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Repayment For Help Might Be A Day’s Work

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.     

Frequently I see people in my age group who, while complimentary of the column, would still like to see more stories of the old days in Water Valley. Of course that was the premise of this column when I began it over fourteen years ago.

However in recent years we’ve tried to concentrate on personal interviews which has become popular with our younger readers. Jack has a column each week called “Looking Back” and his dad does a bi-weekly column of railroad lore and both are very popular. However, I must admit that I miss some of the old times I used to write about, so having said that I’m going to alternate between the interviews and old times from my perspective and  hope you will enjoy  them both.   

Recently you heard me tell about my experiences after my wreck which brought back some memories about those days. Many times I would walk to town which was nearly five miles knowing if someone drove up, I’d be offered a ride. Sometimes I would ride in a truck bed sharing the space with another person who had also been given a ride.

Once Mr. Garfield Moore gave me a ride in his farm wagon which was always pulled by a good pair of mules. Mr. Garfield usually kept his mules in a trot and little did I know then that one day it would be my sad duty to take his body from that same wagon when I worked at Newman-Gardner.

I’ve often thought that Mr. Garfield died doing what he enjoyed, sitting in a wagon seat behind a great team of mules.  The Douglas family that helped me out of my car simply displayed that southern hospitality that sets us apart from other parts of the country. After I learned to drive on Mother’s Model A Ford, I did the same for people I saw walking on the road. That same neighborly concern was drilled into us from birth and we never forgot it.

Papa Baddley had a party line phone and frequently neighbors would come over to use the phone to call a doctor or one of their relatives. In those days if someone came by and it was time to eat, it was understood that they were invited to sit down with the family and they usually would. It was customary for a neighbor to borrow a farm implement, a cup of sugar, even aspirin—it was just something you did.

If someone needed help he would call on a neighbor. Since nobody had much money, sometimes the repayment for help would be a day’s work. 

James Alton Avant’s family lived on Papa’s place when we were six years old and James and I visited each other almost daily. We were given a  lot of freedom, but when he came to our house he had a time to go home and the same when I visited him. We both were very careful to tell our  mothers to call time and we always obeyed.

During the summer we would wander all over the hills and woods and never got lost or snake bit even though we were barefooted.  There was a down side to all this because we had no antibiotics and; people died of tetanus, tuberculosis, pneumonia or appendicitis, but we learned to live with it.

Shine Tyson showed two movies on Saturday for a dime each but sometimes we didn’t have the dime – but all in all it was generally happy times.  Let me hear from you as I’m sure many of you have experiences you could share with us. My email address is or write me c/o The Herald and have a great week.


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