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Kountry Life Memories

Life Before Electricity
The day started off by me going to build the fire in the cook stove and unbedding the coals in the heater, and putting more wood in it. When the house was finished, now it's time to go milk. By the time I got back my mama had a feast on the table. Biscuits, smoked ham, bacon, sausage, fried potatoes, or home fries and all the fried yard eggs you wanted. My Pop always said to eat a good breakfast cause it was what set the rest of your day in order, and if you don't eat breakfast then the rest of the day won't be too good. Pop would give us a break after breakfast to let it 'settle down'.

In the summer me and brother would play and romp while Pop got every thing in order, and call us to work. If I had to go get the mules I knew my uncle was coming and I didnít like him, he didnít play. Mama played, and Pop really really played, but uncle didnít play. Some days after dinner Pop would halt the plowing and take us swimming. He would play and rough house with us just like one of the boys. Mama always said we would die with cramps and scold Pop, but he wouldnít hear her, and we went swimming anyway. I never figured out why Pop couldnít hear her, she was blasting me away.

We had another feast at dinner and a short break, but when we came to the house at supper time it was different. We had another feast, but no break, we had to get everything done before dark, then play some more. We had to quit playing and be back at the house before dusk, and get up the wood and water.

When that was all done we went to the living room and started reading and sometimes Mama would play the piano and sing. She always wanted to sing hymns or waltz. My Pop always wanted her to play boogy woogy, and most times he won the deal. She could play anything good and sing real pretty. I liked the 'Great Speckled Bird'. We had a battery powered radio, but we couldnít listen to it unless it was Saturday night. Then we could listen to the Grand Ole Opry. WSM in Nashville I think was the call letters. Man I loved that show. While we sat there by them coal oil lamps listening to Minnie Pearl and Hank Sr, and Roy Acuff I never imagined a day when we could chat on a electric type writer like this.

When it was Saturday I was in heaven. Brother and me only had to milk and get wood, then whatever we wanted to play was fine. Sometimes we were Injuns in the barns or crib and sometimes we were riding hosses or hawgs. If we couldnít catch a hoss we would catch an ole sow and ride anyway. If we were rowdy that day we had corn cob battles or sneaked off where we could ride Pop's bull. He never did figure out why the bull never gained weight, he just kept on worming him. We wasnít telling Pop that.

When the electric got there, brother and me didnít quit playing and rough housing, it was fun, and we loved it. Pop and me never did quit singing about that speckled bird either, so Mama couldnít quit playing the piano. I loved electric when we got it, but it made the television become the entertainment center and came between the singings and family time.

Our kids could spend hours sitting and watching the thing, and I got to confess it ainít off much around here either.

I always get a belly laugh when I hear a child say they're bored and there's nothing to do. I always remember what we did before electric came along. Shoot we wasnít ever bored. We had fun and enjoyed each other.

Jerry (Burrhead), entered 2000-01-11



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