The Last Hoedown - True Story from my childhood
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.
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.
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
Louisiana's equivalent to a hoedown.
My Cousin Lester - years later played Lead Guitar for Gene Stokes
© 2015 Shyron E Shenko