The Grahams’ of Cochran County – Chapter 24

Are there some things that nauseate you?  Some of the chores that I performed when we were living in the White House near Morton was picking up cow chips out of the pasture so we could burn them in the stove.  I did ok with those droppings because they were pretty well dried up.  There were not many trees growing on the Plains and the few that were growing there did not last too long in the winter.  Coal ran pretty expensive and we ran out of that stuff early on and used it in the cooking oven mostly.  We had to go to that less expensive stuff.

One morning my brother Bob wanted to add another chore to my schedule.  He had been assigned the task of taking the food scraps down to the pig pen and giving the hogs some nourishment.  This morning he had three buckets to carry and he enlisted me to help him with the second bucket in my left hand and carry a third bucket of this slop in my right hand.  He was going to be late for school and I had not started yet so mother took his side and I started down there with him.  I had just eaten my cereal and the odor did not agree with my full stomach.

We got to the pig pen and he climbed up on the wood boards that made up the fence.  He was able to dump his two buckets into the pig trough.  I tried to hand him my bucket but he insisted that I climb up and give the pigs a good slopping with the contents of my bucket.  I struggled up the boards and finally reached high enough so as to empty the contents of my bucket into the trough.  No sooner had I done that than I also decided to give them my breakfast as good measure.  I threw up several more times before I climbed down.  Bob noticed that I was pretty pale so he said he could  carry all three of the buckets back to the house.

Mother Bess knew that something was going on because Bob told her not to send that “chicken liver” to help him with that chore anymore.  I did not protest.  For several years after that episode, Bob would use that term for me when I was not living up to his standards of being a “he-man”.  He must have learned that term in his first year of school I guess.

Over the years my sensitive stomach seemed to get stronger and when I went to Korea in 1948 the smell of “honey carts” with the human waste inside made other insulting smells seem like child’s play.  I had very little trouble in medical school with the cadaver smell in the anatomy lab but my wife did suggest that I leave the anatomy lab coat in the car or back at the medical school when I came home at night.

My conclusion is that we all have different smellers.  No two are alike.





4 thoughts on “The Grahams’ of Cochran County – Chapter 24

  1. Big brothers can be cruel at times. Mine used to love to show his prowess by making me look wimpy too.

    When you began this article, I thought you were going to say you picked up a green cow chip. That would have made me sick for sure.

    Carrying a slop bucket is bad, but it prepares the child for adult responsibility–like cleaning up a sick child’s vomit.


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