Friday, September 04, 2009

Aunt Cora Was A Danger Zone...

Cora was my favorite aunt. She had three sisters. Their names were Hazel, Nora and Annie who was my mother.

The Whittington’s raised their four daughters in Glenmora, Louisiana. This was a small town you passed through on your way to Alexandria from Lake Charles. If you want it more precise, it was between Oakdale and Forest Hill.

Cora married Bynum Nelson and they lived just outside of Glenmora. I remember visiting my cousin there when I was a boy. I recall that Glenmora had a train depot, a water tower, a general store and a picture show.

The Nelsons bought additional land and built a new house. That land included an old cemetery that had long before been closed. Their front yard consisted of ten acres. A portion of this acreage had sink holes every so often. One day I asked Cora about those dips in her land. She replied, “Oh that’s the old graveyard. The sinkholes are where they buried somebody.” Later the Nelsons had everything all leveled out. They thought that in time to come it might hurt the value of their property if word got out that their front yard used to be a cemetery.

Cora was good at telling scary yarns to my cousin and me. She would not help us get sleepy by coming to our bedroom at night and telling creepy tales. Often she used that graveyard to good advantage in her eerie descriptions.

My cousin and I talked of going out and digging in the graves. He told me, “Folks back then buried gold coins with their deceased family members for good luck.” We thought we might dig up a fortune. However, we never did any digging. Cora got wind of our idea and threatened to blow us away with her old 12-gauge shotgun. I don’t think she would have gone that far but then again, there was no point in getting her riled up.

I had seen Cora in action and knew that if she ever said something, she meant it. One day when I was there, Cora went out to the barn behind the house. They owned seventeen head of cattle and she knew each one by name. She would go out to feed them every afternoon when they came home from the pasture.

It turned out that one of the cows was in heat. When Cora walked out to do the feeding, this frisky cow ran at her and butted her, knocking her to the ground. I was horrified at witnessing this from the back porch. What happened next was amazing. Cora got up and walked over to that cow. She cussed and hauled off and punched that cow right on the nose with her fist. The cow’s front legs buckled to the ground. That old cow got up and scampered away. I could not believe that Cora actually knocked down that cow with her fist. That incident plus others I could relate are why I never again mentioned digging in the old cemetery.

One day back in the 1940s Cora came to visit us for a week. That’s when we lived on Pipkin Street in Beaumont. She had our front bedroom to use during her visit. One day I saw her take something out of a little box and eat it. Later, when I had the opportunity, I sneaked into her bedroom to get a little of whatever Cora was eating. I thought maybe it was candy. When I popped the top off the little box, a cloud of dust filled the air. I had just burglarized Cora’s snuff box.

None of the other Whittington girls were like that. Cora marched to her own drumbeat.

Maybe that’s why Cora was my favorite aunt.

Winston Hamby


Blogger Relatively Phagans - for friends and family of C.V. and Velma  said...

Hey, Winston!

You could write a wonderful book filled with these wonderful stories!! I love reading stuff like this!

Tue Sep 08, 10:51:00 PM 2009  

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