Remembering our spotless fireplace with “white mud”

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Betty Moore

Betty Moore

By Betty Moore, Columnist

John and Gail Wade went to Lawrenceville to see the grandchildren. They enjoy playing with them so much. Martha Sue Peek has lived in Charleston, South Carolina, Germany, Cheyenne, Wyoming, Goose Bay, Labrador, Philippines, Oklahoma City and now she is back after 50 years residing at Buckhead. Olivia Dennings and Janice Lankford have birthdays on February 19.

Happy birthday to you two! I found out late in the afternoon that apparently there must have been some emergency. People were routed away from Buckhead. Everyone had to go by way of Bethany Road to get back to Madison. John and Gail Wade met with her sisters and their husbands in Athens to celebrate her younger sister’s birthday.

Betsy Cheek enjoyed a nice birthday. As I usually mention the date of April 5 it is an important date for Buckhead. It is “Old Buckhead Days.”

There will be the 5-k race that is $20 before March 26, afterward $25; parade, food, games, music, three-legged sack race, face painting, corn hole tournament, raffle and more fun. Just come it’s at 10 a.m. I played with a girl in Morgan County whose name was Alma.

I was about 10 years old. I had not climbed trees with my brother B.T. but with her I learned to climb. I had always been curious about cigarettes.

My uncle would come by our house when I was younger, like maybe six or seven years old. He would throw a lighted cigarette in the dirt yard at our door. If no one was looking I got it. I went under the house to try smoking it. I blew on it.

Naturally nothing happened. If I got the chance later I slipped a match or two to take under the house. Nothing happened. So when Alma offered me a cigarette I took it. She told me to draw on it. Later on we had climbed a pine tree in the pasture. B. T. came to drive the cows up. He saw smoke coming from the tree.

He told mama. She could find the longest switches I know of any mama. She was a champ in flinging it, too. It wasn’t as if she abused me. I didn’t get many whippings.

When I did get one, I remembered! I cried and told her that when I was grown that I wanted to smoke. Do you know what? Before I was grown I didn’t like to smell the smoke and further more of the things that I was allergic it was cigarette smoke!

Let me back up a little to relate another tale with Alma. One day when I was at her house she offered me a chew of tobacco. That was very intriguing! After all my daddy chewed tobacco.

I sat in his lap each night and played with his pocket watch in his overall pocket. I never saw him spit and I never noticed a spit cup. He was very clean with his tobacco chewing.

We had a fire place that mama kept spotless with “white mud.” For anyone that doesn’t know what that is it is a mud that is in the bank of a branch or stream. You would get this white mud, mix it with water and put it on the hearth and the fire place.

It was “spotless white.” Daddy never spit in the fireplace When Alma offered the tobacco to me I took it. We climbed the same peach tree. I did not particularly like the taste of the tobacco but I thought that if daddy liked it, it must be okay.

After a while I began to tell her to not shake the tree. She told me that she wasn’t. More and more I believed that the tree was being shaken. All at once the tree swirled so fast that I found myself on the ground, flat on my stomach.

At that point I looked up and her house was going round and round. I don’t know how long that I lay there. The breath had almost been knocked from me. When I got up everything was still spinning.

What a great sickness for such a young girl! And it was especially so because I didn’t know better. I had swallowed all of the juice from a fair size piece of tobacco. Like I said I never saw daddy spit so I didn’t either! That was the end of that! Mama never knew and I had no desire for chewing tobacco!

That experience was a great teacher! By the way if this Alma is still around it would be nice if she would call me. I tried to recall. I don’t believe that her mother was home during these times. I would like to talk to Alma. My last name was Brake.

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