Monday, February 28, 2005

Papa Oom Mow Mow

~ Papa Oom Mow Mow an' his'n family lived up yon'er in dem hills in Blue Holler, 'bout a mile or so from ol' man Wynott's place. No one ever often went a visitin' up dere. Folks in de hills are a right neighborly sort, an' when dey come a visitin', dey feel obliged to bring along some token of frien'ship. But Papa and his clan tweren' rich an' all. Dey didn't have much dats not insultin' to be brung for a visitin'. So's he jest didn't go. What vittles dey did have was fer dere own consumption.
~ Now Papa lived up der wid Mama and Baby, 'ceptin' Baby wuz dern near thirty years old. Some times dey wud sit fer a spell on da porch an' stirs up some ruckus of der own makin'. You see Papa wuz a banjo pickin' man from way back. Mama, she liked to join in on da warshboard. If'n Baby had da gumption an' was so inclined, he'd go an' pull out his Jew's harp from da pocket of his bib o'eralls. A mixin' wid all dat, Ol' Zeke would wag his'n broke tail again' the screen door, 'cept the screen done been missin' fer a long time. Zeke was da best dadgum blood houn' in the whole county.
~ Well, all da folks down b'low dem cud be a sittin' fer hours a listenin' to da music from the Mow Mow's place. Bye 'n bye, somes of dem wud go an' get dere banjos and spoons and trek up'n da hill to join in fer whut wud sure turn into a dad-blasted hoe-down.
~ It tweren't long afore word of de music comin' down from up yon'er wuz a spreadin' from holler to holler an' hillside to darn near every crick aroun'. An' one day da folks in dat li'l town down dere wuz a hearin' of de music too. Dang if'n dem town folk didn't start comin' up dere too. Dey say that one day dere wuz dern near a hunnert people up dere to listen to de mountain music.
~ Well afore long dere did come a stranger from somewhere north. Someone said he wuz a city slicker from Charleston. Ol' lady Drennan said she done been dere once or trice. She came to be famous coz she done seen the capital of ol' Wes' Virginnie. An' my, you shuda seen da looks she's wuz a gettin' when she told dem 'bout buildins bigger dan dem barns down in Kelly Bottom. Theys wuz a oohin' an' aahin' 'bout such a big buildin'.
~ Anyways, dis feller he come up dere one day. Someone said he had a fancy motor car dat he'd done drove here. Dey all knew dat you cannot be a bringin' no fancy car upon Mow Mow mountain. Cozin' dey wud get stuck in all dat clay mud. Dis feller had some schoolin', maybe the sixth or seventh grade, Hershel Elmore had reckoned. So's he knew 'nough to be bringin' somethin' wid him. Now the Mow Mows and all de rest of da folks had ne'er seen so much vittles afore. An' he sure showed some know-rights to be bringin' some fried chicken. Well dese folks had ne'er seen seen da likes of dat bucket with a Southern ol' man's picture on it. De city-slicker said it wuz some of dat Kaintucky chicken. "Well, hells bells," said Papa. "I didn't know dose rednecks knew how to cook."
~ Tweren't long a fore the banjos, warshboards, mouth harps and spoons wuz a playin' a hell of a good time on de folks ears. Well that city slicker musta knowed his music, coz faster than you say lickety-split, dat feller goes and offers Papa a check dat he calls a royal-tee. Seems he wuz a payin' Papa so's he could rent his full name. Said he wuz a gonna use da name in a song dat wud soon be a playin' on da radio. He also said dat as long as da song wuz a bein' bot by people, da checks dey'd a keep comin'. Well wid all dat scratch a comin' in, Papa started to become one of dem benefactors. Pretty soon he wuz a helpin out da folks up in da hills. An, don't you know it, Papa went an' tol' da city slicker 'bout some of his kinfolk who lived on dat hill over dere. Dere wuz de Do Wah Ditty Ditty's an' de Ramma Lamma Ding Dongs. An' don't you know, Papa done get some more checks for dat. Papa said da feller said dey was finders fees.
~ Well da rest is history as dey say. Pretty soon da whole United States wuz a buyin' Surfer Bird by some fellers dat called demselves da Fenderman. Some of his'n kin one day said he shud get away from dere since he done got all dat money. "Magine me in Beverly Hills, ooh doggies," Papa said. An' he gets in touch wid dat feller again' an' asked him what he thought about a bunch of hillbillies movin' out to Californie. Wells dat led to some more checks. Seems like everythin' Papa wud say wud turn into some money.
~ Well Papa, Mama, and Baby did up an' move one day. But dat is anudder story fer anudder day.
No. 61

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