yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee


Mary E. Rushing

Around the years, 1923 or 24, Uncle Ira Powers and Dorcie Stanfill went hunting on Buffalo River and came home with five huge Canadian geese. First they went by Lexington and got Lela (Dorcie's wife and Aunt Burgess' sister), then to the Smiths, Sam and Sallie (Richard & I were there) and then to the Wallaces. After placing the five geese, wing tip to wing tip across Mr. Wallace's front porch to show Mr. Wallace the 4 of them were added to the number of excited travelers. They passed the Rushings, George, Tinie and baby Dalton who somehow declined. Next stop Daddy Dyer's.

Augustine Dyer and Mary E. Rushing.
Mary tells this story.

Uncle Bob and Aunt Kizzie had arrived from wherever they lived. Uncle Robert rode a mule to notify the Davidsons, Roy, Allie Belle & Augustine who followed in a wagon.

A board walk supported by wooden blocks connected the small porch of the old log smokehouse and the kitchen door. It was on this walkway that the aunts dressed the geese. Augustine and I observed from the kitchen door. Richard says that he was not a participant in that. From past experiences he had learned that a small boy's feet were not secure on that slick clay dirt backyard when it was wet or even damp. Slickest clay he ever saw! The geese were dressed during much talking. Aunt Hattie, who was already at Daddy Dyer's saved the down feathers to make sofa pillows. Everybody was so excited!

We three children sat on the bench against the back kitchen wall, wide-eyed and observing everything. Dressed goose in iron pots boiled away. The big black pans were filled with cornbread for dressing. Sage, pepper and onions were prepared. Somehow Aunt Ora's white linen tablecloth appeared on the long table with a kerosene lamp on either end. Then pickled peaches, canned blackberries, and all sorts of jams and jellies appeared in front of us, along with a round butter dish piled high with butter. We three -- Genie aged 5, Richard aged 4, and Augustine somewhere between -- could not see everything that happened. We did know however that Aunt Ora made those fluffy white biscuits.

The Wallaces, Daddy Dyer, we three, and enough ordinary people filled the first table. Richard remembers that there were several tables. Eating the dressing with the big hunks of goose throughout was most enjoyable. Then along with the cooking and eating was the continual washing of dishes.

Both hunters were excited and the other men asked innumerable questions. They had not been to Buffalo River.

The noise in that kitchen would have rivaled a rock festival. The night grew darker and the clock continued to tick. Richard remembers especially that the dressing was greasy and everyone said it was good.

Likely the Stanfills and Wallaces finished the night at the Wallace's home along with Aunt Burgess and Ernest. The others, most of us, spent the remainder of the night at Daddy Dyer's. Aunt Ora, Augustine and I slept in front of the big fireplace on a "made-down" bed.

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