Dad and I talked with one another on the phone today. His weak voice was filled with love and affection. We talked of work on the farm. Picking cotton, cutting tobacco and “cooking it” in the barns. He worked hard my Dad. Plowing behind mules that when they did their business you just paused and then kept going and plowed it right in the field. “It was good for the field.”
You moved the cows from pasture to pasture. You planted something different to let the ground rest or put what you took from the ground back into the soil. My Dad knew the land. He knew the place he lived in. He knew the mules and cows. Why, he even called some of those animals that died long ago by name.
My uncles and he would draw water from the well for the family and the livestock. “That well never run dry, fella, even when we’d had no rain for a long time. And the water it was always clear and cold.”
It crosses my mind often that my Dad and his family knew the place they lived in well. Oh, I haven’t told you about the neighbors that “hoped” one another. “Son, we would have a party and there would be food, games, wrestling and dancing while we worked pulling peanuts on the vine, till it was all done. We knew one another and loved each other.” My Dad knew his neighbors.
“We didn’t have church every week. The preacher would come to preach once a month. He had rounds. (other churches to preach at) Once a neighbor convinced Mama (my grandmother) to come visit their church. When we walked in they stuck a big ole snake in her face and said if you don’t hold this snake, you’re going to hell. Mama told ’em, ‘if you don’t get that snake out of my face, I’m gonna beat the hell out of you.”
His voice got weak and teary and he was tired. He told me again, he loved me and was praying for me. I can’t hardly wait to talk with him tomorrow.