L To R, Josh Perkins, Elmer Willis, Solomon Doyle, Mae Ashworth Willis, Nora Ashworth Griffin, Shelby Ashworth

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thursday's On Bearhead

During the Spring, Summer and Fall, just like clock work. We followed a certain routine every Thursday on Bearhead. These events took place not only at our house, but also my Grand Mother and G Grand Mothers house.
This was wash day. By the time I had came along, people were almost completely done with washing with a rub board. There were still a few who found it a hard thing to give up. If you have ever had the pleasure of washing a load of cloths by hand on a rub board, you would not have a hard time giving it up. But a few folks did.
Between our three households, each family had chipped in and had bought a new ringer type washing machine. All agreed to have it put at Maws house. Then every Thursday, we all would meet up there and wash and do other chores.
With a ringer type machine, for those of you who never had the pleasure of using one. It worked this way. The cloths were washed much the same way they are today. In a tub with and agitator. The machine would dump the water. But there was no such thing as the machine rinsing the cloths of spinning them. Once the water was drained out you took the cloths and they were place into a No. 3 wash tube that was filled with fresh water. You would have two of these tubs with fresh water. You used your hands to swish the cloths around in the fresh water. They were then taken and ran through a ringer. This was two tightly compressed rollers. This would squeezed the water and soap out of the cloths. Once the piece of clothing was ran through the ringer, it was placed into the second No 3 tub with water. You repeated this process until you had removed all the soap you possibly could by doing this. The cloths were then hung on a cloths line in the sun to dry. If you had no cloths line, you used the next best thing, a barbed wired fence or Hurricane Fence {Yard Fence}, tree limbs or spread out on the well. If it was winter time, you strung them up in the house or on the back of chairs. Some even ran a small cloths line across the front room. Then a good fire was built in the fire place and was dried this way.
Another one of our chores was to sun the beds and pillows. The ,mattress back the was very thin and I'll never forget blue and white colored and stripped. We could roll these mattress up. We then packed them outside and was placed in the open where the sun would hit them for most of the day. They to were placed most anywhere, across the butane tank, the yard fence, the well, just anywhere or place that could support the weight. At the end of the day, we would pack every bit of this back in the house. I can tell you this. There is no drug on this earth that can make you sleep and rest as well as what that smell of those mattress, pillows and fresh washed sheets dried in the sun could do. You slept like a new born baby. This is one of the very few things I miss about those days.
In the house, ever section and inch of the floors were swept and scrubbed until it was spic and spanned.Even the furniture would be sunned as they called it. If it wasn't to heavy or large to get outside. The house was given a total make over every Thursday like this. There were no if ands or buts about it. This was done.
Many chores had to be done most ever day like this. One thing my cousin and I had to do most all summer was splitting oak fire wood. again, we not only did this for our houses, but also Maws house. During my fathers days off, during these months, weather permitting, we spent the days off gathering fire wood. So we had wood to split most all summer. Along with piling and storing the fat lightered pine and pine knots. That to was used in starting the fires in our fireplaces. Back then, every home you came across in the Bearhead community had a pine knot pile and an oak fire wood pile right next to the house.
Grass had to be cut, leaves had to be raked. Then if the cows had bedded down for the night in front of the house, the very first thing you did when starting the day, was to go out and remove the cow pies from the front of the drive where you parked the cars and trucks. A very nice smelling way to start the day, right before you ate breakfast. I am sure this was for years the very reason most folks didn't care about eating breakfast. HHa
At the end of the day, you were give out. all you wanted was to clean up, eat and go to bed. You had no desire to sit up all night on the computer, playing video games or watching T.V. Wait a minute, reality just showed up. There were no such things as that then. The most advanced things we had was a T.V. that got 4 channels, 7, 6, 10 & 12. and a radio and no such thing as FM. The only music, Country and Preaching and Gospel on Sundays. Every once in a great while, with the wind blowing just right, you were able to hear some very foreign music in a very foreign language to us. It was called Cajun or just plain Coonass music.
The end of the day also brought a very sweet ending for us kids most of the them. We were treated to ice cold watermelons or cantaloupes. If the season for them were over it was even better. Home Made Ice Cream. Made from home grown ingredients. The best and purist in the world. You;ll have to get to Heaven to experience anything better than those three treats.
When most folks hear of things such as these. The very first thing they will say is "Those were the good old days'. They are wrong. I heard Paul Harvey talking about that saying one day on the radio. He put it this way and very well at that. He said Folks I lived back then and did all these things, they were not the good old days, He stated "THOSE WERE THE HARD OLD DAYS". He was beyond a doubt, correct and truthful in that statement.

A Whipping I Didn't Deserve

I had forgotten about this accident I had as a child, until a few weeks back. My wife and I were at my Grand Mother Estelle's house, and my Uncle Knot, a very close family friend, Willie and my grandmother was swapping old stories and things that had happen to us through the years. The subject of whippings came up and I stated that I had received many in my childhood and deserved everyone of them. That is when Uncle Knot said you are wrong, there is one I know you never deserved. Once he recalled the event, I had to agree with him. This is the event that happen.
When my G Grand Father died, he owned,I believe a 1956 Chevy pick up. My father was given the truck. The truck was still in great shape and my father and mother used it to go every where. My father was offshore working, on this particular morning my mother loaded me and my three sisters into the truck and headed over to Maws for coffee. I must have been about five at the time.
There was one defect with the truck, and that was the passenger door had a very bad habit of coming open with out notice. The very first thing we were told when we got in the truck to leave, was not to lean on that passenger door.
We made the one mile trip to Maws alright, it was on the way back home that things didn't go to well. To get home you had to make a left handed turn on to our road which was off of the North Bearhead Road. As usual I was riding shotgun, sitting next to the passenger door, NEXT TO IT, NOT LEANING ON IT" when my mother made the left turn. All of a sudden that door came open right in the middle of the turn and away I went. And away I did go, right into the gravel, head first, into the ditch, butt first, all this happening during about four head over heels rolls and landed across the ditch in some weeds on my back. The next thing I knew, I felt as if I had been body slammed by the "Junk Yard Dog" Couldn't hear anything, saw nothing but stars, had a mouth full of rock and dirt. Which I must say, to this day I have never developed a taste for. The first thing I realized was my mother was screaming bloody murder hollering OH My Lord He's Dead. I didn't realize at that moment,that in the end I would wish I had been killed or seriously injured.
She ran and picked me up and put me in the truck and took off like the much spoken of "Bat out of Hell", for my Grand mothers house to see if I could be revived. At this point, I gotten my senses back and was only concerned about one thing, and that was breathing. That little tumble I had taken, knocked the breath out of me. That happen a lot to use kids back then.
Between the end of the road and my Grandmothers house I had regained my breath and was crying my butt off. My mother scooped me up out of the truck and went running into my Grand Mothers house. Thinking maybe that I was killed. My mother and Grand Mother Estelle looked me over and there wasn't anything seriously wrong, other than some scrapes, cuts,bruises and a mouth full of tasteless dirt.
I had stopped crying by that time. Once my mother seen I wasn't hurt to bad, she was relived, then in a split sec. she jerked me up and tore my ass up and good. Ha While whipping my butt , she was scolding me at the same time for leaning on that door. I tried to tell her I wasn't leaning on that door, but she wouldn't hear any of that.
Now that was a whipping I did not deserve.!! I recently brought this story up to her and we still disagree about the leaning and not leaning part. Still I know very well I wasn't leaning on that door!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Our very best and sincere wishes for a safe and blessed Thanksgiving to all of our family, cousins and friends. May God bless each and everyone of you and your families. Most of us take it for granted, {Our family and friends} every day with out realizing it or being thankful for it. I am the biggest violator of this unfortunate habit. We want everyone of you to know we love and cherish each and everyone of you, every minute of every day. For with out you we have nothing, not even a life.
With All Our Love, Terry & Erlene Jackson

Raleigh, Gladys & Granny Bet Perkins {House Moving}

Can you imagine that when you decide to move to a new home place, that you would have to be moving the entire house. With a moving crew of just a man and two women with a horse drawn wagon for transportation. Then accomplishing this feat in just a day or a day and a half?
This was accomplished not once, but several times by Gladys, Raleigh and Granny Bet Perkins. Gladys was married to Raleigh Perkins and Granny Bet lived with them for some time. Gladys mother was Mandy "Aunt Tent" Perkins. How she got that nickname, no one in the family seems to know, forever being lost to time. These three were known for one amazing feat.
The way a lot of folks lived back then was this way. This method of moving and living were one wished to was called {Squatting}. In other words they just put up a house on any piece of land they desired. When they tired of that place, they would find a new spot dismantle the house load it in the wagon and move on to the next new home sight.
What these three were so good at was moving. I do not mean just there belongings. I mean the house and everything in it. This is hard to believe, but they could dismantle the house, load it in a wagon and move it and put it back together in about a day. In those days my Grand Mother told me that almost ever home back then would have cracks an inch wide in the floors and the walls. When it turned cold, they would stuff any type of paper into the cracks to help keep the cold air out. News papers was also a very popular item they used for wall paper also in those days.
Why they built them with cracks that large, I don't know. Granny Estelle said that was just the way they did things. There are six people in my family still living that seen these three do this time and again. So I have no doubt, they accomplished this feat every time it was done.

Bearhead Goes To Nashville

Back in the fifties my G Grand Father Buster Ashworth bought himself a new car, a small sedan. It was his first new anything. For years family and friends would gather round a old radio to listen to the Grand Old Opry on Saturday nights. When they were able to purchased a radio, it wasn't with money. Paw Buster & Maw planted cotton on their small farm. They would raise cotton along with the vegetables they grew and needed to make ends met. My Grandmother said they raised about one bale of cotton per year. In an earlier story, I told of Maw taking the bale of cotton, in a wagon to De Ridder and trading it for a battery operated radio. Which they used to listen to the Grand Old Opry on Saturday nights.
They all decided that since they had a good way to go and had save their money for quite a while . It was time for them to go and see the Grand Old Opry live in Nashville. Now in those days, a Trip from Bearhead to Nashville was just a dream for many. I think seven or eight of them loaded up for the trip. The ones that I know made the trip was My Grand Mother Estelle, my father Bunk, my G Grand Mother and G Grandfather, my aunt and a couple of more. So you can imagine just how nice a trip that was with that many in a small sedan. Paw Buster was well known in the area, of not driving over 40 mph. Can you just imagine a trip that far, in a small car, at that time it was only 2 way roads most of the way there. Along with the fact they had no air conditioning at all in cars in those days. If I had to make such a trip under those circumstances, there would certainly been a killing or very serious injuries inflicted to someone along the way. They arrived in Nashville around noon the day of the show. The tickets were purchased for the show that night. Got a room and everyone freshened up and ate a snack.
What followed was show time and they enjoyed ever minute of it. They all agreed it sounded just like back at home listening to it on the radio. HHaaa
Here is the funny part. On the way back to the hotel room. Everyone got to talking about how large a town Nashville was. The biggest that most of them would ever visit in their lives. In their discussion about the size of the town of Nashville, everyone agreed that there just had to be someone who needed that room worse than they did. Being very thoughtful of others and their needs, everyone agreed not to even to return to the motel. They would leave the room vacant for anyone who may come along that would need it. They never stopped. They drove all the way back to Bearhead.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bloviating Gabe

Just like clock work, ole gabe had another go at me again. It seems that during his last bout with what ever sickness he had, he may have been deprived of oxygen for to long or he has just turned into a very bitter old man.
In addressing his latest bloviating tirade, once again I will use his own words and writings to prove him to be a liar once again.
He needs to learn one thing. It is a very simple fact. "WORDS MEANS THINGS". In one of my post I stated this "Gabe, tell Peggy hello and I am so sorry for missing her birthday Sept 17Th this yr. Just busy I guess." In his latest post he said that, by me saying this, that I had the Gaul to threaten him and his wife. gabe please point out in that statement just where the word "THREATEN" is located.HHHMMMM Just by doing some homework, I just happen to discover that information. As I have done countless time through out my life to people I have been introduced to and at the same time was told that, that day was their birthday, I have wished them a happy birthday. Just common courtesy. That's just the way I was raised.
On your next statement about the three cousins and all three wives benign name Peggy. That's true, But all three Peggy's don't have the same birthday. You then ask, what my point is, I believe you used the term "Showing My Ass". No, my point is this, I was taught when doing investigations, do it well enough that when you are through, you know more about the one you are investigating, than they know about themselves. That is my point.
He goes on to say, "I was the type who would make fun of another persons medical condition" just by saying two words, "diabetic eyes". If that is so gabe, move over, you and I are in the same club then. Folks go back and read his own words about poking fun about another person medical condition. Not once, but many, many times. I guess that also makes you two faced and a hipocret.
The last thing I want to address is the statement ole gabe made about me and it is this, "Terry is a liar!" . He is talking about the following statement I made in an posting of mine. It is as follows, "I cut off no cousins. No matter how much I may disagree with and argue with any of them. People that know me, know one thing beyond a doubt about me when it comes to family and cousins It does not matter if you are my 1st cousin or my 2001 st cousin. You are my family no matter what and no matter how big our differences are. Period".
What he is referring to is that he and I are cousin. I assumes, by what I write about him and his posting and our disagreements, he feels I have cut him off as a cousin. No where have I ever said or referred to such a thing about that. Period.
Once again, he is proven wrong and most of it by his own words. After all that bloviating by him, it all boils down to one thing, Childish name calling, as it has always been through out all his writings. Just go read his blog. I encourage you to.
gabe you are so right, you can not chose your family. I agree totally. I will also state as you did in your closing paragraph about me , this is the last time I will waste my time on ole gabe. I have many other things to do which is of greater importance that I need to get on with. The very first one, which is "THROWING UP"

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Twins In Kinder, La.

AAAHHHH my very favorite two nuts to write about, "The Twins". They had a brother named Mack Clark. He was my Great Uncle.
One day there was a bunch of us bailing hay. Uncle Mack was one of the tractor drivers bailing the hay. We had gotten the trailer loaded and was headed to the barn with it, when he called me over and told me to stay with him. He felt I was doing way more of than my share of the work, he said stay here with me and lets those lazy ones go unload that hay and stack it in the barn. He began telling me stories about different things and different people. Most of the stories were funny as anything I had ever heard up to that point in my life and I still treasure them to this day.
He started telling me, one day he was sitting at home and the phone rang. He answered it and a man on the other end asked him if he was Mack Clark? He replied that he was. He asked the man what he needed? The man told him that he was the chief of Police In Kinder, Louisiana. He wanted to know if he had two brothers named Collis and Collin Clark? He replied that he did.
Uncle Mack said all of a sudden he heard a loud commotion in the back ground. It was The Twins, hollering at their Beagle hounds. They used these dogs to hunt rabbits and during rabbit season they took those dogs ever where with them. They gave the dogs funny names like "Whiskey", "Outlaw", "Cobalt", "Half Pint", they were hollering at the dogs saying, "Getem, sic him boy, Trail him boy".
The Chief told Uncle Mack that The Twins was parked off of the highway on a old woods road sleeping and someone had reported them. When the cops got there they seen that The Twins had had a few beers. They couldn't do anything about them drinking and driving, for they were off the road and on a woods road. Thank the Lord they were good about that. Once they had to much to drink, if they were not close to home, they would pull off into the woods and sleep it off. The officer told them they could not drive, but they would have to take them to the jail and call someone to come and get them. The Twins said that was fine with them. They then proceeded to get out and unload their dogs in order to take them with them. They were not about to go off and leave those dogs.
Well as you may have guessed, when Uncle Mack got there they had The twins in one jail cell and the dogs in another one.!!HA Uncle Mack said that was of the funniest sights he had ever seen.
What was so funny about this happening is this, when Uncle Mack was talking with the Chief on the phone he asked the Chief what it would cost to get them out of jail? The Chief replied, NOT A DAM THING, "JUST COME AND GET THEM AND THESE DAM DOGS"! They are driving me and everyone else here crazy with these dogs. Ha
I still grin from ear to ear when ever I think of that tale. Fits those two to a T as they say.

Grand Paw Josh Perkins

Josh was born Oct 6 th 1852, if I am correct. He was a son of Isaac and Francis "Fanny" Goins Perkins. He is my G Grand Mother {Maw} Father.
He was first married to a lady named Hannah Perkins. They lived around Fields, La. They had three sons and two daughters. By doing genealogy we have just recently found out that Hannah did not die. In, I think 1910, she was listed as living with one of their children around the Fields area.
He next married Elizabeth Minerva Perkins. Everyone knew her as "Granny Bet". I think they had 9 or 10 kids together, with Granny Bet having one daughter named Della before she married Josh.
Grand Paw Josh was a dark complected man with straight black hair. Very dark complected, and rather tall far a man in those days. As far as anyone knows the only work he ever did was working cattle drives. Two things everyone knew beyond a doubt about Josh, is that he loved to play domino's and he never went any where and I mean any where, with out his hat and his rifle. They say most folks called him an outlaw. The reason for that is this, back then, folks were so poor they almost never had any money, but Josh always had a little money on him. People claimed that only folks with money were outlaws. Money was so hard to come by, if you had any, you were automatically a outlaw. Being, outlaws were the only ones with money of any amount.
Granny Bet was a very fair complected woman. With blond hair and blue eyes. She did as every woman did in those days, she stayed home and raised the kids and run the house. An interesting note about their kids. One half of them took back after Josh, dark complected with coal black hair. The other half were light complected with fair hair and blue eyes. Josh and Elizabeth ancestors have been traced back to North and South Carolina and even into Tennessee. The same trait with Josh and Granny Bet's kids being half dark complected and half light complected, ran in a lot of the families of this area in those days.
Josh once lived on Bearhead in three different places we know of. He had a little shotgun house as they say. He live directly across from where his daughter Lonie {Maw} lived. Between her house and the Mayhaw Island as everyone knew back then and still today, that Mayhaw island is still there.
When he was on a cattle drive and the drive came close to home. They would stop at his house and bed down for the night. He would be riding at the head of the cattle drive. They say when they stopped and bedded down at his house on Bearhead, the end of the herd of cows stretched all the way to where the present day Old Fields store sits today. That had to be one massive herd of cows. Because the distance from Josh's house and the Fields story is a distance of about sixteen miles, as the crow flies, as the old saying was in those days.
There are countless stories that have been told about Josh. Which as most stories goes, they were more likely half truth and half fiction. The one thing everyone agreed on was this. He was a person you never wanted to cross. My Grand mother who was fifteen when he died, has told me many times he was a very good person. But at the same time, you never wanted to get on his bad side. Other of his Grand sons have told me of the stories that were told about the number of people he had gotten into fights with that he and others had killed. In a lot of these tells, a lot of these killings took place on these cattle drives he worked on. He had told one grand son who had asked him what they did with the bodies of the ones they killed, so no one could find it. He told him if the killing took place near a river, once the killing had happen. They would cut the man open in front from the top of the chest to his waist and fill the body with sand. Then the body would be thrown into the river. The body would then sink from the weight of the sand and the river did the rest by covering up the body with sand that was washed along in the flowing river water. He said that they had thrown a lot of the ones they killed into the Sabine River. This river is the border between Louisiana and Texas. It flowed right next to what was called Redbone country back then. This is the area where my ancestors has lived for some 200 years now.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Jobs For All Ages

This is a list of things we did to get spending money when I was a kid. Added in is also some of the work the men did back years ago before my time and during the time I was a kid.
Picking up coke bottles for the 3 cent deposit. This bought a many a piece of candy and gum for us kids.
My G Grandmother, {Maw} and I would walk the woods looking for and digging snakeroot during the summer. Snakeroot was just that, a root. Not a big root as one would imagine. It was more along the size of what they call angle hair. Very small and fine. It was a very pretty golden color and had a smell so sweet. It was the type of smell that even though it may be a time period of fifty years since one last smelt of it. The instance you smelled it again, you would know right off just what it was. Once we got home, we would wash it to clean it of the dirt that was still attached to it. The next step was to spread it out in the sun for it to dry. It was then packaged and shipped it to California. We were paid about 15 to 30 cents a pound for this. Sounded like easy money until you realized it took a pickup load, pressed tightly to make 5 lbs.!! The company we sent this to made some type of medicine from this root. The money earned from this was used mostly to buy school cloths and tennie shoes for your P.E. period.
My G Grandmother {Maw} and her sister Mandy {Aunt Tent} worked for people that had a large amount of land and it needed to be cleared of pineknots and brush. The would walk all day and pick up pineknots and cleared brush to clear the land for a dollar a day.
Her and my G Grandfather {Buster} had about ten or twelve acres of land. Maw would plant a very large garden. She used a plow and mule to do this. On a side note, I remember well seeing her plow her small garden with a mule and plow when I was just a kid. Her standing at just five foot and weighing about 100lbs, working that plow as good as any man ever could. She was about seventy yrs old at that time. The rest of the land planted, was in corn and Cotton. My Grandmother {Estelle} told me when she was a child. The cotton they planted every year amounted to one bale of cotton. My G Grandmother{Maw}, one year took that one bale of cotton to De Ridder, La. some twenty miles from Bearhead, in a wagon. Once there she trade the bale of cotton for a new battery operated radio, so they would not have to go to their nearest neighbors house to listen to the Grand Old Opera on Saturday nights.
When it came to cutting the grass or raking leaves and working all summer getting the winter fire wood. There was no such thing as being paid for that. That was just something that you did . Period. Charity work in other words.
One of my very first paying jobs I had was peeling fence post for my grandmother and grandfather. That paid 3 cents a post. I figured it out real fast I wasn't going to get wealthy doing that. The fence post was cut from pine trees. The were cut in eight foot lengths and was about three to five inches in diameter. The tool used to peel these post was called a pole peeler. The best way to describe it, is as being a hoe that had the metal part of the hoe being flat instead of the way a hoe is made. You used this to scrape the pine bark from the post. Sounds easy doesn't it ? Think again. The knots from where the limbs were would kill you. You could use all the gloves you wanted, you still kept blisters all the time while doing this.
One of the hottest jobs was hauling hay. But we were getting rich doing that, it payed a dime a bale. And that was split 4 ways, sometimes 5 ways. In later years when I was in my late teens I still did this in my off time to make extra money. At that time the pay had increased greatly. It then paid any where from twenty five cents to thirty cents a bale. Still split any where from three to five ways.
I have never really thought about this until my friend and cousin Lind Clark mention it to me. It is about the jobs that most of the Redbone men did back years ago. It seems no matter what job they did, it was usually the hottest, dirtiest, back breaking, work a person could do. Here are some of those jobs. Logging, as late as the 1930's they were still doing most of the logging with cross cut saws, mules and oxen to skid the logs out of the woods. Roughnecking on the oil rigs. This was in a time when they built there own derricks out of wood. Raising cattle and farming, shooting and hauling stumps, this involved using dynamite to blow the pine stumps out of the ground that was left after the logging process. These stumps were the only thing left behind. Pole or Piling peeling, same work as peeling fence post, but this consisted of full grown trees. Most of the trees were any where from fifty to ninety feet long and from eight inches to eighteen to twenty inches in diameter. Try doing that all day ever day. There was also roustabout work in the oilfield, on land and offshore.
I have did a few of these same jobs that they did, but with newer and more modern equipment than they had. I still can not imagine doing the same work they did, the way they did it . There is just no way.
They were a certain and very special breed of people that only comes along once in a great while. I know in my heart there will never be another generation compared to or equal to our ancestors.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Teachers At Singer High School

Let me start this story, by saying, That if we still had teachers like this today, being able to correct and discipline an unruly kid. We would not be having the problems with kids today, as we are having now. That is my firm belief.
I had Mrs Walker, "Not Ms", for first grade. I don't not recall much about her other than the "Hooping John Dillon " story and that she wore the brightest red lip stick they made back then.
In the second grade I had Mrs Eula Moses. She was a super nice person and a great teacher. I remember she was so tickled, when my youngest sister Patricia, passed from her second grade to the third grade. She sent a letter home to my mother saying how happy she was about that, because she said that we were the first full family she had taught.
Up until that point, for me, the only discipline we had, was either you were sat in a corner by yourself, or you kept your head down on the desk and wasn't allowed to take part in what the other kids were doing and having fun at. Well that was then end of that when you got to the third grade.
Next up was Mrs Dorothy Bolin, third grade. Good Teacher, Great Person. But she had a very bad habit of pulling ears, tapping you on the head rather firmly, slapping hands. I do hope she finally over came those bad habits.
Fourth Grade was headed by Mrs Lila Jones. She also was a very good teacher. Years and years later after I had moved from Singer to Dequincy. I had a job after school, weekend and holidays and during the summer at a flower shop in town. Mrs Jones came in one day and she recognized me right off. I waited on her and we talked some, mostly about how we were both doing and such. She bought some item, She paid with a twenty dollar bill and I gave her her change. She looked at it and said, well let me see if I taught you anything. The change was correct and she looked at me and said, well I did my job well. She then left and that was the last I ever seen her.
Lord help us all, Fifth grade and Mrs Bernice Stephens. Prepare for boot camp. Good teacher, but firm, very firm. She too, had a bad habit of pulling ears, putting a knuckle firmly into your skull, slapping hands. She also had a tactic, she was packing heat. She carried a 1x2 with a hand hold carved into it. She kept it concealed, it seems as though she could pull it out of thin air. This is also the first time we ever seen our teachers cry, when you learned at the end of the year that we all had passed onto the next grade."For those of you who are to young to remember this, Yes they did FAIL students back then. I never did figure out if they were crying because they were happy to see us move on, or just glad to be rid of us.
Sixth Grade, this was no boot camp people, it is an all out war. We had the "Four Star General", for a teacher. Mrs Mamie Cooley. She had pulled more time at Singer school than any other teacher. Battled scared, tough, rough, strict, firm. But at the same time a very loving person, gentle, soft, and loved by everyone who ever had the privilege of knowing her. Her tricks of the trade also included pulling ears, a knuckle firmly place in your skull, she also slapped hands, but she had a twist to that. She used a ruler. She to was packing heat, but she never concealed it. It was right there for everyone to see. I imagine she was playing mind games with everyone. It was like this , you wanted to do something wrong and you knew it was wrong, but she had that "Paddle", " "I hope, I do not get into trouble using that word today". Out for everyone to see and you knew that it was waiting for you. She also had one of the wickedest holds she could ever put on anyone. She would take her pointing finger and thumb and grab you right below your bottom lip and up under your chin. She could put that hold on you, and walked all the way to China, and you would follow her all the way. She also introduced you to a new form of discipline. If, and I say if, you survived all of the above and none of it made you changed your ways. The you became "Principal Bait". She would make you go and stand in the hall. You stood there until the bell Rang for the next class, or until the Principal came by. Then you had to explain to him what the problem was. Let me tell you from experience, You should always tell the truth. Because he would hear you out, then he would step into the class room with you and he would ask the teacher what happen. If her version didn't match yours, you then got two butt whippings. One for doing wrong and one for lying. Oh, I almost forgot about standing in the hall, when the bell would ring for the next class. You had to be at the next class, so you were allowed to go on to it. Thinking the rest of the day and night you had beat the game of standing in the hall, because the Principal never came by and seen you there. That was until the next day, when her class came around. You would walk in there and take your seat. She would then clear her throat and ask you firmly just where were you when the classed ended the day before? Yep,back into the hall you went again.
Seventh Grade and Mr Jimmy Archer and Miss Hazel Gray, were our first experience of having two teachers in one day. They were our first "Cool" teachers, as kids would say back then. They dealt with your mind, not your hand , skull, ears, or rear ends. The paddle was still there, being Principal bait, was still there and, a option, but very seldom used. I guess they figure that our previous teachers had educated us enough, that the thought of all the discipline they used on us was forever embedded in our brains. I guess you could say we knew of only two choices. Keep getting disciplined, or start learning and having fun at it, and for the first time, to start acting like young adults and growing into responsible adults.
Next up is Mrs Mary Frances Cooley. A very fair and honest teacher. Yet at the same time we, all thought she was just to demanding and hard on us. How wrong we were, when later on in life, I got to know her as a person and not as a teacher. She was a very sweet and loving person.
Mrs Anne Crain. I only had her for about five months. She taught home economics. The girls had here for half if the year and the boys the other half. She, as all the teachers at Singer was a very nice person. I really liked this class. This maybe where I got my urge to learn the basics of cooking. I still love to cook to this day.
Mrs Bernice Heath, was my typing teacher. One thing she taught me and many other I am sure of. Came back to my like riding a bicycle. That is, no matter how much times passes, you will never forget how to type your name with your eyes closed.Some thirty years had passed and I never once sat down at another type writer to type anything since finishing school. When I purchased my first computer, the very fist thing I did was to sit at it, shut my eyes, and sure enough, I still knew the keys as if I have just been taught it the day before. It didn't take long for the rest of it to come back to me. Still not as good as I was in school, but good enough to get by. She was one of the sweets people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
Mr Gordon Langford was my last teacher at Singer, before I moved on to De Quincy High. He is the type of person with whom everyone could get along with. I enjoyed his classes greatly. He was a teacher, a good joke teller and one who could get a lesson across to anyone who just couldn't get it. He never knew it, But I admired him greatly. I would love to be able to see him to just see how he and his family is doing. Knowing him, he's doing great.
In closing out this chapter, I have to mention the two principals I had while at Singer. They were Mr Frank Hennigan and Mr John Rudd. I never really knew that much about them except that they swung a mean paddle!!HHAAA But as I look back on my days there, everyone I have spoken of were some of the greatest people I have ever known to this day. I just want to say, I do appreciate every thing they ever did for me and to me. I have poked humor at and about the form of discipline they administered. But I and many others, are living proof that it works and works great. So my hat is off to all these great people, who I had the pleasure of knowing. This is just my way of saying you all were and still are loved by many hundreds of people that you had a very important part in shaping and molding into adults. THANK YOU

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Free Cokes

In Beauregard Parish ever year the have the parish fair, usually in October. Everyone got out of school for one day, Usually a Friday to go to the fair. That was a big day for everyone back then. The school buses would even pick you up and and take you to the fair, if you didn't have a way to get there.
The very first time I remember going on the bus by myself I was about nine years old, my Mother said, here is you spending money. She said not to blow it all at once, because I had to make it last the whole day. She then gave me three dollars!!. "Boy", I had a pocket full of money with that three dollars.
During the trip to the fair that day, along with that three dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I day dreamed all the way there. I could just see it now. Money, girls, food, rides and games. I learned fast, that only happens in Hollywood. In one hour it went from, money, girls, foods, rides and games, to broke, hungry, no money no ride, and the girls disappeared as fast as the money and the only game left then, was playing the waiting game sitting on the school bus waiting for the day to pass.
At the end of the day, was the main event and better yet, it was free.The buses took everyone up town for the big fair parade. Everyone, men, women and kids of all ages would gather up along the highway in front of the court house in De Ridder to watch the parade. It was always a great parade. But the main attraction every year, was a State Trooper riding his motorcycle. He was always the last one in the parade. He made the show as they say. He could do any kind of trick riding there was, that one could imagine. His best ride was where he would come down the street standing up on his motorcycle, with his arms stretched straight out to his sides and he would weave side to side.
It just happen that as he was finishing his show. Traffic started pulling out into the street, everyone was heading home. There just happen to be a coke/cola truck that was in a hurry to get to their plant in town and he had no intention of waiting for the crowd to clear. He pulled the coke truck right in behind the State Trooper. Something happen up the road. The traffic stopped for about 1/2 minute. Before it started moving again, someone in the crowed hollered "FREE COKES". Brother, let me tell you something, that poor coke truck looked like a dying elephant with 800 buzzards descending on it, as the crowd converged on it taking ever coke they could get their hands on..
There was people running in ever direction with cokes. Cases of cokes, Big bottles of cokes, six pack of bottle cokes, wooden coke crates loaded with cokes. HHaaa There wasn't much left of the truck when all was said and done.

Sister Gillis & Elvy

The sitting for this story is in the small town of Singer, La. It was told to my, by my cousin Roger Ashworth. This happen ever Saturday evening and a couple of days during the week, as he recalls it.
My GG Uncle Hobo Ashworth {Rogers father} and his kids and Elvy Perkins shared a house in Singer, years and years ago. Their house sat behind what is now the Singer volunteer fire station on the west side of the Kansas City Southern Railroad tracks. West, off of state highway 27.
Across that highway and and east of the Kansas City Southern Rail Road tracks sat Brother and Sister Gills house.
Brother Gills, his real name was Arthur Gillis {10/17/1909 to 5/31/1984}. He was from the Starks & Fields area. Sister Gills real name was Ella Hollie, she to, was from the Fields & Starks area. Brother Gillis was a Pentecostal Preacher for most of his life, he was also a school bus driver for the Beauregard Parish School Board. If you were a member or belonged to a church. The members would refer to one another as brother and sister, because, ever church and it's members were know as your church family. So, everyone in the church referred to one another as there brother or sister.
If there was anything Elvy was famous for, it was two things, singing and whistling. I never had the pleasure of hearing him sing, but I, along with hundreds of others heard him whistle. That man could whistle, he sounded like a freight train coming down the tracks blowing it's horn.
There was also one thing both Sister Gillis and Elvy loved to do and that was talk. I mean talk about any and everything there was to talk about, they talked about it. Roger said, what was so funny about these two conversations, is that neither would walk to the others house and visit and talk. They both sat on their front porches and talked back an forth to one another. Elvy would be sitting on his front porch and Sister Gillis sat on hers. She and Elvy would talk back and forth to one another. Most people, I am sure would say what is so funny and different about that? The funny thing is that their houses were about 135 yards to 150 yards apart. They would talk like hat for an hour or better. If you would have known these two, you would realize instantly that these two could accomplish this feat.
I use the story above to tell folks, we were way ahead of the game back in the those days, in Singer and Bearhead. Back then, we had had a form of e-mail for years and years before the PC. It was just known as HOLLERING. HHa

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Silence is Broken

Yes folks, The silence was broken today by the RHF, or yet one of its spokesperson, Gary J. Gabehart. As usual, with his method of operating, it consist of just three things. Lies, name calling and what great progress the RHF has made lately with leaps and bounds.
A cousin and friend on mine, L.V. Hayes has a fitting name for that group. The RHF by there thinking, claim it stands for Redbone Heritage Foundation. L.V. refers to them as the Rage and Hate Foundation. Which is a very descriptive name for them.
After their last show that was put on in Lake Charles, La. A new name may be emerging and taking shape for them. It seems to fit them well. It is the {Repeat, Hide and Fabricate}.
In his usual way of writing, old gabe will pick out one to attack, one to call names and then he does his own version of what he saw through his diabetic eyes. In this post, the first one was Larry Keels. Larry is Larry, he is human like all of us. Just a little hooked on words. What ever it is between these two, ya'll have at it.
Then I was next, he stated I gleefully supplied false information to the Calcasieu Parish Library. Did I gleefully supply false information to the Calcasieu Parish Library? Why No. Did I gleefully supply information to the Calcasieu Parish Library about certain things ole gabe and stacy wrote about and bragged about on their own blog and the RHF web site. Written by them, posted by them and information supplied by them. Did I also ask about the Library rules of renting and using meeting rooms at the Library, fees charged, people being turned away and doors being lock, products sold and orders taken for future delivery. Again just as ole gabe and stacy wrote and said. YOU DAM RIGHT I DID. Period.
The great people of Calcasieu & Beauregard Parish have Laws and RULES we must live by and follow. Your bunch is no exception. PERIOD
He states that RHF officials said the meeting was a success. For some people, if just one person attends, in their eyes it would be a success. He also states he was told a number of folks joined the RHF. gabe you should know for sure. You were there, weren't you? But then the number 1 is a number of people. Maybe that was the one you talked to about me. Again don't you know.
One last thing. If I hear about the security, law enforcement officers, shadowed officers one more time. I just don't know if I can laugh anymore.
As far as the law enforcement and number of folks there and who asked for the protection. This can be answered very easily. Call the library and ask. But before you do that, go back and read ole gabe and stacy post and you will see where sometime back they were bragging about the security they would have there and just how folks would be taken care of. Better hurry up and read it. They seem to have a fine stock of white out at the RHF.
Folks,that library is a public body, records must be kept and they are open for the public to see. Read their policy, security is provided by the library and no one else. The only people who can ask for it is the group holding the meetings. And the library itself. Period

New Site!! {Redbone Graveyards}

Just got a new site up and running. Here is a brief story of how this site came about.
Back in August of 2006, after a lot of thought and discussions with my wife and others. We decided to start a new genealogy project. We purchased a digital camera. What we had planned was to photograph all of the cemeteries in our area {Beauregard & Calcasieu Parishes} that had not only a few cousins buried there, but generation and generations of our cousins and friends called Redbones. Most of these cemeteries are considered Redbone cemeteries.
We started with one of the oldest cemetery and also our family cemetery. That is Goodhope Baptist Church and Cemetery. It is located on highway 109, just south of present day Singer, La.
We photographed every headstone and military marker in these cemeteries that could be read. Also the ones, where one was not able to be read the marker by just looking at it. With the aid of the new digital cameras and home PC. In most cases you are able to make out a name and the dates.
So off we set on our new project. To date we have photographed over 50 cemeteries and amassed in the neighborhood of 22,000 photos.
We haven't been able to do many lately because of other projects. We hope to return to the project by the spring.
Here is where you can see all the photos for free. No charge. If someone would be interested in obtaining a CD with the complete cemetery they want to have, they are available. Just e-mail me at my contact address. I hope you all enjoy.
One last thing. We have almost completed Beauregard Parish. The only ones done in Calcasieu are around Starks, Toomey, Big Woods, Vinton, Dequincy. Also there are a few taken in Allen and Vernon parishes. We will be adding a lot more of the last two parishes when we resume of project. Watch for announcements.
The link to the new site is at the top right of this page. We call our project "Gravehoppers". Specializing in Redbone Cemeteries.
If for some reason the link on this page fails, the site is at smugmug.com Once there just type in Gravehoppers in search. That will pull them up.Or you can use the url address, http://Gravehoppers.smugmug.com.
Hope You Enjoy, Terry Jackson

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Life On Bearhead Pt 1

The photo here is a shot of me and three of my four sister at our G Grandmother home on Bearhead. Taken in about 1965.
The only heat we had for inside the house on Bearhead was a fireplace. There was a butane tank in the back yard, because of the cost of butane gas back then {Abt. 25 cents a gallon}, it was only used for cooking and the hot water heater.
We spent most of the summer months gathering Pine Knots. Along with cutting and splitting oak fire wood, {so it would be dried before winter}, to get us through the winter months. If the oak was good and dried, you got way better heat from the fire than if the oak wood had been green.We did this not only for us but also my G Grandmother. So the work was doubly hard for us.
Everyone had big gardens. Every thing that came from the garden was used as food for the meals we had every day. Then every thing else was canned and saved for year round use. Fruit was picked and gathered to make jellies, jams, and pies. The fruit was also made into preserves. Those consisted mostly of Pears, Figs, Black Berry and Dew Berry jams. Some folks even raised sugar cane in this area back then . They would made syrup from the sugarcane. There is no better syrup on this earth than sugar cane syrup. I'll stake my syrup sopping biscuits on that. Some things were bought in stores, these items were called your monthly staples. It consisted mostly of, sugar, flour, black pepper, for some folks tobacco, snuff. Just mostly what you did not or could not grow at the house.
It never mattered who's house you were at, or what time you were there, there was always something to snack on, sitting on the table or stove, there would be usually one of four things. It was either biscuits, cornbread, baked sweet tater or cracklings. These things were always covered with a dish towel. Nothing else, a dish towel. To this day my favorite meal is squirrel cooked down in it's own gravy with rice, cornbread and a baked sweet taters smothered with butter. On a different subject.
One thing I can remember clearly, was when someone died in the family or a neighbor died. The body was always brought back to the home or the church. Everyone brought food and everyone sat up until late. Most would go home. But there was always someone {Usually 3 or 4} that stayed up all night with the body. There was no ifs ands or buts about it. Someone stay up all night with the dead. They were never ever left alone. That is still done not only in our family today. But in this area and this part of Louisiana. I have never known just why or how this tradition started, I just know that is what was done then and still to this day.
One other thing they did then, you never see today. The morning of the funeral, the men gathered at the graveyard and dug the grave with shovels and picks. Everyone of the men's wives would get up before daylight and fix coffee and lunches and off the men and boys went, they worked until the grave was dug.
My Grandmother {Who I am For Ever Quoting}said when she was a child the body was brought to that persons home or a friends house. The women would clean and dress the body and the men would gather outside and build the coffin for the decease. The funeral was usually the next day after the death. The reason for such a quick burial was that in those days, not many were embalmed. To Costly at that day and time. Louisiana is one state that still today, you are not required to embalmed a body, if you bury the body with in 24 hours.
Another thing I just remember . I had never heard of a nursing home or as some say an old folks home. In our families, the older person lived by themselves and if it got to the point were they could not take care of themselves they moved in with some family member or friend. Most everyone had a family church also. The church family played just as a big a role in ones life as their real family played.
We were very blessed when we were kids, we had not only a radio, but also a black and white TV. It was mostly used for news and a few programs we watched. One that comes to mind is ever Sunday night we always watch Wonderful World Of Disney. Daniel Boone, Tarzan and Old Yellower are just a couple of the movies that I remember seeing on T.V. then.
Growing up around so many family members and family friends that loved to tell outlandish stories and pull all kinds of pranks on one another, is most likely that that is the very reason I have loved comedy since I was a child. My favorite show at that time was the "RED SKELTON" show. He was my favorite.
When company came, it didn't matter if it was during the day or evening. If that TV was on and company came up. The first thing that took place, is the TV was cut off. Second, coffee was put on. Third, the house was cleaned in about 25 sec. hhaa It is amazing where you can shove and slide most anything when you saw company coming.
When folks visited the women and girls stayed in the house and did what they do best "Talk" . The men and boys usually sat on the porch or in the yard under a big old oak tree. They talk about what was happen in the neighborhood, who was sick, just what cow was missing and due a calf. When that happen, we had our BOTLO issued {Be On The Look Out}, just like the cops of today do. It just happen that ours was an animal.
This is where I got most of my stories about the older people. By keeping my mouth shut and listening and remembering these stories these men would tell. People are always asking me, How on earth are you able to know and remember as much as you do about these people and those stories? I tell them, when I was around these older folks, I kept my mouth shut and listen to them telling these old stories. Being that young and amazed at what they were talking about, my young mind was like a sponge. I soaked every thing up those people had to tell.
This is a good lesson still, for the younger crowd. You learn much more from listening than you do talking.

Thou Be Jesus Or Tou Be The Devil?

This story starts as usual with Uncle Sub leaving the house late one evening, he was headed out into the woods to get him a mutton. From previous stories you know by now, he wasn't going to buy one either. HHAA
He had really picked a bad night to go and find a mutton. First of all there wasn't a moon out any where, not even a star. By the time he located the herd of sheep and picked him out a good and fat one. It had already gotten pitch dark on him. So dark, you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. He was already on a pig trail headed for home
{Editors note: A Pig trail was just a beaten down path through the woods, leading form one house or place to another house or place} , but that was going to be a chore, since he couldn't see one foot in front of his self. He was walking slow with his arms stretched out In front of him to try and feel his way to keep from walking into a tree or falling into a creek or stump hole or worse yet, getting tangled in a brair patch. When all of a sudden, his hands touched someone Else's hands. It was another person or {SOMETHING}, doing the same thing as him, trying to find his way. Uncle Sub stopped all of a sudden, he was already scared to death. He said, "Who is you? Thou be Jesus or Thou be the devil". {He used the word "Thou" most of the time} The other person replied, I'll tell you this, "I ain't Jesus".
Uncle Sub screamed like a wild panther and left there running leaving behind the mutton, the sack and everything else. He ran all they way home and never ran into anything and never got a scratch on him. It must have scared him a good bit, because folks say it was a good two maybe three days before he went out mutton shopping again. HHaa