June 2, 2017

chapter 5

It was a Sunday afternoon and the family had just returned from attending a wonderful church service. My baby brother was laying on the couch giving it all he had. He’d started crying right after Reverend K.T. Hayes had “Opened the doors of the church” and he’d been crying incessantly since.

I stood there, sipping on a nice cool bottle of milk, staring at this little red creature kicking and screaming for no apparent reason. Mom scrambled to warm a bottle of milk in a pot on the stove. Ordinarily, a nice warm bottle of milk was the solution to baby brother’s hollering. We hoped it would be this time as well, but just in case it wasn’t, Gramp was preparing to change his diaper, and Dad searched frantically for baby’s favorite rattle.

It was a three-pronged attack which we’d desperately hoped would pierce the noisy bubble encircling us. I contemplated what I might possibly contribute to the cause. My thoughts went back to the story Reverend Hayes had told in that Sunday’s sermon.

This is how my 2-year-old mind remembered that story, “A man from ‘up north’ procured a big truck and headed down south to pick up a load of milled lumber which he had recently purchased. On the way, it began to rain; not being used to driving on the red clay roads of Georgia, he soon found himself bogged down in a field. Unable to get his truck out, he began to look around for some help.

In the distance, he saw an old farmhouse. He trekked through the muddy field towards the old house.  When he arrived, he was greeted by an old man. He told the old man of his predicament and the old man said,

‘Hold on son, I’ll see what I can do.’ The old man went out to his barn and emerged with an old shoddy-legged mule, harness, rope and chains.  ‘Follow me son’ he said.

The northerner followed the old man back out to where the truck was bogged down. The old man hitched his mule up to the truck in preparation for pulling the truck out of the bog. The northerner queried,

‘How do you expect that old shoddy-legged mule to pull that big truck out of the mud?’

‘Just hold on son’ replied the old man and he hollered out ‘PULL BROWN!’ The old mule jerked forward tightening the ropes and chains but the truck did not move.

‘See, I told you old man’ chimed the northerner.

‘Hold on son; just wait a minute’ said the old man, ‘PULL RED!’ bellowed the old man and again the old mule heaved on the ropes and chains; straining against them but the truck only rocked a little.

‘You’re wasting your time old man’ cracked the northerner with a smile.

‘Just hold on son’ the old man chastised. ‘PULL BLUE!’ barked the old man. This time the wheels on the truck began to roll.

Astonished, the northerner asked in bewilderment, ‘What the hell?’

‘Just hold on son’ admonished the old man. ‘PULL YELLA!’, and with that command the mule pulled the truck out of the field and clear down the road.

The two men had all they could do to stop that old mule. ‘How was that mule able to pull that truck like that?’ questioned the northerner.

‘Well’ began the old man, ‘old Brown used to be a member of a four-mule team’ he explained.

‘But you only have one mule old man’, said the northerner.

‘Well son, you see,’ explained the old man, ‘RED, BLUE and YELLA, all done died, but old BROWN don’t know that.’

The congregation laughed raucously. The joke broke the ice. After everyone had gotten in a good belly-laugh, they quieted and waited patiently for what else Reverend Hayes had to say.

It was at moment that the solution to our crying baby problem hit me like a ton of bricks. “PULL BROWN!” I thought. So, I grabbed the corner of the red, blue, and yellow blanket wrapped around baby brother and PULLED! Baby brother tumbled to the floor. The impact stunned him so, that he immediately ceased crying. By the time he realized that he should actually be bawling more, a nice warm bottle nipple was thrust between his pink lips, a rattle was placed in his grasping fingers and his diaper was nice and dry.

Well, I’m not going to “CROW OVER” my creative solution to the hollering baby problem so, I’m about to “shoot the crow”, as they say! But, before I go, check out this interesting “Crow fact”.

“Studies of breeding biology show that in some populations crows breed cooperatively; parents are assisted by auxiliaries (primarily young of the previous year or years) in raising young (Verbeek & Caffrey, 2002).

Simply stated, in the case of crows, the previous years’ offspring assists with the feeding and care of the newborns. With Mom’s help, I’ll provide more proof of how this fact is true of human crows as well.


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