Redneck Garden Revisited

A Redneck Garden in August

I had to go see my mother over the weekend of July 4 and I’m going to cheat and re-post this article from a couple of years ago.  Enjoy.

Bud is proud to be a redneck.  He grew up on a farm on Sand Mountain, Alabama and moved to town for work a number of years ago.  One day I showed Bud some of my blog posts and he said, “Why don’t you show them folks a redneck garden?”  I agreed with him that this would be a good idea, so here it is

Bud checks out the rabbits across the road.
Bud checks out the rabbits across the road.

I showed up to find Bud weed eating his front bank on a 95 degree afternoon.  He had seen something in the woods across the street.  He turned off his weed eater and looked up to see me and said, “They’s a bunch of rabbits over there.  I’m going to have me some good Brunswick stew this winter.  You wait and see.”

We talked a few minutes about how he should prune his ten foot tall and wide knockout rose, and then, he said, “bring that there camera down back and I’ll show you my real garden.”  We walked around the house and I saw the vegetable garden at the bottom of the hill.  It is about a 30 by 30 foot area prepared by using cross ties and filled with a good compost I had gotten him a couple of years ago.

I looked down the hill at the raised vegetable garden.
I looked down the hill at the raised vegetable garden.

The crossties hold everything together, and the compost is well mulched with wood chips that were provided free by a local tree surgeon.  The tree surgeon was happy to have a place to dump the chips and Bud was glad to get them.  “The chips really hold in the moisture” he said, “and that there dirt keeps on getting better and better every year. I add a little manure every time I take a notion to, but I make sure it is well rotted.”

Crossties hold in the compost. Note the mulch of wood chips.
Crossties hold in the compost. Note the mulch of wood chips.

On the east side of the garden is a seven foot high trellis of beans. They sort of form a back “wall” for the project.  Bud said they are “Blue Lake Runners” and that they produce until they freeze and that, “it takes a really good freeze to kill them.”  I asked where all the beans were and he said, “Helen picks everything every day and puts them up.  The more you pick, the more you get.  Look at them vines, they’re still blooming.  That means more and more beans.”

Beans.  Blue Lake Runners produce until they freeze if you keep them picked.
Beans. Blue Lake Runners produce until they freeze if you keep them picked.

The tomato plants have a good bit of dried up leaves low and inside, but the tops are a lush green with lots of flowers.  Bud had already picked me a bagfull of tomatoes and peppers because “I knowed you was coming.”

Tomatoes will keep producing all summer if you keep the tomatoes picked.
Tomatoes will keep producing all summer if you keep the tomatoes picked.

The peppers were loaded with fruits ranging from dark green to dark red.  I took a big bite of a beautiful jalapeno and smiled as the top of my head broke out in sweat, allowing the warm breeze to cool me off.  I was told that there were four kinds of Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers almost ready for harvest
Cayenne peppers almost ready for harvest

I noticed a lot of lush and beautiful sweet banana peppers.  Bud said, “If you plant the hot and the mild peppers together, the sweet bananas get a little heat to them.  That makes them better when we make our year’s supply of ‘chow chow’ next month. I just naturally got to have chow chow with my black eyed peas and hog jowl.”

Sweet banana peppers are an essential for chow chow.
Sweet banana peppers are an essential for chow chow.

I saw some young okra plants and was told that they would probably produce a crop of late okra if the heat held up.

Young okra plants in August.
Young okra plants in August.

Bud had given me a carton of “aigs” not long ago that looked like Easter eggs.  They were all kinds of different colors and almost too pretty to eat.  When I cooked them and ate them, they didn’t taste the same as the ones from the grocery store.  Bud has fresh eggs all the time.  The chickens were hiding in the shade.

The chickens were hiding in the shade
The chickens were hiding in the shade

I got to thinking and I asked, “What do you do with all of the produce?  We’re talking a lot of food here.”  He grinned and took me to one of his sheds.  I walked inside and looked around. I was impressed to say the least.

I couldn't believe the racks of preserved vegetables and fruits.
I couldn’t believe the racks of preserved vegetables and fruits.

Bud pointed to a stack of boxes.  “Every morning, Helen comes in here and gets a couple of empty boxes.  Every evening, when I come home from work, I carry the full boxes out here from the house and try to find a place to put the jars.” He pointed to one jar which radiated bright yellow, “look at that pickled yaller squash.  I love that stuff. We got enough food here to last the winter without going to the store much.  We give a lot of it away, too.”

"We ain't gonna go hungry.  We give away what we can't eat."
“We ain’t gonna go hungry. We give away what we can’t eat.”

Bud grinned and said, “remember the other day when I told you about all them catfish me and the grandyounguns caught up in the pocket?  Lookie here.”  He opened the freezer and showed me bag after bag of filleted catfish.  “We’re gonna have us one more fish fry one day pretty soon.” The freezer was packed with meats and vegetables from the current season.

"I'm gonna have me a big fish fry one day.  Nothing is better than these here catfish fillets all fried up"
“I’m gonna have me a big fish fry one day. Nothing is better than these here catfish fillets all fried up”

If you follow this blog you will know that I always go looking for garden art.  Bud’s yard contained an interesting collection.  I asked about the little boy with no hands and Bud said, “Wa’al, them rich folks always have old stuff that’s kindly broken.  I figured I could have some, too.  I might get around to gluing them hands on one day, I reckon…well, maybe.”

"I'm gonna glue them hands back on one day....maybe"
“I’m gonna glue them hands back on one day….maybe”

The front porch is graced by a pair of almost welcoming cement dogs.  I kind of liked the idea of a big old dog bringing momma a basket of flowers.

A front porch sentry with a touch of class.  "I brought you these flowers, ma'am."
A front porch sentry with a touch of class. “I brought you these flowers, ma’am.”

There have been a lot of conversations around a pitcher of sweet tea held on this shady front porch.  Bud says, “come on by and set a spell.”

A nice front porch.  "Y'all come set a spell and have some sweet tea, Y'hear?"
A nice front porch. “Y’all come set a spell and have some sweet tea, Y’hear?”

In the winter month, Bud said he grows, “turnip greens, radishes, spinach, carrots, beets, collards, English peas, and lots of other stuff.  It is a year-round garden.”

A couple of years ago when I was writing my book, Bud and I had a lot of discussions on the topic of “just what is a redneck.”  He helped me immensely with my research. One of the characters in the book that came from our conversations is Louann. Everyone who read the book loved Louann. To read about her, –-CLICK HERE

I hope you enjoyed the garden tour.  This garden shows that all you need is some scrounging ability, a little hard work, and a big grin to be successful with your garden.

***************

Would you like a consultation with johntheplantman in your yard?Contact John Schulz BY EMAIL

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

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Pimp Your Lawnmower–Redneck style

Pimp Your Lawnmower, Redneck style—-I am told that I am known as a pretty good writer of fiction and that’s why I had to get out my trusty camera for this article.  I don’t think a thousand words would have told the story. Here’s what happened.

The other day I had a helper working on my plant hospital at my aluminum office trailer which is out in the country and I’m not going to tell you where.  I like it private. I was on a sales call and my helper, Henry, was at the office using the truck to move dead plants and pots of dirt to the other side of the lot. Now, Henry means well, and he’s a good helper, but I still can’t figure out how he could get the truck stuck on level ground in the middle of a drought. But he did.  He called

“John, I got a problem. I got the truck stuck.”

I answered, “That’s all right, Henry because we got neighbors on both sides just praying for a reason to crank their tractors.” I thought for a minute and continued, “Just use the wheelbarrow until I get there, I’m on the way.”

 I was driving down the road just past the jail, heading toward the office when the phone rang again. It was Mr. Duck.  Mr. Duck lives on one side of the office and Bud lives on the other. Travis lives across the street from Mr. Duck. I call the three of them my “burglar alarms.” Nothing goes on out there that one or the other of them doesn’t see.

Mr. Duck said, “John, something’s wrong, there’s a guy out there pushing a wheelbarrow around the other side of the aluminum office trailer and there ain’t neither one of your trucks there.”

I replied, “It’s OK, Duck. That’s Henry. He’s got the truck stuck and I’m just passing the jail—almost there.”

And Mr. Duck said, “Awww, Man, I’m on it, John, I’ll get me a chain and crank the tractor.”

 Well, Mr. Duck was pulling in the driveway on his Massey Ferguson when I got there and we went around back to where Henry had backed into the only possible hole in the whole yard.  Mr. Duck started backing his tractor up to my truck and that was when I noticed Travis, sitting over to the side on his riding lawnmower with a Natural Lite in his hand. Travis is a good guy and he had already heard about the stuck truck emergency.  Travis had dropped everything but his Natural Lite, clumb on his riding mower, and rushed over to help. He got off his mower and got on his knees to hook up the chain. He had to tie the chain and on the first pull, the knot in the chain came loose. Travis tied it again, looked at me grinning and said, “Tight, ain’t it?” Then he turned toward the tractor and yelled,“Duck, how come you didn’t bring no damn hooks?” and Mr. Duck said it was an emergency and he had got in a hurry and forgot.

But the truck came out of the hole just fine and the emergency was over. I gave Mr. Duck some pots of red begonias and he headed home.

That’s when I really noticed Travis’ lawnmower.  I quickly whispered to Henry to run real fast and get me the camera out of the truck. It was relatively to keep Travis talking while I waited for the camera. I found that he loved to talk about his lawnmower.

I saw a machete fixed on the right side of the mower and asked about it. Travis pulled it out of the holder, raised it up, and said, “It’s in case there’s any snakes hanging out of the trees. ‘Course, it could be for lots of things that I don’t like. This here cutter is razor sharp.”

Travis loves his riding mower

Travis loves his riding mower

I took a good look at the machete holder and remembered that if there’s anything a good redneck likes better than duct tape, it’s drywall screws. Every good redneck had a “deewalt” screwdriver to drive them in with, too. It doesn’t seem to matter what brand a deewalt is, either. It can be made by Sears and Roebuck, but it’s still a deewalt. Here’s the rig:

A machete mounted with drywall screws

A machete mounted with drywall screws

And here’s a close up of the machete rig showing the wire that finishes it off

Close up of machete mount

Close up of machete mount

I next noticed that he had his weedeater mounted under the seat so it would be handy if he needed it.

A weed eater mounted on the mower for easy access

A weed eater mounted on the mower for easy access

I looked at the drywall screws again, thought about it and asked, “Well, where’s the “duck tape”? I know there’s some around here somewhere.” Travis replied that he was a firm believer in duck tape and that he was getting an extra mile out of one of his boots. He put his boot on the hood of the mower.

get more mileage outa them boots with duct tape

get more mileage outa them boots with duct tape

I asked him what that was that was wrapped up in a K mart plastic bag on the front of the mower hood. He replied, “It’s a spotlight. Sometimes I got to go spotlight a coon or a burglar for some of the neighbors. The headlights is good enough for driving, but I need the spotlight to find the coons in a corn patch. It cuts on with a toggle switch hooked in to the battery behind the seat.”

Spotlight mounted on mower for spotting burglars or raccoons

Spotlight mounted on mower for spotting burglars or raccoons

I could tell that Travis was about ready to leave as he reached down with his left hand. I had to look around the other side of the mower to see his cup holder (substitute “beer holder” if you like). It’s made from a cut off plastic bottle and mounted with—you guessed it—two drywall screws.

Amazing what you can do with a plastic bottle and drywall screws

Amazing what you can do with a plastic bottle and drywall screws

I got a little closer for a more detailed look.  What genius!!!

Cup holder on a riding mower

Cup holder on a riding mower

I asked Travis where his beer cooler was and he said, “It’s at the house. I’ll drive this here mower and drink me a beer until I’m finished with the Natchal Lite. Then it’s time for a break and I gots to get off the mower and git me another one.

Travis said he “couldn’t stay no longer ’cause it was time for a beer break and he had to go home and get one. I thanked him for the help and watched as he drove down the driveway. I guess he had decided to work on his tan

Jtpm…7/10/11

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

A Redneck Garden in August

A Redneck Garden in August

Bud is proud to be a redneck.  He grew up on a farm on Sand Mountain, Alabama and moved to town for work a number of years ago.  One day I showed Bud some of my blog posts and he said, “Why don’t you show them folks a redneck garden?”  I agreed with him that this would be a good idea, so here it is

Bud checks out the rabbits across the road.

Bud checks out the rabbits across the road.

I showed up to find Bud weed eating his front bank on a 95 degree afternoon.  He had seen something in the woods across the street.  He turned off his weed eater and looked up to see me and said, “They’s a bunch of rabbits over there.  I’m going to have me some good Brunswick stew this winter.  You wait and see.”

We talked a few minutes about how he should prune his ten foot tall and wide knockout rose, and then, he said, “bring that there camera down back and I’ll show you my real garden.”  We walked around the house and I saw the vegetable garden at the bottom of the hill.  It is about a 30 by 30 foot area prepared by using cross ties and filled with a good compost I had gotten him a couple of years ago.

I looked down the hill at the raised vegetable garden.

I looked down the hill at the raised vegetable garden.

The crossties hold everything together, and the compost is well mulched with wood chips that were provided free by a local tree surgeon.  The tree surgeon was happy to have a place to dump the chips and Bud was glad to get them.  “The chips really hold in the moisture” he said, “and that there dirt keeps on getting better and better every year. I add a little manure every time I take a notion to, but I make sure it is well rotted.”

Crossties hold in the compost. Note the mulch of wood chips.

Crossties hold in the compost. Note the mulch of wood chips.

On the east side of the garden is a seven foot high trellis of beans. They sort of form a back “wall” for the project.  Bud said they are “Blue Lake Runners” and that they produce until they freeze and that, “it takes a really good freeze to kill them.”  I asked where all the beans were and he said, “Helen picks everything every day and puts them up.  The more you pick, the more you get.  Look at them vines, they’re still blooming.  That means more and more beans.”

Beans.  Blue Lake Runners produce until they freeze if you keep them picked.

Beans. Blue Lake Runners produce until they freeze if you keep them picked.

The tomato plants have a good bit of dried up leaves low and inside, but the tops are a lush green with lots of flowers.  Bud had already picked me a bagfull of tomatoes and peppers because “I knowed you was coming.”

Tomatoes will keep producing all summer if you keep the tomatoes picked.

Tomatoes will keep producing all summer if you keep the tomatoes picked.

The peppers were loaded with fruits ranging from dark green to dark red.  I took a big bite of a beautiful jalapeno and smiled as the top of my head broke out in sweat, allowing the warm breeze to cool me off.  I was told that there were four kinds of Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers almost ready for harvest

Cayenne peppers almost ready for harvest

I noticed a lot of lush and beautiful sweet banana peppers.  Bud said, “If you plant the hot and the mild peppers together, the sweet bananas get a little heat to them.  That makes them better when we make our year’s supply of ‘chow chow’ next month. I just naturally got to have chow chow with my black eyed peas and hog jowl.”

Sweet banana peppers are an essential for chow chow.

Sweet banana peppers are an essential for chow chow.

I saw some young okra plants and was told that they would probably produce a crop of late okra if the heat held up.

Young okra plants in August.

Young okra plants in August.

Bud had given me a carton of “aigs” not long ago that looked like Easter eggs.  They were all kinds of different colors and almost too pretty to eat.  When I cooked them and ate them, they didn’t taste the same as the ones from the grocery store.  Bud has fresh eggs all the time.  The chickens were hiding in the shade.

The chickens were hiding in the shade

The chickens were hiding in the shade

I got to thinking and I asked, “What do you do with all of the produce?  We’re talking a lot of food here.”  He grinned and took me to one of his sheds.  I walked inside and looked around. I was impressed to say the least.

I couldn't believe the racks of preserved vegetables and fruits.

I couldn’t believe the racks of preserved vegetables and fruits.

Bud pointed to a stack of boxes.  “Every morning, Helen comes in here and gets a couple of empty boxes.  Every evening, when I come home from work, I carry the full boxes out here from the house and try to find a place to put the jars.” He pointed to one jar which radiated bright yellow, “look at that pickled yaller squash.  I love that stuff. We got enough food here to last the winter without going to the store much.  We give a lot of it away, too.”

"We ain't gonna go hungry.  We give away what we can't eat."

“We ain’t gonna go hungry. We give away what we can’t eat.”

Bud grinned and said, “remember the other day when I told you about all them catfish me and the grandyounguns caught up in the pocket?  Lookie here.”  He opened the freezer and showed me bag after bag of filleted catfish.  “We’re gonna have us one more fish fry one day pretty soon.” The freezer was packed with meats and vegetables from the current season.

"I'm gonna have me a big fish fry one day.  Nothing is better than these here catfish fillets all fried up"

“I’m gonna have me a big fish fry one day. Nothing is better than these here catfish fillets all fried up”

If you follow this blog you will know that I always go looking for garden art.  Bud’s yard contained an interesting collection.  I asked about the little boy with no hands and Bud said, “Wa’al, them rich folks always have old stuff that’s kindly broken.  I figured I could have some, too.  I might get around to gluing them hands on one day, I reckon…well, maybe.”

"I'm gonna glue them hands back on one day....maybe"

“I’m gonna glue them hands back on one day….maybe”

The front porch is graced by a pair of almost welcoming cement dogs.  I kind of liked the idea of a big old dog bringing momma a basket of flowers.

A front porch sentry with a touch of class.  "I brought you these flowers, ma'am."

A front porch sentry with a touch of class. “I brought you these flowers, ma’am.”

There have been a lot of conversations around a pitcher of sweet tea held on this shady front porch.  Bud says, “come on by and set a spell.”

A nice front porch.  "Y'all come set a spell and have some sweet tea, Y'hear?"

A nice front porch. “Y’all come set a spell and have some sweet tea, Y’hear?”

In the winter month, Bud said he grows, “turnip greens, radishes, spinach, carrots, beets, collards, English peas, and lots of other stuff.  It is a year-round garden.”

A couple of years ago when I was writing my book, Bud and I had a lot of discussions on the topic of “just what is a redneck.”  He helped me immensely with my research.  Our collaboration turned into a story that really gives you the true meaning of “redneck.”  You may read an excerpt titled “What is a Redneck” by CLICKING HERE

I hope you enjoyed the garden tour.  This garden shows that all you need is some scrounging ability, a little hard work, and a big grin to be successful with your garden.

***************

Would you like a consultation with johntheplantman in your yard?Contact John Schulz BY EMAIL

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

Try “see inside the book”

Louann wins the lottery

In this weeks article I will share a nice story.  Relax for a few minutes and read about the indomitable Louann.  This is one of my favorite chapters from the book Requiem for a Redneck. Enjoy-share it with your friends.

Chapter ten, Requiem for a Redneck

Chapter ten, Requiem for a Redneck

Louann was a victim of numbers. With five more years of public schooling, thirty more points of I.Q., and eight more teeth, she could have been a movie star. She was all right to look at when she kept her mouth shut – which was rarely. She could also look halfway intelligent under the same circumstances. Louann could talk more and say less than any woman I had ever met. Her vocabulary was limited but she made up for it by using the word “like” and the phrase “don’t youknow” quite often. A sample sentence might be:

“I like caught this don’t you know fish and like I pulled it in out of the don’t you knowwater and like it was slippery. You know what I mean?”

When I met her she was in her late twenties. She was about five feet six inches tall with long straight mousy brown hair which she always said used to be “you know, like it was blonde, don’t you know.” Louann wore cutoffs and a t-shirt in the summer and jeans and a sweatshirt in the winter. She was barefoot unless it was really cold. When it was really cold she wore work boots.

Louann was rather uncommunicative around men, so I only knew her from observation. After she got to know Marsha, though, she told Marsha everything in the world about her life, her activities, her ways of getting money, and her alcohol consumption. Marsha, of course, told me everything. It was much more than I wanted to know.

My observations were that Louann was very gentle and understanding when dealing with animals and plants. She could communicate with the animals on their level, and I once watched her squatting and staring at a tomato plant for hours. I asked her what she was doing and she replied, “I’m like watching it grow, don’t you know.”

The dogs might have barked the first time she came to the house to go fishing, but after that, they started wagging their tails when Harce’s truck pulled into the driveway. If Louann wasn’t with Harce, they would bark at him, otherwise they would come sit in front of Louann and let her pet them and talk to them.

Louann helped grow Harce’s animals. There were always chickens, hogs, and a cow or two around “the property.” Harce and Louann never had to buy meat or vegetables. She saw to that. But she told Marsha that even though she loved watching the animals grow, she never named them because “You can, like, eat a piece of you know steak but only if you don’t know any names, don’t you know. It’s like,you can’t eat Herman, but eating a don’t you know stranger is all right. See? That’s like why I don’t never name none of them, don’t you know. See, it’s all right to name a tomato plant don’t you know because you are only eating their babies, don’t you know and you don’t name their babies. You know? I name all my tomato plants, but like, I don’t never name a chicken. Not around here. You know?”

Louann was never idle. The deal on the firewood was that Harce cut and split the firewood. Louann used a hatchet to split wood scraps into kindling. Splitting kindling is a dangerous art form. Louann could patiently cut strips of wood to an amazing degree of exactness without ever cutting herself with the hatchet. She separated the kindling into two piles: hardwood and heart pine. She tied the kindling into separate bundles that were about eight inches in diameter and ten inches long. The heart pine kindling was in big demand at the Magic Market.

While Harce was away looking for any possible way to make money other than get a job, Louann kept things together at home. She grew and canned vegetables. She fed and cared for the livestock with no names. She split kindling and picked up beer cans for recycling. One of Harce’s friends had built her a beer can crusher which consisted of two tires with an electric motor and a chute that fed the cans between the tires and spit them out into a barrel. There was never a shortage of beer cans around the sawmill. When Harce built the brick barbecue pit, she had him set a couple of mailboxes into the chimney. This way, when the chimney got hot, she could bake bread in the mailbox. It was the best bread anyone ever ate.

She gathered eggs. She used a homemade broom to sweep the front yard, just like her mother and grandmother had done. Louann stayed busy.

Louann was a closet alcoholic. She loved to get drunk, but she had certain restrictions. You see, as much as Harce drank, he didn’t like her when she was drunk. He threw violent fits when she got drunk. I guess I could understand. I only saw her really drunk twice and I really didn’t want to be anywhere near her at those times. She was a wild, incomprehensible, screaming banshee when she was drunk. Obviously she knew this also and she did a really good job of getting just the right buzz and maintaining it throughout the day. She had to be very devious, though, in getting alcohol. Harce would bring her a six pack of Keystone beer every three or four days and he thought that was all she drank. She wasn’t above drinking up the vanilla extract, but she didn’t really like the taste.

So Louann learned to scrounge money. She couldn’t drive because she got in trouble every time she tried to drive somewhere and Harce never left an operational vehicle on the premises when he was not there. If he drove off in one truck, he had the coil wire from the other truck in his pocket. But Louann could scrounge beer money better than anyone around The Colons. She sold kindling to the Magic Market, she sold eggs to the neighbors, she cheated on the recycled beer cans, she made kudzu vine wreaths at Christmas time. She was full of financial schemes – all centered on buying beer.

Since she couldn’t drive, she had to share her largesse with her friend from down the road, Mary Sue, who had the use of a 1979 Chevrolet Impala that ran most of the time. For two dollars worth of gas, one can of beer, and three fresh chicken eggs, Mary Sue would drive Louann to the Magic Market whenever she wanted to go. Louann had to be careful to keep any indication that she had any money from Harce or he would take it. He knew why she wanted money. If he didn’t think she had any, he would just think that she was only drinking the beer that he brought her. That’s what she wanted him to think. That’s kind of how she won the lottery.

Louann told Marsha about winning the lottery but swore her to secrecy. Marsha, of course, told me and swore me to secrecy. If Harce had ever known, his wrath would have been legendary. I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell him. The story went like this. I think it was Harley Johnson, I’m not sure, but it really doesn’t matter, who came to see Louann to buy a piece of cured ham. She wanted five dollars for the ham but Harley only had four dollars and an unscratched lottery ticket. Louann didn’t really want the lottery ticket, but Harley was nice and had a nice smile and he also threw in a can of Budweiser so she took the deal. She put the ticket in with her financial stash and forgot about it.

A couple of days later, Louann counted and found that she had saved up ten dollars. Harce was gone to cut trees so she got some eggs and walked down the road to fetch Mary Sue. They cranked the old Chevy and headed down to the Magic Market. Neither of them had drunk a beer in two days and it wasn’t that they really wanted a twelve pack, they really needed a twelve pack. Louann had stuffed her money in her pocket without looking at it and when she reached in to hand Mary Sue the gas money, the lottery ticket fell out on the floor of the car.

Mary Sue looked at it. “Where did you get the lottery ticket?”

Louann told her about Harley Johnson pawning it off on her.

Mary Sue was incredulous. “And you ain’t scratched it yet? I ain’t

never known nobody that didn’t scratch them even before they got

out of the store.” So they both huddled over the Lucky Seven card

while Louann took a dime out of her pocket and scratched.

She scratched the covering off of the first block. “What is it?”

asked Mary Sue.

“It’s a by damn seven,” Louann replied. “All we need is two more

sevens. Fat chance, don’t you know.” She scratched another one.

Mary Sue yelled a modified rebel yell. “Look, it’s another seven.

Scratch the next one.”

Louann hesitated. The tension built. She slowly scratched the

third block. There was silence.

“It’s another seven, that’s three of them,” Mary Sue whispered.

“Scratch that box down there. That’s the one that tells you what

you won.”

Louann scratched it.

There was dead silence.

“My God,” whispered Louann

“Oh, oh my God,” whispered Mary Sue.

“It’s five thousand dollars,” whispered Louann. “That will buy

beer for the rest of my life.”

“What are we going to do?”

“We can’t let Harce know, he’ll take it.”

“We can’t take it into the Magic Market. Harry will tell

everybody.”

“Let’s buy some gas and go to town to the Indian store. He cain’t

tell nobody we know ‘cause they won’t go in there.”

Louann tried for a straight face and went into the Magic Market

to pay for the gas. Harry asked her about her beer, but she told him

she “wouldn’t be needing any today.” She ran out the door.

The Chevy was still running because Louann and Mary Sue had learned not to cut it off when it was away from home. They headed into town to the Indian store, which was the largest lottery purveyor around. They ran in and set the ticket on the counter. The clerk took the ticket and studied it carefully.

“You mus’ go to Dalton for a prize this size,” he observed. “Dey

only let us pay out up to one t’ousand dollars here. You mus go to

Dalton for dis one. Sorry.”

Outside, Louann and Mary Sue huddled together. “Damn, we got

to go to Dalton,” Louann said.

“It’s OK,” said Mary Sue. “I think the Chevy will make it. It’s only

70 miles. But we’ll need about fifteen dollars for gas. See what you can

get and I’ll rob my change jar and we can go tomorrow.”

Louann got up extra early the next morning and fixed a big breakfast for Harce. She wanted to get him out of there. The minute he was out of the driveway, she took off her bathrobe which covered her jeans and sweat shirt. She ran to Mary Sue’s house. The Chevy was already running. They stopped at the Magic Market and bought fourteen dollars and eighty six cents worth of gas and they were off.

They only had to stop and ask directions six times, but they finally found their way to the lottery redemption office. Mary Sue gave her rebel yell and Louann’s long hair flew in the wind as they ran into the office. Louann ran up to the counter and slapped the ticket down in front of a nice grey-haired, grandmotherly lady who was obviously used to excitement. The lady studied the card. She entered the serial number into the computer and got a studious look on her face.

“It looks fine, ladies.” She beamed. “If you’ll just let me see your

driver’s license, I’ll do the paperwork and give you your money.”

Louann looked at Mary Sue.

Mary Sue looked at Louann.

They both looked at the lady behind the counter.

“We ain’t got no drivers license,” Louann said.

The lottery lady gave them a sweet smile. She had seen this before.

“I’m sorry. Without a driver’s license, we can’t honor the amount on

the card. Perhaps you have a friend . . .”

Louann and Mary Sue almost cried. They went out and sat in

the car.

Louann thought for a while and asked, “What are we like going

to do?”

“I don’t know.” Mary Sue replied, “That lady said maybe if we had

a friend . . .”

Louann brightened, “Like, what about Leroy? Has he got

any license?”

“I know he does. He just got out of DUI school and got

them back.”

“Reckon he’d do it and keep his mouth shut?”

“Reckon he would for a hunnerd dollars.”

“That’d be worth it. Let’s go get Leroy. He lives in Sugar Hill. That

ain’t but twenty miles.”

“I hope he’s home.”

“I bet he’s home, he’s laid off and he’s getting unemployment.

He’s probably out of beer. He’s home.”

Forty-five minutes later, they pulled up to the front of Leroy’s trailer. It was easy to find. It was the first trailer in the second row of the trailer park on Highway 27 in Sugar Hill. Leroy was sitting on the porch.

Louann hollered, “Hey, Leroy.”

Leroy grinned and waved. “Hey Louann. Hey, Mary Sue. What

y’all doing here?”

“We thought you might want some beer.”

“You got that right.”

“You got any drivers license?”

Leroy took a drag from his Marlboro Light. “Yeah, I got them

back the other day.”

“Well get them license and get in the car and we’ll go get

some money and we’ll get you some beer and we’ll give you a

hunnert dollars.”

Leroy really didn’t understand, but he had a chance to ride around with a couple of good-looking women and he really didn’t have much else to do but sit on the porch, so he got in the back seat of the Impala. They explained the situation on the way. They were careful not to tell Leroy exactly how much money was involved until they had made a deal and shook on it. Leroy said he would be happy with a hundred dollars and some beer. He didn’t have nothing else to do.

Back in Dalton, the ladies grinned big as they walked in with Leroy and saw the same nice grey-haired, grandmotherly lady behind the counter. She looked at the ticket again. She punched the numbers in the computer again. She entered Leroy’s driver’s license number in the computer. She got a large smile on her face and said,

“If you will wait a moment, Leroy, I will have a check for you. The Georgia Lottery

appreciates your support.”

She turned to a printer which was already processing the check.

The grey-haired lady tore off the check and brought it to the

counter.

“Here you are, Leroy. One hundred and twenty six dollars

and forty two cents. And congratulations Leroy, your child support

payments have now been caught up completely.”

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

Copyright 2009 John P. Schulz

Coffee with Bubba–How to catch a horse

COFFEE WITH BUBBA:  “HOW TO CATCH A HORSE”

 Morning conversations with my redneck friend Bubba give me a lot of things to think about.  I like to share these stories and observations on occasion. Here is “How to catch a horse.”

horse and baby

Every time the boys got close, the horses moved just out of reach

Bubba comes to my “office” for coffee about three mornings a week. He usually shows up at 7:45.  I had told him that 6 until 8:30 in the morning is my quiet time that I use for writing and ciphering and such as that, but he just keeps on coming.  One day, I decided to write down some of the things he was telling me in order to make up for the interruption.  Bubba doesn’t seem to mind if I am typing while he talks.

Bubba takes a break to ponder a bit of philosophy.

Bubba takes a break to ponder a bit of philosophy.

Yesterday, Bubba walked in with a grin on his face and went straight to the coffee pot.  He poured himself a cup and sat down on the couch. He took a sip and looked at me with a smug sort of half smile.  That was how I always knew a new “redneck story” was coming.

“Hey, John.  You know Miss Peggy don’t you—down the other side of Leroy’s house?”

I told him that I had met her and she seemed to be nice.

“Waal,” he said, “you know them city folks that done bought that farm up on the other side of Miss Peggy’s? Their name is Marcino or something like that.  They’re yankees. Come from Ohio. Bought that farm sometime last summer.”

I told him that I had heard about them but had never really talked with them.

“Waal”, he said, “I went over to Miss Peggy’s the other night to look at why her riding lawnmower won’t run and when I got it fixed, she asted me to set on the porch and have a glass of sweet tea.  Man, this here is some really good coffee, John. Helen’s coffee ain’t near this good.”

“Anyway, we was settin there on the porch and we seen this here really pretty horse coming down the road and it had this baby colt following it.  They had done got loose from the yankee’s farm.  They was coming down the road with a sort of lost look.  You know how a lost horse looks?  Kinda like he don’t know where to go but he’s got to go somewheres?”

I nodded and stopped for a sip of coffee.  I had seen a horse in that situation, running a bit, stopping to look around, moving timidly in unfamiliar territory.  Actually, I’d been in that situation myself, now and then.

Bubba continued, “Waal, that horse done decided to go over to Mr. Johnson’s house acrost from Miss Peggy’s and he stopped to eat him some grass cause it was tall cause Mr. Johnson don’t never cut his grass.  And then we seen them two Marcino teenage boys coming running up the road with a rope.  They was after them horses.

“Next, them two boys started running up to the mama horse but when they got there the horse had moved to the other side of the yard and that baby followed.  The boys run after them again and the horses moved jest out of reach.  Every time they went after the momma horse, the horse moved. Every time the horse moved, the baby moved.  We could see them boys warn’t never going to ketch them horses.”

Bubba got up, poured himself another cup of coffee, and sat back down.

“Waal, we could tell them boys warn’t never going to ketch that thar horse and then Miss Peggy hollered out, ‘Hey, you boys come on over here and set on the porch a while.’ And them boys told Miss Peggy they had to ketch the horses or their mother would skin them alive.

“Waal, Miss Peggy, she told them boys to get their butts over to the front porch and get them some sweet tea and she’d larn them how to ketch a horse so they come on over to the porch and she got them some ice tea.  Them boys loved that tea ‘cause they was sweating and tarred from chasing that horse.  That’s when Miss Peggy went to work.

“Miss Peggy walks kind of slow and she went to the shed and got her a metal bucket and then she went to the other side of the shed and put some shelled corn in the bucket—about half full, dontcha know.

“Then she told them boys to be quite and they said they would and Miss Peggy walked slow like she does all the way across the street and set down on a stump in Mr. Johnson’s yard.  She just set there.  The horses watched her out the side of their heads.

“Then Miss Peggy, she started this here low whistle and that horse raised its head and looked straight at her.  Miss Peggy acted like she was eating that corn and going ‘mmmm  mmmm’ kinda low and that momma horse kinda walked slowly over to her and sniffed the bucket.  Then, next that there horse waited for Miss Peggy to move and she didn’t even blink an eye—jest sat there going ‘mmm  mmm mmm’  kinda low.  Then she petted the horse on its nose and scratched between its ears.

how to catch a horse

get some feed and hum a slow tune soft and low. She’ll come

“Then, that there horse, she started eating that corn and next, the she stepped back and let the baby horse eat some. After a bit, Miss Peggy just kind of stood up and walked over to her house and that there horse follered her right up to the porch steps. The pretty baby colt came on right behind.  She taken the halter and the rope from them Marcino boys and she put it on the horse.

“You shoulda seen the looks on them boys’ faces.

“Miss Peggy handed the least one of them boys the rope and then she pointed her finger and said, ‘I hope this will teach you to close the gate.’” Them boys said they would be more careful.

“Then Miss Peggy said, ‘Now, I want you boys to know that you ain’t never going to ketch a horse by chasin’ it.  A horse is a curious creature and you got to make it want to come.

“’I know you boys cain’t think like a girl, but if you could, you would know that you kin catch anything you want anytime you want—All you got to do is hum a tune low and easy, and use the proper bait.’”

It was time for Bubba to open his shop so he rinsed out his cup and headed for the door.

“You be careful, now, John.  See you around.”

More “Coffee with Bubba stories:

Bubba the squirrel trainer

Bubba’s Christmas Letter

This is a work of fiction.  Copyright 2010 by John P. Schulz

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

Try “see inside the book” Harce’s picture is on the cover

 

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