Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 26
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" HOPING OUT" IN EAST
By Guy Kirtley
A drummer, caught one rainy night on the muddy roads of the
piney woods in East Texas, stopped at a house and asked if he
might stay till morning. "Why, shore," said the farmer. "Kin
I hope tote yore grips?" The drummer did not understand the
question until his host picked up his bags. "To hope" is "to
help," but "to hope out" has more specific connotations. It is
a term associated with a number of traditional customs whereby
neighbors exchange work and enjoy each other's company. Sur-
viving from pioneer days, these customs grew out of the settler's
need for help in clearing his land, raising his log cabin, as well
as meeting emergencies, such as sickness, accidents, and Indian
attacks. They exist today in the farming communities of the
piney woods, because misfortune can still strike down the strong-
est of men; grass can get ahead of the best hoe hand; and there
is still many a task too big for one man and his family.
Log-rollings, house-raisings, sewing and husking bees were
traditionally popular on the frontier. They were popular because
they mixed work with a sociable time--a man got his new ground
cleared of big timber or his cabin built from foundation to roof
in a day for the price of a good dinner, a jug of whiskey, and a
dance for the young folks.
Log-rollings are not so common now, but a number of cus-
toms in East Texas express the desire of the people to work and
help each other. There are still raisings, and the swapping of
work, and the getting together to perform community tasks, and
other customs involving cooperation of each man and his next
Economically and socially, the annual syrup-make is probably
the most important of these practices. Coming as it does at the
climax of the harvest season, it is often a festive occasion for both
young and old.
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/m1/34/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.