Skip to content

Out On The Mudline

On Occasion You Need A Bottom Pan Plow

By W. P. Sissell

    In the Crowder area there were many people whom we knew. One reason for this was that my Dad, in addition to serving as a member of the Yalobusha County ASCS Board, was active for many years in the measurement of the cotton allotment acres and had to answer many questions of farmers in Yocona bottom about the government programs that started in the early 1930s.

  Just up the road from us, but still on the banks of Dry Bayou, lived Kenneth Rotenberry. Not far from him you could find his brother, Doyle, who moved to the delta shortly after the impoundment of the water in Enid Reservoir. Doyle and I became good friends. Doyle, Ralph Monteith, and I did a lot of fishing together. Their younger brother, M. T., was the Vocational Agriculture teacher at Taylor School for many years. I have a picnic table that my Dad and M. T. designed and built. It has  a pipe and iron frame that they guaranteed not to rot—although it will rust, if not kept painted.

  Some of you might remember the several wooden bridges on the Will Austin levee. Doyle took the flooring loose on those bridges, tied the planks and beams together and with his outboard motor and boat towed them out to the water’s edge. The county paid him for this service.

  I wonder how Will Austin and his wife fared when they had to move. Mrs. Austin always had a pan of corn bread muffins waiting for hungry boys when they had been to the swimming hole. Will always gave us permission to get a watermelon—just one—and “please leave the rinds in the patch cause they would attract animals and ruin my melon crop.”

  That hole in Yocono is where I learned to swim while playing alligator with the big boys. They were watching me close for when I jumped off the bank into the deep water they came close as I swam to the shallow water.

Ralph Monteith

  Shortly after we got the Dry Bayou farm Dad brought his long time friend, Robert Monteith, down and showed him a place that was for sale, although not openly on the market. It had a nice, although small, house on the southern part and several tenant houses around a loop of Dry Bayou and the county road today is called Dry Bayou road, but no equipment sheds. Mr. Robert and his son, Ralph, bought the farm. Ralph and his wife, Wanda Lee, moved into the first house on the Northeast corner of the farm. The first order of business for the Monteith’s was the building of a large equipment shed.

  Nannette and Wanda soon became fast friends. I had known Wanda many years for the Lees lived almost directly behind my uncles in Water Valley. Wanda and I graduated in the same class (1943) at Water Valley High School.

  Although Ralph and I had known each other for a number of years, after we became neighbors we became close friends and helped one another whenever we got in trouble (timewise) with our crops. After the shed building was over, they had about forty acres of cover crop vetch that had done real well. It was from knee to waist deep. When they tried disking it under it was evident that a disk would not do the job. I told them to go get our three bottom pan plow. Remember the one that I used on the southeast quarter?

    From the time I hit the drop rope that ole plow began to hide that vetch. In a short time they were able, with a second tractor, to get the block of land ready for planting. This time too, rattle snakes were disturbed. Mrs. Monteith, “Ms. Kate,”Ralph’s mother, killed one with her walking stick at her front door step, It wasn’t wise to step down from the tractor in that lush vegetation.

  At one time Ralph and I experimented with a two shift operation. It lasted for about three days. I stayed with the day shift but usually at about the time I got to sleep the men needed me for something and I had to arise. After two days and most of two nights I stopped that except for odd occasions. Ralph found the same thing necessary.

  On one occasion when we were both a little behind—we were bedding back, putting down fertilizer, early in the planting season and the prediction was rain. We put middle busters on our two C Farmalls late in the afternoon (had Joe and the men do it), ate supper and went back to the fields. We followed, or led, one another over close to a hundred acres that night. We got all the fertilizer covered in the beds before the rain.

Christmas Eve Night

  How did you like that little taste of winter? When we got up Christmas morning Shipp showed up to drive us to our oldest daughter, Nancy’s, house for late breakfast or early lunch. Our children are looking out for us and we thank them.

  Our wish for you is a happy New Year and many more.

Leave a Comment