Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Wanted To Live Amongst My People

  That is the answer that people get when asked why a college graduate wanted to go home and live on a farm.

  I met some of my people today. They came and fixed my perpetually stopped up kitchen sink, replaced a water hogging, leaky, cracked, stained toilet and put a new metal roof on my tool shed and didn't charge me enough.

  I made out a check payable to the local building supply company where my Grandpa had bought nails from the current owners Grandpa and left the amount blank so they could fill it in later after all of the necessary items needed to complete the job were purchased.

  On breaks we talked about the price of horses, the fatness of commercially grown chickens and the wholesomeness of fresh cows' milk and the delight of homemade buttermilk and when it was paired with onion and cornbread was once called "supper".

  Honest, hardworking, good tempered. You know, the kind of folks that made this country great.

  I think about what my farrier once said after his mule-wrestling to get "Happy Jack Frost" to stand still while he had his hooves trimmed:  "One lady I shoe for asked me if I thought it would be alright if  her 18 year old son could cut the trees in her backyard down with a chainsaw." I told her, "that depends." He then told me a story about how when he was 14 years old and went to work with his Dad and Uncles and they put him out on an old road bed with a chainsaw, bottle of mixing oil and a baloney sandwich and told him to clear it by dark and they'd be back to pick him up later that evening.

  My people have character or are characters. Not just a homogenized blend like "that skim milk you get from the grocery store these days" "tastes like water".

 At least that's what my people say.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dear Folks, It's A Hell Of A Life, May 15, 1958, 38th Parallel South Korea, Love, Robert

 Dear Folks                15 May 58
 Well this letter is overdue, but
I can't help it. We are going to
be busy the rest of this month. We
are pulling guard almost every night
and at different compounds. It's
really bad to, especially when
the breaks are far and few between.
I am so sleepy now I can
hardly see the paper. 5 hours
average sleep a night just ain't
to much.
  I see that B'ham is
first place in baseball, but I
could care less about that. I tell
you one thing my little radio
sure does help on those 2 long
hours of guard. I am still using
the original battery. They have one
G.I. Station over here and at night
time from 12:00 to 6:00 in the morning
they play only music, and it sure
does get lonesome out there by yourself
with only your thoughts. Well guys
have started to leave Korea to
go home and it's going to continue
all summer. The thing which hurts
is that we haven't had a replacement
since 1957 around November. In 6 more
days I will have spent exactly 1 full
long year in Korea and its been a
rough year. Sleeping on a mountain
snow all over the ground. Zero
weather out in the open its
been a hell of a life.
  Give Earl my congratulations if
you ever see him again 3 down
1 to go Ha! Is Billy racing
his car now or what. By the way
what ever happen to Sullivan, is
he married. There must be
somebody I can go out with and drink
beer with. It's May now, but
it's still in the low 40's. Give
me the Sunny South. (Captain Patton speaking I do not know
whats wrong but I have been getting
the paper on Monday instead of Sat.
Well there is no excuse. If you have
to get up at 4 o'clock Sunday morning
and read the paper it should be finished
by 5 o'clock and mailed by 6 o'clock no excuse.)
That is the way it is in the Army and
the way it has been with me for 17
months. Re-up, never a hatchie G.I.
                                           Love Robert

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Maitland Newsome, Home Economics Teacher

  Maitland Wadsworth Newsome went peacefully into The Arms of her Maker December 30, 2011 at the age of 92.  The daughter of a prominent family in our community went off to college at the University of Montevallo and returned home to raise a family, make a garden and teach Home Economics, when most of the areas's families lived on dirt floors.

  Mrs. Newsome taught the daughters of the pioneers and their mothers were just as eager to learn. My Granny did not know to rise dishes, my mother taught her. It was something she learned in Home Ec. class.

All the girls looked up to Mrs. Newsome. "Do it right the first time and you won't have to do it again" was a favorite motto.

  She represented all we aspired to be- ladies. Kind and gentle and patient, she had her standards and stuck to them. She taught us all of the skills necessary to keep a home, as well as the fiber arts.

  I often think about how she brought an entire generation, plus one, out of the dirt and into the twentieth  century. What a privilege it has been to have been one of her students. She taught my Mother when part of the class period involved the lighting of a wood burning cook stove and she taught me in a brand new, state of the art Home Economics building that she had had a hand in designing.

  It was in this building we stitched our very first aprons. Rest in Peace Mrs. Newsome, I still am wearing mine.