November 10, 2014

Amanuensis Monday - The Stories That Should Be Told, Part 62

The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
I used to love to go out exploring along old fence rows in the fall of the year. 
There was always little ponds of water around all the cottonwood groves.  I guess they were called cottonwood slews.  The cattle that roamed freely through town would wade around in the little ponds.  Those ponds stayed in existence until the late 1940s when the town started filling them in with dirt. 
There was one of those little ponds out behind my mother and father’s place on some lots that I own.  At one time, there was also one behind Mr. Claude Enright’s house and one behind Doc Thomas’ house near the Gilbert house.  They were pretty good sized little ponds that held rainwater.  Sometimes they would dry up a little but there was always water in them.  I remember trying to catch crawfish in those ponds. 
Croker sacks
A scene comes to mind from back in 1934.  J. E. and Mickum Juneau lived near Mr. Claude Enright.  The three of us were over at the pond and had made us some seines out of croker sacks.  We had a stick on each end and we’d drag it around the pond.  Every once in a while we’d catch a crawfish or two. 
R. G. Price and his family had a couple of rooms in the old Spencer house that was close by the pond.  R. G. came outside and told me not to wade around in that old pond because I’d get the toe-itch from the mud.  Hell, I came out of there!  I checked my toes for a month or so to see if I was going to get toe-itch.  I never did get toe-itch but it ended my days of seining for crawfish.
I remember watching the sun go down late in the evenings when I was a little boy.  About the time the sun starting going down, the locusts would start singing.  It would be a steady roar.
There was an old electric water pump out behind Mr. Denham’s garage down from the Methodist Church on the other side of the street. 
Formerly Denham's Garage
I can remember hearing the squeaking sound that pump made.  I heard that a many a time while I was gazing in that direction as I watched the sun set from my house.
Once the sun went down, the frogs in Falcon Bayou would start up.  The bayou ran along the bluff until it met the head of the lake.  The noise made by the frogs was as loud and as steady as the noise made by the locusts. 
Courtesy of Bayou Momma Photography

Sunrise and the first break of the day would bring out the birds and you could hear them begin to sing. 
In the spring, once the dew had dried, people would be out in their gardens plowing.  I can still remember the smell of the fresh plowed earth. 

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, there were cow paths all over town.  I remember following the paths and wondering where all the cows went when they left town and headed down the paths. 
Courtesy of Bayou Momma Photography
Years later I realized that most of them went over in the swamps and grazed during the day.  Late in the evenings, the cows would come back up the paths and back into town.
I often wondered what time the cows went out and what time they came back.  Did they receive some kind of signal?  Did one lead the others? 
Courtesy of Bayou Momma Photography
I can remember being down on the bluff near the bayou and yelling to hear my echo.  I could never figure out why there were times when I wouldn’t hear the echo and other times when I would. 
Courtesy of Bayou Momma Photography
Sometimes I would stand out in front of our house, facing the old three-story school building down the road, and holler out and get an echo back.  I guess when I hollered, it would bounce off the old building.  
Sicily Island 3-story school
I’m still not sure what the sound bounced off of on the bayou and why I didn’t always hear the echo.

Note:  Parts 1-61 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of this blog.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this took me back to my childhood growing up on the Bayou Macon. Sigh, makes your heart hurt longing to go back in time to the simple way of life that I always loved. Great story, thanks for sharing!