May 17, 2006

Interviewed by Eleanor Green and Emily Weaver

Transcribed by Wanda Ray


EG:                  I am Eleanor Green.  I am here with Mitch Williams interviewing him for the Delta Black Farmers Oral History Project.  May 17, 2006 at 8:30 in the morning.

EG:      We will start with an easy question.  Can you tell me your full name?

MW:    Mitchell Williams.

EG:      Can you tell me about when you were born?

MW:    May 11, 1936.

EG:                  Happy Birthday.  You just had a birthday.

MW:    Thank you.

EG:                  Can you tell me where you were born?

MW:    Mound Bayou, Mississippi.  Bolivar County.

EG:                  What were your parents names?

MW:    Gentry and Delora Williams.

EG:                  Delori?

MW:    D-E-L-O-R-A.

EG:                  D-E-L-O-R-A okay.

EG       :           Were they from Mound Bayou?

MW:    Yes.  My dad was born in Mound Bayou.  We are ancestors of the first chartered members of this community known as Little Mound Bayou.  My grandfather came over here in 1887.  And they were chartered members of this community, Little Mound Bayou Community.

EG:                  Okay.  Where did your grandfather come from?

MW:    Columbus, Mississippi.  Lowndes County.

EG:                  Lowndes County.  How did he come to the Delta?

MW:    That, I’m not sure.

EG:                  That’s okay.

MW:    But I think they heard about Mound Bayou and came up here (inaudible) and Columbus and see the distance from here to there in 1887.  That’s quite (inaudible).  But my understanding they came up through what they call the Sunflower River.  I don’t know how they connected those rivers to get here.  But there’s about fifteen miles from the Sunflower River.

EG:                  How many siblings do you have?

MW:    Five.

EG:                  Do they all of them live in the area?

MW:    No, some of them live in this area and some of them out of state.

EG:                  And how much land did or does your family own or work?

MW:    We – now we own, this family owns 150 acres.

EG:                  Do you know how and when your family acquired this land?

MW:    Acquired it back in the early – the plot we are own we acquired it back in the early – the late ‘50’s – the late 40’s or the early ‘50’s.

EG:                  Do you know, did you purchase it from an individual or like some  people we interviewed purchased their land from the railroad?

MW:    No, I’m not sure where we purchased it from.  The original plot that we settled on, the family lost it in the 1920’s.

EG:                  And the land is currently located where we are on Gentry Road?

MW:    Yes, most of it is adjacent to Gentry Road.  Adjacent to Gentry Road and Grainger Dorsey (inaudible) that way, go back south.

EG:                  And the land is still being farmed?

MW:    Yes.

EG:                  And are you the one farming it?

MW:    No, right now we are renting it out because (inaudible) so we are renting it out.

EG:                  Do you know what is produced on the farm now?

MW:    Mostly soybeans.  (inaudible)  son is at school and he said he is planning to farm when he is completes his scholarship.

EG:                  Your son is in college and he wants to farm when he gets out?

MW:    Yes.

EG:                  That’s good.  Can you tell me some of the history of the land?  What has been farmed there and grown in the past.

MW:    We grew the basic crops at that time which was cotton, soybeans, and we produced our own vegetables, grew our own beef, poultry.  We also grew crops for the livestock like corn, hay, soybeans and alfalfa, was grown for the stocks.

EG:                  What livestock did you have?

MW:    Just basically livestock for survival.  Mules was the main source for operating the crops.  Cows produces milk and butter.  The hogs produced the meat.  Cows also produced meat and chickens produced meat.  We grew our own vegetables.

EG:                  Was the farm ever used for share cropping or tenant farming?

MW:    At one time we did have a share cropper.  It was small but we did have a share cropper.

EG:                  How has technology and what you produced changed over time?

MW:    Quite a bit.  When we first started we farmed with the mule with a plow called a double shovel.  You go down the row on one side and come back on the other side walking behind that plow called a double shovel.  Then from the double shovel to a one row plow which was called a gang plow. That one you would not make but one trip down there it carried both sides of the row.  Then we moved from that to the two rows.  Then we purchased a little tractor and it carried two rows.  And that was how I saw technology change.  And from that to four rows (inaudible) and finally to six and eight rows.  And all the cotton and corn was cleaned by hands with the hoe.  There were no chemicals.  We had to chop the cotton and chop the corn.  (inaudible) it had to be done by hand.  You worked from sunup to sunset.

EG:                  Do you know if chemicals are used now on the soybeans?

MW:    Yes.  Today there is no hoes in the field for chopping and cleaning the cotton.  And there is no plow used.  It is called no till or reduced till.  So they have gone to a great drastic change.  And they harvest the cotton by picking by hand.

EG:                  Now?

MW:    No, early years we picked cotton by hand with a sack.  We had sacks of different lengths.  7 foot sack which was the shorter sack and 9 foot sack.  We picked the cotton by hand and put it in a sack.  Weighed it.  Carried it to the gin and the gin would separate the seed from the lint.  Now they have machines that pick the cotton and very little hands touch the cotton now during the harvesting.  So I have seen quite a change, quite a change over the years.

EG:                  To make the farm work did you have to make specific changes every time?

MW:    Yeah, I changed with the times or you get left behind.  And some of those changes were welcome.  You think about walking behind a mule kicking up dust for about twelve hours every day.  It will wear out your knees.  So that has been a big change and now you don’t have to do that.  So that has been a big, big change.

EG:                  Do you know if your family farmed elsewhere before they moved to the Delta?

MW:    My grandfather used to tell us before he left the hills that he stayed on a plantation out in Lowndes County.  He lived over there on a place called Washings Place in Lowndes County.

EG:                  Has the land been divided or added to over time?

MW:    Yeah we added to it, we originally started with 40.

EG:                  You originally started with 40?

MW:    40 yeah.  And then when I was grown I purchased until it is the size it is today.

EG:                  And was your brother farming with you?

MW:    Yes he was farming.  At one stage we were all farming together.  My father, my brother.  And  my father passed in ’76 so then it fell on (inaudible) and gradually moved out of it.

EG:                  Do you know about buildings on the farm, what buildings were originally here and if any of the buildings are left?

MW:    No.  Time has taken care of those.

EG:                  Did your family have to build their own homes and farming structures?  And can you tell me generally how it was laid out originally?  Where a barn was?

MW:    The original house that we lived in earlier is on the end of this 40 which was about a quarter of a mile that we grew up on.  The remains of the house was torn down last year.  But we built different houses.

EG:                  And are all these houses in your family?

MW:    Yes.  This house was built last year but the other house burned in ’04.

EG:                  What is the value of the land to you and your family.   Now so much the monetary value but how do you and your family feel about the land?

MW:    We cherish it because we worked hard.  Long days of hard work in that sun trying to keep that land and maintain it and make a living.  Because at that time the only living that we had came from the farm.  Father did not work anywhere but the farm, didn’t do anything but the farm.  So we had to work hard to make a living, for survival.  We had to work to earn, to get our school clothes.  And to carry from one crop year to the next.  So there was a lot of hard work and preserving.

EG:                  Did you learn all you know about farming from your father?

MW:    Most of it, I had to change with technology.  But the basic yes.

EG:                  Shirley thought that you maybe you had been to college.

MW:    Yes I did.  I went to college in 1957.  I graduated from high school and went to college.

EG:                  Where did you go to college?

MW:    Mississippi Valley.

EG:                  And what did you study there?

MW:    I majored in Mathematics.  Came out and taught in the school system awhile and then I left there (inaudible) Delta Health Center for awhile.  And then after that, the North Bolivar Water Association.  You may have seen the tank up on 61.

EG:                  Yeah, we stopped and took a picture.

MW:    And that was the result of my experience with the environmental health component along with seeing the need.  There was no one in the environmental component – we would go through the northern part of northern Bolivar County putting down hand pumps and privies.  Because the people had no place to dispose of their secretions.  So we built those.  Then I left there and saw that there was a need because this was the only section of northern Bolivar County that didn’t have decent water.  The other part of the county had water associations.  So this part of the county didn’t have one.  Seemed to be the neglected section of the county.  In 1993, no I really started on it in 1973.  It took me twenty years to get it off the ground.

EG:                  I was going to ask you how long it took.

MW:    So in 1993 we finally got funded for a water association.

EG:                  That’s a great feat.

MW:    And now we have everyone in this section of the county has access to decent drinking water.  (inaudible)  Some of the best water in the State of Mississippi.

EG:                  Oh, then I will have to have some.  Do you see a time when the land will no longer be in your family?  Or do you hope not to see?

MW:    I hope not to ever see that day.  And even after I am gone I hope that does not happen.

EG:                  You said that your son would like to farm?

MW:    Yes he did.

EG:                  What is he studying?

MW:    (inaudible) said he was going to take up agricultural farming.  (inaudible) He is enrolled in Coahoma Community College.

EG:                  What advice would you tell a young person who wanted to go into farming in your family?  What advise would you give them?

MW:    Be prepared.  Be prepared to grow it like you would any other business.  Prepare yourself to go into that business.

EG:                  So it is very important to you to keep the land in the family for future generations?

MW:    Very, very important.  There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears that has gone into it and I would like for them to continue to keep it.

EG:                  Has the family utilized any assistance to continue farming such as coops and USDA programs?

MW:    Yes, we were involved with USDA program; Farmers Home.  A lot of headaches and a lot of battles to fight in order to maintain the farm.  USDA is the old Farmers Home.  It was a hard to get funds (inaudible) and get the services provided.  They had two sets of  services, one for black and one for white.  The blacks, if you got money from them they would want to know how many chickens you had, how many hogs you had, how many hens you had, how many hens were laying, how many eggs you got per day.

EG:                  That brings me to my next question, how has race effected the farm?

MW:    It has effected a good deal.  (inaudible) a struggle to survive because of the color of our skin.  As I said earlier, there were standards for black and standards for white.  The black standards (inaudible).

EG:                  Do you feel like it has gotten better over time?

MW:    A little.  Not much.

EG:                  Then it still has a way to go?

MW:    In my opinion it does.

EG:                  Did the Civil Rights Movement in the years which followed effect the atmosphere on your farm and in your community of neighbors?

MW:    Somewhat.  Yes.  In the atmosphere, the total atmosphere, because we in the Mound Bayou area had a different atmosphere then surrounding bi-racial community.  (inaudible)

EG:                  What is the most memorable moment growing up on the farm?

MW:    Seeing my parents – seeing my mother out in the field chopping cotton.  Stopping  at 11:00 to

Go prepare lunch – dinner.  And then come back to the field with us.  I look and it now and wonder how she did she do it.  Work with us and come back and prepare us three meals a day and then come back and work.  I look back now and wonder how did she do it?  How could one person have much energy to do all that – every day for five days a week.  I look back and that was quite a job.

EG:                  That was most of the official questions.  Is there anything you want to add or anything you want to tell us about farming?

MW:    During the black farmers of Shelby, there was a lot of discrepancy there.  There were a lot of people that who deserved it didn’t get it and some that didn’t deserve it got it.  And I don’t see why they would want to discontinue it.  (inaudible) Because it had reached a lot of farmers.  (inaudible) that should have been getting it (inaudible) and got lost in the shuffle.   I don’t know what happened thought but I know some people over there that had been farming many more years than I am old and they had struggled trying to save their land and trying to get justice.  So I think that should be totally looked at and looked and reevaluated and hopefully some of those people will stay around long enough to see them get justice.

EG:                  Do you have anything else you would like to add?

MW:    I would like to see more young blacks farm – entrepreneurial farmers.  Because this is the bread basket of our country.   Believe it or not.

EG:                  Exactly.  Yeah.

MW:    A lot of people don’t think it, they think that the milk comes from the supermarket.  They think that the pork chop and the bacon comes from the supermarket.  But it doesn’t, that is where it ends up.  That’s one of the stops on the way to the table.

EG:                  Sometimes I feel like I am the only one that teaches my children where food comes from.  Well, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me.

MW:    Like chicken and the eggs.  Children don’t know – chicken lay eggs?  Yeah, they lay eggs.  (inaudible)  All those pork chops come from the hog.  All that steak – those hamburger steak comes from the cows.  The milk you drink, the chocolate milk, they have to add it, but it comes from the cows.  Although the cow could be black, the milk is still white.  Well, thank you ladies.

EG:                  I have another question.  What happened in 1920 that the family lost the land?

MW:    Foreclosure.

EG:                  Foreclosure and…

MW:    Foreclosure.  From my understanding it was (inaudible) out to get the black land.  From my understanding it was only a couple of hundred bucks.  I guess it was a long ways in those days.

EG:                  But your family was able to acquire more land?

MW:    Yes.

EG:                  It didn’t stop them.

MW:    It didn’t stop them.  It may have slowed them down a little but it didn’t stop them.

EG:                  Do you still grow some of your own vegetables?  You do?

MW:    (inaudible) after your start growing vegetables they have a different taste.  What I call the store bought.

EG:                  Sometimes I don’t make it into cooking them, I just eat them.

MW:    With tomatoes.  With a fresh garden grown tomatoes I can go out into the garden and pick them and eat them and have that good taste.

EG:                  The brother that was farming with you, where does he now?

MW:    He’s retired.

EG:                  He’s retired?

MW:    He’s retired.  Stays just down the road here.  Retired.  He’s older so he’s retired.

EG:                  Okay.  Would it be alright with you if we took some footage of the land before we go?

MW:    Be fine.  I shall be waiting to see this in the Archives.

EG:                  One more question.  When did you first purchase a tractor?

MW:    The first tractor my daddy purchased in 1952.  Because we got electricity out here for the first time in 1950.  Before then we used kerosene lamps.  See that one over there with the globe?

EG:                  Oh yeah.

MW:    That’s what we studied our lessons by, the kerosene lamp.

EG:                  Did you go to school in Mound Bayou?

EW:     I was interested in knowing about the tractor because I understand up in Clarksdale the man who ran Hobson’s Plantation was kind of a leader in ginning and creating and developing tractor parts

And things like that and I didn’t know if.

MW:    The first tractor we got was a Ford.

EW:     Ford.

MW:    A little Ford tractor.  (inaudible) Ford tractor.  It carried two rows.  Exciting!  Now we can carry two rows and don’t have to walk behind that mule.

EG:                  What kind of tractor do you have now?

MW:    Now we have a Pace.  We still have a John Deere too.

EG:                  Like I said this exhibit will be next spring and would love for you to come see it.

MW:    I would like to see it.

EG:                  So we will make sure that you hear from us.  So if you have any photographs or any items that you would like to have on display let us know and we can do a sheet that says you loaned them.

MW:    Okay, I will try to see if I can get them together for when the house burned it burned up a lot of those things.  A lot, lot, lot of things, grandbaby’s picture (inaudible).  Show my grandchildren some of the things (inaudible) show my grandchildren never seen a mule.  What’s a mule?  I never seen a mule.

EW:     My daddy used to tell me about mule races in Duncan.

MW:    Said you never seen a mule?  I said we used to walk behind that mule and pull a plow.  (inaudible) and pull a wagon to Mound Bayou to get water.  With a barrel on the wagon.  By the time we get back might done have lost almost half from the rough roads and rough ride.  Cause can you imagine riding in a wagon with no springs and no rubber tires on it you know?  Every bump in the road.

EG:                  That reminds me, where did you take your cotton to be gin?

MW:    Yes.  At that time Mound Bayou had three cotton gins.

EG:                  Are any of them still standing?

MW:    One they use for potato house.  Just across the street from the high school.  (inaudible)  We used to carry the cotton to the gin in the wagon.  We’d spend almost half a day at the gin waiting to get ginned off.  (inaudible).  (inaudible) bed yourself down in that cotton, that was a soft ride.  But when you came back you had to bounce all the way back in an empty wagon.

EG:                  That wouldn’t be near as comfortable.  Well, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us today.

MW:    Well, thank you ladies.  You from Duncan?

EW:     My daddy grew up in Duncan.

EG:                  Do you have any suggestions for people that we might interview?  Other farmers?

MW:    There’s an elderly man that has been in business a long, long time out on Six Mile Lake.  P.W. Watkins.

EG:                  P.W. Watkins?  Do you know how to get in touch with him?

MW:    Let me see can I can pave the way for you.

EG:                  Okay, see if you can do that for me.

MW:    See if I can make some contact with him, let him know, tell him who you are and what you are doing.  If now, he may not let you in, might not want to talk to you.

EG:                  There are a couple of people that won’t talk to us unless we bring Ben.

MW:    Come by they emerge.  (inaudible) Massey Ferguson.

EG:                  That’s right cause he sold him.

MW:    So he is a retired sales rep?

EG:                  He was.  He passed away in 1979.  Boy we had a little toy one that we were allowed to play on.  And then we had some toys that we played with your hands.  But my brother has got those.  And he won’t let me have them.  Which I am the only one that has an interest in farming.  And I wanted to tell you that we started a farmers’ market in Cleveland last year.  Where people bring their truck and sell vegetables.  And all of our farmers are from Mound Bayou.

MW:    That’s where you will find the biggest bulk of the small farmers now.  Cause the rest of them are the big farmers.

EG:                  Mr. Tool.  Mr. Cornelius Tool.  He sells.  Mr. Curtis Smith.  We are supposed to interview Cornelius Tool on Friday.  Then from up in Shelby, Dorothy Grady Scarborough.  She has sold before but she is not very consistent.  Because she sells a lot at her house.

MW:    So she doesn’t have anything……

EG:                  To bring to the market.

MW:    So that is where you will find most of your small farmers.  (inaudible) from the Sunflower River to the Mississippi River was part of the Mound Bayou community at one time.  So you got to get small.  Got to be small.

EG:                  So your land goes this way and that way.

MW:    Um hmm.  Two forty’s east and two forty’s south.

EW:     Are you glad you still live in the Delta?

MW:    Yes.

EW:     You wouldn’t want to live anywhere else?

MW:    (inaudible) I go through the years and I don’t see how people make it in the hills (inaudible).  I get lost very easy.

EG:                  I lived in Starkville but I have gotten used to the flat land.

MW:    Starkville.  Oh you are from way over there.

EG:                  We have a little token of our appreciation.

MW:    Some good old honey?

EG:                  Some good honey.

EW:     Raised right here in Bolivar County.

MW:    That reminds me too.  I remember when my daddy would go to the woods they would collect honey in the comb.

EW:     The woman who raises this is not allowed to use the comb but…

MW:    But that is the way it is in the wild you know.  He would go out there and find a bee hive and get some.  And we would separate it.  A lot of times we would take our hands and squeeze the comb and get the honey out.  Pure honey.

EW:     And it is good for you too.

MW:    And that honey would be left in that comb after the squeeze and we would suck it.  It was good.  I remember when we used to pick right over here, across the road when all of that section across there was woods, and would go over there and pick blackberries.  We would go over there and pick, you ladies probably don’t know nothing about tubs, but pick #2 and #3 tubs.  Galvanized tubs.  People would come from town, back then people would come in wagons and pick berries for days.  And then we would go home and take that old pump and pump that water in that tub on those berries.  My mother would go in there and sort.  The bad ones would come to the top.  And she would dip those off and then she would (inaudible) and cook them.   Make jam out of them.  Cook them (inaudible).  Berry pie in the wintertime.

EW:     My favorite.

MW:    Blackberry pie in the dead of the winter.  Be cold outside and mama would cook that berry pie in there and put that crust there.  Then put some of that home cured salt meat.

EW:     Now you are making me hungry.

MW:    You talk about good.  She would take some and make jelly or jam out of them.  Get them homemade biscuits.

EW:     Cathead biscuits.

MW:    Put them in there with that jelly and jam.  Some of that old cow milk (inaudible).

EG:                  Did you drink the raw milk?

MW:    Yeah.  It was healthy for you.

EG:                  I have friends that still do.

MW:    It’s healthy.  It was good.  If you ever grew up around cows there were certain (inaudible) cows grazing in a pasture (inaudible).

EG:                  And they know that.

MW:    If you drink that good cow milk you are getting all the herbs, everything right there.

EG:                  Vitamins.

MW:    All that vitamins and nature.

EW:     That’s what I heard about the honey.  If you eat the local raised honey…

MW:    Cause see, (inaudible) pasteurized and homogenized, you kill a lot of that.  That’s what pasteurization is, you kill it.  When you get that first milk from the cow, you are getting your medicine right there.  You are getting a lot of the nutrients right there.  (inaudible) pill bottle.  Vitamin.  (inaudible)  But now they say it is not healthy.  (inaudible)  Separate the butter from the milk.  (inaudible) Milk goes through the fermentation it separates the milk.  (inaudible) called churning.

EG:                  Did you ever churn?

MW:    Oh child yes.  Fresh buttermilk.  That was our favorite beverage when we were growing up.

EW:     I have to watch my granddaddy.  Every once in a while he will put some goats’ milk in front of us…

MW:    (inaudible)

EG:                  Goat cheese.

MW:    Goat cheese is lower fat than a cow.  But (inaudible).  We had a cow that we milked twice a day and she would give five gallons of milk.

EW:     Ya’ll were rather self sufficient then.  Do you remember the first time you went to the grocery store and bought peas in a can?

MW:    (inaudible).  No such thing as (inaudible).  When we picked the peas when they were green Mama carried them to the (inaudible).  (inaudible) Put them in the barn in a sack.  Separate the peas out of the hull.  On a good windy day in March you could separate the peas from the hulls.  Just hold it up and the chaff over here and the pea go down there.  And that was your seed pea.  (inaudible)

EW:     My mama was twenty-one the first time she ever had peas in a can.

MW:    And meat.  You could take that meat.  And no refrigeration.  Cure that meat out.  Hang it out there, we called it a smoke house.  And that is the way we kept it.  You can go out there in July and August and cut down fresh meat and it was fresh and good.

EW:     What were your first chores on the farm?

MW:    I guess watering the livestock.

EW:     Can’t do much harm there but you can learn a lot.

MW:    I’m telling you that you have to water those livestock now.   You can show enough get in trouble if you don’t water the livestock.  You have to put her out early in the morning in the hot weather, if it is warm you bring her in.  Put her under a shade tree.  Then if it got cooler you could carry her back out.  Then when you brought her in you give her all the water she would drink.  Carry her out, bring her back, water her again.  It (inaudible) was a lot of responsibility.  A hog wasn’t as hard, you would have to feed him but he would go out and get muddy.

EW:     They take care of themselves.

MW:    But a cow you had to nourish him. (inaudible)We used to get a little David’s Grocery Store (inaudible)

EW:     They would do better to put a cow up in there.

MW:    (inaudible) tobacco, sugar, things like that. (inaudible)  Mama made our biscuits.  (inaudible) Bread pudding.  Have you ever had bread pudding?

EW:     Yes.

MW:    get you some of that buttermilk, cornbread, (inaudible) sugar.  I remember when sugar was rationed in 1946 or 1947.  Coffee, (inaudible).

EG:                  I can’t imagine coffee being rationed.

MW:    (inaudible)  I remember when we made our own molasses.  That was so good, sorghum molasses.

EG:                  Ya’ll don’t grow sorghum anymore.

MW:    You know we would make sweetened water with it.  Go and put that sorghum in a glass of water and stir it up and have sweetened water.

EG:                  That sounds good.

MW:    Now it will turn a little brown.  But its still good, agitate it good.

EG:                  Some has a strong flavor.

MW:    (inaudible) That old man that cooked that syrup.  He would cook them, it would not spoil.  He would cook it in a bucket.  It would not spoil.  You would have to go in there and dip it out, scoop it out.  Good fresh sorghum.

EW:     So one person basically knew how to turn the sorghum into ….

MW:    Yeah.  One man around here that everybody carried their sorghum to his mill and he would cook it.

EW:     And nobody took up after him?

EG:                  Do you know when that closed?

MW:    No.  But I remember he had a big pan. That pan was longer than that couch.  And we would take that sorghum over there and (tape cut off) (inaudible) thermometer I guess was built in.

EW:     We need to learn how to do that.

EG:                  My thermometer on my stove doesn’t work.

MW:    That wood stove.  We had to go out there and chop that wood.  We couldn’t chop any kind of wood to cook.

EG:                  You had to have special?

MW:    We had to have ash, oak – that was the cooking wood for the stove.

EG:                  Did it hold heat better?

MW:    Yeah sure did.

EW:     You had a lot more trees back then too.

MW:    Oh, plenty of trees.  And it wouldn’t smoke as much either.  But you go in there and she would be cooking.  Just go in there and she would be cooking those cakes.  Come up to Christmas (inaudible) don’t slam the door or it will make the cake fall.  (inaudible) you go out that door and you ease the door shut.  (inaudible) what you call a pantry.  Put those cakes up in the pantry and it would be there from Thanksgiving to Christmas. And they would be just as good.  No refrigeration.  Didn’t put no cakes in no refrigerator.  Put it in that pantry.

EG:                  Do you remember when you first got a refrigerator?

MW:    When we got electricity.  Before that we had a ice box.

EW:     Where did you get the ice?

MW:    Eventually a man would come through the country in a wagon with blocks of ice.  Later on he got a truck.  A man would bring the ice in a truck.  But if it rained, all these roads were dirt around here and he couldn’t get to you.  You would have to go to town to get fifty pounds of ice or twenty five pounds of ice.

EW:     A lot of ice.

MW:    You chipped the ice.  The only time you chipped the ice was the fourth of July to make ice cream.  Homemade ice cream.

EW:     I have an old ice pick from my great granddaddy.

MW:    You do.  Do you have one of those hand ice freezers, you remember those ice cream freezers that hurt your hand?   And when it would start freezing you could tell the difference in that turn when it would start to freeze.

EG:                  One of my earliest memories was taking turns.

MW:    (inaudible) Get you some good old lemon aide.

EW:     You work from sunup to sundown but things like that make it alright.

MW:    Oh yeah, see we would always try to be what you call laid by the crops by the fourth of July.  That way we would have the whole day off.  We would look forward.  Mama would get up early that morning and make the ice cream custard and let it cool down.  Then we would make ice cream (inaudible).  (inaudible) store bought ice cream.  You might go to town and see some ice cream.  And then what?  It was about a nickel a scoop.  A nickel cone of ice cream.  Homemade ice cream is the best today.

EW:     Still is.  Still my favorite.  Now if we keep talking like this, man we are going to be in trouble.

MW:    I enjoy homemade ice cream today.

EW:     My daddy’s birthday is in about a week and a half.  My mama always makes homemade ice cream for his birthday.

MW:    You’re looking forward to it aren’t you?

EW:     Absolutely.

MW:    That homemade ice cream was good.

EW:     Well thank you.

EG:                  This has been really enjoyable.

MW:    Thank you ladies for coming by.

EG:                    I ran out of juice.

MW:    You did.  (inaudible) Get off in the back and we would get up under the trees.  And the adults would be on the other side of the house.  (inaudible) And we could tell when it was getting ready (inaudible) top of the syrup.  You could turn it and it would come back up.

EW:     Oh yeah.  A little more air in it.

MW:    Yeah.  They said it’s ready.  And they would say not it’s getting ready. (inaudible) and rise back up in the container.

EG:                  That’s good.  The perks for being the one in charge of turning the ice cream.  You don’t mind if we take a few pictures as we leave?

MW:    No.  Go right ahead.  You got some film?

EG:                  Yes we have film.  We’ve got this yes.

EW:     See, our technology is beyond us a little bit.

EG:                  My mama had a day care when I was little.

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