My father’s sister Lucille died and her husband, Uncle Curt, was left to support her half-sister, Leona and his own sister, Sarah. Leona was quite elderly but her mind was crisp and alert. Sarah was a precise and dedicated housekeeper and gardener. These three lived as pioneers out in the country near Choudrant, La. Uncle Curt tried to stay abreast of the modern world. He was one of the first in the community to get electricity and he had a Kaiser automobile and a Ford truck. He still kept his horse for plowing, though, feeling that he could not afford a tractor. This is not to mention his deep friendship with the old draft horse he called Hewey.
Several years after Aunt Lucille died, Uncle Curt got a girlfriend named Zepher, and he would go see her in the Kaiser on Saturday nights. When we would visit, usually on Sunday afternoons, Zepher was the main topic of conversation, much to Curt’s chagrin. I know he must have been sorry Sarah and Leona had told Mother and Pop about his trysts that had become so public. Back in those days, especially in small communities, it was hard to keep a secret.
The conversation went something like the following: Mother would say, “Well, Curt, have you been to Ruston lately?”
“Yes, Miss Pearl, I was there yesterday evening.”
“Were you buying groceries or were you there on business or entertainment.”
“Fine, Miss Pearl, fine. I took a lady to Farmerville for supper.”
“And how is Miss Zepher?”
“Loy, do you think the Cardinals will come out on top?” In other words, Curt played his cards pretty close to his chest. I was a little young to understand such things at the time, but, upon reflection, I think Mother enjoyed teasing the old widower.
Now, Leona was what we used to call an old maid. She was a hard-working pioneer type of woman who had resigned from hard labor and spent her days in a noisy rocking chair with the Shreveport Times and a wad of snuff. She liked to talk with Pop about current events. Interestingly, she was a liberal-minded person and Pop was as conservative as they come. Leona might say, “Well, Loy, I see that President Truman has published a book. I have read a review of it. Apparently he is quite the man of letters.”
Pop would reply with characteristic sour wit, “Yes, he is a man of letters. I agree. His letters are P. U.”
“Oh now, Loy, you know Harry has his heart in the right place. He is a strong leader when we needed a strong leader. I hate to think of where we would be if Dewey had won.”
“My pocket book would be better off, I am sure.” And so the Sunday afternoon conversations went. I usually sat in the corner pretending to read their one children’s book, an illustrated bunch of nonsense about a soldier who could not count to ten because he kept on forgetting to count himself.