The old house I was raised in
Fred N. Lee  
11/13/2012 / Humor

The ole house I was raised in by Fred N Lee

The ole' house I was raised in warn't much to look at. Papa built it out of virgin timber cut from the Pine on the place. Most of the trees were seedlings in the mid 1700's, which made them nearly as old as Methuselah of Bible times. At least that is what we tell most folks.

Papa and Mama twas married in 1911 and that is when they started building the house. Papa was young and strong at that time and could work from daylight til dark. Mama did most of the cooking and knew how too, having cooked for all the yunguns in Granddaddy Freeman and Granny Rachel's family.

Right off the bat Mama got pregnant and had my oldest sister, Oretta. I use to tease her that maybe Oretta was conceived before the marriage ceremony. Huh, she said, Papa was about as hot as an Alaska Mackerel. She said if it hadn't been for her there wouldn't be any of us yunguns. I dropped the subject. Anyway, back to the ole house--It twas a two roomer then but it warn't long before Papa had to start adding rooms. Girl babies kept coming like shelled corn out of a hopper. Mama had to have five girls before a boy came along. There were four more yunguns after the first six and when Mama got pregnant with the last one Papa moved out of the bedroom. Said enough is enough. A hurricane came through in 1916, I think it twas, and blew it off'n the blocks. Papa and his brothers jacked er up and put it back on the blocks.

Many hair raisin ghost stories have been told about the ole place. I spent many a Saturday night just laying there on that ole feather bed scared to close my eyes afeard that a haint would slip up on me. Saturday night twas the time most ghost stories were told. Just sit around on the front porch and pretty soon someone would start telling one. I remember one time as a kid, probably no older than 10 when I encountered my first haint there. It twas about 10 at night, I was setting on the front porch just listening to the katydids rubbing their legs on their wings, when I heard this loud crash in the kitchen. Me and one of my brother-in-laws thought the ole pantry that twas leaning up against the kitchen wall had fallen over. Sounded like all the dishes had broken and we were expecting a mess when we got there. When we got to the kitchen, which took us about 2 seconds, there twarn't narry a plate on the floor. The ole cabinet was still leaning against the wall. Our eyes popped out and let me tell you one thing, we got our hinnies out of that kitchen. The only problem was that I had to sleep in a room right next to the kitchen.

The ole house didn't have any screen on the windows or doors. There warn't no air conditioning either so we had to leave the windows and doors open at night just to stay cool. This gave the skeeters free range to nibble on us, and they did. The only problem with this twas that cats and dogs came in and out as they pleased. Occasionally an ole black snake would crawl in at night, I suppose looking for a rat for his meal. There were plenty of rats to go around. There would be a commotion in the morning when Mama would discover it just curled up under a chair. Papa would get up and kick it out the door. Mama finally got linoleum on the kitchen floor, which made it easier to clean and me to have fun with the cats. I would let the cats come in the kitchen and get under the table and then scare the daylights out of them and watch them try to get traction to run on the linoleum!! Back then a boy had to find amusement where he could.

The ole house twas set on blocks of what we called lightered. Solid pine it twas. Termites tried to eat their way up the blocks and left the place squealing like stuck pigs from their teeth and gums hurting so bad. Them old blocks are still there and strong as ever.

The front and back porch were about 5 foot off'n the ground on one end. The end of the front porch twas used for a bathroom break at night, us yunguns not wanting to go down the hill to the ole two holer. We were fraid of haints and black widder spiders. There were plenty of both to go around.

The front room as we called it twas heated by a fireplace. You would burn up on one side and freeze on the other. Granddaddy Freeman who lived with us most of his later years always hogged the fireplace. He would sit right in front of it with his knees spread out and his elbows on his knees like one of them ole cats just lying in the sun. We found out that if you put two or three lightered knots on the fire it would get so hot he would have to move back. Occasionally if you were standing in front of the fireplace real close someone would reach and grab you by the backside of your pants and them hot pants would burn the daylights out of you.

That ole yard didn't have a sprig of grass in it. Mama believed in keeping it clean swept with a bundle of gall berry bushes. Of course these ole yard brooms also doubled as a switch to whip us yungus when we needed it. Some of my siblins needed it quite off'n. Me being a good youngun only got whipped eight or ten times a week.

The ole tin roof on the house shore made it easy to sleep when it rained. That roof had been there since the house twas build in 1911 and didn't leak nary a bit. In the winter and it got real cold and would rain, icicles would hang from the edge of the roof to the ground, or nearly so. I guess it got colder back then than it does now. On them cold winter nights I would undress in front of the ole fireplace, get good and warm, and run jump in bed. It would feel pretty good after you did the jig with your legs under 3 or 4 quilts.

The back porch next to the kitchen twas where the water well was located. Papa had covered the well with concrete and installed a pitcher pump. Whoo wee, that water was cold. Frogs liked it too and often was pumped out of the well after they had died. Didn't bother me none when I was real thirsty.

When we would kill hogs the back steps twas where mama and the colored folks from the quarters would clean the guts to make chitlins and to stuff the meat in for sausage. They would set on them back steps just talking away about things that had happened in the old days, turn them guts inside out just like they were enjoying it. There warn't a peg of corn left in them guts when they got through. The Coloreds would take some of the meat home with them for helping. I suspect they took some of the guts home too to make chitlins. Man oh man, you could smell them chitlins cooking for a mile. Mama would cook ours in an ole black wash pot setting on a bed of hot coals in our back yard. Whoo wee, they would stink up the neighborhood. Buzzards would come from miles around thinking some of their feathered friends were having a buffet and hadn't invited them. Them chitlins were good eating though, after she got all the stink out of them.

Well, enough about the ole house. Makes me homesick every time I think about it.

An original Fred N. Lee

Retired USGS employee and grandpa to 35 wonderful grandkids.

Article Source: WRITERS



Page Date: 9th June 2017

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