Friday, April 18, 2014

P is PIcking Cotton

Here's  a story my dad clearly remembers about getting a raw deal as a child laborer.  This took place in about 1944.

Who gave you your first job?   What kind of job was it?   How much money did you make?

A neighboring farmer in Arkansas gave me my first job--picking cotton.   The going rate was 1.5 cents per pound.   Mom sewed a bag into which I would put the cotton.  She made if from feed sacks.   My friend's mom did the same for him.  We were the only hired hands.

The farmer showed us how to pick the cotton, whereupon we each took a row.   We chatted about how much cotton must now be in the bag and fantasized it was a great many pounds.    At length we asked the farmer to weigh our cotton and empty the bags.    Each of us had picked only 4 pounds. Since it was time for lunch we asked to be paid before breaking;  the farmer gladly gave each of us 6 cents.  We chose to not go back after lunch.   I think the farmer was not surprised. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for One and Only

On Page 96 of Daddy's legacy book is this Q & A:

When did you know that Mama was the "one and only" for you?  How did you know?

I knew that she was my "one and only" almost from the first date. I say almost because  (1) I wanted to be absolutely sure, so needed a little time, and (2) I had had my heart broken before and needed to find her love for me as strong as my love for her.

She seemed to have no doubt about me and I had no doubt about her: our love matured very quickly.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Norman but not Normal

Before I jump into today's topic for the A to Z, I have to talk about the weather because it's just not normal.  I've been feeling under the weather, and that's not normal, either--BUT,  this little tidbit HAS to be mentioned:

 it snowed here last night.

Snow--you know, that white powdery stuff that's supposed to come down during Christmas break, not Spring Break??!! This is just NOT NORMAL !

But fell it did here in the mid-Atlantic state of Maryland, where mid-April weather is typically gloriously sunny, tulips have bloomed, and there just might be the aroma of steak coming from a neighboring grill.  In fact, the day before yesterday was just such a day--in the upper 70's--sans tulips.  I'm only half joking when I say our town's 4th of July parade might get cancelled due to snow.

Allrighty, enough of that. I interrupted our regularly scheduled program, aka the

A to Z Challenge.


My theme is Daddy's words, and I'm sharing pages from A Father's Legacy, which is a journal he wrote for me at my request, in which he answers writing prompts on each page.

On several pages, he writes of his older brother Norman, and with adoration that teeters on hero worship. Truly I don't think I've ever heard my dad utter a negative word about Uncle Norman. He's always used words like smart and strong and brave and talented and good-looking and, well, you get the point. Norman was the firstborn. Daddy was third of five.

One time, Daddy recalls,  that while out skating one winter (on shoes, not skates because he was poor), he fell into a ditch.  The harder he tried to get out, the more impacted the walls of his ditch became. Norman and some other kids were skating and sledding.  It was Norman who came with a sled for him to grab hold and pull him out of his icy ditch.

But sometimes the desperation was not accidental in its cause.

Daddy, did you ever get into fights with other kids? Did you ever start a fight? Or stop one?

Yes, I seemed to get into fights quite naturally. I was smaller than most of my classmates (started school when I was five), so I was a natural target to be picked on.  And I fought back. I  don't recall starting any fights, but other kids would say I did. (They probably had poor eyesight!)  But yes, I would step in to stop a fight from time to time --and sometimes end up in the fight.

My brother Norman didn't have that problem.  He had a better size and demeanor.  He once complained that he was always having to rescue me.  I think he was right.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Majestic Music, the "Messiah" with Mother

calligraphic vintage red ...
Today I'll condense a page from Daddy's legacy journal. The question posed to him that I have chosen for the Letter M is...

What extracurricular activities did you enjoy most?

In addition to saying track and field, rollerskating with the youth group, and Youth for Christ rallies, Daddy said this:

My mother and I sang in the city (Hutchinson)'s Handel's Messiah chorus.  Rehearsals were held each sunday afternoon beginning in January and performed on Easter Sunday.