In January, it’s traditional to summarize the events of the previous year, but there weren’t any, or to announce resolutions for the next year, but I know better than to make those.
Well, I do have a couple of goals: to keep the COVID-19 virus out of the Davis household (and everywhere else I can) and to be vaccinated (which, every time I check online, looks like it’ll happen before 2022, maybe).
Anyway, I’ll begin 2021 with another story told by Aunt Bettie Pittman Waller. She was known for telling the truth, never embroidering, and she was an eye-witness. She was sixteen years old. She lived down the street from the Barber family, and Miss Annie Barber was a special friend. I think they later taught school together for several years. The Normal she mentioned was a teachers’ college in San Marcos, Texas, which is now Texas State University.
I’ve used most of the real names because I don’t think their families will object. But a young man remains anonymous. Aunt Bettie also mentioned one particular detail about him but then said, “You don’t need to put that in,” so I didn’t. It’s nothing derogatory, just funny, but it doesn’t change the story.
The story is taken from the tape of an interview I did with Aunt Bettie.
This really happened at Mr. Barber’s house when Callie and Maud were little. I know, because I was there, too, and some other children—Jessie Daugherty was one—and we were all interested in Mattie’s beau. Annie was in San Marcos then, at the Normal, in 1902.
Mattie was going with a boy—Louis S____. Annie boarded with Mr. S____’s family. He was a grocery salesman who came to Fentress once a week. He was very religious and would time his trips so he could come to day services when we were having a meeting; we had them about ten o’clock.
Well, Mattie had a date with Louis S____—he was just a youngster like Mattie—and he was to come at about five o’clock. He had a horse and buggy.
Mr. Barber’s house set fronting south, like the house does now, but it was closer to the road, because when the highway went through they set it way over. Mr. Barber had a well or a cistern, either word would do, by the door of the dining room, and people could see the well from the road.
They had a pet pig that had grown to a hog, but they still just called it “the pig.” They fed it out by the well in front of the house, away from the other pigs. And they let it in the house. They couldn’t keep it out, because it had learned to push around the buttons on the porch and open the door.
But they sure weren’t going to let it in when Louis came to see Mattie, and all the children were working to see that it stayed out. They tried hard.
But the pig got in the back door and ran through the house with all the children following and ran out the front, squealing, just as Louis drove up.
As the pig ran out of the dining room door, Mag looked up at Mattie and said, “Mat, he won’t be back!” And Louis didn’t ever come back. I don’t think they ever invited him.
I just think, if the pig had been kept out, life might have been different for Mattie.
Two stories about the first months of Aunt Bettie and Uncle Maurice’s marriage appear at Ink-Stained Wretches.’