My maternal grandfather, Ruben Champion Morrow, could "pick the taters off the vine" when he held a banjo across his knee and moved his fingers effortlessly across the five metal strings. As far as I know, he never had any real lessons, but he sure could play a rowdy rendition of "Boilin' Cabbage Down" on his shiny, wooden instrument . . .
My first slingshot was made from a forked limb, hickory I believe, and used strips of rubber from an automobile tire inner tube for the power source. (About 18 inch's long, and one half inch wide) One end of the rubber strip was placed over one of the two wood forks, and while holding in place with one hand, use the other hand to wrap a strong cord type string around that fork, tie the string into a knot, then do the same with the other fork.
I used a canvas tennis shoe tongue to hold the rocks or pebbles in place as I pulled back on the two long strips of rubber to launch the ammunition. I cut a hole into each side of the canvas, placed the other end of each rubber strip through each hole, then used cord once again to tie the ends of the rubber together with the cord, then do the same with the other side of the shoe tongue.
As a child, I loved watching my parents play hand after hand of Rook with my Aunt Bessie and Uncle Millard. The famous deck of cards was always brought out after everyone had their fill of fried chicken and pecan pie on those twice a month Saturday night gatherings.
Before 1910, there was little need for gas stations because owning an automobile was restricted to the wealthy. During this time, motorists were required to visit the local kerosene refinery on the city outskirts, haul a bucket of fuel to their vehicle, and then use a funnel to pour it into the car's gas tank, which was located under the front seat.
Around the 1920s, gas stations expanded. Some put up neon signs to advertise their name and many added vending machines and water fountains. New pumps offered two grades of gasoline without hand pumping and had glass covered gauges that displayed the amount of gas being dispensed and the cost.
A gas station attendant, sometimes called a "gas jockey," cleaned the windshield and checked the oil and water while the tank was filling up. In those days, it took around 8 minutes to fill the small 5-gallon tanks that were common on the automobiles of that time.
Every fall, when the weather turned cold, they would go with their daddy to slaughter two or three hogs. The meat was hung in the smoke house so that they could have pork chops, ham, bacon, sausage and other good foods throughout the year. (Walt likes to say that his grandpa ate fatback everyday of his life and it finally killed him.. ..when he was 98.)
Just about every part of the hog was used. What was left over, was the fat. They handed that over to Mommy Brown. She would drag out her big black wash pot, into the backyard, and build a very small fire underneath it. She would then cut the fat up into little chunks and begin to cook it down. This is where the boys came in. Mommy didn't have time to stand over that pot all day and stir, what with keeping up the house and all, so Walk and Buddy would be put to stirring the pot.
After many hours of this business, the result was this gooey white stuff called lard. Mommy Brown used it all year long for cooking just like we would use vegetable shortening today. On top of the lard there would be a layer of crunching stuff called crackling. If you've never had cracklin' in your corn bread, then you've never had corn bread.