Growing up on Muddy Creek

| December 2001

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    Fresh horse apple

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Uncle Walter and the traveling salesman

Uncle Walter wasn't our real uncle, you know, but Mama always had taught us youngin's to never call big folks by their given names.

It was always 'Mister Griggs' or 'Aunt Alma' or 'Preacher Sivert,' and never, never would a progeny dare call his parents by their first names. My, my, oh my!

Well, anyway, when Uncle Water came to live on Muddy Creek, Dad had to teach him the rudiments of farm work. Uncle Walter could expound for hours on the errors in old Darwin's Theory of Evolution, and discuss with old Heddy Jennings the reasons the South had failed at the second battle of Bull Run, as well as give a pretty convincing argument on the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. But Dad had to show him how to harness Old Bell and grease a wagon wheel.

Perhaps Dad's greatest achievement, and the skill Walter - 'cuse me -Uncle Walter took the greatest pride in, was learning how to milk a cow. Dad was busy signing up members of the new Farm Bureau and often times got home late at night, but with Uncle Walter knowing how to milk, he could stay with prospects till they 'signed on.'

What I wanted to tell you about was the time Walter - there I go again Uncle Walter took care of a pesky magazine salesman who had targeted him as a prime prospect for the latest 'combination subscription and life insurance offer,' and who wouldn't take no for an answer.

It was just past corn-shucking time, and with the cribs abustin' and the horses getting restless from inactivity, Dad had put Uncle Walter to hauling manure and cleaning out the horse stalls.