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Column: Reminiscing


By Bill Frazer

I am having trouble with some of the less informed seniors. Jane Crawford confronted me and said that she had looked it up in the dictionary and the correct word is “curry comb” and not “curr comb” which is the word that I used to identify a horse comb. Now I ask you, what does Webster know about farm terminology? I resent intellectuals telling me that my grandfather did not know correct farm language usage.

Mary Frances Sims came into the Pore Folks Dinning Hall and asked if I knew the boll weevil song. Of course, the lyrics were: “the first time I “seen” the boll weevil he was sitting on a square, the next time I “seen” him, he had his family there, just looking for a home”.

Let’s see how much you readers remember?

1. Who made popular the boll weevil song?

2. What is a haint?

3. What is a shoat?

4. What is a croker sack?

5. What is a hoe cake?

A.The song was written in 1908 after the invasion of the cotton fields by the boll weevil that migrated into the US from Mexico. A number of artists  popularized this song, but the one I remember was Tex Ritter in 1945.

B.A haint is a ghost or an evil out of this world figure. A lot of southerners that were basically uneducated believed in haints. Most of us do not understand why anyone would believe in an evil out of this world figure. However, if you reflect on it, we Christians believe in the devil which we believe is active in our lives. The difference is that we have a reliable source that documents this unseen evil figure called the devil.

C.A shoat is a common term today among farmers. A shoat is a young pig.

D.A croker sack is simply a burlap bag that holds a large volume of farm products such as irish potatoes.

E.According to Rabbit Adams, a hoe cake is corn bread fried that looks like pan cakes.

The picture of the soil under a shed shows doodle bug craters. The picture was made under James Morgan’s shed. The ant lions create these miniature craters in loose soil and lay eggs which hatch into larvae. The larvae lay in the crater until a passing ant slips into the crater and makes lunch for him.

The metal pictured is a stilyard which was used to weight cotton baskets in the cotton field. A hoe handle was held on the shoulders of the field workers and the basket suspended by the hook on the scales. The cotton pickers were generally paid by the harvested pound. The correct spelling should be steel yard. Rabbit Adams had the stilyard in his collection of artifacts.

Rabbit and James Morgan have a large collection of farm artifacts. The County Museum has a wonderful collection of farm artifacts and it is well categorized and worth a visit to view.