Dairy duties mean milking your vacation if you can

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Rachel Harper

Rachel Harper

TriBee News

By Rachel Harper

I had an early deadline this week; this past Friday to be exact, so the news is a little scarce!  I just hope I remember to do it again this coming weekend!

Everyone is busy going on vacation or getting ready to go on vacation, it seems.  Someone told me that one family got up really early to start out, like 3:30 in the morning; well that brought back some memories!  Daddy milked cows when I was growing up, even after I married, for a few more years, and I married a dairyman.  Trust me when I say that trying to plan and go on a vacation when you milk cows for a living is very, very hard!  In fact, you really don’t plan, everything is usually spur of the moment; when you think you can leave things and the person in charge won’t have too hard of a time carrying on.  Cows have to be milked everyday, twice a day, at least, and that includes weekends and holidays.  I remember when I was little and Daddy thought he could get off from the cows, we would leave very early in the morning, too, or try to!   There were several reasons for this.  First of all, us four children would sleep at least part of the way down the road to Florida (if our parents were lucky), second; Daddy was used to getting up at that time anyway, and thirdly, he would be sure the milk help was there on the job and that everything seemed to running smoothly so he could leave with a fairly sound peace of mind that everything was in good hands while he was gone.  That third reason was the clincher many and many a time!  Daddy’s milk hand for many years was a man named Son Tate.

He lived on Bertie Baldwin’s place up near town and he was really a good old soul.  He helped Daddy milk for many, many years and also helped him with hay and other chores during the day.  But, bless Son’s heart, whenever we would be trying to go on vacation, (this happened more often than not)  Daddy would go up to get Son on that particular morning, and he would be flat out drunk OR even worse he would have gotten drunk and was in JAIL!  His wife, Bessie, would come to the door and say, “Mr. Jake, Son ain’t in no shape to come and help you this morning.”

So, poor Daddy would have to come back home and do the milking himself and of course all of us would be disappointed.  We would have to wait until Son got sober that afternoon or Daddy would get him out of jail or try to find somebody else he could leave things with, which was not easy.  We even had to put off our vacation for a few days or sometimes it would get cancelled all together.  The grown-ups probably figured out what was going on with Son, but not until I was telling Bruce some of these tales, after we were married, did the light suddenly come on for me.

The reason Son did this on these particular occasions is that the stress of him being left in charge got to the poor man.  He couldn’t handle the stress, so he went on a drinking spree.

Now this wasn’t the only time Son drank.  He would lay out from time to time, but you had better watch out when vacation time was nigh!  The majority of the time, Son was fine. We all loved Son; he was one of the family and Mama and Daddy kept in touch with him even after Son stopped helping Daddy.  He was in The Lake Oconee House in his later years and several years ago when Bertie and Tim were down all four of us children went down to see Son and we took a picture of him with us.  We all had a good time reminiscing about old times.   He was so glad to see us and we were to see him.  He died at the age of 99 which is quite miraculous, if you ask me!  We all loved Son and Bessie.  They were both a fixture in our childhood.

We need to remember Daphne Jordan here in the Bethany community as she had surgery this past week to remove a kidney.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her for a swift recovery.  Dean Strange was hoping to be able to come home fairly soon from the hospital, so I hope at this writing that he will be.

Ben Porter has been in Indian Pass, Florida with some friends where he had been getting in some good fishing.

Bethany Baptist Church is planning a mini-VBS which will start on Friday, July 12 in the evening from 6:30 – 8:30, Saturday morning, July 13, from 10:30 – 12:30, and the family service to be on that Sunday, the 14th at 11:00.

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