Father’s Day is coming, so here are two of my dad’s stories on the joys of fatherhood.
Grandpa’s Young ‘Uns by “Uncle” John Fussner
Grandpa and Grandma had a whole passel of young ‘uns, but were never satisfied or someth’n. Could be they jest didn’t know what they had. Then agin, on them long winter nights, with no newspapers to read, no radio to listen at, or boob tube to eyeball, what was left to do but to hit the shucks? Sides that, goin’ to bed ain’t sayin’ you’re goin’ to sleep. After ’bout a baker’s dozen or so, Grandma gave birth to a likely-lookin’ pair of twin boys.
Grandpa picked up the fust one and said, “Ma, name him what you will, but this’n I’m callin’ E.” He put that one to Grandma’s breast and picked up th’ other one saying, “This ‘un will answer to ‘Nuff. Together, they is E – Nuff, and best we be rememberin’ that. So be hit.”
Grandpa’s Hired Hand by “Uncle” John Fussner
Grandpa’s homestead was ‘twixt two mountains in a narry valley. The ground was so poor that the subsoil came up to the third rail on the fence. The pasture was so sparse that the rabbits had to pack a lunch to cross it. The well water was so hard that he had to break hit with a hammer to fill a cup.
Grandpa had to stay thar ’cause with land that poor, he couldn’t find no one to foreclose on hit. He couldn’t even get the sheriff to hold a sale. In the early years, it bothered him some ’cause the farm were too big fer one man to work, and too poor fer to hire he’p.
Then one day a drifter come by ridin’ a flea-bitten, crowbait, rat-tailed, striped mule. The pore critter was so small and the drifter so tall that it looked like the mule had six legs. Well sir, the drifter rode up to Grandpa, stood up, and let his jackass walk right out from under him.
The drifter and Grandpa sat an’ jawed a spell, and the upshot was that the drifter would work fer Grandpa and take IOU’s ‘stead of cash, sein’ as how thar were no cash, nor likely to be any fer quite a spell. Well sir, after a yar, the IOU’s were worth more’n the farm; so Grandpa gave the drifter the farm fer the IOU’s, but Grandpa didn’t hanker to leave; so he went to work fer the drifter. After a yar he got back the farm.
This went on fer ’bout ten yars, ’til the drifter says to Grandpa one day that he had to be movin’ on. He ‘lowed as how he jest couldn’t stay in one spot very long, and always hankered to see what was over the next hill and ’round the next bend. By this time Grandpa had young’uns to he’p in the fields, the oldest bein’ all of eleven, and big ’nuff to skin a a pair of mules. Grandpa was highly pleased to be rid of the stranger.
More of my dad’s stories at https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/daddy-john-stories/ and https://storytellermary.wordpress.com/category/stories/daddy-john-stories/