Monday, September 27, 2010

Howlin' Wolf

I was watching TV a couple weeks ago and this commercial came on with a catchy tune.
Eventually it came to me what the song was "Smoke Stack Lightening" by Howlin' Wolf.
He was born just outside West Point Mississippi about twenty five miles from where I live. Like many blues singers, he had a difficult childhood.
Youtube the song - see if you recognize the commercial.

Howlin Wolf "Chester Burnett" 1910-1976

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fast Ball

Can you believe that guy Chapman of the Reds threw a 105 mph fastball?
Talk about bringing heat!
We used to have corn cob wars around the family barn. All the kids would get an arm load of corn cobs, run in and out of stables, through the barn loft, under the corn crib and throw those cobs at each other. The ones soaked in water and cow urine did the most damage. Sometimes we'd have a casualty and have to call time out, or a kid would smack someone in the head with a soft cow turd.
Can't imagine getting hit with a 105 mph corn cob.

Friday, September 10, 2010

And The Living Is Easy

The calender says its early fall but it's late summer in Mississippi. Katydids still sing a lazy nocturne that nourishes the growing nights.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Greet the Sun

Dawn's rosy fingered

Burning Bibles

I suppose you heard that the U.S. Army burned bibles sent to Afghanistan from American churches, written in the two most common languages of that country.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Old Times There Are Not Forgotten

Many young people believe that only Blacks picked cotton and may never have thought about how many white families in the South grew five, ten, twenty acres of cotton as a cash crop. We continued to pick this crop by hand until the mid 1960's in many places. The Dept. of Agriculture began handing out free food to anyone who qualified. At that point it was difficult to get anyone to work in the fields.
This is how it was done. Seven a.m. you arrive in the fields wet with dew. You are wearing a long sleeved shirt and maybe an old jacket. Within a few minutes your clothing is wet. As the sun gets higher you start shedding layers of clothing. By mid afternoon it's hot. You pull either a 7 1/2' or 9' sack around the neck and across one shoulder. The fingers and thumbs are extended. If you have dexterity you can lift all five locks of the cotton bowl with one grab. Note the sharp burr between each lock of the cotton flower. They go deep into the cuticle if you aren't careful. If the cotton was good a person could pick 200 lbs per day. My avg was more like 150. We harvested our own cotton and hired out to work for other farmers for three cents per pound. A grueling day would get you $ 6.00.
Levis were $ 5.00. The children were sent to the wagon to get the water jug to keep the workers hydrated. We would weigh our sacks roughly every two hours. Really good pickers have sixty or sixty five lbs. (5-6 lb would be deducted for the first weigh-in because of the heavy dew. After that it was around 3 lb.)
People also raised their own beef and pork. They milked the cows by hand before going to the fields and again around dusk. This is just a snapshot of the actual work.
Believe me when I tell you, all the kids in my neighborhood weren't getting into trouble in town. Today when I see kids in trouble for every crime under the sun, I say to my wife " that kid needs about five acres of cotton."
I am encouraged when I travel past the Midwestern farms and see young people working the ranches out west. These people usually turn out to be the most dependable.
Yeah I know, I'm just an old shit talking about the way it used to be.
A side note: In the 1950's and 60's, thousands of poor southerners went to Detroit and other northern industrial towns to work. The old men told me that if you were from the South, you were hired on the spot.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wondering Souls

The Ancient Greeks believed that if the body wasn't buried, the soul would wonder for eternity searching for rest.
Odysseus stood over the body of a slain Trojan and taunted it. He assured him that his mother and father wouldn't close his eyes but the vultures would claw them out while their wings beat his corpse.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother - -"

Shakespeare "Henry The Fifth"

The S E Sea

I was in Tuscaloosa last week. Those Alabama fans are already fired up. Talk shows were discussing everything from the quality of line chalk to another Heisman.
I wish them well, but I'm secretly pulling for that little ole school in Idaho.