Friday, November 4, 2016

Shotgun


Grandma was quite a character. She was a quiet woman but she could surprise you at times with the things that she did.

Grandma could cook. She was the best cook I ever knew. Even better than my mother. I do not like pancakes but I always hoped she would make them for breakfast when I was there. That was because she made her own syrup out of water and sugar.

Grandma made homemade bread every day. And I mean every day. She cooked and baked on an old wood stove. Anyone who has had food cooked that way knows how much better it tastes.

Grandma had been cooking since she was a small girl. Once in a while on Sunday when they were making Sunday dinner, Grandma would ask one of her daughters to take the homemade biscuits from the oven. They would start to look for pot holders or a towel to hold the pan to keep from getting burned. Grandma would give an exasperated sigh and grab the pan with her bare hands and set it on the table.

I remember being shocked when I was in high school. Grandma had had a stroke. After a long hospital stay she was finally home. She went to take biscuits from the oven and had to bounce the pan from hand to hand. She felt the heat.

Grandma said that while she was in the hospital the doctors and nurses talked about her like she was a baby. She was unable to speak. The doctors told everyone that she would never walk again. She laid there and thought to herself; "I'll show them!" She got tired easily at first but she could walk just fine.

She was a farmer's wife with all the work that entails. She cooked a lot of fried chicken. She would send my uncles out to catch and behead a couple chickens for dinner. She used a wire that had a hook bent at the end to catch the leg of a chicken so the person could get it in their grasp. Then the boys were supposed to chop off the heads with an axe.

Now getting a chicken to lay its head calmly on a chopping block while you cut off its head is an impossible task. They wiggle, they squirm, and they have extremely agile necks. My uncles would have a time trying to do the chore.

Finally Grandma would get tired of waiting. She just grabbed the chickens by their heads, spun them just so and wrung their heads right off their necks. It took seconds.

There was the time the cow got gas. Cows do not belch so gas stays inside and grows. If not taken care of the cow will die.

Grandpa had gone to town and would be gone for a couple of days. If he had been there he would have "stuck" the cow and it would have been done. Sticking the cow meant taking out his pocket knife and stabbing the cow in the spot where the second stomach was. It released the gas and all was right with the world.

Grandma did not know how to stick the cow. So she figured it would be fine until Grandpa got back. The cow just kept swelling and bawling. It bawled constantly and loudly. The swelling got bigger and the bawling got louder. Finally Grandma knew she would have to take care of it herself. She had no idea how to stick the cow. She grabbed a rake handle and shoved it into the proper opening on the cow. There was a great noise as the gas escaped. My mother said the smell was unbearable and hung over the farm for days. The cow was fine.

A wolf had been killing the livestock. Grandpa had not been able to catch it. It was another one of those times when Grandpa had to be away. Grandma heard a ruckus out with the animals. She looked out the window and saw the wolf.

She grabbed Grandpa's double-barreled shotgun. She had never shot a gun but she decided to play Annie Oakley.

She ran out to where the wolf was. She lifted the shotgun in both hands and held it out directly in front of her. She pulled both triggers at the same time. The shotgun kicked back and hit her in the mouth. It knocked out both her front teeth. I do not know what happened to the wolf.

18 comments:

  1. Such an incredible woman, Emma. She was a treasure! Whatever needed to be done, she did. Such strength and determination! Love this story!

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    1. Grandma was a special hard-working farmer's wife. She was also caring and loving. On top of that she played the piano when Grandpa played his fiddle or guitar or banjo at dances.

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  2. Love this story Emma and I love your grandmother, too!!! What a strong woman she was!!! My aunt was so much like her. My Aunt Erma knew how to kill her own chickens and rabbits, too, for food.
    She grew her own herbs and crops even when she had only a few acres of land in the country. She sewed, and she made quilts and she ran a daycare from her own home while doing all of the above. I admire strong women and I can see that you do, too~

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    1. Strong women were every bit as important to the building of our country as strong men were. I would have liked to know your Aunt Erma.

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  3. I thought I only saw a bionic woman in a TV series.

    Your grandma is superb.

    An old time farmer's wife.

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    1. Grandma was unique that is for sure. And she had the prettiest long black hair.

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  4. That is a funny part about the cow but I wonder the heifer expected flowers afterwards :)
    R

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    1. Too bad she did not feel good enough to have a nice dinner before eh?

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  5. This is a great remembrance of your grandmother. The farm life is not for sissies!

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    1. It certainly is not. Did I mention that she had 11 babies on top of everything else? She is one of my heroes.

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  6. wow your grandma was a legendary character .
    i enjoyed each sentence about her .
    my maternal grandma was also a wonderful multi talented person who spend his life alone with her five children when her husband was in army .
    in those days there was only one bus that that visited weekly to take passengers for the city and my grandma walked so many times by her feet for the city that was miles away brought stuff for house and even for cattle of the house
    she was great cook and in events and ceremonies all loved her noticeable appearances as she was a fun loving lady too

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    1. I believe you would have liked my Grandma.

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  7. Your grandmother must have been a joy to know. Thank you for writing about her.

    At my house we caught the chickens by hand, then my father tied their feet together, hung them from a low-hanging plum tree branch, and used his big World War II navy knife to cut off their heads. They would flop around and get all bloody, and when they stopped we (my mother and I) would take them down from the plum tree and plunge them into a big pot of hot water and strip them of their feathers.

    We did this one at a time, not en masse, whenever we wanted chicken for dinner. You stirred up some old memories of mine today.

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    1. My mother raised chickens and sold them dressed as a little extra money. As the oldest I helped her. I can clean a gizzard like nobody's business.

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