Well, just ‘Brang’ it on up!

Published 6:35 pm Friday, August 26, 2022

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“I will not be responsible for what comes out of my mouth!”

Those words were emblazoned on the front of Miss Ethel Smart’s kitch-en apron.

The old photo of Miss Ethel and three other “cooks” at the Wednesday night church supper was reason to laugh.

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Miss Ethel could be sharped tongued and often was. It was “in her na-ture,” she said.

Miss Ethel was a Relief Lady during the Great Depression. She had to be crusty and tough. It was a hard, tiresome and thankless job.

Miss Ethel said there was so much poverty, so many needs and the cloud of hopelessness never lifted.

The government’s relief program was about the only way many people could make it from day to day. But, back then, she said, people had a lot of pride and didn’t want a handout. But, nevertheless, they came, with hands in their empty pockets. With lowered heads, they would ask, “Miss Ethel, do you think I can get on?”

Miss Ethel said once things began to get a little better and times weren’t rock-bottom hard, a man would come to her and say he was doing a little better. “You can take me off, now.”

But, then there were others who were content to “sit on their bottoms” and wait for the Relief Lady so show up at the door.

Miss Ethel told the story of a Christmas when she was to meet a man who had a large family, a wife, nine children and a mother-in-law, with a bag of staples and a ham. “Dog bite it,” she said, “if he didn’t come driving up in a Cadillac!

Did she give him the ham?

“Well, they couldn’t eat the Cadillac!” she said.

Another story Miss Ethel told was about a man who was dirt poor and as sorry as gully dirt.

The man lived in a ram-shackled house way off on a red clay road. It had rained Miss Ethel said she slipped and slid in the mud all the way to the man’s house. She got the groceries out of the car and trudged up the slippery bank to his house. She could see him sitting at the kitchen table, so she hollered to him that she has brought him a bag of grocer-ies.

“Well, brang ‘em on up!” he hollered back.

Mrs. Smart said she just put the bag of groceries down on the bottom step, got back in her car and drove away.  She said the old man proba-bly starved to death sitting there in the kitchen with food at the bottom of his doorsteps.

If Miss Ethel were here today, she might not be responsible for what would come out of her mouth but, my guess is, she would admonish us for living in a “brang it on up!” kind of world.