Tuesday, April 19, 2016

That alligator meat sure was good. Beau's mama fixed us up some in a gumbo. There never was any better eatin', the way Beau's mama cooked up things, lessin it was my mama's cookin'.
After eatin', Beau and I decided we would mess around the swamp some more 'fore goin' to take a swim. But Beau's mama said no. She said it was time to start quiltin' and for us to go get the quilt frame from my mama. I hated it when it was time to quilt. Beau's mama and my mama and sisters would jus' sit and laugh and sew and tell stories forever, and bein' as we were too young to go trap with our paws and Beau's brother, Leon, we had to do most of the work around the house since they were too busy. Leon thought that wasn't fair that I got to stay. Said he'd be glad to quilt with my sisters. Beau said he was sick in the head and a sissy. Leon said, “Ifn' I were you Beau, I wouldn't talk 'bout who was a sissy since you are the one wearing them flowery ole' women's britches.” Before they could start a fight, we were sent to fetch the quilt frame over our sheep shed. I hated climbin' over them sheep to get the frame down 'cause of that mean ole' ram. But Beau said he'd help since he liked climbin' over the sheep. Said they looked like nice little fluffy clouds floatin' near the ground waitin' to be jumped on.
When we were inside the shed, Beau said that them ole' quiltin' frame sticks sure had to put up with a lot, what with havin' to hear them women giggle and talk 'bout everybody. Beau said one day he was gonna be one of them sticks and when my sisters started to talk 'bout him he was gonna jump up real fast and swat them up side o' their heads. Beau started to swat just to show me how and swatted his hand up side a yellow jackets nest and got stung. I reckon God was tellin' him he shouldn't talk like that.
Well, when Beau got stung he jumped so far that he fell out of the top of that shed and bounced head over heals, swattin' and yellin' 'bout them yellow jackets, straight down some boards my paw was savin' and landed face first right in the middle of a fresh sheep patty. His bouncin' caused me to lose my balance, too, and I followed him down. But good ole' Beau was lookin' out after me 'cause he saved me from fallin' in the same place. Only trouble was, when I landed on Beau, it caused him to fling his face in the sheep patty again, which made Beau shout so loud that the sheep got scared and started runnin' and leapin' everywhere, even on top of me and Beau.
Beau sure looked funny in them ole' flowery overalls covered in sheep stuff while he clung to the neck of the ole' ram who had decided we were after his ladies and proceeded to butt us. Butted Beau so hard that he was flung up side the boards paw was saving' causin' them to break and fall on his head. It was then that I saw some red on Beau's face mixed with all that sheep stuff. “Beau, you been hurt,” I said and ran to get my maw. At first Maw just laughed and said that sheep stuff ought to make them flowers on Beau's overalls grow some more. Said that she never seen two boys get into so much trouble over nothin' and made me clean Beau's face 'cause he was too banged up and stunk. Beau always had a way of getin' out of doing things for himself.
I leaned Beau up side the shed and proceeded to clean his face when all of a sudden he started twitchin' and flitchin' and bouncin' himself all over the ground. “Maw, Beau's hurt bad. He's havin' a fit,” I shouted as Beau flung himself at me, shoutin', “Ants! I'm covered in ants, you idjit.” How did I know that ants wanted to be in the same spot Beau wanted to sit on?
Maw said she could tell Beau was all right now 'cause he acted like a dog chasin' a possum on a full moon night.  When he was cleaned up, Beau didn't look much better what with a black eye on one side of his face and a swollen eye on the other from the sting. Not to mention all them ant bites up and down his body.
Beau just laughed and said he was goin' home and tell his maw that he and an ole' bobcat were learnin' to dance and he didn't learn too well. Said she wouldn't believe the real truth anyhow. How could he blame his troubles on an ole' quiltin' frame.
Well, Beau's maw didn't believe that story 'bout the bodcat 'cause Beau's overalls weren't torn to shreds. Said Beau musta got into some other kind of trouble and didn't want to tell her 'bout it 'cause he was covered in mess and stunk. Said Beau was tryin' to make her old 'fore her time and that he musta been tryin' to get rid of them overalls. Made him put on one of her ole' dresses again and go out back and pound them overalls clean before she put the switch to him. Beau said that sheep stuff was good for flowers but Beau's mama said water was better.
Beau sat there poundin' his overalls wishin' his brother, Leon, would hurry up and grow out of his britches so he could get rid of those flowery ones for good.  "Maybe his maw could use some of those pelts daddy trapped to make him some new overalls," he said, even though he knew better 'cause his maw sure could use some of that money for new material for dresses for herself, 'specially since he was usin' them dresses up faster than she was. Just the same, Beau was getting' mighty tired of wearin' them ole' sissy flower pants.
Beau was in the middle of his poundin' and fussin' when his paw came over and said he had heard how Beau broke my paw's boards from bouncin' down 'em and that when Beau was through poundin' his clothes clean he'd have to get out of that dress and go help me and paw cut some new boards. Said that Beau should clean out our sheep shed to help pay for the trouble he caused. Then he just laughed and said Beau was lookin' more like a girl everyday.
When Beau got to my place, my paw said that he'd rather Beau just cleaned up the sheep shed instead. Said Beau would probably cause the tree to fall in the wrong direction or split it in two or somethin'.
So me and Beau had to clean the shed. Funny how Beau never got to do these things by himself and that I always seemed to be handy to help him get out of trouble.
Not only did we have to clean up all the sheep mess and get the quilt frame down, but paw said that all that trash and boards and such should be cleaned out, too, and burned. I said, "Maybe our maws could quilt Beau a pair of britches."

© Nippy Blair 2015. Posts and pictures on this blog cannot be copied, downloaded, printed, or used without the permission of the blog owner, Nippy Blair.

Saturday, April 9, 2016




He was just a good ole' boy livin' down in the swamp. Fair skinned, deep set brown eyes, the darkest tan and the blackest hair...so black and shiny you could see your own reflection in it ifn' you looked hard enough. That was Beau. Montgomery Beauregard Bordeleon Jones. But everyone called him Beau. Never saw Beau dressed up. Always wore those same ole' bib overalls his older brother handed down when he got too big for 'em. Had a big patch on the left knee 'cause Beau was always getting' into some kind of trouble. Didn't matter much 'bout that patch, tho, 'cause no one ever came in these parts of the swamp to care how you dressed anyhow. 
 Beau didn't have any shoes, neither, but that didn't matter 'cause no one did 'ceptin' maybe our maws and paws and besides ifn' he did have some there'd be no place to wear 'em. They'd just get in the way havin' to take them off every time we decided to shinny up one of them live oaks.
 I never had any other playmates growin' up 'ceptin' my dumb ole' sisters, Mary, Alice and Betsy or Beau's older brother, Leon, who was always busy 'courtin' Mary or Alice or helpin' his paw trap nutria to care 'bout playin' with me. So I reckon it was just as good that Beau and I were friends. Good friends full of fun.
 Being so full of fun sometimes got us into trouble. Like the time Beau found them alligator eggs over by the ole' “Struck” tree. We called it that 'cause this particular live oak seemed to always be attractin' lightin'. “There's no tellin' how many times that ole' trees' been struck,” said Paw. “ It's been struck 12 times since we been livin' here and there's no tellin' how many times it was struck before.” 
  Beau was just out trappin' when he happened upon them eggs. Couldn't wait to find me. “John's out fishin' with his Paw on further back in the swamp,” my maw told him. “Won't be back till late,” she said. Well, that didn't set well with Beau. Didn't set well a'tall. “Can't wait till later,” he said as he hurried off. “Don't matter ifn' I am alone,” he shouted over his shoulder as he ran home to gather his knife and other weapons he thought he might need. “Besides, I ain't 'fraid of no mean ole' mama gator,” he said to himself.
When I got home, Maw told me Beau was just lookin' for me and was all excited, I hurried to find him 'cause I knew good times was just around the corner. Caught him over by “struck” tree, but Beau was too busy concentratin' to even know I was around.
I thought I'd have some fun of my own with ole' Beau, so I started sneakin' up on him. I climbed in the tree thinkin' 'bout pouncin' on him when it happened. That ole' mama gator was bellowing and rushin' straight for Beau. I clung to that tree tighter than a tick on a hound dog ready to help Beau ifn' he needed me. Good thing I was there to look out after him or you never would have known anythin' 'bout my ole' buddy Beau. Don't reckon they would have ever found his body. You see, Beau was just' reachin' that last egg when the ole' gal rushed up on him a bellowin' so loud that Beau just' froze to the spot, and then “WHUMP!” Why mud and sweat was all over Beau's body as he rushed out of that water. That ole' mother just kept on comin' after Beau and by the time he was through dancin' with that ole' mama gator he was fit to be tied. She was down upon him and they proceeded to tango. First they rolled left two or three times, then back to the right, then back to the left again. Beau was doin' pretty good holdin' that ole' mama gators mouth shut and dancin' all over when he spied me clingin' to the tree ready to help. That upset Beau so much that he let go and started hollerin' 'bout me or somethin'. Couldn't understand what he was sayin' but he was probably sayin' how glad he was to see me. Just as I was 'bout to help him that ole' mama just slapped him plumb up side a cypress tree with her tail. Lands, you never saw such a pitiful sight in all your born days after that mama gator flung him clean up to heaven. Shook things so hard, I thought ole' “struck” had been struck again and me in it. Nearly fell out of that ole' tree. But Beau was tough and wanted them eggs bad and besides he wasn't 'bout to give up now. So he proceeded to shoutin' somethin' 'bout me again, but I was too busy clingin' to that shakin' tree tryin' to keep my balance that I didn't listen too well.
Beau, lookin' pretty mad spotted the knife I dropped, grabbed it and leaped upon that ole' gator and begun thrustin' his knife in her belly...weren't long 'fore she was lyin' still...and so was Beau. Scared me to death, it did. Beau just kept lyin' there and lyin' there with mud and sweat and blood all over his body. I shouted his name over and over as I climbed down the tree. “Beau, Beau. Can I hep ya? Beau, can you hear me?” But Beau didn't move a muscle. So I took a stick and poked him one under his left arm to roll him over. Beau rolled over so fast shoutin' at me that I thought for sure that ole' mama gator had flung me clean up to heaven too. I started a hollerin', “Help. Help. Hallaujah! I'm coming to Jesus.” Beau just doubled over with laughter. Said it served me right. That rascal weren't hurt, 'ceptin' a few scratches. After drying the tears away from our eyes from laughin', I gave Beau a good look. “Land them overall,” I shouted. “Beau, your mama's 'gonna have a heap of sewin' to do tonight,” I said. “Or else your brother's gonna outgrow his britches again mighty fast.” After we finished laughin some more, Beau discovered that all those alligator eggs had been rolled over while all that wrestlin' was goin' on. Not a single one of them was good for nothin'.
After the shock of losin' them eggs, we both just sat down and laughed some more. Took us the better part of the afternoon, time we skinned that gator and cut up the meat we intended to take home. Both of us had to turn her over so Beau could cut the belly skin down each side to the back legs. Beau said we had to be careful not to mess up that skin any worse then all those knife slashes already done. Just the same, he let me rip around the legs and slice it down to the tail. Said he sure hoped we could get a fair price for it. Beau was real careful to cut a steak or two from the tail for his mama. The rest was thrown back into the swamp for the other gators or the buzzards that were waitin' for us to finish. 
Beau sure was countin' on that meat to help soothe his mama's anger. But it didn't. I let Beau walk in by himself so as not to take all the credit for savin' Beau myself, or disturb his mama no more.
Beau's mama just took one look at that boy and them overalls and headed him out behind the outhouse and proceeded to thrash him good with a willow branch that he had to get for her. Said she didn't want to wait for his paw to come home...and then she marched him back to the house holdin' his right ear very tight and made him put one of her dresses on while she tried to find enough patches to patch, never givin' him a a chance to tell how I saved his life.
The next mornin' Beau got to tell the whole story, since his paw and older brother had come home. Beau sure was grateful to finally get it off his chest. He proceeded to tell his version of the whole story in great detail. Spent the rest of the mornin' re-livin' that experience and all the while his paw just rolled with laughter. Weren't too long before Beau's maw and the rest of the family were laughin' too. Partly because of the ridiculous way Beau looked in that dress as he told the story. I was pretty mad that he left out the part of me savin' him.
I didn't see Beau again for two or three days but his brother, Leon, told me that Beau was alright. “Jus' won't come outside in maw's dress. Don't blame him none, being as how he looks so sissy,” he said.
And that's how come Beau got him a new pair of britches. Beau said it didn't matter ifn' they were out of his sister's ole' flowery dress 'cause nobody would see him 'ceptin' us and the swamp critters. “Besides,” he said, “I just' might be able to track and trap them critters better ifn' they think I'm just a bunch of flowers.” But I could tell Beau thought them new britches stunk.
Beau's maw said she was 'gonna save what's left of them ole' britches and put them in a quilt so she can be reminded of that ole' mama gator that almost flung her baby to heaven.

© Nippy Blair 2015. Posts and pictures on this blog cannot be copied, downloaded, printed, or used without the permission of the blog owner, Nippy Blair.