had thrown drink bottles in that stream. Now, Mr. Reid did not mind that Marie and I looked for bottles to redeem, he just did not want us on the highway or wondering off. Neither he or my Daddy cared if we scoured the stream and retrieved the sunken treasures there. We were close by and it kept us busy. We would walk along the stream, barefoot and stop and wiggles our toes in a likely spot, and dig out the bottle if we hit pay dirt. Now that I think about it, it is a thousand wonders that we never stepped on a single piece of broken glass.
Being children and not thinking ahead, we soon realized that the stream was not an endless source of treasure to be swapped for candy and drinks. Since I have already outed Marie as my co-conspirator I will not go so far to say the next level was her idea, thou she was just as game as I was and even shared the blame when it 'hit the fan'.
When our legitimate source of revenue dried up, one of us hit upon the idea that since both stores kept their bottles out back, why not get a few from my Daddy and sell to her Daddy and then the next day reverse the process.
I don't recall which parent caught on first, whether we kept using the same bottles, or the fact there was no silt in the bottles as in the beginning, but at some point we got busted. From that point on neither parent would buy a single bottle from us even if they watched us pick it up from the side of the road. I had to start hand-washing cars to get my fix from then on. Marie seems to have straightened her life out after that and become a pillar of the community.

I, on the other hand, would love to sell either Mr. Reid or my Daddy just 5 more bottle for one last Snickers!


In today's world it is chic and glamorous to bare your soul with your relationship to dope. I, too, have been involved with 'dope'. My tale is not of jet-setting, penthouse parties,'the beautiful people', etc., but rather a more mundane, heavier side. The only bright spot to this story is the stainless steel---? For 3 long months during the Summer of 1966, I pushed it day and night!

Before you disavow knowing me, let me clear this up. The 'dope' I pushed had 4 wheels and was locally known as a 'dope wagon', a 1200 lb., stainless steel food cart that I pushed through the old mill on Green Ave. I made the dinner run on all three shifts, with time of in between. It was an adventure and involved more that just Cokes and sandwiches. There was a rhythm of life to that job, with each day being different.

If everything has a heart, then the heart to the food service for the 3 mills of Uniroyal in Hogansville was the old Canteen, owned and operated by the famous or infamous, Louis Booker. Many, many tales could be told about this man. Although quite a character and would "forget" to pay you at times, I loved this old guy and thought highly of him. There was the time that Dwayne Robinson and I opened up one morning and found Louis passed out at his desk, liquor bottles and glasses everywhere, a .45 Army Colt on the desk, playing cards on the desk and floor, and several thousand dollars in a pile under Louis' head, like a little greenback pillow. We helped Louis to a cot that was kept in the corner of his office, while Dwayne bagged the money and hide for safe keeping(this was not Dwayne's first time doing this), I cleaned up the rest of the mess. We then started working on getting the day's food prepared and waited for the others that worked there to arrive. Just before lunch time, Booker started stirring around. He called Dwayne back and asked if he "found" anything earlier that morning. "You mean the $7,000-plus on the desk? Yea, I found it. You gonna get your ass run off if you don't cut that s*** out! If Mike(Link, the superintendent) finds out about these poker nights, there will be hell to pay. Even with a deep hangover, a sly grin came across old Booker's face. I guess that meant he had the proverbial "Ace up his Sleeve".

Dwayne and Buddy, the other cart guy, both loaded and pushed out of the Canteen, which used to be a small cinder-block building, located to the north end of the mill on U.S.29(if anyone has an old photo of the Canteen, or the mills, please post them to the comment section). I, on the other hand, would load everything I needed and take it across the street to my mill and to my little area there. It was a room that had been made by adding two walls to the corner of the cotton bale storage area. I had my own ice machine and an outlet to plug in the wagon to keep the steam tray heated until time to push. I kept a supply of the stapes, canned drinks, chewing gum, cakes and pies, and the life savers--headache powders! I only had to take the fresh made sandwiches and such before each run.

I think some of those good ole boys would have killed me if I failed to come in early on Mondays. It seems that the only thing that could get them through after a long weekend of partying and hangovers was several Goody's(or BC or Standback) powders and a couple of grapefruit chasers. Remember those little cans of grapefruit and orange juice that you had to have a 'church key' to open? I always made sure that I had plenty of those on ice for the guys. I always assume that the girls partied too, as the guys would gather up extras and take them back upstairs to who knows who. Now it was against the rules for workers to leave their area and to come down to where I was, but management knew that life in a cotton mill is a lot different that most other places and allowances had to be made.
I don't remember the exact menus for the days of the week, but I do remember that people liked to change it up and so I had more of some things on different days. Hell, I even sold sunglasses off that wagon.

THURSDAYS! Now Thursdays were special. Special in that for whatever reason, the Mill paid off on Thursdays. That meant that I had to have extra cash on me to cash checks, many people did not or would not do business with a bank. This was probably a holdover from the Great Depression and banks closing and keeping the folks money. Anyway this was a service that Booker offer. I would not walk through that place or any place today with that kind of money in those deserted areas, but those were different times with different people. I knew everyone by first name and knew their families. What a great false sense of security!

The other thing that made Thursdays special is that it was Collection Day. On Thursday mornings, Booker would give me a 'little black book' with the names and amount borrowed and the date. As I pushed the cart, cashed paychecks, I also loan sharked the employees. If you borrowed $7 the week before, you paid back $10, $14 cost $20. Anything above that and you had to see Booker, as mill hands did not make a lot of money and had other bills to pay. If they got in too deep, well, it would upset the apple cart as the saying goes and that criminal enterprise would come to an end. Also, if you failed to pay, you did not get your check cashed and you could not buy off the wagon, even with cash money. Booker had strict orders. As I think back, food service was just a way to get in and loan money.

There were a couple of sections of the mill that had ramps from one room to the next as the floors were uneven. Now pushing a cart loaded with cotton is one thing, but a huge stainless steel food wagon loaded with ice, drinks, and everything else is another thing. Without fail, every time I got to one of those hard ramps, several guys would come off theirs jobs without having be be asked and help give that extra muscle needed to go to the next floor. I don't see that happening today. Sad!

Two things in closing:
Yes, Dwayne gave Booker his ill gotten gains at the end of the shift, just to make Booker sweat a little.
And why was it called a DOPE WAGON? It was a holdover from the early years of Coca Cola when they actually put cocaine in the drinks. Cokes were often called Dopes.

When I was a small child, I remember there was a time that Mother worked the 3rd shift and on Thursday mornings she would have treats for us. It would either be Nutty Buddy Bars or the little You Can Eata chocolate covered cake with cherry filling. They were only a nickel each back then, but man was that a big deal!

Monday, May 12, 2014


Look at the charming face of Alyce G Weiher. a big smile, happy expression. If you know her, then you know her children, her grandchildren, and all the other pertinent facts about this typical Southern Grandmother, going up and spending her life in her hometown.

That's what you see. What I see is the second picture. A red 1964 Red Oldsmobile with the words, "THE RED COFFIN!" emblazoned across the back window.
I hear my Daddy saying, "Hoss, that girl drives wilder than you do.( you know I cleaned that up a whole lot from what he really said) You'll get your killin' in that damned car!" 
I remember that later in life being in shoot outs as a police officer and not being near as scared as I was the first time I wrote in that car. 

What I remember most is that we had the most exciting times of our lives growing up in Hogansville and would not change a minute of it.(well, maybe a few minutes, we'll talk about some other time)

Alyce Gray you were and still are an important part of my life. Thank you for scaring the pee out of me!


When you think of Dinner on the Ground, your mind usually goes back to your childhood at your Church or your Grandparent's Church. Mountains of fried chicken, potato salad, melt-in-your-mouth buttermilk biscuits, fresh vegetables of every description. Don't even think about the desserts, that would give you an instant 'sugar high'.
I can only speak from my own upbringing, but Southerners will use any excuse to have this kind of feast, whether it be a Church Social/Homecoming, new preacher coming/old preacher retiring, kick off the annual revival, or at our Church, the 5th Sunday in a month was cause to chow down. Take a second. close your eyes and picture that endless table, sagging in the middle with more food than you could sample if you tried. Think hard and remember where your favorite dishes would ALWAYS be located(for patrons of such to find easily).
And of course, it almost goes without saying that when someone in the community passes away, a feast will be assembled and taken to the appropriate family member's house to console the spirit and the body with nourishment.
There is also another type of get together that requires huge amounts of food, the Annual Family Reunion. Now most are held at the appointed family member's house having enough parking and table space to fit the requirements. But luckily for me in this story, there are lots and lots of families that opt to go to a public park to hold such events and freeing any one person of having to clean up after just such a stampede.
I worked on the City of Newnan(Ga.) Police Dept. the 1st half of the 1970's. The old Newnan Water Works had a public park at the foot of its tallest dam, complete with several pavilions, areas for playing ball, tossing horse shoes, and just sitting and admiring the beauty of this park. A family was required to make arrangements with the park to reserve a particular pavilion for a reunion and in the summertime, in good weather, every area would have a gathering going on.
It was customary for Lt. Smith to assign me to ride(or rather chauffeur)with him on those Sundays that we worked the day shift. At about 11:00am we would make our first pass through the park and smile and wave as if conducting business as usual. What we were really doing was trying to spot a familiar face in each group to contact when the eating began. If that failed, we would go in 'cold' and always scored.
It went something like this; we would pull up to a pavilion, walk up to the person that we knew and ask if the accommodations we satisfactory, the water superintendent took great pride in present a clean, safe park. As soon as we started speaking, others would wonder over(just being nosy), and we would greet them, asking their relationship to the person we were talking to, often asking if they knew so-and-so by the same last name. A few minutes of idle talk always brought on an invite to share in the bounty. Just like Julius Caesar of old, we would refuse three times, saying we didn't bring anything, didn't want to impose, etc. I can not remember a time that someone would take us each by the arm and walk into the crowd and exclaim something like, "Hide the liquor, the Po-lease are here!", which would bring a roar from the crowd. Or there would be any number of other light hearted jokes told at our expense. Women would bring their special dishes to make sure that we got the best food, and on it went.
After eating all we could hold, and usually having a plate of incredible desserts thrust into our hands to take with us, we would give our thanks to the hosts and guests and make our way back to the car. Upon storing the excess to that visit, we would make our way to the next group. They too would offer to feed us, but we would tell them that we had run into Brother So-in-So, and while there had eaten our fill, but theirs did look much better. With that compliment, we would get several to-go boxes with an assortment of meats and vegetables, and not to mention more desserts. After thanking everyone for their generosity, we were back to the car and on to usually the third and final reunion, not that there were not more there, we just could not pack anymore food in the car.
We we finally left the park, waving to all of our new found friends, we headed to the station to share with the dispatcher and decide what we would take home for supper.
Back in those days, very few black families were using the park, but when they did, they were some of the best. Say what you will, it may be the lard, or it may be the love, but black woman sure can cook.
The black families welcomed us, for they knew there would not be any rednecks riding through the park as long as we were there.(remember this was the early '70's and turbulent times) It seems like there was more BBQing going on with these reunions and hardly a time went by that we did not come away with sauce stained uniforms. 
What I wouldn't give for one more Sunday in uniform at the Newnan Water Works Park! SHUT YO MOUTH!


I do not remember exactly when this occurred or where my Mother was at the time. That is not really critical to the story. I do think I was about 15 years old, so probably around 1962.
Aunt Ima, my Mother's oldest sister was having "nerve" problems. For whatever reason, my Uncle Lee had taken his own life some time before and naturally that had a profound effect on Aunt Ima. Her doctor had determined that she needed 'shock therapy' to help her. Now for those of you who are clueless about this archaic form of treatment, it is somewhere between a defibrillator and the electric chair, being closer to the latter. It was serious business to be sent to those treatments. If your nerves were not on edge before, being told you were going to be semi-electrocuted would put you over the edge.
Well there was no way that Aunt Ima was in any mental shape to make the trip, which was either to Augusta or Milledgeville to have those treatments, so my Mother was tapped to accompany her oldest sister on the trip. As Aunt Ima lived in Centralhatchee, they were to catch the Trailways bus at Mr. Hyatt's country store.
Now as I have said, Aunt Ima was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. She could not sit still, nor could see stop talking. This is the part of the story that Mother retold that made us all laugh when she returned from that long trying trip.
Aunt Ima was fidgeting around and Mr. Hyatt was was calmly doing his business, doing his best to ignore her constant chatter. Finally she stepped up to him and in rapid fire order asked, "What time does the bus get here? How much are those bananas? How deep is that lake out there?"
Without breaking a stride of his dusting, he looked at my aunt and said, "10:15am. 3for a dime, and up to your ass!", and then turned back to work.
Mother said Aunt Ima did not speak again until the boarded the bus!


As a child, we would go often to my Grandmother(Maw) Norwood's house in rural Heard County. Paw Norwood had a huge old barn that he did not use anymore. There were huge, I mean HUGE red wasp nests in the very top of the ceiling of that old barn. Of course, the first thing grownups would say the first step we took towards the barn is, "Stay away from that barn and don't mess with those wasps, they will sting you." Yeah, yeah, how is a tiny, dumb bee gonna sting us? We have sling shots made out of a real rubber inner tube and we were all crack shots to boot. No one bothered to tell those hundreds of mean wasps just how fearless we were. And no one told us those wasps could trace the path of that rock shot from dozens of yards away. Add all this together and somebody was going to get stung, and that somebody was me. It felt like I had been shot in the neck with a BB gun. As soon as my senses came back to me and the pain became almost unbearable, I started running to the house. To be precise, I ran to the shade tree in the front yard where all the women were gathered in a circle of chairs, talking as women do. They were also dipping snuff as was the custom back then. As soon as I reached Maw Norwood's side she turned and asked where I had been stung, already knowing what I had gotten into by the speed I ran and the volume of my anguish. No sooner than I pointed to the spot, she spat snuff with deadly accuracy on the exact spot. Then I was immediately grabbed and spat upon by others in the circle, each in turn hitting the site of the bee sting. Within minutes the pain was gone and my once white T-shirt was forever brown stained. Since I only owned 2 or 3 more T-shirts at one time, the next time I wore that shirt, someone would see the stain and remark, "Got stung by a bee, huh?"
Snuff spit is a good pain reliever for a bee sting, but man is it nasty?!?

Sunday, May 11, 2014



Daddy bought his David Bradley Walk Behind Garden Tractor the Spring of 1947, before I was born the following December. 66 years later, me and the tractor are still running.
Time passed, Daddy became infected with the asbestos of the cotton mill, was 'retired' for all his loyal work, opened a successful service station/tire store, and continued to provide for his family as best he could. He never really has the physical ability to work that tractor after his illness, nor did he have the time. That did not stop him from lamenting about having a garden every spring and reliving stories of the bounties of gardens past.
I guess I must have been 18 or 19 that Spring when she approached me and said that together we were going to put in a garden for Daddy. O.K., with me, for I knew Mother had not planned this out thoroughly and we should be in for some fun.
She did not tell Daddy what was afoot, as she wanted it to be a surprise. We went to the house we lived in on Power Plant Road(I always thought a lot of planning went into the naming of that thoroughfare), and Mother asked me to get the tractor ready. I had it fired up and running in 5 minutes. That was a wonderfully dependable machine. I took it down to the familiar garden spot and awaited further orders, where upon Mother ordered me to 'break up' as section of the garden.
I told her this tractor would not do that, we would need Mr. Caldwell, next door to come with his big tractor to do that, then we could use our little tractor.
That did not sit well at all with Mrs. Willie Mozelle Cook! She had planned for us to get his done by early afternoon and did not want to hear of any delays. She said if I wouldn't do it, she would do it herself! I maneuvered the David Bradley in to a straight line down the garden space and stepped back, there was no telling my Mother NO!
For those of you that have never experienced the power of this little tractor, you just had to be there to see this circus. This machine does not have different speeds, it just has a handle to flip forward to engage the motor and transmission. You had better be ready to work, as this tractor can pull a car down the road(but it can not break up hard ground).
I kept telling her that tractor would not break hard ground, then she said those magical words, "Shut up, I know what I am doing!"
"OK, sister have at it." As soon as I uttered those words, my Mother's farming adventure began. That tractor went from a happy little 'putt-putt-putt' idle into a mean sounding 'chug-chug-chug'. Let me tell you, when those tines are not digging into the dirt and are skipping along the top of hard ground, that tractor has got some speed.
There it went, full speed down the path, bumping and jumping on ever lump and clod, my Mother hanging on for dear life, her 125 lbs. looking like laundry flapping and drying in a Summer's breeze. "WHOA! WHOA! DANG IT! WHOA!", was coming from her at the top of her lungs! Well, me being me, all I could do was cup both hands to my mouth for extra volume and yell, "LOUDER, MA, I DON'T THINK IT CAN HEAR YOU!"
Thankfully at the end of the row, the tractor ran into a fence post and gave Mother the chance to kill the engine, by that I mean turn off the ignition, as she would have literally killed that tractor if she could have. When I saw that she was safe, I could hold it no longer, I started laughing that turning to crying. I was laying over a large tree stump, I had lost use of my legs I was so weak. I then felt what seemed like little bee stings on my legs. I looked around and Mother had broken a branch from an apple tree and was whipping my legs for laughing at her. The more she whipped the harder I laughed. "Stop laughing!", she ordered. "Stop whipping!", I said through tears of uncontrollable mirth. She stopped, looked at me, looked at the tractor, then she started laughing too. I stood up and gave her a big hug and a kiss on the top of her head. "You almost had it for a second!" She took her tiny fist and punched me on the shoulder.
After we regained our composure, I ran next door and happened to catch Mr. Caldwell at home, told him what we were doing for Daddy's surprise, and being the wonderful man that he was, came straight over and plowed up the garden and had it ready for us in almost no time.
I think of my Mother and this adventure every time the subject of gardening comes up.

I miss my Mother, my Daddy, and that deaf old tractor.