Out On The Mudline

Bicycle On Wish List Of Many In ‘Po Folks Category’

By W. P. Sissell

Days to Hope

As I prepared the Sunday School Lesson as I do almost every week, one of the lines that I wrote was, “Our prosperity and standard of living often tempts us”—-.  Even in the darkest days during the depression era, we were a land of plenty. It is likely that I would not have grown up on a farm if that depression era had not enveloped our country. As far as money was concerned there was a scarcity.  Those nickels that my cousin James Crocker got and those that I garnered for opening the gate for visitors were welcomed with glee.  As James says, even today, he was in the big time of money making (Mr. Wiley Brown, our mail carrier always gave me a dime). Most all of us belonged in the “Po folks category.” But we wished.  

As many of you know, sometimes in the fall the Sears Roebuck Catalogue arrived via mail.  Along about the time I was in the sixth grade I had my “wisher” going for a bicycle.    Russell Wright ordered and bought the “lead” fancy bike in the catalogue that year.  It was some kind of b e a u t I f u l piece of machinery.  Russell had his own money for he was driving one o the tractors for my dad.  I just had to wish and hint.  

On Christmas morning I had my bike—not a brand new one from Sears but a second hand one that mother had found somewhere.  It was repainted and really a very pretty bike.  It is likely that that was one of the good things that happened to me in growing up.  You would be surprised if I enumerated all the different things I learned about a bicycle from that old bike.  I rode it all over the country, conquered Fly Mountain (found out that I could coast almost all the way home from the top), and Peter Brown Hill (it probably should have been called a mountain for bicyclists). As I ride the exercise bike in Cardiac Rehab these days I pretend that I’m riding those four miles into town.

Another Bicycle Story

When I told my wife, Nannette, what I intended to write about this week she immediately told me her bicycle story.  It seems that when the Sears Roebuck Catalogue came out (must have been the spring and summer edition)  it had pictures of just the prettiest girl’s bicycle she had ever seen.  From what she said I think she must have worn those pages out.  Mother and Dad promised her that bicycle—if they had a good peach crop–!  She tells me (I don’t think she told mom and dad) she prayed for that peach crop every day.  The crop was good and the mailman brought that bicycle shortly before Christmas.  

She went on to tell about a number of rides she and a friend made.  Her major ride was to Taylor to pick up the daily mail during World War II for they got a letter from her brother almost every day.  On the mail trip she, almost every day, stopped at Van Cooper’s house (actually outside the net wire fence) to let Van’s twin grandchildren, Van and Ann Cooper, reach through the fence and blow the electric horn on her bicycle.  

Most of us were in that same “Po folks boat” but we worked hard and probably fewer of us went hungry than today.  One young friend tells me that when he told his dad that he was going to be paid five dollars per hour dad told him sternly and emphatically that no man was worth that.

Do have a great week.  I think that I told you that a friend and I were going to visit Goshen Methodist Church Sunday.  Hugh Hunt (one of his grandfathers is buried in the cemetery there) had a great experience there.  What a beautiful little church it is.  We made our week with that trip.  

You can reach me most any time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, 662-563-9879 or wsissell@bellsouth.net.

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