As I sit watching the dust swirl across the driveway leading up to the house I see a truck pulling what looks like a trailer full of roofing supplies. As it pulls up towards the back of the house I notice the bed of the truck is just full of kids. Dad steps off the back porch to greet the landlord with a fingertip from his forehead ‘I see you brought the whole crew.’
The landlord whose name escapes me now had five boys. Ages ranged from five years old clear up to about twelve. As they jumped down out of the bed of that truck he motioned them to line up. I’m sitting there just watching and waiting to see what will happen next.
About that time my mother comes out of the house with a basket of wet laundry on her hip. She stops.. she looks. I stand up and by that time my brother and sisters have joined me. He stands in front of the smallest.. reaches into his back pocket pulling out a pouch of Red Man Chewing Tobacco. As he open the pouch the first son holds his hand out. Very precise the landlord places a wad of tobacco in each and every hand of those five boys. Now by this time my mother has stepped up making the remark…’And just what are you planning on having those boys spit in?’ without missing a beat he turned and replied…’Well Mrs’s they just spit over the side when they’s up there so if ya don’t want spat on I reckon you best stay inside till we’re done.’..the look on my mothers face was priceless not to mention my Dad having to turn his head so she wouldn’t see him laughing.
Mother hurried to hang her clothes and very cautiously went back into the house. Us children sat on the corral fence in awe of what they were doing. Even the littlest of them. He was in charge of the nail bucket…up and down and up and down..spit.. climb up the ladder….spit.. climb down the ladder…..this went on for hours. The other boys were up top so it was even more intriguing…watching them tear off all the charred wood tossing it over the side into the trailer..then spit. Now that I think about it I think this is where I learned to spit. I’d hear one say to the other..’I bet I can hit that there bucket…SPLAT…oh it was on…my brother Bob and I picked up on that real quick..drawing a line on the ground with a stick…’I bet I can spit further than you!’ My mother was so miffed…I can still hear her fussing at my Dad..’Keith don’t let them do that..that’s just disgusting’ All he did was turn towards us..wink…and say ‘Mom says not to do that.’ Oh my Dad was a card. He grew up so very poor but was one of the most laid back kinda guys until you got on his wrong side then katy bar the door! I’ve seen him mad and it ain’t pretty.
Lunch time rolls around with the sun hot as hades sweat rolling down their back they climb down the ladder heading straight towards the water tank. Dad had set the cattle out that morning so they were no where to be seen. I remember this just like it was yesterday….the little one pumps the well handle a couple three times as to get it primed…the water from that well was always ice cold no matter how hot it was outside. He stuck his head under that water.. oh you could see him just melt….about that time the older boys sneak up on him grab him by the seat of his pants giving him a toss right in that cow tank, He came up spittin and an a sputtering like no other. Bob and I just sat there and laughed and laughed. Water going everywhere but they was havin fun cooling off.
Mother had ventured out by this time taking a walk around the back and sides of the house. The look on her face you could tell she wasn’t happy. Head shaken back and forth words coming out of her mouth that you couldn’t hear.. probably a good thing we couldn’t … then ‘The look’ it was the one that made your blood run cold. Dad took his chance walking up to her knowing she was miffed. I could hear her scolding Dad about how the boys had just spit all over everything…her flowers the bushes not to mention us kids walking around in that. Taking notice of what Mom had pointed out he just turned to her in his droll kinda way..’For cryin out loud Don..short for Donna… it’s just a little tobacco spit nothin a little rain wont wash away.’
Round two….lunch eaten..tobacco passed out..up on the roof they went..shingles laid hammers pounding and spit just a flyin! Oh what a day.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my stories thus far. I have so many more. Hope to see ya back here tomorrow.