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Kountry Life Memories

We Didn't Learn That in the City
I was born in rural North Alabama but left to live in the city when Dad was stationed in Florida. We went back to visit every summer for several weeks at a time and we stayed mostly at Grandma's house but we always visited Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe was successful but even in 1950 most farmers farmed with mules. There were plenty of tractors but the average farm size was so small in the Piedmonts that it made sense to stay with mules. Uncle Joe had a matched pair of gray mules and he regularly exhibited them. On our first weekend sleepover my brother, cousin and I immediately gravitated to the water well and proceeded to drop the bucket and crank it up and take a long drink using the dipper hanging on the shingled roof over the well. It seemed wasteful to pour the water on the ground (or it was more fun to hear the water splash back into the bricklined well) but one bucketfull was followed by a couple more until Uncle Joe heard the commotion. He was a kind man but had already raised his children and I guess he probably assumed that most people knew enough not to pour water back into the well. If you were raised on a farm you knew not to add more grit to your grits but we were from the city and until I noticed the funny color of my drinking water at lunch I had never given much thought to the effect of stirring up the well water. Uncle Joe never did get on us about our mistake because he knew we didn't know any better and eventually the water cleared up. But I'll never forget those mules and the pleasure those fine, hard working, people took in their lives. Now that I'm middle aged and can afford it I bought a similar farm and hope to see if I can recreate some of the things from that North Alabama farm.

Hank, from FL, entered 2000-03-13



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