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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Memma and Carol's Mama - Ms. Ruth Latham

Carol and I used to keep the pavement hot going back and forth between her house and mine when we were growing up in LA (Larkinsville and I call it LA as a tribute to my cousin, Boyd.  I think of him often and miss him).  Often times, we would sit at the kitchen table at her house and I can just see her Mama now, sitting there with us.  If any of you reading this, knew Ruth, you know what I mean.  She always had a sparkle in her eye..I guess you would say a twinkle.  And, so did my Memma.  I never knew growing up, how much alike they really were.  Both of them were great story tellers.  Ruth had this quiet little chuckle.  She would sit at the table with Carol and I, telling us stories and often times, it would be late at night.  Well, you know, 8:00 or 9:00 PM.  She would tell about the old days when people died and back then, they did not have embalming.  People were laid out at their house.  She said that she had dressed many people in the day.  Memma told us the same thing, sitting at her table.  They both told about bathing the deceased family member, or neighbor, and dressing them in a pretty dress or gown and they would be placed on a couch or bed until they were buried (in a wooden box).  So, one time, Memma was dressing someone and the lady's hand curled up around Memma's hand.  Scared the Bee-Jesus out of her.  And, of course, Ruth had similar tales.  I remember one story about someone having to be "dug up" and they found claw marks on the casket. Memma also told us about a bright light hovering over a window of a house before someone passed on.   Well, fast forward to I had to walk home after hearing these ghostly tales.  I would run backwards from Carol's house to my house.  Yes, because I could just feel someone grabbing my back and I felt safer running backwards.  And, anyone from LA knows that it is darker than crap in Larkinsville at night.  I mean, all of those big old shade trees hovering overhead was enough to give anyone the hibby jillies.  And, Lord only knew who hopped on and off of those freight trains that whizzed by during the night.  When a freight train switches tracks, no telling who gets off that train.  I mean, back in the day, hobo's used to come to the house looking for food.

Well, after hearing all of the stories that Memma and Ruth told, I would often call my Mother and beg to spend the night.  I mean, come on!!!  I would tell my Mother that I was afraid to walk home and she would say, "Well, if anything gets you, it will turn you loose come daylight."  That did not give me too much comfort.  I always responded, "Yes, but a lot can go on between now and daylight.!"

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