Still learning how to sit and do nothing if we so desire

Sheila Scogin

One evening Beamon and I were sitting looking at each other or watching the traffic on the road and I thought of Mama and Papa Russell. Those grandparents only ever lived in their Huntington house when I can remember. By the time I was able to get around on my own, and the twins, Christal and Ishmael, two and a half years younger than me, the old folks were ancient as far as we were concerned.

They had moved to town off the farm and lived near us and my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Pershing Denman. When I was born Mama was almost 60 years old. She still kept the yard hoed clean of grass for all her flowers to shine and had a small garden for fresh vegetables. Papa plowed the little plot with one of those old one wheel garden plows that he had to push to break up the dirt.

As Mama got older she managed to cook what little she and Papa ate which was not much. They ate the same foods and she always made cornbread or biscuits every meal. Whenever she sat down instead of being idle, Mama pieced quilt tops so her hands were always busy. Most women back then never sat without busy work. They never read a book nor magazine because they never had time. And reading was unheard of as there were no libraries and magazines and newspapers were too expensive for most folks.

My sister and I have always kept busy when we were not working. Just in the last few years have I learned to watch television without a book or magazine in my lap. It seemed such a waste of time not to read through the commercials. I don’t have to cook something for Beamon to eat if I’m not in the mood. Dean’s is mighty handy or some other eating-place. Beamon is still not over his trucking days and eating in truck stops. He likes it! And I do take advantage of his liking café food. Mama Russell did not have that choice as there were not many eating places locally and she would not have had the money to buy a ‘burger and fries had there been. So I guess at this point in our life we can sit and do nothing if that is what we want to do.

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In the store I ran into Ora Nell DeWoody Jones and she asked if I knew where the Jessie Russell home place was. After his children Louis, Levi and Zula built a house in Huntington and lived there for years, they were across the street neighbors to Ora Nell’s sister Pauline Capps. When Pauline went to the Huntington Health Care Center to live, she told Ora Nell to get a cutting of a rose bush that Louis or Levi had given her from their home place in the country.

Pauline is now 93 and the rambling rose has rambled all over the back of Ora Nell’s house. Her daughters Beverly and Barbara both have taken cuttings from that bush and they have great bushes from the beautiful rose. In the past folks have shared cuttings or seeds from various plants that neighbors or family members grew and kept the plants going. Now flowers, roses, shrubs and other plant life can be purchased on every corner.

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Larry Taylor was doing what he does best and that is talking and visiting around town. We happened to see each other in Little Boots and the True Value Hardware store. Also saw Mike Pearson but he was working so we did not have time to visit.

Sheila Scogin contributes this weekly column about Huntington-area residents.