Part III

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Chapter 31 1957 Owen: slammin’ in tobacco field

I get home finally. I can’t wait to take
off the frilly dress, lacy socks, and patent leather shoes. I am not the frilly
type. I put on shorts and tee shirt and go outside. Carey and the boys are out
in the tobacco field celebrating my return. When I finally get there, the havoc
has already started. Everybody is pushing and slamming anyone they can into the
powder-soft earth. Leo knocks Matt for a loop. Gene gets Leo by a surprise side
hit. I leap at Gene, but he holds me away by a palm on the head, laughing at my
swinging fists. Matt has recovered and he wallops Gene, who reaches out and
takes Warren down with him. I get Allen, then we are so dirty we don’t really
know who we are slamming. This continues until we are out of breath. Left
standing are Edward and Warren, who usually stay down for a while when knocked
down. Warren tackles Edward, who pretends to fall over from the blow. We all
shout and haul Warren home over our shoulders.

When we get back home, we see Uncle Seth
and Aunt Olie leaving. Allen goes out and throws rocks, but they don’t reach
the car. He is, however, happy with the effort. We take a bath outside in a tub
of water warming in the sun. With a hot hose, we wet a spot of Tide in the
grass. We twist and turn our feet in the suds until they look clean. We take
turns in the tub, wearing only underwear. Supper is chicken bog with sausage. We
are starved. We do not have to be called to supper. While I am eating, Gene reaches
under my arm and grabs my biscuit.

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