GARDENING BY RONELLA: More memories of trips to Ma and Pa’s
by Ronella Stagner, Columnist
Nov 27, 2013 | 80 80 recommendations | email to a friend | print
During those years in Canton, my family, the Morris family, went down to see Ma and Pa often. After we left the farm, they had no way to get to the doctor or to town so we went for a week-end or if Daddy had a couple of days off during the week, my sister and I missed school for those days and we went to Ma’s. It was about thirty miles to their house and if the roads were bad, as in winter, it was quite a trip. We missed them so much and were thrilled to get to go see them. The only problem would be my carsickness. It never failed. I would start begging Daddy to stop and let me get out of the car to be sick. He would insist that I could wait till we got there. Then I would lose my breakfast. Sometimes, I would be leaning over his shoulder and that was a real catastrophe. To make matters worse for me, he would always smoke a cigar. Cigar smoke still makes me sick.

Once we got to Ma and Pa’s, I would jump out of the car and head for my stump. There was an old stump that Pa used for cutting stove wood and it was my favorite place to sit while I got over the motion sickness. I was always thrilled to make the trip even knowing that I would be sick.

We had a big white cat called Dude who was beloved of all of us children. We hated to leave him in Canton, even for two days. We couldn’t leave him in the house and Dude was always a problem. We three girls cried and begged every time to take Dude with us to Ma’s and finally, one day Daddy agreed to let Dude go, too. He was a perfect rider, sitting up and watching the scenery. What a lovely cat, we all agreed.

When we got to Ma’s, we let him walk around and get to know where he was. All was well, though Ma was a bit nervous since she didn’t tolerate cats at her house. Dude decided that Ma’s big beds in the front room would be his place to stay. We came into his territory one day to find that Dude had considered the pretty Yoyo pillow on the bed was a good place to consider his toilet. Poor cat. He was never to make the trip to Ma’s again.

Dude was a very spoiled cat, even though he roamed all over Canton. Once he got his paw caught in a trap and someone let him out because he came home with a badly broken and mangled leg. Our father made a great splint with tongue depressors and tape and we carried him to his sand box several times a day. We rode him all around Canton in a doll buggy. Everybody knew Dude.

On one trip to Ma’s, I discovered that Pa had made some grape wine with grapes from his garden. I thought that was probably the finest stuff ever made. We left Ma’s before noon so we girls could get at least a half-day in school. I became quite dizzy going home and when we got out of the car at the schoolhouse, I was very dizzy. Miss Fannye smelled my breath and asked me what I had drunk and of course, I told her. She had me lie in the cloakroom till school was out and then she took me home in her car. As she was helping me in the house, Mama met her at the door and asked, “What is wrong with Ronella? Is she sick?” to which Miss Fannye replied, “Jennie, your daughter is drunk”. That was a joke between them for years. I should add that I was about eight years old.

Even though I had lots of friends in Canton and there was always something interesting to do, I loved to spend time with Ma and Pa in summer. I loved the “huckster”, a truck with a back full of shelves and all kinds of canned food and candy, etc. I would go down to the road with Ma and she usually took two old hens to sell to the huckster man. Sometimes she sold him eggs. Money didn’t seem to change hands.

I loved to sit on the porch in the mornings and help Ma shell peas and snap beans. That is when I learned to crochet and to piece quilts and to quilt them. I loved to catch the little chickens and put them and the old hen in little houses when it rained. I loved to help Ma in whatever she did. I would spend two or three weeks with them every summer and I cherish the memories of those times.

Please feel free to call me at 270-522-3632 with questions or comments.
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