Saturday, January 12, 2008

Growing up hillbilly

My Dad and his brothers, (not to mention the entire population in the area), were hillbillies. They were, God love them all, extremely under educated and totally unaware of it. They were as country as an outhouse, and so full of life that if one of them had needed burying, you'd have to beat his liver to death with a stick to get him to lay down!

My Grandfather died at an early age, leaving my Grandmother with five boys and two girls, in a three room house that a self respecting rat would by pass. The house was in such good shape that when she died, the family burned it to bring property values up.

This lot was as wild as any bunch of outlaws that ever went unhung. Needless to say, discipline was slightly unenforceable. When plans went awry, the boys would simply and literally run for the hills, knowing their mother would be unable to catch them. Some time later, when the lights were out and everyone was in bed, the perp would sneak in and join their brothers in the foolish belief that he had gone unobserved. After some time, when everyone was nice and comfy and warm, Mammaw would whip the covers back and beat the hound out of everyone she could reach, to be sure she got the right one, or to make up for the infractions (felonies?) missed during the day. The whole lot would scatter like a nest of rats out of any opening they could, doors and windows preferred.

They were a little rowdy. Naturally, someone set about helping with the discipline problems. The courts most likely. The boys were consigned to The Boys Home at Covington, Virginia.

When I was still a boy we went to visit the school and see Dad's records. Some of the records were written by my faher, who, it would seem, had an allergy to capitalization. The most common entry was E.P. XXXXX ran away.

The school I saw was so much better than what he was running to, it left me more than a little confused. Some times they would run to the woods and hide, and the other boys would bring them food until they were caught, or starved into returning.

Some times they got a little farther afield.

On one educational little trip they made it to Iron Gate. I saw Iron Gate after thirty years of development, it was still an armpit. I can't imagine it to be anything but "downtown nowhere" then. The boys were traveling broke in the Twenties. The only option was to sneak into a barn to get out of the weather, ounce again they were observed. Unfortunately for them there had been a bank robbery that day and the locals thought perhaps the boys were the perps. The sheriff woke the boys by poking them between the eyes, with a Thompson Sub machine Gun.
Dad said he opened his eyes looking down the barrel of a .45 caliber that looked like a stove pipe.

He said it was the most scared he had ever been. That included the invasion at Normandy.

Quite a start, I should think. He made no mention of the condition of his laundry, post awakening.

The boy's were ready to go back to the home.

1 comment:

Murphy said...


Heh, guns have a habit of being quite most surprising when you're least expecting them.