Out On The Mudline

Early Morning Best Time For Getting Work Done

W. P. Sissell

A Typical Day

My first duty today is to those twins, Van and Ann, who liked to reach through the wire and blow the horn on Nannette’s bicycle. They just happened to be the niece and nephew of my good friend Albert Oliphant, his brother Norwood Oliphant’s children. They were/are Oliphants, not Coopers.  I do apologize for the error.

As I got older, in my high school years, I began to share more in the work on the farm.  The dairy was an integral part of the entire operation but the daily milking and chores that were a part of it, were carried out by the family. My sister, Ruth, and I owned several cows and sold our part of the milk separately.  This gave us an independent source of income.  

Do you like to get up early in the morning—if you haven’t you’ve missed a wonderful time of day.  Possibly because of those early days, there are few days that I do not awaken at five o’clock.  In my high school years I often “sneaked” out of the house, trying to surprise Mom and Dad by having the cows already in the barn ready for the milking.   Each of us milked the same “string of cows” each morning and night.  Mine numbered nine.

Today’s morning reminded me of many of those mornings out on O’tuckalofa, very foggy.  I often walked to the gap that led to the night pasture, we called it the “Flat,” beside the orchard.  On a foggy morning like today I had to wear gumboots or get wet to the knees because of the heavy dew that usually accompanied  the fog.  All I had to do was call the names of one or two of the lead cows and in a very few minutes, finding the gap open, they would soon all be ready and waiting at the barn door.  When I opened the door they headed immediately for their own personal stanchion.  At this time of the year they would be fed only at milking time according to the pounds of milk they were producing. During the winter months the ensilage was always put in the trough before the cows got into the barn. Most of the time this was done in the afternoon after cleaning the barn.

A Weekend Day

When the Grenada airbase and Camp McCain were established, Kraft, owners of the cheese plant in Water Valley,  won the contract for supplying milk to the bases. The company selected a number of high producing dairies to supply the milk for their pasteurizing plant north of Grenada.  Our dairy was one of those selected.  Mr. Clint Morgan, a neighbor who ran a milk route, was chosen to pick up the milk from the various dairies for delivery to Grenada. Mr. Morgan’s sons, Charles Luther, “Fuzzy,” Morgan and Sammie usually ran the route on the weekend.  If my chores were all finished I could go with them.  If you never tasted one of those Kraft milkshakes you’ve really missed something.  

World War II interrupted our fun times;  Fuzzy went to the South Pacific and I wound up with a European tour. Nevertheless, we still had memories of those fun days of swimming in Johnson’s Creek or Ford’s Well Lake, riding mules in Yocona Bottom or drinking chocolate milkshakes at Grenada Farms.  The work ethic was so woven into our daily life that most of the time it too was a part of our fun day.  

Do have a great week.  It’s August and I’ve had another anniversary and birthday. I’ve had a great life.  You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, 662-563-9879 or wsissell@bellsouth.net.

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