Ozark Life
Chapter 1

Caution: This Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, mt/ft,

Desc: Sex Story: Chapter 1 - An Ozark mountain boy enjoys the backwoods and grows into manhood.

Granddad was Swedish, but he always referred to his heritage as Scandinavian. Grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee who had a perpetual smile on her face. Granddad was my mentor throughout my younger days, as Dad was in the military and always gone somewhere. Mom contracted the big ‘C’ and passed away in childbirth of a stillborn when I was four and my sister was five.

Granddad had a farm in Southeast Missouri that could grow just about anything, and did. We grew a lot of corn and sugar cane. You would know that Granddad brewed some of the best whiskey and bourbon there ever was if you’re a farmer from that area. Granddad’s name was Jeb for Zebadiah. Grandmother probably had another name, but everyone knew her as ‘Happy’ because of her smile.

According to Granddad, he found Happy when she was only twelve or thirteen. She had wandered off from her tiny village and had become lost. She had been resourceful enough to trap rabbits and cook them over open fires. She was carrying all the rabbit skins so she could use them when she found her way home when Granddad found her. Granddad was a man of nearly seventeen when he found a girl like that, and did what he should have by taking her back to her village.

This group of Cherokee had gone off by themselves during the Trail of Tears, and had been left to live peacefully in an area no one really wanted to settle in.

According to the story, Happy was offered to Jeb for two deer a year for five years. Granddad obviously kept his part of the deal, and Happy became Granddad’s. They even had a church wedding when a church was built in the closest community. They already had two children of course, but what was important is that they were a happy couple.

Grandmother was a special person and loved my Granddad more than life itself. She would have died for the man if it had ever been necessary, but then she would have given her life for us kids too. She was very unselfish. The one thing she had learned from the ‘White Man’s’ world was how to cook. She could make a meal out of almost anything, and it would make your mouth water in anticipation. Her cornbread was known throughout the area as the absolute best.

My sister and I grew up in the country knowing that Dad was in in Viet Nam at the end of that war and Desert Storm later. Wherever he was, it wasn’t in Southeast Missouri with his two kids. We knew he missed our mother and knew that he was having a difficult time getting over the loss. He was using the Army to help him get over his grief. Our parents had grown up together and been married when they were both seventeen. She was six months pregnant with my sister, and Dad had enlisted in the Army to support them. He had mistakenly thought that he would train and be stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood which wasn’t all that far from the farm. The good news was that he had finished basic training and was on leave when Sis was born. I was told stories about how that had been a big time celebration.

Sis was a week old when Dad took a train out of Springfield to go to a Fort in Texas for more training. I don’t know where all he went during that time, but I know that he came home on leave a couple of months later and Mom became pregnant with me. Dad wasn’t home when I was born since he was freezing in Korea while on an isolated tour. He was gone for almost two years that time, came home once again, wasn’t careful during the reunion, and Mom became pregnant with the child that killed her.

Dad was a mess, but he knew that Sis and I would be taken care of and would probably grow up to be decent citizens if Granddad and Grandma raised us.

You gotta know something about Southeast Missouri. I think this is where the term ‘Hillbilly’ came from. The people who lived there called themselves ‘scratchers’. They could scratch out a decent living on three hundred and twenty acres of low mountains and forests. You could file for a hundred and sixty acres and pay a whopping twelve dollar signing fee during the early 1920s. You had to build a house on the land and work the ground. Well, a lot of people figured that a man could file for one plot, and the wife could file for another adjoining one hundred and sixty acres, build a house that straddled both pieces of property, and work what land there was. That was the land Granddad and Grandma lived on and worked.

We didn’t have many fields, but there were enough to grow corn and sugar cane. We even grew enough sugar cane to sell some sugar to neighbors for a couple cents a pound. Granddad would make his corn liquor in the caves on the land using the wonderful spring water that was abundant around the area, and was very particular to not let his leavings from making liquor get into the creek water. He had a deep well where he dumped all his leavings and let them settle into the earth. I’d bet the water wells in the area had a kick to them. We would fill five and ten gallon milk cans with some good aged stuff and take them to Springfield, Branson, down to Fayetteville, and as far as Kansas City when we had a lot of liquor. Who’s going to stop a farmer in a rickety old pickup with a bunch of milk cans? It was never difficult to sell everything we took to the city. It was always, “When can we get more?” and “How much can you deliver now?”

It was always the same and Granddad would tell them, “I’ll bring more when it tastes the way it should.”

We had revenuers come to the farm fairly often to poke around all the buildings looking for cooking equipment, but they never found anything that would give away what we sold. We had cows that justified the milk, we sold some of the sugar we made, and fed a lot of corn to the hogs and cows. This was a working farm that had a big garden that we canned vegetables and fruit from every summer and fall. We had a lot of apple and pear trees that made great apple butter and some hard cider and vinegar that we kept for ourselves. Grandma loved that apple cider when it had a good kick to it. That smile would just get bigger.

If you know anything about Southeast Missouri, you know that those people are one hundred percent rednecks. They’ll give you the shirt off their backs, but they don’t tolerate city folk, state lawmen, revenuers, or someone who steals from a neighbor. It was amazing how many people just turned up missing and were never heard from again. They disappeared, and even the car they were driving never surfaced. I don’t know this to be a fact, but I’d bet they would find hundreds of cars that were lost over the years if they ever drained the Lake of the Ozarks.

The local law was good because they didn’t mess with anyone. They harassed the young men who drove too fast, but then they’d let life go on the way it had for several decades if they weren’t causing any major trouble. Everyone knew where you could get a drink, and everyone knew where a man could find some ‘comfort’ as they called it. There were a couple houses on the outer edge of every small town or village that would have the light on the porch late at night. You could find comfort there if the light was on. No big deal, right? You could get some Saturday night ‘comfort’ as long as you were at church Sunday morning.

One of the things I defy you to find deep in the heart of that redneck country is a hungry family. Neighbors provided the raw materials for a family to eat if they were having a problem. Young men would cut wood for heat and wood stoves. Those same young men would kill a couple of extra rabbits when they hunted and take the dressed game to those who were hungry. Chickens would find a way to get to those homes, as well as smoked meats that would show up on porches. Women would get together for blanket quilting and making clothing for the kids. These people took care of each other. I’m sure times are changing even for the folks in the mountains, but I’d bet they still take care of each other.

Granddad was very strict about school. He said that he was glad to have gone to school through the fifth grade to learn to read and write. Grandma had never been to school, but she had learned to read and write. She knew a lot about geography, and showed us kids the world through an old Encyclopedia Britannica. We would often spend a night with her reading about some far off place. She would get the book with the world picture and point to where a place was. Anyway, Granddad made sure that we went to school and that our grades didn’t slip. Sis was always fascinated by boys and young men as she grew up. Our grandparents would warn her off the bad ones, and didn’t harass her about the boys they thought were worthy of her. Sis was a good cook. She could darn a pair of socks with the best of them, and could patch a pair of torn pants in a flash. She must have been good at some other things, because she got married to one of the local farmer boys the week after graduating from high school. Her rented robe covered the rounded belly from her coming first born.

I did morning and evening chores, as well as most of the field work, since I was the boy in the family. It was my responsibility to do any repairs on equipment, as well as our pickup and the family car. Our car was a very good running antique 1946 Chevrolet four door. The only times it was driven was to church on Sunday and the grocery store on Saturday.

It was also my job to keep the leavings from the stills going down the deep well Gramps had dug. The well would almost fill up and you could smell it if you were within twenty to thirty feet if we had an exceptionally good year. Gramps would have me shoot a couple of varmints such as ground hogs and put them around the covered well so the dead animal smell would overwhelm anyone who walked nearby when that happened.

That brings this tale around to hunting. Grandpa had a good double-barreled shotgun and a thirty-thirty lever action rifle that did everything he needed to do. He also had a long barreled Colt .45 revolver that he would go out and shoot targets with. He said that he hoped he would never need it. He also had a Colt 1911 automatic that he said was a great gun, but he wasn’t a good shot with it.

Grandpa took me to the Western Auto store in town when I was ten. He bought me a used new style .22 semi-automatic rifle that would shoot .22 shorts all the way to long rifle rounds. This rifle was supposed to be superior to others because you could shoot the inexpensive shorts without it jamming. You could buy what was called a brick of shorts (500 rounds) for five dollars. Gramps paid thirty-nine dollars for the rifle with two bricks of shorts, and a box (50 rounds) of long rifle cartridges.

I didn’t get to use the rifle right away because Grandpa kept taking me out and teaching me where to shoot and when not to shoot. He emphasized how the round could carry for a mile and could hit someone or a farm animal. I was always supposed to be aware of where I was shooting. We went out with me carrying the unloaded rifle and he would point and say, ‘rabbit’, ‘squirrel’, and even ‘deer’ to see what I would do. I would look to see where I was going to shoot as I would raise the rifle. I’d lower the gun if it was at a rock bluff. I wouldn’t shoot if it was at an open area with no knowledge what was beyond. I’d raise the rifle and say, ‘bang’ if it was toward the ground.

It was September before I was sent out with a rifle magazine full of .22 shorts. My goal was to bring back at least one squirrel or rabbit. My exciting two hours resulted in firing my new rifle three times and bringing a rabbit and two squirrels home. Grandpa took all the unfired shells from the rifle and counted them. Grandma took the cleaned game and began preparing it for supper. I had passed Grandpa’s test.

I didn’t ask for anything special that Christmas because I felt like I had received the best gift for my birthday. Grandpa waited until everyone had opened the couple of presents of clothes that were given. I had made Grandma some kitchen spoons because I had noticed the ones she had were becoming nicked and looked cracked. I found some good oak and carved out six kitchen spoons that were every bit as nice as you could get in a store. Grandpa showed me how to smooth out the spoon and handle. I made Grandpa a belt from one of the deer hides I had tanned. My sister was always easy because she loved rabbit slippers. I would use a couple of rabbits and sew the hides into slippers.

Grandpa disappeared and came out of the back bedroom with a used single shot .410 shotgun. He told me that I had shown him I was ready to hunt for the family. He also told me, “You’re going to bring in your first deer this winter. It will take two deer to take us through spring when the steer we have will be ready to butcher. Grandma said, “I’ll make you a shirt from the deer hides like your grandpa wears all the time.”

I used the thirty-thirty to shoot my first deer the winter before my eleventh birthday. It was very cold and I knew that I had to get this over two hundred pound deer home after I got over the excitement of the kill. I cleaned out what seemed like thirty pounds of guts, and saved as much of the stomach and skin of the intestines as possible. There’s no way I could carry over a hundred pounds of deer, so I thought about it in the near zero degree weather. I found a couple of small trees that I could break off and made a travois. I dragged that carcass over a mile back to the house. Gramps came out with some more knives when it was hung up to skin, and we made short work of skinning the deer and stretching the hide. He picked out a couple of pieces of meat to take inside and had me put everything else into the smoke house.

I was frozen by this time, but even my sister helped celebrate that I had brought home food for our table. I had a cup of coffee and grandpa poured me a finger of his good stuff and told me it would warm my insides. That stuff lit a fire all the way down. I’m still not sure whether it warmed me up or I didn’t care whether or not I was still cold any more.

It didn’t make a difference. I still had to do chores that night and to cut up a bunch of stove wood.

I began trapping that winter. Grandpa bought a couple of dozen traps for a quarter a piece at a farm auction, and then taught me all the ways to stake them down and how to camouflage and bait them. He walked with me on a two mile circuit that included areas where we might catch an elusive mink or weasel. We might catch a fox because there were a lot of them in the area.

I would leave the house at four thirty in the morning and walk my trap line. I often had to use my .22 to kill what was in a trap. Getting the traps reset and the game skinned took a lot of time. I still had to do barn chores, but my sister would do the milking and clean up for me. I made almost two hundred dollars from raw skins I caught that winter. I gave Sis sixty dollars because she helped me by doing a lot of my barn chores.

I still had to study after supper at night, and it was often difficult to keep my eyes open. I would take my books into the kitchen and do my homework as Granddad would be reading an old newspaper and Grandma would be cutting up some of the game I had trapped. We ate any meat there was on the critter, even though it took a lot of her cooking skill to disguise the gamey flavor of the foxes and weasels. Deer and other mostly plant-eating critters tasted a lot better.

I had over two thousand dollars saved by the time I was fifteen. I spent money on presents for birthdays and Christmas, and did as Granddad said to do and donated at least a tenth to the church. I had bought a couple of steer calves at an auction and was raising them as meat for us, but Grandpa said I could get big bucks for them at the market. We argued over it until we agreed to sell one and eat the other in payment for any grain or hay I used. The animal we sold brought me a hell of lot of money. I used the money to buy another three bull calves that would become food and money when they were grown. Granddad was teaching me how to be a farmer.

Well, Sis got married to a farm boy without a farm and a dad who was happy to get rid of him. The boy, or I suppose a man now with a kid, tried working for different people in town, but the jobs just didn’t last long. He was said to be a good worker, but he couldn’t get on to a place like the grain elevator where he could work all year.

Grandpa had them move into Sis’ room which was next to mine. The idea was to let them use those two rooms and I would sleep on the couch until we built an extra room. Grandpa finally relented and had a propane tank installed. We moved the wood stove to the new summer kitchen where the pantry was and had a gas stove, and bought and installed a gas heating system for the house. What a mess. We had to tear up ceilings and floors to get ducts into the rooms. I didn’t understand why we had to put ducts everywhere when we heated the whole house with a fireplace in the living room and a fire in the woodstove. You just added a blanket when it was cold.

We added a room for me and put in good wiring for lights and electrical sockets in all the rooms while we tore up the house. Grandpa actually went to the city and bought a nineteen inch TV. We had to erect an antenna on top of the house, but we could pick up signals from Cape Girardeau, Springfield, and Fayetteville, Arkansas.

I had graduated from high school and was trying to get a money job in addition to the farm, when we were notified that Dad had been killed the day before the cease fire. A couple of men from Ft. Leonard Wood came to the farm to tell us. I felt a huge loss, but he hadn’t been home for close to four years at this time, and we only realized that our absentee dad wasn’t ever going to come home.

Granddad got his shoe box full of important documents out, and gave me a letter and three life insurance policies. The letter was from Dad who had written it not that long ago. He had sent it to Granddad to give to me in case he was killed. I sat there staring at the envelope within the envelope that had ‘give to Barney’ written on the front. My eyes teared up knowing that I would never feel that man’s arms hold me the way they did when he came home and before he left again. I wouldn’t see the pain in his eyes for losing the person whom he loved as no other.

“Dear Barney,

You already know that I’m gone. I’m with your mom now, and please know that the two of us happily look down on you and your sister. I’m writing to you because you’re the one who will take care of the family.

I have the three life insurance policies that are to be used in a special way. First, is to make sure that your sister, her husband, and baby are taken care of. Second, make sure your grandparents are taken care of for the rest of their lives. Third, I want you to go to a university and get a college degree to support your family for the rest of their lives. I know you are probably figuring on farming that God forsaken farm and imitating your grandfather. That’s probably not a bad idea, but I want you to be more than that. I want my son to become someone people look up to. I’d bet you still don’t have a girlfriend, and aren’t really hunting for one by the time you get this letter. You were always the practical kid, so I know that you’re waiting for the right one to come along. Go to college. Your grades in school were always at the top of your class. I’m sure you’ll figure out a way for someone to help your grandpa.

I love you as I love your sister and my mom and dad, Son. I ask you to find a way to excel in your life with a little help from your dad.

Your Dad,

Jack Daniel Beck”

Grandpa was watching me read the letter and saw the big tears run down my cheeks. He reached across and patted my hand, “You still have the love of a son for his father. He wasn’t here with you as he could have been, but you still knew him as your dad. You never knew a mother other than your grandmother. I think she has savored raising you and your sister.”

The man had two glasses of his best with a couple of fingers in each, and as he picked up his glass said, “To your father, my son, who died in the defense of his country.”

I picked up my glass, clinked it to his, and drank the dark killer liquid down.

I looked at the letter again and handed it to Grandpa. He read it, folded it up, put it back in the envelope, and said, “You have your orders. Figure out how you’re going to do as he told you.”

Grandpa got up from the table and left. Grandma was still in the kitchen and put a couple of cookies on a plate for me. She poured another few fingers of Grandpa’s best in the glass and sat beside me. My grandmother leaned her head against my shoulder and said, “We will all miss your dad. He thought he was doing right to support his wife and the baby that was coming. Losing your mother was more than he could handle. It’s time for you to take charge of your family now. We will support whatever decisions you make.”

The woman with a permanent smile picked up the glass she had poured for me and almost drained it, leaving a little less than a finger of the good stuff. My grandmother gave me a kiss and left me with the envelopes and life insurance policies. One was for twenty thousand dollars, another for fifty thousand, and the last one was for a hundred thousand. I looked at all the endorsements and saw that Dad had been paying for these by allotments from his military pay. It might take a while to get everything taken care of, but I considered where I was and what needed to be done.

Sis’s husband, Burt, was becoming a decent hand on the farm, so I needed to show him what to do all year long. He loved the idea that Grandpa and I would show him how to do everything. The man was willing to learn and we taught him something new every day. He understood that we would sell two and keep one for the family when the beef stock was ready to sell. We’d use the money to buy more calves and repeat the process. He could continue with the pigs we had or get rid of them, but then we wouldn’t have the bacon, sausage, or hams. I think that he decided to keep the pigs.

I taught Burt to trap the same as I had been doing. He loved the idea of being able to trap and skin the animals that would bring money to the family. He was a solid moral family man who delighted in his son, and was excited that his wife, my sis, was pregnant again. His dad wasn’t a very nice person. He would come over and grunt a greeting, while Burt’s mother would be all over Sis and the baby.

I took Sissy’s man out when I found out that he had never fired a gun, and we practiced until I was confident that he wouldn’t kill himself or someone else. He was able to bring a few handfuls of quail back for a good dinner. He began bringing rabbits and even a duck home. The guy was a sponge when it came to learning how to farm and hunt.

I had written to Southeast Missouri State to see what it would take to get into school. I told them that I wanted to study law.

They wrote back for me to apply at the University of Missouri in Columbia. That was farther away than I wanted to be. I knew that it would take more than the usual four years to get a law degree. This was going to require some thought.

I went to town and talked to the local attorney, Joshua Barker. He did all the legal work for people in the county. The County State’s Attorney was Jack Forenson, who was probably older than Grandpa. Both attorneys were excited that I wanted to become a lawyer. Jack said that his job would be open soon as he really needed to retire. Josh said that he always had enough business to keep another attorney busy. He said that he handled a lot of illegal alcohol transport cases that kept his bills paid.

I wrote to the University of Missouri and was requested to come to Columbia for an interview. This trip required that I drive a decent vehicle, so I drove the ‘46 Chevy sedan. I brought my high school transcript and letters of recommendation from my teachers. I was dressed in my Sunday best with shined shoes and a fresh haircut.

My enthusiasm kept people smiling, but I also knew they could see ‘hayseed’ in me. The two people talking to me wanted to know what my family income was during the interview. I was stumped because I had helped Gramps do his taxes the last three years, but we didn’t pay any taxes because we didn’t make much money. I told the people that we didn’t make enough money to pay taxes, but I know that we made almost two thousand dollars on sugar and beef the past year.

The man asked, “How are you going to pay to go to school?”

“My dad had insurance policies that he left for me to go to school. He was killed in Iraq at the end of Desert Storm. He left a letter asking me to attend college, so here I am.”

The woman said, “You are probably eligible for some state and federal help. Your SAT scores are very high and would entitle you to state scholarships if you had applied. Let us help you fill out your application to attend school after you complete a psychological test battery. I want to see where you stand with others within your age group.”

That took all afternoon. The questions were mostly stupid, and asked the same thing in several different ways. I can’t imagine how the answers to the questions were going to give anyone any insight to me and my ability to go to school.

Another test was a general knowledge test that was probably meant for fifth grade kids. I did all the math and quickly answered the questions.

I was now very hungry and asked about a café that might be nearby so I could buy something to eat.

The counselor looked up at me and said, “I’m sorry; we didn’t offer you a cafeteria pass. You’ll have to wait until the evening meal is ready.”

I told her, “You’re not going to finish checking all those answers in an hour, so tell me where I can get something to eat.”

The woman was aggravated at me and said, “There is a pizza place just outside the gate you just drove in. You can get a sandwich as well as pizza there.”

I didn’t know whether I’d like pizza, so I walked to the little place and had a fat Italian beef sandwich. They didn’t have milk, but they had iced tea. I had that and walked back to the university offices.

The woman was still checking answers. She looked up at me and asked, “Have you taken these tests before?”

“No, Ma’am; I’ve not seen a bunch of question like that before. They keep asking you the same thing, but in a different manner. I suppose it’s to see if you’re consistent with your answers.”

The woman looked at me for a long time, and then finished reviewing the tests. She left and came back with the man who had been in the earlier interview. The man said, “Would you mind if I orally asked a battery of questions in a very fast manner? These questions are easy and you shouldn’t have any problem. I’ll ask you a couple of math questions, so here’s a pad and pencil to do any figuring you might need to do.”

The two fired questions at me that were similar to those on the questionnaire I had answered. The math questions were all simple, and any of the kids I went to school with could have answered them. I asked, “How do you do this with every potential student who asks for admittance?” as soon as we were done. “Don’t you have hundreds of people to interview?”

The woman said, “You’re among very few who are applying after they have left high school for more than a year. I can only guess that you have been a major help on the farm. How are those you’re leaving going to handle you not being there?”

I gritted my teeth, and said, “My sister and her husband moved in with their baby. My sister’s husband is a good guy and is working hard to take up the slack of what I always did. We all talked about it and think this will work. Dad wanted me to go to school, so here I am.”

The man said, “We’ll have to get confirmation, but we’re recommending that you be given a full scholarship that includes housing and food through law school. You’ll have to pass the LSAT, the Law School Admission Test, but you should do fine if you do well in your undergraduate degree program. Do you have a plan for after you finish law school and take your bar exam?”

“I want to go back home and practice law with the people I know. The State’s Attorney is going to retire, so that job might be open. I know I’ll make a living practicing law there.”

The woman said, “You have a very humble approach to life, Mr. Beck. I’m sure you’ll succeed.”

I filled out a lot more papers and handwrote a short story in which they wanted me to describe why I wanted to become a lawyer and what I was willing to do to accomplish that goal. I was careful to spell everything correctly and to use the proper sentence structure and punctuation as I was writing.

I handed it all to the woman who was sitting at a desk just outside the conference room. She told me that I would receive a formal letter of my acceptance within a week. She told me that I should be prepared to spend quite a bit of money for books, as the scholarship didn’t cover that. She said that the university would help me find a position if I needed a part time job to help with my every day expenses.

I walked out to the car with a big handful of papers. I was still hungry, but it was already near five. I wanted to get on the road since it was two hundred miles to home. I had left home at five this morning, so I was getting tired in addition to being hungry. I began going through Columbia and stopped at a McDonald’s. I looked at their menu and decided on three of their hamburgers, an order of fries, and a large Coke. I figured that should last me, and it did.

It took four hours to drive home, but it was worth it to go home and not stay at a hotel. Everyone was getting ready for bed, so we all agreed that I would tell them everything in the morning.

I was sitting in the kitchen trying to unwind and eating a cookie, when Granddad came out and poured me about three fingers of his best. He said that he got that way when he had to drive a long distance. He patted me on the back and left to go to bed. I heard my sis and her man doing what married folks do, and wondered if it was as good when she was pregnant. The love was still there and it might even be magnified. I envied the two of them for having found that love.

I sipped the liquor thinking that I wanted that kind of relationship, but I really didn’t know any girls I liked that much. There were some from my high school class that were unmarried, but most of them looked down on us country people. I knew I’d marry my sister if that had been available. I’d marry any one of my cousins, but they were all happily married farmers’ wives. I wondered why I was so picky. Some of the younger girls at church would give me sweet smiles, but they were still in school and too young. There were just a couple of girls who weren’t married who regularly went to church, but they didn’t seem to want attention from guys. I was sure that I would meet a lot of new people when I went to college.

The family sat at the table after chores and breakfast the next morning, while I told about the day before. I showed everyone all the pieces of paper they gave me and then the final brief letter that said that I would be given an invitation to attend their school at the State’s expense. We talked about the costs of going to school, and Sis listed all the things I would need. The big expense was at the end, a vehicle. Granddad told me, “We’ll go see that Nobbe thief in town to see if he has something. We need to ask around first though in case someone has something they aren’t using. You know how to keep a car running, so you can get an older model. You still have all your savings from trapping and beef money. I’m sure that you have enough to do what you need. Besides that, you have your dad’s money that you might not need for school.”

Everyone already knew I was going to the University of Missouri in Columbia at church on Sunday. I think every person in the church came up to congratulate me after the final song and prayer. The word was out that I needed a car, and it was a little white-haired old lady who came up to me and said, “You know that my man passed a couple of months ago. I know you do because you were at the funeral. He had that fairly new truck that would be good transportation for you to go back and forth to school. I want you to have it, and you can do some things for me. Come over this afternoon and we’ll talk about it.”

Granddad drove me over to Mrs. Snyder’s place and went in with me. The woman was typical and offered us coffee, milk, or water, along with cookies that I’m sure she made special because I was coming.

She sat us down and took hold of my hand. “You’re so much like your father. My Judy and your father were sort of sweet on each other, and then that killer tornado came through here and she ran out in it. They found her body down in Arkansas. I think those two would have been a good couple. Your dad became sweet on your mom and they married, but times were bad then and he went off to the service to be able to send money home. Your sister came along, then you, and finally the child that killed her. You were lucky to have your grandparents. I just love Happy to death. She helps everyone and has been sending you to those who need help all your life. Let me help you.”

The woman said, “You know that I have a few animals that need to go somewhere, so I want you to take them home and care for them. You might want to share the meat from the beef with me, but I don’t eat much. I have chickens and that means I always have extra eggs. You need to come by and get them. We’ll eventually have enough chicken dinners to get rid of them. I’ll need help getting sacks of grain from the barn to the chicken house meanwhile. There’s going to be some things that will need fixing from time to time. You can do that too. All in all, I think this will be good for you and your family.”

I smiled at the woman and said, “You know that I’m going off to school and won’t be here most of the time to do these things for you, Mrs. Snyder. Would it be good if Burt, my sister’s husband, came by to do them?”

“Of course, Barney. These are just some things that need doing. But you have to come to see me and we’ll have some of my man’s sipping stuff when you’re home for holidays. I’ll always remember your father by looking at you.”

The beautiful, old white-haired lady pulled out a drawer in the kitchen, and gave me the title to the truck along with all the papers that had come with it when it was purchased. She sat down with a piece of paper and wrote out that she was giving the truck to me for the price of one dollar. She was smiling as she said, “That’ll get that greedy tax collector, Simon, all pissed off that he can’t collect some extra tax money. Be sure to go buy insurance for the truck, and remember to come over and collect the animals so that I don’t have to worry about feeding them.”

Grandpa wanted to go look at the stock and we found a cow with a young calf and two steers that were past time to either butcher or ship. Mrs. Snyder said, “I’ll miss my cow, but she needs to be gone. I can’t go anywhere because I don’t have anyone to come to milk her. I might come over in the morning or evening and milk her sometimes. It’s sad to have a farm without any farm animals.”

I told this woman, “I’ll milk her for you tonight and tomorrow morning, and we’ll get the stock moved tomorrow. I’ll make sure you get as much milk as you need. Just tell Burt and he’ll do what you want. I’ll make sure that he visits with you often so that you can tell him of any chores he might need to do. I’ll be by to see you and have some of your cookies when I’m home from school.”

I drove the fairly new truck home, noting it only had twelve thousand miles. It didn’t make sense for a farmer’s truck, but he had a cap on it. It was obviously waterproof as there was no moisture in the bed. I was thinking of pulling the cap off, but it would be good to have a dry place to haul my clothes and anything else I needed to take to school.

Burt and I had a long talk about what he needed to do for Mrs. Snyder. He understood that she was giving us a lot of food, and the cow would be good for his kids. He said that he needed to find some pasteurizing equipment but I sort of ignored that. That might be too much for us out in the boonies.

Primary Editing by Pepère
Helicopter and Legal Guru, Rotorhead

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