Gut Rumbles

December 10, 2003

stay out of the orchard

I was told to "stay out of the orchard" when I was visiting Aunt Chassie's farm one summer. The orchard was fenced and it served as a cow pasture, too. The apple trees were heavy with fruit and the limbs were bending almost to the ground under the weight. My cousin Ernie and I couldn't resist the temptation. We hopped the fence and ran to pick some apples.

Aunt Chassie had a bull in that pasture. He was a BIG BULL, with a ring in his nose, horns on his head, and a set of balls that dangled like a pair of grapefruit in a gunney-sack between his legs. That bull was very protective of his cows. He saw Ernie and me jump the fence and he came charging at us.

We climbed the first apple tree we could find and quivered in the limbs while the bull butted the tree, pawed the ground below us and blew incredible amounts of snot from his nose. We picked a few apples and threw them at the bull in an attempt to run him off. All we managed to do was make the bastard more pissed off than he was to begin with.

"He'll get tired and go away before long." I said. One hour later, Ernie and I were still in the tree with the pissed-off bull underneath us. That's when we started yelling for help.

My grandfather walked into the pasture. He was carring a chain with a clip on the end of it. He walked right up to that angry bull, grabbed it by one horn and hooked the clip through the ring in its nose and then pulled the chain. He led that bull away from the apple tree and it followed him as docile as a child. He hooked the other end of the chain to a fence post and walked back to the apple tree.

"Get down out of that tree," he demanded. We complied immediately. "Now pick a switch to take back to the house. You both know what you have coming to you."

We both tore off a nice, supple branch from that apple tree, stripped off all the leaves, followed my grandfather back through the gate and took a good, old-fashioned ass-wuppin' from our mamas as soon as we hit the front porch. Those apples didn't look so good after that experience.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. If you hop the fence, be ready for what's on the other side.


That was a TALL BULL story, Acidman.

Posted by: Ms Anna on December 10, 2003 04:58 PM

Until I was 14 I had two parents who grew up during the depression in the coal mining mountains of West Virginia.

When I was in my early twenties I landed the supporting role in a community play. "Foxfire" as done by Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, and John Denver. I did the John Denver role. A successful singer named Dillard who abandoned the homestead to make his fortune.

There is a flashback scene where Dillard gets caught in a lie and has to go cut himself a switch off the tree. Every time I did that scene, I didn't have to "force" up any emotions, even though the guy who played my "dad" was the nicest and funniest man out of character.

I got best supporting actor for the season for that role.

Posted by: Commander Will on December 10, 2003 06:18 PM

Great story, aesop. Maybe someone should tell Arianna Huffington and Tom Jeffords about that fence. Want I should cut a switch or five? I have a HUGE willow in my yard.

Posted by: mark on December 10, 2003 06:36 PM

My grampa used a peach tree switch on my Dad. I got it with my Dad's grandpa's razor strap until I learned to hide it in my piano bench. He never thought to look there. I was just talking to my Dad about that before I logged on and read your blog.I asked him what he got switched for and mostly for hitch hiking to the movies while my grandpa was out building bridges. Grampa thought it was dangerous to hitch hike even in those days. He later became the county judge.

Posted by: Lexia on December 10, 2003 07:09 PM

Will, my brother played Dillard in the Savannah Little Theater production of "Foxfire." I was one of the Stoney Lonesome Boys. I played the mandolin in the concert scene.

Posted by: Acidman on December 10, 2003 07:48 PM

i got the razor strap from age 10 to 171/2. i got it good 2 or 3 times a week. i was forced to strip naked lay accross my bed while my dad or grandpa whipped me. he beat me with the strap for several minutes. i tried to take it like a man but i always started to cry before it was over. sometimes i would get it twice if they felt i needed more punishment. if not for that i would not be the man i as today.

Posted by: tim on April 6, 2004 12:26 PM
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