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The Last Hoedown - True Story from my childhood

Updated on January 20, 2017

The last hoedown

This is a true story as I remember it of the last hoedown at my grandparent’s home.

I will relate this story as I remember it. And relate the incident in a poem. Remember this is from the memory of a little girl, although I don’t know if what happened had anything to do with ending the hoedowns, it was the last one I remember, at Mammaw and Pampa's home.

Shyron - Little Brother - Shelby
Shyron - Little Brother - Shelby | Source

High Cotton

Walking to the wagon at the end of another cotton picking day

Shelby and I dragged our cotton sacks with their heavy contents, and mine made heavier by my two year old little brother as he climbed onto my sack for a ride, along with our weary little bodies for our walk to the buckboard wagon, for our cotton to be weighted and emptied for the last time of the day. We were anxious to climb up on the freshly picked cotton to lie down and unwrinkled the kinks in our tired bones after another long, hot, sweaty cotton picking day.

We put our bonnets over our eyes and relaxed on the ride back to our grandparent’s home, where we were living at the time.

A cool breeze was blowing as the wagon pulled into the barn yard Shelby and I both sat upright the aroma of Mammaw's peach cobbler was intoxicating and told of more than just peach cobbler. Mammaw made her favorite special peach cobbler when something was up, like family get-togethers, but they were always earlier in the day and usually on Sundays.

The sight of Uncle Julian gave us renewed energy, a hoedown was in the making. We ran past him and into the house as Mammaw called out "You girls, hurry-up and get cleaned-up, before people start showing up!" Pampa had not said a word, of course he hardly ever spoke to me or Shelby or any of the little ones for that matter, except to warn us of something dangerous. In fact sometimes I wondered if he even knew any of us by name.


Preparing for the Hoedown, how did the word get out?

By the time we drew water and filled the wash basins it was chilly and we hurried to wash-up and get dressed even though Mammaw had built a fire in the fireplace to take the chill out of the room. Strange weather, it had been so hot during the day, now here we were needing heat.

Source

The Last Hoedown (Poem)

© by Shyron Shenko


The hoedown started out just right

No inkling of danger in sight

The instruments all tuned

It would be a good night

With good food, music and dancing

All were content


Although a stranger came in with the musicians

Without an instrument

And no one knew who he came in with

No one knew when he left

Or knew where he went

Certainly nobody knew of his malicious intent


At the end of the night

As soon as the musicians all went

Off to bed we were sent

The fireplace was lit

To take the chill from the air

The light from the fire had burned low

All the light we had was the firelight’s glow


There in the darkness

Beyond the firelight’s glow

Sat the stranger just waiting….

Just waiting for us to sleep

And wait for the right moment

Then out of the darkness he would creep


We were startled awake by a slight sound

Both sat bold upright in the middle of the bed

With the cover pulled up to our head

We strained into the darkness to see where evil hid

Then the silence was profound

Until….. the silence was broken when on the side of our bed he sat down


We clung to each other and prayed he would not reach for our cover

Undecided which one would it be

What would I do if he reached for my cousin?

What would I do if he reached for me?

We sat huddled in the middle of the bed

Hoping he would just go away instead


We clung to each other wide eyed with fright

When all of a sudden out of the night

The door was flung open and a shadow ducked in

He lifted the stranger up by his collar then up off his feet

Closing the door behind them and went into the night

Now we were safe to go back to sleep again


Next morning at Breakfast

Still nothing was said about the man who sat down on the edge of our bed

Until Mammaw whispered low

And Pampa answered in his southern drawl “he ain’t ever coming back”

Was all I heard him say as Shelby and I went out the door to play

For one split second I wondered if the stranger was dead

Years later, my cousin and my mom playing music at a party.
Years later, my cousin and my mom playing music at a party. | Source

Louisiana's equivalent to a hoedown.

My Cousin Lester - years later played Lead Guitar for Gene Stokes

© 2015 Shyron E Shenko

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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 months ago from North Texas

      Yes, there are lots of creeps in this world, but I think the men (and they're usually men) who harm children sexually are a special kind of creepy.

      Hope all is well. Take care . . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you for the comments and for sharing on FB, yes there are no shortages of people like that creep and they are not all men.

      Blessings my friend.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 months ago from North Texas

      Sharing this article on FB. A sad and scary story and part of the sadness is that it remains timely, because there never seems to be a shortage of creeps like the one you write about here.

      Blessings dear friend. Take care . . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 7 months ago from Texas

      Robert, thank you for taking the time to read my story. I am glad no harm came to either of us also.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 7 months ago

      A very frightening childhood experience. Glad no harm came to you or your cousin.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 9 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a story. It was good someone came. You never know what he would have done.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 11 months ago from Texas

      Anita, thank you for the comment, yes I thank God for my grandparents. I did have an exciting childhood.

      I am so glad you like my poem.

      Blessings and hugs dear friend

    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 11 months ago from Port Elizabeth

      Scary Shyron. Thank goodness for your grandparents. It sounds like you had an exciting childhood on the farm. Love your poem.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 18 months ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you for sharing my scary true story again. I don't think the people who prey on anyone can think beyond their own self gratification that blinds them to the pain/anguish of anyone else. I am glad he/it did not succeed in harming me or my cousin and glad my grandfather was vigilant, especially on that day.

      I do hope and pray that all is well with you.

      Blessings and Hugs dear friend

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 19 months ago from North Texas

      Sharing this excellent, yet sad and scary story again. I wonder if those adults who prey on children ever think about how they are ruining an innocent child's life when they do some of the horrific things they do?

      Blessings and hugs dear friend. I'm so glad he didn't succeed with either of you. Take care . . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 22 months ago from Texas

      Thank you moonlake for the comment, I am so glad you enjoyed it.

      I am so thankful Pampa caught the jerk and got rid of him.

      Picking cotton, can sure make a person old before their time.

      Well dear friend, I hope that all is well with you.

      Blessings and hugs.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 22 months ago from America

      So glad your grandfather caught him and got rid of him. Even back then there were awful men who hurt children. Enjoyed your hub. I can just see how tired you were picking cotton. I have picked cotton so I know just how you felt.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Ashley for the comment. It was a terrifying night, but a good thing we were so young.

    • AshlyChristen profile image

      Ashly Christen 2 years ago from Illinois

      sounds like an interesting night for sure! and one that poetry has grow from.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Sunshine (Linda) thank you for the visit and comment. We were so scared, but our grandpa took care of everything.

      Blessings and Hugs my friend.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I imagined the two frightened children and one big bully and I am so glad to hear that your grandpa took matters into his own hands. Your poem was very good!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Robert, thank you for the comment. Yes Pampa was a wise man, who cared for his family and the monster's actions were suspicious and that is what drew attention to him. I hate to think about what might have happened if he had not been so obvious that Pampa had not picked up on it. The terror would have been worse if we had ever heard of what this monster had in mind, but thank you for the empathy.

      Blessings and Hugs my friend

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Your Pampa may have been a quiet man but he let wisdom keep him vigilant. Both those qualities served him well in that time of need. Pampa clearly cared for you children even if he did not have the ability to express it in other ways. The monster had a suspicious reputation that put others on alert, obviously, and there is no telling how many other girls/women he had gotten by with preying on. Thank you for sharing the account in this day and time. I am sorry for the terror you experienced, but so thankful for an alert Pampa!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Hello Sheryl, It did not come to mind when you and I talked. It is so good to hear from you, thank you for the visit.

      Blessings and Hugs.

    • profile image

      Sheryl 2 years ago

      hey girl, I never heard about this! Of course, we met how many years later in Chicago guess the subject never came up.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Sujaya, I do appreciate you.

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

      sweet and poignant

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Mel, thank you for the compliment, and comments.

      I love peach cobbler too, especially my grandma's.

      Blessings and hug my friend

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Fantastic story and poem. Children remember the grim details of these incidents better than adults ever can. I have a weakness for that country peach cobbler too, like Grandma used to make.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Patricia, thank you for the kind comments and the Angels.

      No, I did not need to know what happened to the man with evil intensions.

      Angels are returning with blessings and hugs from me to you.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Kudos for loved ones who watch over us...and you did not need to know what happened to him...only to know he would not bother anyone ever again.

      Your poem captured a moment in time and made me want to read on....

      Just had to know how it would end....

      Angels are headed your way this morning ps

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Ann, thank you for the comment and compliment, yes thank God, my grandpa was watching and took care of the situation.

      Blessings and Hugs dear friend.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Au fait, thank you again for the comments and the share.

      Hope you found a cool place to rest and you muse has not been burned up in this horrible heat wave.

      Blessings and hugs to you.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Kim, thank you so much for the comments, up votes and for sharing.

      Blessings and Hugs dear friend

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow is right! Sent chills down my spine. Great Work on what had to be a really tough subject. Voted up and shared for sure!

      So glad the story ended with the stranger -- strangled.

      Blessings,

      Kim

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Wow! What a story! So well told and the poem too.

      It seems that more than one person noticed the stranger and felt some warning signs, thank goodness. Thank God for grandpas, eh?

      Brilliant!

      Ann

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Come back to share this again. Well expressed as always.

      Hope all is well with you. Glad you have at least been in where it's cool even if not in the most desirable place. Take care . .

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Gwen, thank you for the comment. I appreciate you reading my story. Yes the sing-a-longs is exactly the same.

      Blessings to you dear Gwen.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Ruby, thank you for the comments, you are so appreciated.

      Yes, I thank God Pampa came in when he did. You are welcome.

      Blessings and hugs to you dear friend

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Marlene, thank you for the comments, I really appreciate you.

      I don't know what happened to him, when I talked to Shelby's sister (Shelby died about 30 years ago) her sister said that they heard of the stranger that is why Pampa kept an eye on him and went to our room the check on us.

      Blessings and Hugs

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Devika, I am so happy to see you, so glad you are back. Thank you so much for the comment.

      Blessings and Hugs, Hope all is well with you.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Kevin for the comment, up votes, sharing and pinning. Here is the way it went, the stranger (pedophile) hid in our room. Pampa must have been watching and suspected that he would try too get one of us and he came to see about us and found the man in our room, he drug him out and that was the last we saw of him.

      Blessings and Hugs dear friend.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
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      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Larry for stopping by.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      Wonderful Shyron! At first, I had thought that when you both - or you three if your bro' was still in the sack - I thought that your Pampa had died. Then 'he' showed up and I did not know what was going on.

      It was full of surprises. You did well.

      I voted it+++, shared and pinned it.

      Kevin

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great memories shared here and so amazing to read about special memories no matter what it entails.

    • Gwenneth Leane profile image

      Gwenneth Leane 2 years ago from Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia Australia

      The Last Hoedown was a great story. Reminded me when I was a kid we used to gather with the neighbours for sing a longs.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Paula, thank you for the comment, up votes and sharing. Now that I look back my childhood was very interesting, I would not call it fascinating.

      Yes this happened in the deep south, I did not mention corn bread and turnip greens, or butter milk.

      Blessings and Hugs dear Paula.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      A hoedown sounds like fun. Seems like there's always a bad person around to spoil the fun. If that happened now he would be in jail. Thank God for Papaw.Thank's for sharing your Childhood memorie's. Hugs..

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Scary. Interesting imagery.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I read this story with such anticipation, especially when you introduced the stranger. I am so glad things turned out alright for you and your cousin. I don't dare think about what happened to the stranger.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Good for Pampa!! Never fear. Our grandparents are protectors. Your childhood sounds fascinating Shyron. I get a picture of the deep South.....cotton-picking , peach cobbler and hoedowns!......Thank you for sharing this moving memory with us...UP awesome!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Flourish, thank you again for the comments, up-votes and for sharing. It could have been that Trixie was barking and alerted Pampa to go check on us. I don't know, but I thank God for whatever prompted Pampa to check on us.

      Blessings and Hugs dear friend.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Dear sweet Faith, thank you for the compliments, comments, up ++++ and sharing. No we did not scream, we sat there frozen by terror. We were not afraid to go outside, because Trixie was outside and she would have attacked anyone or anything that threatened us kids. Maybe she was barking and that alerted Pampa and that is why he came to see about us.

      Blessings and (((Big Hugs))) to you to.

      P.S. Shelby died of breast cancer.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Jodah, thank you for the comments and votes up. Yes I thank God for my Pampa and actions do speak louder than words...

      I had not thought of what happened that night until I read a hub that mentioned a "git-fiddle" which my mom called her violin when she played it using a pick, that is when I thought about the incident.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Bill, thank you so much for commenting, I do appreciate you. I got goosebumps remembering and writing this. Shelby's sister told me this morning that my grandparents knew of the man, so Pampa must have been keeping an eye on him.

      Blessings and Hugs to you dear friend.

      Shyron.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Dana, thank you again for the comments, up votes and for sharing. I do appreciate you.

      Pampa was a very quiet man but he did not talk to children, I don't know if he did not like us or what, but he must have felt something for us they raised 5 children, 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Yes we were scared. Shelby passed away for breast cancer about 30 years ago. We were first cousins and best friends.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Thank goodness for ESP, "helicopter grandparents" (even in those days), or whatever it was that prompted the intervention just in the nick of time. Wonderful poem. As a parent, I have checked the state police sexual offenders registry to see who all is nearby. It's shocking, but in those days all a family had was vigilance and luck. Voted up and more and shared.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, dear Shyron, how chilling and vivid! I am glad y'all werent' afraid to go back outside for fear of that man showing up, but being your Pampa said he took care of him, meant there was no way that man would return. Did y'all scream out? Praise God for Pampa!

      I love your photos too, and what a lovely child you were and a beauty now, inside and out.

      Your poem is brilliant!

      Up ++++ and away

      God bless you and (((Hugs))), sweetie

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Thank you Shauna for the comments. I talked to Shelby's sister today and we were talking about my story, she is older than me and Shelby, she said that our grandparents knew the stranger by reputation and that Pampa kept an eye on him and us girls. I think he had ESP also.

      Blessings and Hugs my dear friend.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wow! Shyron that was a gripping true story, and the poem was great. God Bless your Pampa. Actions speak louder than words..he was there when you needed him, like a guardian angel. That's what counts. A great read, voted up.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Bluebird, thank you for the comments. Yes my family does love music.

      Blessings and Hugs.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      Must have been very scary for 2 little girls alone in the dark, not knowing who or what was there. I remember how scared I would get at night when I was small. We lived out in the country where there was no light at night and strange things used to happen in our house sometimes. No, I won't write about it because I don't believe in ghosts and what I do think it was might not be so popular.

      Thank God for Pampa!

      Voted up and BAUI, pinned to Awesome HubPages, and shared with followers.

      Hope you are staying cool. Take care . . .

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well that was one scary moment for sure. My goodness, Shyron, I had goosebumps reading that poem. Thank goodness for a vigilant grandpa.

      blessings always, my friend

      bill

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      That must have truly been frightening for you kids. I wonder who the stranger was and if he is indeed dead. I remember in your story when you said ' grandpa never said a word to the kids, unless, it was to warn you of danger. I guess grandpa's few words and but quick to action really saved the day. Very interesting story. Voted up and shared.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image
      Author

      Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago from Texas

      Eldon, thank you so much for the comment, you are so appreciated.

      Blessings and Hugs.

    • bluebird profile image

      bluebird 2 years ago

      That was well told using poetry and your memories. What a thing for two little girls to go through. At least you were rescued. Wow!

      Looks like your family really enjoyed playing music. That is special.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow, Shyron. It's a good thing your grandpa discovered the stranger in your room! Did you ever find out who he was?

    • Eldon Arsenaux profile image

      Eldon Arsenaux 2 years ago from Cooley, Texas

      Chillingly related! Keep the fire kindled. And keep 'Hubbin'!