Tecumseh news: Oct. 11, 2017

My goodness! Summer is gone. Acorns are falling on the ground, and I can hear them falling on my metal roof too.

I always enjoyed December coming, especially back in the 1930s when my sisters, both being schoolteachers, ordered candy for their students, and I was included (spoiled that I was--can’t you imagine?). 

My sister Ruth Moody saved her $20-a-month teaching salary and bought our family’s 1928 Ford touring car, with Daddy helping her. It was purchased from Amyx’s for around $500, as I recall. It had isinglass windows that snapped on with snaps for wintertime. Before that, we had Model T.   

After I was married and had a family, in the 1950s, I owned a Model A that I bought from a person who had kept great care of it. It was shiny black. I took my older lady friends and my stepmother to church in it each week, and it was comfortable for them. It was one of a kind around here. It was like new, and I kept it in the garage. It seemed they weren’t fearful of my driving! I kept that car for a number of years and later sold it for a profit. I had taken care of it and there were no others like it in the area at the time.

In last week’s Times, the story of Doyle Turner’s sorghum-making was interesting, reminding me again of my daddy telling of their experience hauling the family’s winter supply of molasses over a bumpy road and only a portion of it was saved when the barrel turned over. How disturbing that was! We always had molasses on our table as a sweetener and used it in cooking and baking too.

My father-in-law, Lowe Pitcock, had a molasses mill, grinding the cane, squeezing out the juice and cooking the syrup. The copper-lined pan had sections and was set over a rock furnace especially made for sorghum-making. My father-in-law got up around 4 in the morning to start building the fire and getting it just right. Then he began grinding the cane and getting the cooking started. The first section of the pan was filled with “green” cane juice that was cooked into a thicker syrup in the different pan sections, with the foam constantly skimmed as it cooked.

The syrup was finally thickened to perfection to make the best sorghum of the season. We (I was helping with the sorghum-making) made 300 gallons the last year of our business, and I also had to cook dinner for the workers--that was a job! We worked probably 16 to 18 hours a day for two or three full days. But we counted it a full week’s time because of all the preparation required before the cooking actually started. We bought cases of gallon syrup buckets from a West Plains store to hold the sorghum. Three dollars a gallon was the top price we were paid.

One special gallon went to Slim Wilson in Springfield and his singing partner and newphew Junior Haworth, who sang “Good Ol’ Sorghum Molasses” on their morning music show on  KWTO radio at seven o’clock every morning during sorghum-making time. My husband Eldon was working for Sears Roebuck and Frisco Railroad in Springfield then, and he delivered the molasses personally to Slim. They had gotten acquainted when Slim came into Sears quite a bit and visited with Eldon.

Hummingbirds are drinking all available sugar water, preparing for their long migration flights. I saw one lonely hummingbird yesterday. And the migrating geese stopped over on the pond for a brief rest last week.

My friend Marcia Lyon of Dora had knee surgery recently.

The revival at Lilly Ridge was held last week. I regret that I wasn’t able to go. 

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423

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