Mixsonian

The Old Times
By Rosalie Anderson Mixson


WILBUR

The first I ever remember much about Wilbur he was in France in World War l--1915 or 1916. He and Rhett Dantzler were over there at the same time. The girls at school were all writing letters to the boys over there and I wrote to him but I never got an answer. In the spring of 1918 when he came home from France, his father, Mr. Jim Mixson, gave a dinner. All the relatives and neighbors for miles around came. All twelve children were there, with their husbands and children. They were all in the parlor (sitting room) playing the organ and singing and whenever the girls came in they would kiss Wilbur. I was standing at the door and he by the organ. He was kissing one of the girls and it was all I could do not to run over and throw my arms around him and kiss him too! He looked up and saw me looking at him and I turned around and hurried out. In a few minutes he was beside me. He asked to have dinner with me and while we were eating he asked me to be his “sweetheart” and I said yes, I guess, but I don’t remember, I was to bashful to talk. After that he came over to see me once or twice a week for almost a year. He rode his horse called “Dink”. He came late in the afternoon after they had finished work. In October, 1919 he brought me a watermelon that they had found in the cornfield while breaking corn. Sometimes he’d borrow the girls buggy and take me for a ride. Early in 1920 his dad bought a Model T Ford, and he borrowed it once to take me for a ride. The girls always had me over to eat dinner often on Sundays.

He said he loved me and I loved him--He came over to our house about twice a week after I told him I would marry him. Mama was for me marrying him but Papa and Mama almost had a fuss because Papa didn’t want me to get married. Papa was getting old and we were very poor but it didn’t bother us--I think we all were as happy as we could be, the times were very hard and no one we knew had very much. Wilbur asked Mama’s permission to marry me and she said yes. Papa was cutting wood down in the woods out in front of the house when he went to ask him. Everyone teased Wilbur and asked him if he wasn’t afraid the old man would take the ax to him! But Papa and Wilbur got along pretty well. Wilbur didn’t talk much (and he never said any bad things about anyone.) Papa liked to talk and discuss everything from the Bible to world news. He took the New York Times (a newspaper).

Wilbur loved farming, fishing, and playing “Set Back” and checkers with the boys and his brothers. I guess I spent my happiest years with him tramping thru the woods or fishing after the children were grown. For a long time I didn’t have a gun and only went along to see the woods and the smell of the pine needles--the trees at different seasons. In the fall the leaves would be ankle deep and you had to get out early before the leaves dryed when hunting squirrls because they would rattle so loud as to scare them away. When we fished, we would sit on the bank at Plantation, the pond back of our field--it made no difference if we caught anything or not but just to sit side by side and look across the water at the birds--it was a wonderful feeling. He enjoyed it and it made me happy to be with him.

Sometimes when they were cooking sirup they saved the “skimmings” that was the fome that you skimmed off the juice in the vat as it was cooking, the better it was skimmed the clearer the sirup. When the barrel was full, Wilbur and Bill, my brother, got a negro man to make “moonshine wiskey”. It didn’t always turn out so well and I’d use it to start the fire in the fireplace. If it was good Wilbur and the other men, Charley White, his old buddy from the army, or Mr. Little, our neighbor from the next farm, drank it. He never got drunk but once. He and Mr. Little took the meat to the cold storage and bought a quart from a moonshiner they knew. Both of them were staggering. I didn’t know what to do, laugh or cry, but the next morning he was O.K. I looked at the bottle and I decided it wasn’t what they had drank from that bottle. Mr. Little sure was sorry and hoped I wasn’t mad. Years later when he got a job checking the hunters in the forest he said, “You know some of those men come in here so drunk they don’t know their license from their hat.” It made him think, I guess, because he said, “Peggie, that was his name for me, do I act that way when I drink?” I told him it was so. He said, “I’ll never drink again”, and he never did. They were raised up with wiskey or moonshine. Mr. Mixson loved his toddy and when got old he’d call Alice to make him a toddy (wiskey, sugar and water) every hour or so.

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