March 2007
Farm Fresh Memories

Farm Fresh Memories


It was near cold as blue blazes when I walked through the old double front doors into The Flat Rock General Store on Thursday morning, in the early a.m. In meteorological weather terms they would say: temperature 20 degrees, winds south to southwest at 25 mph, wind chill makes it about 12 degrees or, as I said, it was "near cold as blue blazes."

Slim was settin’ over behind The Store counter in his old recliner and Essex was a standin’ along side him with a bottle of peroxide and a pair of scissors. This was an odd sight in my thinking for more than one reason since Essex most nearly ain’t never out to The Store before near ’bout nine o’clock or later. Next, with the equipment she had in hand, it was a sure thing that she had been doctorin’ on somethin’ or somebody.

As Slim stood to speak a good mornin’ "howdy," it was clear who Essex had been a doctorin’ on cause he was a carrin’ a full gauze bandage from the tip of his right fingers clear to the high top of his right ear. I pointed at the contraption and started to speak, at which point Slim waved me off with his left hand then he grinned a full mouth grin and commented that he had nothing to say. To which Essex started a hardy full belly laugh, turned and walked away.

Like I said it was early in the a.m. and all The Store regulars trickled in slowly startin’ with Farlow and Willerdean, "Truth," Estelle, Bro., S.R., J.R., "Hatch," Ms. Ida, the widow Cora, My Daddy "pop" C.C., Heath, Dustin, and lastly the night owl Harley Hood. Course there were a few other local and area Flat Rock folk comin’ and goin’ and all had comments about the contraption Slim was a wearin’; comments like that he should report Essex to the DHR office, you been ridin’ Bro’s personal portable mobility demonstration unit off The Store steps like Ms. Ida.or guess that you will mind Essex next time, etc., etc., on and on the comments kept comin’.

Finally Slim couldn’t take it no longer and mumbled under his breath for those standin’ close enough to hear "that it was his wife and his stove wood" — meanin’ that Essex had whooped up on his right side arm. This was followed by Slim’s true accountin’ of how his injury or accident occurred— seems he was runnin’ late on Wednesday night last when he closed The Store and headed straight to church for prayer meetin’ so as to not miss none of Bro’s Wednesday night prayer meetin’ Bible study down to the Baptist church. ’Course next it was home for a late bite of supper, then he remembered that he hadn’t feed his horses and headed down back of the house to the barn to feed them. It being bone chillin’ cold, when he hit the barn lights the bulbs shot leavin’ him to feel his way to the corn barrel for a few hand scoops of corn.

That’s when it all happened. As his right hand was a enterin’ the corn barrel, the "possum" was a leavin’ and there was a serious incident of scaredness on both parts, that of Slim and the "possum." ’Course Slim experienced more than fright as there was scratchin’ and some blood along his fingers, hand, neck and ear. Needless to say, the horses didn’t get their corn feedin’ after all. When Slim got back to the house Essex declared the scratches light, opted against the emergency room and then she commenced to doctorin’ and treatin’ Slim’s right side from finger tip to ear tip. Truth be finally told by the nighttime horse feeder himself—Slim, The Flat Rock General Store proprietor and Wednesday night prayer meetin’ Church goer…

At this point I headed out to my pick-up for my camera to get me some pictures, not for publishing by the Alabama Cooperative Farming News or the Moulton Advertiser but for the back wall of The Store. The pictures that would serve as a reminder to Slim—"don’t you ever put your hand in the corn barrel after dark, ’cause that’s where the possum stays." Now ya’ll should all take a lesson from Slim and be shore you feed afore dark!!!


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