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Feed Back on Short Short Story... Plezzzz

Postby squeekgo » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:19 pm

Free Spirits
By J B Hughes

“Boy, go yonder to the shed, grab the burlap bag sittin’ by the wood heater, it’s got a big number 4 painted on it, and brang it to me,” ole man Chester Skinner said with his commandin’ demeanor.

“Okay Pawpaw,” responded his six year old great grandson, Bobby Jo Hunter, dressed in his favorite attire after his life changin’ event occurred almost a year ago this month, it was when he saw his first Roy Rodgers western. Fitted out with duly worn blue jeans, a belt with a large silver rodeo buckle, scuffed up cowboy boots, a double holster fitted with two six shooter cap guns, complimented by a once white t-shirt, red checkered sweat scarf and topped off with a large brimmed dusty black cowboy hat Santa brought this past Christmas.

As Bobby Jo rode his stick horse to the shed, surrounded by a make-believe western town, he was distracted by a bank robbery in progress. He had to intervene, because that’s what a hero like Roy Rogers does, so a shootout ensued with bullets flyin’ in all directions and one by one the bad guys were fallin’. With pawpaw Chester resting in his old aluminum chair, in the side yard, under a 100 year old live oak, accompanied by his mongrels, three pure as dirt lazy guard dogs layin’ close by, calls out to Bobby Jo, “HURRY IT UP BOY! I ant gonna sit here all day waitin’ on you!”

Although Chester, more than likely, would sit there most of the day, passing time whittlin’ a figure out of a hunk of aged wood, waitin’ for the regulars to drop by that spend a few minutes or less for a short visit, usually offerin’a gift of some sort for this seasoned 83 year old back woods patriarch.

Riding his stick horse back from the shed with the success of killin’ or roundin’ up those outlaws, Bobby Jo is burdened by the heavy burlap bag.

Pawpaw takes notice of the load and calls out, “Bobby Jo, don’t drag that bag on the ground, put yore horse down, he’ll be fine and hold the bag up with both hands.” Bobby Jo does as pawpaw says and leaves his horse and continues to the cool shade beneath the majestic oak, “here it is pawpaw.”

Chester looks up from his whittlin’ and says, “Let me see whatcha’ got Bobby Jo.” Chester grabs the bag and turns it around to read the big number 4 and comments, “That’s good son, you got number 4.”

“I sure did pawpaw, I’m learnin’ my numbers good!”

“Keep it up!” Chester smiles his pawpaw smile.

He then unties the grass string knot and opens up the bag, reaches in and grabs a hand full of its contents. All this time Bobby Jo is watching intently, “WHACHA DOIN’ PAWPAW?”

“Just a minute son!” Chester pulls his fist out and opens his hand and mumbles to himself, “ready as rain.” Then looking at Bobby Jo, “Son, go fetch us one of them big empty white buckets in the shed and the top it’s sittin’ on, take it by the handle, I’m goin’ to the house and to get somthin’, we gonna fix us up ‘the secret recipe’.”


“YEA! Now do as I say boy, go get the bucket.”

The excitement’s climbin’ and Bobby Jo burst out, “I’ll GO GET IT PAWPAW!”
Bobby Jo is waiting under the shad tree by the time Chester makes his way back carryin’ a pillow case lapped over his shoulder and hauling bucket of sweet well water. Bobby Jo’s eyes are bright and shinin’, watchin’ every move pawpaw makes as he drags a short wooden table over to his aluminum chair.

“Bobby Jo, hold this burlap bag at both ends like this and poor the corn into that bucket of water.” He did exactly as he was told and did a good job with pawpaw’s help, “You didn’t spill not one bit on the ground son.” Pawpaw reaches into the bucket and pulls out a kernel of corn, “Now Bobby Jo, you see this.

“Yes Pawpaw, it’s corn!”

“That’s right, now you see these two things growin’ out here and there, this one’s a sprout, and this one’s a root, I want you to rub each one of them off good and put the corn kernel in that wash pan, can you do that for me son?”

“Yes Pawpaw!”

As Bobby Jo is pulling his duty with the corn kernels, Chester walks over to a propane brawler burner and fires it up to boil some of that sweet well water.

A little while later Bobby Jo finishes up his first task, “WHAT’S NEXT PAWPAW!”
Chester pours the bucket of well water into the brawler and then pours the clean kernels back into the empty bucket, he reaches over into a box and takes hold of a two inch round steel bar and begins to smash the corn in the bottom of the bucket. Bobby Jo was watching every move being made. “PAWPAW, LET ME DO IT! LET ME DO IT!” Bobby Jo can hardly contain himself with the anticipation.

About that time, a car pulls up with three ladies form the women’s Sunday school class at Vern Baptist church. Chester looks at Bobby Jo, “I think you can handle this son, now hold on to it tight.”
Chester knew very well what the ladies were there for and as they were walkin’ up, Chester rose, “Good morning ther ladies.”

The group was comprised of three elderly widows of near the same age as Chester, they were Kitty Byrd, Georgia Evans and Claudia Wilson, each one of the ladies were baring a gift, like the three wise men, one was holdin’ a pot of chicken and dumplins, another, a carrot cake, and the other, a full paper bag of assorted garden vegetables.
Kitty was the one who always spoke, “Brother Chester, we hope the Lords good to you and as is every week we come to visit and share the word of our Lord. We know of your endeavors to make a way for yourself and understand you willingness to share the blessings bestowed on you for the community of God fearing folks whose health and goodwill is in part contributed by you.”

“Thank you ladies,” Chester turns and walks over to another box and takes three paper bags with each containing a “thank you gift”, Chester hands a bag to Kitty and remarks as he has for as long as one could remember, “Sister Kitty, this is my gift to you for the thoughtfulness and most important, sharing the word of our Lord with me.” Chester also repeats this ceremonial gesture with Georgia and Claudia.

When completed the ladies all speak to Bobby Jo about what a fine young man he is and how grateful he should be that pawpaw is passing on such a healing family tradition.

As the ladies pull off, Chester begins to place the bucket of crushed corn in a little red wagon and pulls it over to the five gallons of boiling water. He then tilts the container of hot, sweet well water over into the bucket of corn and after it cools Bobby Jo gets to pull it back to the short legged work table.

“Bobby Jo, we still have a little more to do on our ‘secret recipe’ son, you remember what the yeast is, and the honey.”

“Yes Pawpaw!”

“Well then, run up on inside the house, ther’ sittin’ on the icebox.”

As Bobby Jo’s runnin’ back out, his is bubbling over, “PAWPAW, LET ME DO IT!”

“Okay son, be careful now.”

Bobby Jo takes it real slow, having great pride in pouring both into the cooling corn mixture. Then Chester adds one more ingredient, “the secret ingredient” and together they seal the vented top.
Throughout the day, an array of kind folks from Vern drop by, whether it be white collar or blue collar, a farmer or work hand, all are thankful for the opportunity to give to Chester and for the special “thank you gift” from the old mason jars filled with the blessed formula, handed down from his childhood, providing fullness of life for Chester, from his food, to house or pickup-truck maintenance, legal services, gift-cards or certificates to support Chester’s life callin’, and the passing of a family tradition.

It’s the cycle of life and it continues, and, in a mere 7 to 10 days, the proof, literally. The fermentation will be done, and for the other 6 buckets sittin’ by the wood stove in the shed, a weeks worth. One last step, filterin’ it through a pillow case, the miracle of the Lords work is complete and ready for all the fine God fearin’ folks of Vern Miss’sippi, the wellspring, the healing formula, the smoothest tastin’ drink you ever had. Chester’s Delicious Honeysuckle Moonshine.

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