|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By Katie Moak Louise Jetton
abbott pressCopyright © 2012 Katie Moak and Louise Jetton
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA Tribute to Mama Louise Jetton
On December 26, 1910 in Sabine Parish, Louisiana, a baby girl was born to Willie Dell and Epsie Miller Huff. The baby was given the name of Carrie Molissie. When the little girl was ten years old, her mother died. At the age of seventeen, Carrie became the wife of Brown Wilson. They raised a family of eight children. I was their third child.
Mama was multi-talented! She could harness up the old gray mule to the turning plow and work the field. She could help Daddy make staves. They would each have an end of the crosscut saw and lay a huge white oak tree on the ground. With the ax and iron wedges, they would split lengths of the log into staves to be sold. Mama could throw the gun up to her shoulder and bring a squirrel to the ground even if he was running wide open. Not only would she bag a deer as easily, but needed no assistance in dressing and cutting it up to feed her family. Nothing was ever wasted. She tanned the deer hides and used them for the bottoms of chairs she had made from Hickory wood. She tanned cow hides and had a unique way of removing the hair. She split boot laces from the hides. More than once, she tanned a rattlesnake hide and made a belt for a fellow. Mama picked blackberries and muscadines for jelly and also for making wine. The wine was for medicinal purposes; upset stomachs, etc.
Sewing was fun for Mama. She said it relaxed her. She made all our clothes. She could take a bag of hand-me-down clothes and do wonders with it. Later, when we bought cow feed in lovely print sacks, we had clothes made from them. When I was nine years old, a Saturday night possum hunt produced a coal black critter and underneath his fur, was snow white. Mama skinned him and tanned the hide. Someone had given her some gray wool material and she made me a coat. The possum hide made the collar and cuffs. It was beautiful! When I outgrew the coat, it was passed down the line.
Mama gained lots of experience at delivering babies. She and one of her sisters were alone except their three little boys, when my cousin decided to arrive early. I guess Mama did a fine job for they named the baby "Carrie" for her. Later, when I was three years old, Mama delivered brother Jack all by herself. He weighed ten pounds, according to Daddy's cotton scales. She often assisted Dr. McCreight with birthing those babies. The same for the dying. More than once, she would wake me in the middle of the night and tell me to get breakfast for the family and fix Daddy's lunch, also all the school lunches. She would tell me someone had sent for her, they were dying and wanted her there. I got into trouble once when I asked her why couldn't they die without her assistance. I never made that mistake again.
During the Depression, Daddy didn't have any tobacco so Mama borrowed a seed catalog from someone and managed to get fifteen cents somehow and ordered tobacco seed. They sold it by the thimble full. She ordered only one. She grew a beautiful crop and hung the leaves in the smokehouse and smoked it; then she twisted it into long twists. Daddy enjoyed chewing this to satisfy his tobacco habit.
Yes, I do believe Mama had eyes in the back of her head, and woe be unto you if you ever dared to lie to her. She would head you off at the pass and say, "Start over, and this time, I want the truth!"
In Mama's later years, she cut and fashioned a pattern for old-time sun bonnets and sold them in front of her house. She became known as the "Bonnet Lady". She loved to keep track of how many she'd made and sold. The last time she told me, the count was fifty-six hundred and after that she quit counting. She also raised parakeets for several years and enjoyed them immensely. She had two birdhouses with eight hundred birds in each house. She did a thriving business with them.
In August of 2002, Miss Carrie decided at ninety-two years old, to go to the nursing home. She will be ninety-six years old this December. She still has eight children, twenty-four grandchildren, thirty-nine great grandchildren, and four great, great grandchildren.
Long live Miss Carrie, one of a kind, a dying breed (no pun intended). Happy Mothers' Day, Mama, and thank you for all the years! I love you!
Beware: Bad Goose Louise Jetton
Our mother goose was setting on her eggs which were due to hatch any day, when a hungry fox found the nest. He not only had our goose for lunch, but ate the eggs also. When I found the nest, there was only one egg left. So I took it and placed it in a shoebox with a heat lamp to see if I could give the remaining gosling a chance. Little did I realize what a situation I was creating!
I could hear the baby goose sounding off. He was ready to break free of that shell. I hovered nearby and watched, just in case the baby needed help. It soon became evident he wasn't strong enough to break out by himself, so I helped. You guessed it! My face was the first thing the little fellow saw. Thus, it was settled in his mind. I was MAMA! I named him Jeffery and for the next few days I devoted much of my time to this baby goose. He stayed right at my heels and if I got too far ahead, he would run to catch up and was truly happy if I scooped him up in my arms. He was a yellow ball of fuzz and would nuzzle my cheek with his little beak as though he truly was expressing love for his Mama.
When Jeffery was seven days old, I felt the time had come to introduce him to his relatives and get them to adopt this orphan. I took him to the goose pond and gave him a nudge towards the water. He swam for a brief moment, then spied a gaggle of geese swimming toward him. He was terrified and clamored for the safe haven of my arms. The geese surrounded me as though they were demanding the baby be put in their care. I put him on the ground and they were gentle, sweet, and very protective of him but he was not having any of their nonsense! He wanted his mama. I started walking away and Jeffrey darted under and between legs and wings; rushing to catch me, begging to be picked up. I couldn't resist and scooped him up and hugged him. His little heart was pounding so hard, I feared he would die of fright.
This went on for days and when I tossed him in the pond, he always beat me back to the house. He clearly preferred my company to his own kind. All this time, Jeffery was growing by leaps and bounds. Each time I started to go somewhere he would appear instantly to tell me "goodbye" and would insist on being picked up, nuzzle my cheek with his beak; all the while softly speaking in "goose talk". I would put him down and tell him to go back to the pond and act like a goose. He would waddle away, grumbling to himself.
I discovered one day that Jeffrey's real purpose was "watchdog" or should I say, "watchgoose"! He was swimming with the others once when he heard me raise my voice. I was trying to persuade a couple of obnoxious door-to-door religious zealots to get back in their car and drive on. They were arguing the point, when a huge white streak sailed through the air, landed at their feet, and began beating them with his wings. At the same time, he was pinching pieces from their legs, and they were protesting loudly! They yelled, "Lordy, call this devil off and let us go!" They threw gravel as the car sped away. Jeffery turned to me and lifted his wings, asking to be picked up. He was getting to be quite an armful but still loved for me to hold him.
Once, when a prisoner escaped from the nearby prison, two deputies stopped by to warn us. I guess Jeffery thought the pistols and dark sunglasses spelled trouble so he came to rescue me. He went to work at once and had them dancing in their tracks. They asked what was the matter with my goose, and if he always acted this mean.
I always checked behind the car for him but that morning, I failed. I was rushing my husband to the E.R. in Jasper. Hearing a loud bump, I got out. Jeffrey was still alive. He looked at me and seemed to say, "I was just coming to tell you goodbye. Why did you hurt me?" He drew his last breath in my arms.
Daddy's Sunday Morning Trick Louise Jetton
Mama and Daddy didn't see "eye-to-eye" on Sunday's activities. Mama believed one should be in the House of God and if services continued all day long, so be it! Daddy believed it was balm for the soul to stroll quietly through the woods, enjoying God's own creations. Of course, his gun and dogs would be there also. To hear him describe the peace and serenity he felt, as he paused under a magnificent oak and gazed upward at its massive canopy made him know he was communing with God. He must have wondered just how many years had passed since it had been a tiny acorn. He had to stop and listen to the breeze blowing softly through the pines, as though there were secrets being whispered. The solitude might be broken by the chattering of a squirrel, scolding a blue jay for invading his territory.
Well, Mama had different ideas. She was determined to save Daddy's soul by having him walk with us two and a half miles to Old Salem every Sunday morning. She described in detail just how he would "burn in Hell" if he didn't. It wasn't long before Daddy, the "forerunner of the Dog Whisperer" devised a plan. His two dogs wanted to go to church also, so Daddy had to chain them up. This worked for a short time. But one Sunday morning, Daddy kept looking back over his shoulder. Mama didn't notice. She was leading the pack, determined not to be late. I asked him why he kept looking back, but got no answer. I looked back and observed two small, dark blobs following, but not too closely. Shortly, Daddy announced, "I see my dogs. They must have gotten loose! I'll hurry and take them back and come on soon."
Mama knew she had lost that time. We stayed all day in Old Salem, eating dinner with Aunt Laura and Uncle Leonard. After the evening services we hiked back home. There was Daddy, sitting on the porch smoking his pipe, at peace with himself, but not Mama. Oh the tale that he did weave! Every time he reached for the dogs to tie them up, they ran just out of reach. They drew him deeper and deeper into the woods. At last he realized it was too late for church, so taking his gun, he went squirrel hunting.
This trick worked several times. One Sunday morning we all started out for Salem. About 500 yards down the road Mama stopped and told us to go on, she had forgotten the church's money (she was the treasurer). Daddy looked stricken! Mama caught up with us shortly. Daddy continued looking back to no avail. My Sunday school teacher was sick and they asked Daddy to teach our class. He tried to refuse, but finally agreed. Evidently he felt good about doing it because he continued being our teacher for quite some time. Years later Mama confessed to me she didn't forget the church money. She re-tied the dogs.
Devotions of a Big Sister Louise Jetton
June 2, 1945 was a hot, dry summer day and I was exhausted! Mama had called me to her bedside early that morning and informed me of coming events for the already overcrowded shanty we called a home. There was to be another addition: a new baby! I had suspected this but it had not been discussed with me, since I was only twelve years old. She instructed me to hurry and scrub the floor, cook some food, do the washing, and put the bedding out to air.
Momma and her three sisters would take turns helping when one of them had a new baby, which was often. I tried to guess which aunt would be coming and was startled when she announced that I was to be the elected one; that while she was in bed for ten days, I was in charge. I was cook, babysitter, nurse, laundry person, and anything else needing to be done. There seemed to be no doubt in her mind of my ability to handle the job and I knew I would do my very best.
Hours later, after the departure of Dr. McCreight, I was again called to her bedside. She lifted this eight and a half pound baby boy into my waiting arms. He was adorable and I knew he had won my heart for always.
"Louise, I'm turning this baby over to you. He is your responsibility. Take good care of him."
That little guy and I bonded immediately and it has never been broken. That first night that little guy fussed and cried with the colic and the only way I could get him quiet was to walk the floor and gently pat his back while he snuggled against my shoulder. Around midnight, there was a bright shaft of moonlight filtering through a large crack in the wall. The baby woke up and I wanted to get another look at his little face. I sat in a chair and positioned both our faces so we could gaze into each others eyes. For a time, his big blue eyes held mine and my heart was overflowing with love and also a deep responsibility for this child. I began talking softly, explaining to this little boy that big sister would watch over him. How foolish for a twelve year old to think she would always be able to keep that promise!
Mama believed what the scripture said about spare the rod, spoil the child. Well, I did my best to rescue him quite a few times. I would grab him in my arms and run like the wind. He was my shadow and I delighted in showing him the first violet blooming in early spring, or the sundew plant, or letting him examine a tadpole and telling how it would grow into a frog.
One summer day I was sent to the little country store about one mile from our house. Little brother wanted to go with me. I knew it was too far for his little legs, and he was too heavy to carry. The older boys had bicycles so I borrowed one and put the baby behind me and started our journey. Highway 87 was not paved at the time and if you were riding a bicycle in the rut, you were OK, but if the wheel happened to cut into the deep sand beds, you were bound to wreck!
We made it to the store with no problem but coming back, I was running out of steam, and considered stopping to rest under a tree. Instead, I found myself pedaling for our very lives. The baby announced, "Oouise, dere's a bull."
Cattle roamed freely and many times had a bad bull in the herd. They were just off the road and I'd failed to see them earlier. The bull gave a loud bellow, paused to kick up dirt, lowered his horns, snorted, and made a lunge for our bicycle. I knew our one chance of survival was for the bicycle to hold in the rut and not to go in the sand bed, and find the strength to make my legs peddle faster than I'd ever thought possible. I asked aloud and the strength came. When the bull pitched forward, his horns barely missed the wheel. I didn't slow down to see if he would charge again. I just knew this was the little guy I'd promised that first night to always take care of and protect. I didn't slow down until I reached home.
Years later, when he did three tours in Vietnam, I knew I couldn't be there to watch over him so I trusted in Divine Intervention. He came back!
Do You Hunt? Louise Jetton
The year was 1953 and I was sick! It was an ailment which no doctor can cure. It has a name: homesickness! Dreams of going home often plagued my sleep and I would awaken to realize it was only a dream and the tears would flow.
In 1952 I was a senior in college and my parents were both excited and looking forward to my graduation. A friend introduced me to my future husband and it was love at first sight. He was a GI in the Army, and held the rank of corporal. I wanted to take him home and let my family meet him but after recalling past incidents of Daddy meeting my boyfriends, I lost my nerve. I knew they would hang Martin without a trial. So, we eloped; which broke their hearts!
A year passed and I ached to see my little sisters and brothers, as well as Mama and Daddy. At last, believing the storm had abated, we headed for Texas. I tried to prepare my husband for the meeting of his father-in-law and, at the same time, not wanting to frighten him too much. Some of Daddy's peculiarities were mentioned: for instance, it might take him a while to decide if he liked a person. I didn't even want to consider the fact that he might not like his son-in-law.
We arrived home and my cup overflowed with joy! Momma, Daddy, and all my little brothers and sisters came running out to meet me and to take a look at what I'd brought home. The introductions were made and I took a good look at Daddy's face. There was no mistake; my husband was in for it! The better part of two days found Daddy just sitting silently, poker-faced, simply staring at his son-in-law. Oh, how those steel blue eyes could bore a hole right through a person! Wherever the younger one went, the older one's eyes followed: simply staring! It was all I could manage to keep my husband from bolting!
Late in the afternoon of the second day Daddy broke his silence. "Do you hunt?" he asked my husband. "Yes, Sir!" he replied. I felt relieved until I caught the look on Martin's face. It spoke volumes! Daddy answered, " We'll go tomorrow morning, early." My soldier boy didn't sleep well that night. I thought perhaps it was the anticipation of the first deer hunt with his father-in-law. I knew how much he enjoyed hunting. Little did I know his feelings of apprehension concerning the situation.
Excerpted from DUELING SISTERS by Katie Moak Louise Jetton Copyright © 2012 by Katie Moak and Louise Jetton. Excerpted by permission of abbott press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsThe Tales of Louise Jetton....................v
A Tribute to Mama....................1
Beware: Bad Goose....................4
Daddy's Sunday Morning Trick....................6
Devotions of a Big Sister....................8
Do You Hunt?....................10
Hit and Run....................16
In the Name of Friendship....................18
Is There a Doctor in the House?....................20
Lost in the Woods....................24
Mama and the Preacher....................26
Ode to the Bull....................28
Our Christmas Baby....................32
Reviving the Spirit of Christmas....................34
Riding in a Ford V-8....................36
The Art of Forgiving....................40
The Case of the Missing Bananas....................42
The Day I Fell From Grace....................44
The Forgotten Coffeepot....................47
The Forks of the Road....................49
The Great Chase....................51
The Sunday Dinner Fiasco....................53
The White Dress....................55
What's For Breakfast?....................60
The Tale of Louise Jetton's Grandchild....................63
Twisting, Twisting, Twisting....................64