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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chapter 4

The Circuit Preacher

There was word passing around at the livery stable that the circuit preacher would be coming to Birmingham the next week. He would take care of any necessary funerals that needed to be done since the last time he was in town. You see-people waited for the circuit preacher to come so that their loved one could have a proper burial. He would hold baptisms, and perform marriages.There would be preaching and singing every night for a week, and all day on Saturday and Sunday in the yard at the school house . This was always a lot of fun to Haywood. All the women would bring food and pies and cakes. There would be a break in the preaching and singing around noon and everyone would eat and sit on quilts laid out on the ground. The children were free to run and play. Now that Haywood was 10 years old, he liked to see all the pretty young girls that came in their prettiest dresses.

Huldy had gotten a letter from Papa, and said that papa would be here for sure to listen to the preaching. Papa said he had a big surprise for Haywood and the rest of the family. Haywood was glad - for he had not seen papa in a long time. Not since he had gone to Georgia to get in on the land lottery. Maybe he was going to buy Haywood a sack of penny candy...........

One of Haywood and Chester's favorite things to do was to see who would arrive on the stage coach and check into the Marrs Hotel. First, all you could see was a cloud of dust in the distance, then you could hear the horses' hooves pounding on the ground, then the drivers could be heard trying to slow the coach down. Coming to a halt right in front of the hotel. The curtains over the windows would be raised, people would get out while trying to beat all the dust and dirt off themselves. The drivers would head to the saloon for a little refreshment.

On this day it was Papa, and a couple by the name of Strickland,with their two very young daughters Adeline and Everline, and a lovely young lady with porcelain skin, red hair and a parasol with ruffles around the edge of it. Haywood found out, too soon for his liking, that her name was Miss Mayme Beatrice Wardlaw. She definitely had her sights set on Papa. For, Papa had brought this woman, who was soon to be his wife, and new mama for Haywood, home to meet the rest of the family as his surprise...

Mr. Strickland had a pretty wife too. She seemed very fragile-like she was not strong enough for this land. She was definitely a city girl. The Stricklands were moving here from the Carolinas. Their household goods and livestock would soon be arriving on the Southern Rail Road. They had bought a tract of land out by Papa's homestead. Miss Wardlaw checked into the Marrs Hotel, as did the Strickland family. Papa stayed with us at Huldy and Uncle Sol's house.

Papa brought Miss Wardlaw to dinner at Huldy's house the next day. We went to the preaching that night. Papa asked Haywood if he wanted to come home to Georgia with him. Haywood told him that he would just as soon stay there with his sister. On Saturday Papa and Miss Wardlaw got married by the traveling preacher, and stayed at his sister, Loucinda's house. Monday they boarded the stage coach to go back to Walker County, Georgia. Houston had joined the Army and Will Henry was doing farm work for a family in Georgia. This family just happened to have a pretty daughter with dark curly hair, who had caught Will Henry's eye. Papa said that Jim was traveling around to different places and doing odd jobs here and there.

Soon after the Stricklands moved to town, Mrs. Strickland died. That left him with two small girls to raise by himself. Aunt Loucindas' boys-Will and Antney Harris had been helping the Stricklands out on their farm. They helped Mr. Strickland lay his cotton crop in and then helped him get it to the Gin. After Mrs. Strickland died, aunt Loucinda would take food out to the Strickland place. After all, she said, they all still needed to eat. A year later Mr. Strickland and aunt Loucinda got married, when the preacher came to town for a burying. Aunt Loucinda was the only mother that Everline and Adeline could ever remember.

When Haywood was seventeen, aunt Huldys' husband-uncle Sol died of milk sickness, a disease from drinking milk from cattle which had eaten poisonous weeds. She had to take in some washing and ironing for other folks, and Haywood and Chester had to go to work at the mine.


♥georgie♥ said...

cant you just post the whole story all at once....the suspence is killing me lol

Talked to becky last nite...stay warm today it is still sleeting here

Tiffany said...

I agree with Georgie! I can't wait to hear the rest of the story. Hurry up!!! LOL

♥georgie♥ said...

taps foot....waits....ummmmm waitin on the next post....
♥ya mom

annh said...

I stopped by a day or so ago, and just getting back to finish reading the story, you really do have a way with telling a story,...I am completely enjoying reading it..(by the way, thanks for visiting our blog) I, like you am new at blogging, but have gotten so caught up with it..(it is addicting, you know..)well, on to the story..

The Rule Maker said...

Milk sickness? And we gripe about food allergies! I smell a book deal.