Food was passed right to left and left to right amid polite requests of "potatoes please," "pass the peas," and "may I have the gravy." If the adults were deep in conversation they merely accepted the dish coming at them with a nudge on their sleeve and then passed it to the person on the other side until it reached its destination. Several of my uncles were passionately bent on many subjects and with the dinner wine following the cocktails were generally deeply into their subjects by suppertime. Given the nudge they would accept the proffered dish, not break stride in their dissertations on whatever topic and attempt to pass it to the next person.
Don McKee hoped to be an engineer in the Army when he gave up his college deferment in 1943 so he could be drafted. But the Army had other ideas. He would be a medic.
“When I heard that, I was crestfallen.” But his training would change his mind. He warmed to the idea of being a medic. He would soon treat many wounded and dead, accumulating an experience of war he still recalls vividly, unflinchingly, 60 years later. He is frank and direct, even chatty, sometimes digressing, his voice often surging to stay ahead of the memories that seem to descend on him from all sides.
Slowly a giggle rose up in the boy, giving way to outright gut bursting laughter. The two turkeys were still there, flapping their wings, screeching and flapping about wildly. The ricocheting slug had struck the branch on which they had been resting and the old hard hickory had split. In the instant the branch was burst open, the resting birds feet had fallen into the gap. Then the limb had snapped back together, trapping the now obviously distraught gobblers.
A "good woman" in the old days was easy to recognize. She never ate a bite until all her children had their fill and she insisted that she preferred a chicken thigh to a breast so her husband or little one's could have the white meat. She could make a biscuit that would melt in your mouth and would cook for thirty people at a moment's notice. She knew how to can beans, make jelly and pickles and her pies were talked about for miles.
A "good woman" had homemade clothes and if a child woke up sick in the night, she never complained about sitting up with them and praying for the "good Lord above to have mercy on their innocent soul."
My maternal grandfather, Ruben Champion Morrow, could "pick the taters off the vine" when he held a banjo across his knee and moved his fingers effortlessly across the five metal strings. As far as I know, he never had any real lessons, but he sure could play a rowdy rendition of "Boilin' Cabbage Down" on his shiny, wooden instrument . . .
My first slingshot was made from a forked limb, hickory I believe, and used strips of rubber from an automobile tire inner tube for the power source. (About 18 inch's long, and one half inch wide) One end of the rubber strip was placed over one of the two wood forks, and while holding in place with one hand, use the other hand to wrap a strong cord type string around that fork, tie the string into a knot, then do the same with the other fork.
I used a canvas tennis shoe tongue to hold the rocks or pebbles in place as I pulled back on the two long strips of rubber to launch the ammunition. I cut a hole into each side of the canvas, placed the other end of each rubber strip through each hole, then used cord once again to tie the ends of the rubber together with the cord, then do the same with the other side of the shoe tongue.
Growing up as the youngest of four, life on the railroad was an endless adventure for Marjorie. Most mornings, the family was up and working by sunrise. Unser was already guiding the train to its next destination and Marie and the children were doing their part to help get breakfast ready for the other passengers and workers on the train.
As a child, I loved watching my parents play hand after hand of Rook with my Aunt Bessie and Uncle Millard. The famous deck of cards was always brought out after everyone had their fill of fried chicken and pecan pie on those twice a month Saturday night gatherings.