Digging up a few memories

Published 11:51 pm Friday, September 27, 2013

Having a white dirt “lunch” with Adam Forrester Thursday brought back a flood of memories of traditions and of folks that peppered my life both as a knock-kneed, snaggled-tooth, frizzy headed little girl and as a knock-kneed, frizzy-head ol’ gal, thankfully with all my teeth.

I must confess to having stuffed my mouth with white dirt on more than one occasion. Amos and Eunice dug it and ate it. If they had eaten the worms they dug, I would have eaten those, too, because I loved them both dearly.

But, even though I never knew my great-granddaddy, it was my granny and her daddy who stood clear in my memory.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

As my granny told the story of the practice of using the blood of a chicken to treat a snakebite, I could picture it in my mind as clearly as if I had been there.

She was picking blackberries with her grandma and several of her brothers and sisters, when a rattler got her grandma right on her jawbone. When my granny’s daddy heard the children screaming, he grabbed a chicken by the feet and split it open with his knife as he ran down the hill toward my great-great grandma.

My granny said her daddy slapped the chicken on her grandma’s face and the warm blood pulled the poison out. She was back in the blackberry patch the very next morning.

As an older gal, while sitting in Doc Littleton’s “shanty” as he called it, he told me the story of how he sawed a woman’s leg off right below the knee as she watched the whole thing. As soon as the leg hit the floor, Doc Littleton said he pulled a twenty-five pound flour sack filled with a mixture of spider webs and soot up over the stump and tied it. That stopped the bleeding. The woman lived out her life with a stump for a leg.

Back in Doc Littleton’s day, boils were a common ailment. A young boy had several on his back. The boils were giving him fifty fits. But he wouldn’t let Doc Littleton get near him with a knife.

Doc Littleton gave the boy his knife and coaxed him down on the wash table so he could rub his back with ice, which eased the pain. When the boy went to sleep, Doc Littleton put a kernel of corn on each boil and stood aside. Soon, the old red-feathered rooster saw the kernels and darted over and sharply pecked the kernels off the boy’s back. The rooster did with his sharp beak what Doc Littleton had thought to do with his knife.

Everybody who knew him had a Bogum story. I’ve got a bunch but not many have to do with cures.

Bogum had been diagnosed with cancer and was fighting in true Bogum fashion. He showed me the cure in his kitchen cabinet — nine sewing needles in a jar of rubbing alcohol. Not eight, not ten – nine needles.

“You drink that?” I asked in disbelief.

But Bogum assured me that, no, he was just to let it be and when the needles disintegrated, the cancer would be gone.

“Come, on Bogum. You don’t believe that?”

Some time later, I saw Bogum and he said his cancer was gone. The needles did it, he said, with an “I told you look.”

But as I walked away, I heard him say “But, then, I did go through the prayer line at church a few times.

I’m not much for eating white dirt but I sure did take pleasure in the memories it dug up.