Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 5
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ON THE JEFFERSON ROAD
hog-killing time was at hand; pumpkins were piled head-high
on the back stoop-where all tall men had to stoop, the porch at
the rear having a lean-to roof. The mornings were cold, crisp,
Lights glowed from all windows, streamed out when doors
were opened. There was a great stirring about. Roosters crowed
with added insistence; turkey gobblers raised grumbling voices
from the rail fence by the barn; guinea-hens lifted an excited
chatter, like a thousand magpies on the loose, from the plum
thicket below the orchard. From a dark corner of the yard
a drake quacked with astonished wonder; a gander hissed in
warning. From back of the barn came a constant drumming of
impatient hoofs, occasional shrill, questioning whinnies. Star-
light, the stallion, like a lion in a cage, paced back and forth the
length of his short, stake-and-rider, private lot. A constant stream
of small children, black and white, scrambled in and out the
doors, scuffling with the bounding, barking, excited dogs that
filled the lighted squares the instant the doors were opened.
An angry, high-pitched voice shrilled from the kitchen at regular
intervals, "Git out frum under mah feet!" Aunt Mandy was
having her own troubles with children and dogs while preparing
the enormous morning meal. Outside, the fresh fragrance of
the clean, frosty air was flavored with a breath of pine and
decayed straw, from the direction of the pig pen and barn.
Inside it was sage from frying sausage that added flavor to the
heavy odor of bacon grease.
Occasionally could be heard that boast of all boasts: "I'm
going to Jefferson!" Some boys, both black and white, were
just turning men. They were being allowed to make their first
trips with cotton on the long haul over the Jefferson Road. For
them, this morning was beginning a never-to-be-forgotten day.
Boys in the Piney Woods, in those days, lived for only one day,
the day when they would be allowed to go with the cotton on
the Jefferson Road. World politics, Reconstruction, the affairs
of a nation were distant, unreal things, like those heard read
from a book; but hauling cotton on the Jefferson Road was life
and reality. It meant camping out four or five nights on the
road; it meant seeing steamboats. Then, it was a man's job. For
Here’s what’s next.
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Texian Stomping Grounds, book, 1941; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67663/m1/13/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.