The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
Something I forgot to mention on earlier tapes when I was talking about exploring the forests and swamps around the village of Sicily Island was persimmon trees. Every so often we would find persimmon trees in the swamp. If anyone has ever bitten into a green persimmon, they will know what I’m talking about.
You could bite into one of those green persimmons and it would draw your mouth up something terrible. I don’t know what was in them but it would almost choke you. After the first frost of the year, the persimmons would begin to ripen. A ripened persimmon was one of the best tasting things.
My mother loved persimmons. She’d always tell me to bring her some persimmons if I came across any when I was out exploring. I always made a special effort to find her some persimmons.
I remember one persimmon tree that was over in the swamp going towards Peniston’s and Brown’s lakes. It was a great big ole tree. When I got out of school I would walk over there. It was a good ways from my house. By the time I walked over there and made it back home it would almost be dark.
My mother told me about the time they all went out to Grandpa and Grandma Smith’s house back in 1908 or 1909 when she was about nine years old.
|James Luther Smith|
|Henrietta D. Smith|
James Luther and Henrietta Smith were Grandma Steele’s grandparents.
She and her sister, Nettie, were raised by their grandparents when their mother, Ginny, died at a young age.
The Smith family was a big family. They would all gather at the Smith house on Sundays.
The Smith house used to sit on some land out behind what is now the cemetery just outside town.
|Smith House: J. L. and Henrietta seated LtoR; Jennie standing|
|Formerly property of James Luther Smith; farmed by Grandpa Steele|
|Old Smith house sat at the back of this land|
On this particular Sunday, some of the boys and girls had gone out to a persimmon tree that stood behind the old Smith house. Mother said her cousin Charlie Smith was up in the tree shaking limbs to make the persimmons fall.
Grandpa Steele was out walking around in the fields he farmed that were right beside the Smith house. He saw Charlie and all the other children and decided to sneak up on them.
Once he got close he let out a scream like a wildcat.
Charlie dropped out of that tree and led the pack of children who were running and screaming to get away from that wildcat.
Mother said every time Grandpa Steele told that story he would laugh and laugh.
Note: Parts 1-63 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of the blog.