Poppadezutt – (Verhaeghe)

1942 Mom & PapaBack in about 1938 my mother lived on a farm and had a dog that she had gotten from a neighbour. She had named him Sport and took care of him.

Now Papa wasn’t a huge fan of Sport and always called him Poppadezutt which meant Crazy Dog. When Papa did the morning chores Sport would follow him everywhere and one of the things that Papa would do was open the huge barrel that sat in the corner, dip his finger in and give the dog a taste of the molasses that was kept there. This barrel of molasses was used to kill the tobacco worms that would destroy a crop if not taken care of. It was mixed with poison and applied to the plants but what was in the barrel was just pure molasses, no one would mix it until it was needed.

Now today was the family’s day to go to town. Mamie, Papa and Mom would take their car and drive to Delhi to get the week supplies. This would be a day trip which included visiting, errands and even more visiting. It was something that Mom really looked forward to as in those days, one didn’t go shopping or anywhere for that matter so it was pretty exciting to go to town. This day was no different and it was dusk when they pulled back into the driveway on the farm.

Mom was worried as she didn’t see her dog running out when they arrived home. He usually came from wherever he was to greet the family as if they had been gone forever. As Mamie began to take in the supplies Mom and Papa went looking for Poppadezutt. Mom calling Sport looking under the porch and anywhere she could think of. Papa went into the barn, looking everywhere he could think of – no dog – just as he was turning he saw the lid of the barrel open just a bit and in the dim light of the barn when he pulled back the lid of the molasses barrel he could just make out the black nose just poking out of the molasses.

In those days, one dressed up to go to town and Edmond Verhaeghe was no different. He was in his good suit. He tore off his jackets, tie and shirt, reached deep into the barrel, into the molasses and grabbed hold of Sport and began drawing him out of the molasses. Out of the barrel came a molasses covered dog. Barely moving at all. Papa ran with the dog to the horse trough. He put him in and got the first part of the molasses off the dog. Wiping him down with straw and then washing him with soap and a hose until the dog was free of the molasses, he then wrapped the shivering dog in a blanket and stuffed him in a straw bed in order to keep him warm. As Mom sat beside her dog, talking to him she knew her dad had made it better. Sport was going to make it.

In fact, the next morning Sport was back to his old self and following Papa as he went about his chores with one change. When Papa dipped his finger in the barrel Sport took off. He did not want anymore molasses probably for the rest of his life.

Delhi 1938

 

Story Note – All stories will have a title for easy finding and which family it is about in brackets. Stories take place from the beginning of the 1900s to present and therefore there will be things that may not go over well in a present day mind. Spankings were only a couple of swats on the bottom. Pets were not the fluffy pampered animals of today but working animals who earned their keep as well as being loved by the children. Smoking and drinking was a normal part of life even if Moms were pregnant or kids were present in the car or room, especially smoking.

Pig Tails – (Verhaeghe)

PapaPapa use to tell me the story of when he was about 5 years old, one of the dishes that his mother would make was fried pig’s tails. Now that is something that I have never seen but he explained that it was very crunchy and with salt they were like fried chips.

He and his friend were outside playing in the dirt near the pigpen. Most homes had farm animals for the family use. Now, there were piglets in the pen and one was sleeping with his butt snuggled up to the fence. His little pigtail was sticking outside the fence and Papa and his friend were crouched down there looking at it and discussing it very seriously.

Both Papa and his friend loved fried pigtails very much and thought that they could have a small bite of this little pigtail while the pig was sleeping. Now each of them wanted to go first. Papa thought he should go first since it was his idea but his friend insisted and pushed him out of the way as he bent down.

Papa watched as his friend bit down hard on the tail. Well, the piglet squealed sleeping pigletand bolted from the fence. The friend’s tooth was stuck in the ligaments of the tail and his face was yanked forward to smash against the fence hard enough to make his nose bleed and pull his tooth out. He ran screaming to his mother with Papa following close behind. The mothers had been sitting on the porch darning socks when the two ran up, the mothers jumped up to help the child. Papa’s friend was screaming and jumping up and down in front of his mother pointing at Papa.

Papa’s mother did not wait for any explanation from Papa or the other boy but grabbed him and turned him around and smacked his bottom hard. It would not have been so bad a smack if she did not still have the darning needle in her hand at the time. So not only did he have more of a reason to cry by having a needle stuck in his bum he felt bad because he did not even get to taste the pig’s tail either.

1958 April - Me and Papa

Story Note – All stories will have a title for easy finding and which family it is about in brackets. Stories take place from the beginning of the 1900s to present and therefore there will be things that may not go over well in a present day mind. Spankings were only a couple of swats on the bottom. Pets were not the fluffy pampered animals of today but working animals who earned their keep as well as being loved by the children. Smoking and drinking was a normal part of life even if Moms were pregnant or kids were present in the car or room, especially smoking.