The Story of my Life
Louise Virginia (Weir) Frasier
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All the chores are done. Supper is over. The kerosene lamps are lit. Everyone sits around the fireplace. Mama goes to the kitchen and gets the pan of parched peanuts. She’s put them in while she’s baking the corn bread. The wire basket popcorn popper is brought out.
Neighbors drop in. This is a perfect time for “My Grandma – Grandpa said” stories. We play old maid or go fish with homemade cards. Someone might say, “listen to this. I was in town today and I heard old man Jones/Smith got drunk and fell off his horse”. Or – “the Watkins man is coming Monday, I got a card from him today”.
The adult women might be whispering and you hear words like “knocked up” or “in a delicate way”. You don’t know what that is. If you ask about it you might be told it’s secret things for grown-ups. Or you might even be told that somebody was going to have a baby sister or brother. Nobody ever said, “she’s going to have a baby” for we’ve been told “doctors bring babies in their black bag”.
The younger kids go to bed with warmed blankets. One of them might call out, “Mama, Dora/Nora/George, got my warm place”.
The neighbors go home. You look out the door. The moon and stars are shinning. The snow or frost is glistening. A great quietness lays over the land. Then the hoot owl calls. The screech owl calls. You turn your pocket inside out to ward off evil. For if the screech owl calls you will hear of a death within 3 days.
You go to sleep knowing when you get up in the morning, Papa will have banked the fire against the back log and you only lay fresh kindling and wood and the fireplace is warm again. And you’re glad you’re alive to hear all these sounds.
I see the moon, the moon sees me.
God bless the moon, God bless me.
We never leave the super table whatever the season without Comer saying, “Mary Will feed the dogs”.
If we do something he doesn’t like he threatens us by saying, “I’m going to whip you when we get done picking cotton.”
He never hits any of us.
Louise Weir Frasier