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On The Mudline

Several years after we moved to the farm on the Mud Line we did not spend the Fourth of July in the usual way.  We all got into that 1929 Chevrolet truck and went to Ford’s Well. Those were the days shortly after the “Hey Days” of Fords Well.  

It must have been an election year too, because there was not much going on that interested me, as a young boy.  There were people making speeches, but I never found out what they were talking about.  The weather was about like its been here for the last few weeks—hot and sultry.  Of course we didn’t know anything about air conditioning then.  

I would have been having a lot more fun at home, for the McFarland picnic would have been going and the pasture would have been full of people.  I just hoped that they didn’t forget to bring us our gallon of Brunswick Stew (or we stayed away so long they missed us).

In talking with my wife, Nannette, about that day she came up with her own story.  It seems that on the Saturday before the Fourth the next week she decided that she was old enough to stay home –not go to town on Saturday afternoon with Mother and Dad—she expressed her desires and Mother and Dad left her at home—expressed her twelve-year-old independence. Of course she spent most of the afternoon preparing supper for the family—did it all alone.

Snuffy Smith Country Folks

About the middle of the afternoon, a truck drove up the lane to the house.  Two men came to the door, under the watchful eyes of Monkey (the Boss dog), Tootsie and Jack.  Most folks thought that Russell fed Monkey gunpowder when he was a puppy for he was a serious, mean dog—he would bite.  The men told Nannette that they were from Arkansas. When they stopped in Taylor someone told them to come there and ask about molasses.  

They thought that because her folks cooked molasses they might have some for sale.  

We Do Have Many Molasses

Now, Nannette knew that there were many buckets of molasses stored upstairs. When she asked how many buckets they were looking for they said they could handle one hundred.  Now mind you, Nannette is twelve years old and didn’t know how many of those stored buckets Mother and Daddy wanted to sell nor the price per gallon—but she priced them at one dollar per gallon which the men accepted and sold them—all hundred buckets—if the men would be so kind as to bring them from upstairs.  

As they finished paying and loading, one of the men asked, “Would you sell us that   (pointing to Jack) dog?”  Nannette replied, “Yes, for five dollars” (the dogs were Russell’s).

A Big Explosion?

After the men left she began thinking about what she had done—what if—maybe they didn’t want all those molasses sold. There might be a great explosion to celebrate this Fourth of July.  I didn’t know Nannette or her folks at the time but right now, because I did know them, I can just hear her Dad clapping his hands and saying, “You did just right ‘Baby’ we’ll have a big Fourth now,” and Russell saying—“You sold my dog—‘gimme’ my five dollars.”

That was Nannette’s Independence Day, much more interesting than mine at Ford’s Well.  Seriously though, if you’ve ever taken down the flag, Old Glory, at Retreat, especially in a foreign land, you’ve missed something great. Just seeing it wave there always gave me a thrill because it meant we had claimed that little bit of territory.  

On this Independence Day PLEASE don’t forget our people scattered all over the globe, that are on the cutting edge out there in places that we don’t know about.

Do have a good week. That is our wish for you.  You can always reach me at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606,  662-563-9879 or

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