Monday, June 29, 2009

Part - 15 e & f - Leatha & Willie



Leatha, Tommy's brother, never worked for Daddy much during the time we were growing up, but he, Tommy and Daddy completely "opened up" the place after Daddy retired and came back home permanently.

Daddy bought the 1964 Ford 2000 tractor, a bush hog and a chain saw. And the three of them turned the place into as beautiful a place as there is anywhere around. Leatha always called Joe and me "Captin'!"


Willie, Leatha's step son, would work some at different times over the years, but came to be our real "Stand by" after the time that Daddy, Tommy and Leatha died.

He first helped Joe to really trim up (Maybe "Skin up") all the trees around the house for Mother. He'd also do odd jobs for Mother around the place.

He cut pulpwood and firewood, built and repaired fences (Lot and pasture), bush hogged, trimmed shrubbery, mowed the yard, helped with hay, cut wood, trimmed fence rows, painted fences, etc. and did just about anything we have needed for him to do for a number of years.

I really depended on him to watch out for things around the place, especially since I was working out of town quite a bit and while we were in Mobile. Even though he'd had bypass surgery, he was still very strong and active.

He was so dependable at so many things. I just didn’t worry about things when we were away. He’d always take care of feeding Lady when we’d be away. All I had to do was to tell him when we were leaving and when we’d be back and we’d know that she was taken care of.

I used to tease him about the tires on his old truck being so slick that I could see the air in them. Also, if I came up and went out to the shop, I’d see a few tools missing and I’d ask him what he was building with my saw, or whatever I knew he had. He’d just laugh and tell me what he was working on. I had no worry about the tools being returned when he was finished with them.

A few times he’d come by when I was here with his tape player going loud. He’d be listening to “Amazing Grace” or some other songs that he’d heard Mother playing on the piano and he’d say, “I want you to hear this one. I sho Miss Nora would like to hear it!” Lots of time Mother would go in and play the piano some while he’d be working in the yards because she knew how much he appreciated them.

If we went on a long trip, I’d usually bring him back something from where we were. Once I brought him a bright red, flat cap just before Easter from Paris. He said, “I ain’t gonna wear this ‘til Easter Sunday.”

As his health began to go down, he spent most of his days down at Don’s Service Station watching out for, as he called them Rogues, from stealing things from Don while he’d be out working on tires, etc.

One day, I’d been at the hardware store and told Fred that I was going to go see if Don had time to find a very slow leak in one of my truck tires. When I got over there, I saw that Don had a vehicle on a jack so I didn’t stop. Had I stopped, I’d have found Willie dead in his truck. I saw one of his 36 chillun, Big Sam there as I passed and he found Willie dead.

Of course, Joe, Eleanor, JoAnne and I all had to be present on the front row at his 2 ½ hour funeral. Joe and I had to speak at the funeral also.
I surely do miss Willie with his bright smile with the gold tooth shining!

No comments: