January 2008
Farm Fresh Memories



It was a very cool crisp Saturday mornin’ near nine when I walked into The Flat Rock General Store. There was a crowd gatherin’ which included Slim, Essex, Ms. Ida, The Widow Cora, Estelle, Willerdean and Bro. There were other community and area Flat Rock folk comin’ and goin’ about The Store also. Just as I settled onto my nail keg seat along side the old potbellied heater, most near all the Saturday Mornin’ hunters comminst to showin’ up - like Farlow, "Truth," S.R. J.R., "Hatch," Heath and Dustin. At first ganderin’, it appeared that all ’em were empty-handed. However, just as I entered that thought in my brain, in walked the night owl, Mr. Harley Hood himself, with a belt stringer full of brightly feathered ducks. As heads turned and mouths dropped open, "Truth" asked the question "where?" The musician raised his head, grinned and said, "My secret honey hole." This brought on lots of head shakin’ and comments were flung out like "Them’s corn fed ducks" or "Shot ’em in a pen," even words like "You got ’em down at the livestock auction flea market in Russellville." In my thinkin’ I knew just where Harley Hood had hunted them ducks out of the air at, ’cause I had seen him down there fishin’. Even after the continued devistatin’ drought of ought seven this "honey hole" just off Mud Creek still carried enough water for duck huntin’.

At this moment a truck horn went to a blarin’ outside The Store causin’ all bodies gathered to scramble toward the old double front doors. To no surprise, it was our good friend and John Thorn’s neighbor from over to Waco, Mr. Orland "O.B." Britnell with his pickup truck with Auburn flags still flyin’ high and totally decorated in AU orange and blue paraphernalia. He was a celebratin’ Iron Bowl win number six over Alabama and the 4-million-dollar-man coach. "O.B." is President Elect of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association and will take over at the state meetin’ Feb. 1&2 in Birmingham. "O.B. was out collecterin’ cattlemen’s membership dues and presellin’ ribeye steak sandwiches for the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association’s next sell. Slim related to O.B. that Baxter Black called him personal for an invite to the annual NCBA meetin’ to be held in Reno, Nevada, in February of ought eight. He further noted he did not speak to Baxter Black live but Baxter had left a message on The Store phone after closin’. O.B. questioned Slim as to how Baxter Black come on The Store’s number. In Slim’s quessin’ he had probably got it from President George W. Bush, who had called The Store back in ought five needin’ Slim’s personal help to keep Alabama a red state.

Shortly on as things normaled up again, most folk settled back around the old potbellied heater because of the heavy outside coldness. Some folk opted for lunch sandwiches, coffee or hot cocoa. Slim took the floor and begin commentin’ about the lateness of ought seven — meanin’ ought eight was upon us. He further commented about all folk "resolutin" for ought eight and how matter factly these folk should in Slim’s words not set out ought eight "resolutin" with a list of 20 or more items rather stay determined on six or so reachable "resolutin" items.

Bro. took the floor at this point and started passin out flyer’s concernin’ Godly/church "resolutin" type goals includin’—attitude, prayer, family, church attendance, participation, preacher support and so on. There were several others makin’ a full list too long to pencil down completely, and possible too long for one individual person, relatin’ back to Slim’s thinkin’ toward "resolutin" for ought eight.

About this time, the gathered Store people begin to disperse out for Saturday evening responsibilities like some T.V. football watchin’ time, evenin’ naps or, just possibly, an afternoon shootin’ house huntin’/nap combination.


Joe Potter is a former vocational agriculture teacher, FFA advisor and retired county agent (Colbert County).