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Out On The Mudline

All Alone In That Ninety-Plus Acres Of Field

By W. P. Sissell

A Word of Clearance

  In a conversation this past week I ran across some misunderstanding of my identity. Let me begin today by tryng to identify myself once more. I am the third child of Reuel and Sadie Brower Sissell, William Parks Sissell. I had an older brother, Reuel, Jr., and an older sister, Lucile, and a younger sister, Ruth. Although I was born in Water Valley, my family moved to the farm out on O’tuckalofa Creek when I was five years old. I went to school at Camp Ground thru the eighth grade. The Nolan (Cotoner) place was in the Sylva Rena School District which became a part of the Water Valley School District after the burning of the Sylva Rena School and my folks chose to send me to High School in Water Valley.

Bea Rockett

  The one thing I remember about Bea is that he was a good and hard worker. If you remember a previous story about that big southeast quarter section—rows a half mile long‚—Bea got to finish putting the pan plow over it. Afterwards he got to disc that field. In the meantime several low places held water. After running water furrows the field was partially drained. Every time Bea came to one of these wet low place, Bea, rather than bother anyone else, toted willow poles from the nearby loop of Dry Bayou to use in getting his tractor out of the mud. We picked up a trailer load of these poles before disking a second time. He was as alone in that ninety plus acre field as I had been. He too, got to know our south neighbor, Dean Cook, and family.

  Bea had a big family, and although the children were young they all hit the field with daddy and mother when cotton chopping time came. Bea was most always on my side. One rainy day all the men on the place were congregated at the shop. As I left the house thru the back door (they could not see me at the back door) I heard Bea say, “Look, all you fellows better leave Mr. William alone and just do what he says. If he tells you to go set on the top of that big barn you do just that, cause if he tells you to do that he’s ‘gonna’ pay you.” Bea had been the one who got the men together to put that grain bin up one night.

  When we settled up after the crop was in and sold, Bea had a considerable sum of money due. I was slightly taken aback when he asked me to hold the money until he called for it. When I questioned him about this he said his wife would spend it all in about a week and he needed a little along.

  I lost track of Bea after we moved to the Hotophia Farm, although he and one or two of his boys did help pick up hay on the Taylor place, for James Bibbs told him when to come to the hay field. He did move back to the Water Valley area.

A Trip to the Mountains

  Nanette and I spent a couple of hours last Sunday with Bob and Mary Samuels in Beebee, Arkansas before traveling on up to Clinton.

  You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, or (662) 563-9879. Do have a great week.


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