Walking Off These Blues

Most tributes to “Fats” Domino will mention the more publicized “Blueberry Hill.”  My favorite will always be, “Walking To New Orleans.”

It was the early sixties.  I could feel the despiration in his voice as I walked cornfield rows, chopping weeds in hot, summer heat. It was a miserable job, and I’d rather not have been there–but, I couldn’t quit.  Had to keep on walking.

Antoine “Fats” Domino, you’ll have lots of company in the rock & roll hall of fame in the sky.  In my mind, you’ll always be “Walkin’ To New Orleans.”

I’ve got no time for talkin’

I’ve got to keep a-walkin’

Gonna’ need two pairs of shoes

When I get done walking these blues

Cause I’m walkin’ to New Orleans

New Orleans is my home

That’s the reason why I’m goin’

99 Word #prompt #flashfiction: Traded

The specially designed wooden crate, held twelve-dozen eggs.  A weeks worth of egg laying.

It was hot in the car, all the windows were rolled down.  Al’s AG Market, with the lighted yellow disc on the canopy, had been there a long time.

“The best I can offer is 20 cents a dozen,” Said Al.

“That’s not very much,” She answered.  “They’ve always given me 30 cents at Midvale.”

“That’s my best offer–take it or leave it.  People here don’t like brown eggs.”

She accepted.  Grocery money would be a little short this week.  Eggs wouldn’t keep forever.

Cheap Labor Days

My father was a busy man.  At one time, responsible for three livestock and grain farms, at three different locations.  He was also active in the church.

With three sons, cheap labor was readily available.  Routine tasks weren’t that bad–feeding, watering chickens, and other livestock.

Down the hill to the barn, transistor radio in hand.  The hogs ate ear corn, thrown on the ground.  Cattle ate from a trough, standing up.  Sometimes deer feasted with the cattle.

Music eased the drudgery of pumping water.  The whole process couldn’t have taken much more than an hour.  When it was cold or rainy, it seemed like forever.  “If I’d gotten struck by lightning, then they’d be sorry”–went through my mind more than once.

What I despised, were tasks associated with removal of animal or human waste.  Worst of all, cleaning out the outhouse.  The stench was horrible, and it seemed to stay with you.  Chicken coops and barn stalls weren’t nearly as bad.  Although, chicken manure had an overpowering ammonia smell.

The beginning of September was high harvest season for corn and soybeans.  Labor Day, spent helping with related tasks.  That’s why it became Cheap Labor Day.

I guess this made up for some of the mischief I caused.  Taught me the value of hard work; the perils of disobedience, and an innate desire to find better ways to make a living.

Off To the Farm and Other Lies Told By Parents

Blackie, a sweet old tomcat, was asleep in a clover field, when the sickle bar mower amputated two of his legs.  He lived for several days confined to a cardboard box.

Fluffy, the gray preacher’s daughter’s cat, sent to live on grandpa’s farm met a sad end.  The cat had fleas and was a nuisance for grandma.  No doubt grandpa’s double-barreled shotgun, sent Fluffy to the big litter box in the sky.

They were lies told to protect innocent children’s sensibilities–when in fact these unwanted pets were sent away to meet their demise.  “Brownie ran away and got lost in the woods.”

Debbie’s cat, Fluffy was, “Going to live the rest of her days on the farm with the other animals.”

Blackie was the lucky one.  He was euthanized by a local veterinarian–against my father’s wishes.  Mother just did it–didn’t ask for approval.

The lies were mean and cruel.  Spay and neuter.  Stop the exploding pet population.

What to do with unwanted pets?   Don’t dump pets off on other people that don’t want them.

Parents, please don’t give cute dyed chicks and bunnies to your kids this Easter.

There are still too many people that dump unwanted pets in the country.  These meet their demise in cruel ways, unless they’re rescued by no-kill shelters.

BACK HOME IN A PLACE THAT’S A LOT LIKE INDIANA

I could have been in the middle of one of the three accidents in a rural three-mile stretch of I-65–if it weren’t for timing.

Post-holiday weekend.  Everybody with the same idea–get home, first and fastest.

The day after, thoughts blur, like forgotten traffic.

Carrying a twenty-six pound turkey up from my daughter’s basement at four AM on Thanksgiving morning.

Watching the Lions football game after the meal; falling asleep somewhere in the third quarter.

Things went smoothly with the family.  No arguments or heated discussions broke out.  It was calm as a sunny day.

There were plenty of opportunities.  One grandson is now a declared vegetarian.  That didn’t seem to bother anyone.  The younger ones seem to be more politically liberal than us oldsters.  Plenty of ground to plow there.

One of the reasons we’re not highly regarded in some parts of the world is because of our wastefulness–that includes food.  I’m sure homeless people in this country and overseas would like to have anything to eat.

I’m an old-school farm kid.  I learned how food got to the table.  It is sad that we’ve lost much of our grandparent’s self-sufficiency.  They worked harder.  I think they were happier.

My home state of Illinois is in a budget crunch and largely dysfunctional.   State lottery winners have been given IOU’s.  Pending lawsuits are piling up–adding to the mayhem.  Because of high taxes, jobs are leaving to neighboring Indiana.

It’s great to be back home to a place that’s a lot like Indiana.