Memories of Sam and the Nut Shop

Published 11:12 pm Friday, December 2, 2011

My grandmother was an Adams.

She and Sam Adams were related but not exactly kissin’ cousins, she often said.

But they were close enough kin that one was just about as ornery and cantankerous as the other.

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Mugi, my grandmother, lived in Eufaula and, when my aunt had put up with Mugi about as long as she could, she would bring her to our house for an extended visit. We didn’t see Daddy much during all that time.

Mama and Mugi were enough alike that one got on the other’s nerves about a quick as the other.

Mama’s great escape was to take Mugi up visit with Sam at the Nut Shop. I guess Mama thought that was an appropriate visiting place.

Mugi and Sam would spend a lot of time talking about the good ol’ days and folks “in common” they knew and who had died since they’d seen each other last and who was at death’s door.

Most of the time, Mama would sit in the car while Mugi and Sam visited. I’d plunder around in the store and Sam would give me little sack of boiled peanuts to eat. Plunderin’ and peanuts go together, Sam said.

Sam always had funny stories to tell and funny things to show. He had a box with porcupine eggs in it and a square gourd that he’d grown but he wouldn’t tell me how. One time he showed something that he said was his toe that had fallen off during the night. He said that now he couldn’t walk without leaning to one side.

Mugi said he just made up all that stuff to tell, and I heard her tellin’ a few whoppers herself. She told Sam that she’d caught a fish that was so big we had to put it in the wagon to take it home. We put it in the wagon just because Bubba had pulled it all the way to pond. That little ol’ fish wasn’t as big as ear of corn.

One time, we were up the Nut Shop just before Christmas, I was a big girl by then. I saw Mugi looking at the bonnets and thought she might like one.

“Minnie ain’t gonna wear a bonnet,” Sam said. I said I thought she would like one to wear when she was working in the yard.

“Minnie ain’t gonna wear a bonnet.”

On Christmas Day, Mugi opened her present, took one look at the bonnet and tossed – no flung – it over in a chair.

The next day, I was back at the Nut Shop. I wasn’t even in the door good when Sam said, “I told you Minnie wasn’t going to wear no bonnet.”

After that, “Minnie ain’t gonna wear a bonnet” was kind of an inside joke for Sam and me.

Sam always had a joke to tell and the jokes had a way of staying with you. “Goin’ on to Nashville.” How many times have my friends and I shared a hoot and holler about that one. Like Sam would say, it’s not a joke you’d tell the preacher cause he’d just laugh and embarrass himself.

As I stood and watched as Adams Glass Art Studio a.k.a. the Nut Shop, was destroyed by fire this week, a flood of memories came over me – the summer Sunday afternoons that we went up to the Nut Shop for a rasher of ice cold watermelon or the autumn days when Sam was grinding cane or boiling peanuts or sacking pecans. Or the afternoons that he and “Minnie” just sat and talked and I plundered and wondered about porcupine eggs and square gourds.

Years later, Cudd’en Charles and I would pile in his car with a big bag of boiled peanuts and two bottle co-colas between us and head off to Mr. Pugh Windham’s to bring his woodcarvings back for the Adams Open House the weekend after Thanksgiving.

“Good riddance” Charles’ wife, Mary, would laugh and say as we drove off.

We weren’t unlike Sam and Minnie – ornery and cantankerous, were we.

This Friday after Thanksgiving, my little grandson and I attended the Adams Open House.

Mary helped him pick out a present for his mama and we bought suckers and he picked out a couple of things he “might want.”

On the way home, I told him about how Mr. Charles taught his daddy and other little boys how to make stained glass sun catchers and how proud I was of the one he gave me at Christmas time.

“Do you think he’ll let me make one?” he said.

“I think so. We’ll go when you’re here Christmas.”

Jaine Treadwell is features editor of The Messenger. Email her at