Thursday, March 6, 2014

Making Boards

Wherein Grandpa assumes the role of storyteller.  The Old Uncle is less than thrilled.

Grandpa and Red pulled up in Red's red International as I was toting the last two pails of milk from the barn to the separator in the cellar.  Aunt Grace was turning out the last of the previous load as I poured the next bucket in.

Uncle Jep had let the cows out the stanchions and opened the gate to the east pasture.  He and I strolled over to the saw where Grandpa was checking the belts and levers.  "'Bout time you got around.  Been sleepin' in?"

I glanced to the east and saw that the sun was an exact semi-circle on the edge of the earth, knew it was just a smidge before five-thirty.  How many cows you milked this morning?" I asked.

"You may never live long enough to milk as many cows as I have.  You are a bit impertinent, talking to your grandfather like that.  I done been over to Red's this morning, and we already reconnected his windmill shaft where the bolt broke last night.  Enough sass.  Let's get to work."

I won't bore you with the details.  Grandpa is a cracker-jack sawyer.  We all buck the logs onto the carriage, Grandpa and Uncle turn and set them, then Grandpa grabs his levers and BUZZ-ZZZ.  Red and I carry off and stack the boards.

Eleven o'clock Aunt Grace bustles down to the sawmill.  "All y'all on up to the kitchen, now.  Vittles on the table."  I hit the kill switch on the engine, and we all trudged up to the house  where we washed up at the tub by the back door.  The five of us settled in at the table and relished Aunt Grace's scrumptious meatloaf with mashed taters and gravy, green beans she had picked from the garden just yesterday.  Pie, of course.  Cherry this time.

"Did I ever tell you about the time Mary's mother, Margaret came out here and stayed and stayed?" Grandpa asked as we scooted back to relax a few minutes before we went back to work.

"You mean the time you messed with her shoes, 'n then she went home on account a Marvin broke his foot?"  Uncle Jep, of course.  "Man, that woman is a stayer, fer sure.  I recollect. . ."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Jeptha Miller.  You jump in and steal someone else's story.  And no, I'ma not talkin' about shoes.  Mary says to me one evening, "Mama and I are going into Lamar tomorrow.  I reckon that Double A truck will haul the three of us."

So I says, says I, "Then you and your mama are expecting me to drive you into town."

"Yes, " and she blew out the lamp.  Well, I lyin' there thinkin' all the things I had planned for tomorrow gonna have to move to another day, 'cause there is no arguin' with those two when they have made up their minds.

Bright clear morning, not going to be too hot, probably won't get much over ninety.  We drove on over to Lamar, and I am going right down Main Street.  When we get to Olive, Mary says, "You just pull over here and let us out.  Pick us up right here in two hours.  That's not two hours and ten minutes.  Hear?  And go on and do what old men do while hanging around town.  And don't go over to the pool hall, either."

"Well, she knew full well I'd go over to the pool hall.  Now I hadn't shot any pool in a coon's age, but I hadn't lost the touch, either."

Uncle Jep's mill been plugged long as he can stand, so he pipes up and says, "Didja whup up on ol' Harley Dice?  Man, he needin' his ears pinned back."

"Matter of fact," says Grandpa, "I did give him a couple games of eight ball.  Cleaned his clock, too."

"Take any of his money?" asked Red.

"Six, eight dollars," replied Grandpa.  "It was just for fun, doncha know.  Well, I am back at Main and Olive right on the dot.  Those two ladies just rounding the corner from the Mercantile.

They get in the truck and Mary says, "Just drive on around back to the loading dock at the Mercantile."

"There's words to strike fear into a man's heart, believe me.  And oh, my, in this case it were justified fear.  But story time is over for now.  We gotta get back on the saw.  Still have logs begging to be sliced."

© 2014 David W. Lacy


Sharkbytes said...

You are a tormentor! But even I am not tired enough of winter to feel fondly about days at 90.

Vee said...

The account of Mary's mother "staying and staying" reminded me of something an uncle of mine used to say whenever someone went to visit him. As I recall it went something like, "We're really glad you dropped by. You know, I always say, "Bless those comers and goers, but damn those comers and stayers.' " Needless to say, visits to his place were brief.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, anticipation! 90s. Right now, seems like a good idea.

Vee, brief visits, but interesting, I daresay.

Shelly said...

What a treat to open up this blog and read these great stories. I really think an anthology of these would find a wide audience-

vanilla said...

Shelly, thank you. The stories seem to take root in my head, and occasionally one of them "grows up."