The Dumbest Thing I Ever Did – submitted by Jack Strong
Editor’s Note: This is a tall tale that my Uncle Jack shared recently at his 81st birthday party, ostensibly in the form of a family confession; however, his sly grin betrayed a clear lack of any genuine contrition. ;).
In 1945, his big brother, my dad, was involved in WWII. Jack, however, was still a restless 15 year old boy back home who managed to get into some fairly harmless mischief, as country boys that age are prone to do.
After these childhood shenanigans, Uncle Jack went on to serve as a distinguished state senator, and he was also quite successful in his law practice and many business ventures.
Probably the dumbest thing that we ever did had to do with watermelons. We liked watermelons, as most boys did, but we didn’t like hot watermelons – we liked cold watermelons.
There was a particular farmer who lived about three miles out of Carthage, Texas. He was just next to the road there, and had what we believed to be the best watermelon patch in all of Panola County. We found a place in the fence that was easy to get across, and we would just go get two watermelons. We got two, not because we would eat them both, but because the man at the ice house had a deal that if we would bring him two hot ones he’d give us one cold one.
One night we went out there, and we had a flashlight so we could try to locate the two best watermelons. We were very careful – seriously – to not damage any of the vines or any of his crop. We might have been thieves, but we were considerate thieves.
One watermelon in this patch has been poisoned!
Southern Fried Chicken
I never told Bayno when Mama was going to make fried chicken. If I didn’t say anything, then all the cracklings in the pan would be mine. When the chicken was brown and crisp, I would take the spatula and press it against the bottom of the skillet and scrape the cracklings out of the grease, and when they were cool enough, I’d pour them into my mouth.
That summer was different from other summers even though the garden was the same. All its blooming and growing meant a good harvest along with back breaking work. Sometimes I’d stand in the middle of a row with both hands pressed into my back, my hands making a V and I would bend backwards and listen to all the bones popping and feel the muscles stretch so much they hurt. But with the sun beating down, I’d set my jaw and finish the row no matter if I was weeding, hoeing, or picking.
This post was submitted by Julie Eger.
RC: Lee and Elaine, what are some of the earliest memories you have of wanting to play music as kids?
LR (Lee Roy): For me, I was probably about five.
I remember my grandmother playing fiddle, and my grandfather doing the old time Acadian dances. Uncles and aunts would all play guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and sing.
I remember going to church, then going over to my grandmother’s for dinner afterward. It was a “gimme.” As sure as there was going to be food on the table there was going to be music that afternoon. I couldn’t wait to get there to hear them start playin’ the fiddle and start singin’.
This post was submitted by Lee and Elaine Roy.