By Dirk Thayer
The Star Herald
Well, deer season ended without me getting that big buck I dreamed of.
However, on the last day of the season I drove to the Natchez Trace and made a little loop (I wasn't hunting) and saw a beautiful eight or 10-point posing on the right-of-way.
I thought to myself, 'ole buddy, glad you made it through the season.'
If a vehicle or other natural disasters don't get you, you will father many more fawns next season.
I was so deep into that 'honey do' list I told you about last week that time got away from me and I missed the wild game supper at the big church.
I am sure all went well and my son probably ate more than my share. At least I was able to donate some fine venison.
With all that being said, my wife reminded me that I need to tell a story.
She said that is what you, the readers, really like.
So with that in mind, I thought I would write about my great aunt, Lorean.
She was a great part of making me who I am today.
She was a tough ole gal and in the process gained a few nicknames.
My brother and I gave her the one "Sarge" as she could match any drill Sergeant in barking orders and seeing to it they were adhered to.
Many around the country side called her "Doc" as she had many home remedies.
If you made the mistake of telling her your ailments, you became her patient.
I'm here to tell you those remedies were not always pleasant.
Mentholatum ointment seemed to be her catch-all remedy and you would get it smeared in healthy doses in places that a young hide could not forget.
When I get a cold to this day I swear I smell Mentholatum and see that ghost of a hand coming at me with a glob of that stuff.
Back then I could look at poison ivy and get a large rash.
Here she would come with half of a fresh tomato and smear that stuff all over my rash.
She wouldn't let me wash it off and I walked around smelling like a tomato juice factory.
One time my brother, cousins and I helped our uncle picking watermelons out of a large patch to sell and we all came down with sore throats. Believe me, four sick boys in the dead of summer don't paint a very good picture.
Ole Sarge or Doc in this case sent my uncle to get some red oak bark.
She boiled this bark into a tea, strained it and made us all gargle with that stuff.
As soon as this concoction entered your mouth, you would pucker up like a bream sucking air on the bank.
It was terrible and it stained everything it touched red.
You better brush your teeth soon after or you had a red-toothed smile that was scary to look at.
Hollywood could have used us in a monster movie.
Believe it or not, the next day we were all back in that watermelon patch, we just weren't smiling as much.
This lady was not all Sarge and Doc.
She did a lot for folks and worked until she was ninety something years of age.
She had an old foot propelled sewing machine and ain't no telling how many clothes she made for folks.
As I write this article, I am sitting beside that old antique sewing machine.
My uncle got her that machine when they first got married. She was only fifteen at the time.
When she passed away she was knocking on one hundred, so you do the math.
She also knitted, crotcheted and quilted and there is no telling of the baby blankets, clothes, quilts, jackets, dresses, etc., that she made for folks.
She was pretty good gardener also and inspired my love for growing things at a very early age.
Perhaps that is what got me thinking about her because just yesterday with a little daylight left, I broke up my garden spot.
I know it is early, but by March I'll have corn, potatoes and maybe some onions or radishes planted.
I'm seeing little hints of spring already. Like a few trees budding, jonquils blooming and I am looking out my dining room window now and seeing forsythia blooming its little yellow bells.
I know winter has not let go of its firm grip and we will see little teases of spring mixed with some more cold days.
It was a spring day when Lorean went to be with the Lord and that is a story in itself.
She wanted to maintain her independence so we moved her here on my place.
She was the "Sarge" then and would not move in.
She got a mobile home and nowhere else on my little twenty acres was good enough but in front of my home.
We clashed occasionally and I told her there was room for only one rooster on this hill and that was me.
I soon would eat those words.
Towards her latter days, she fell and broke her pelvic bone.
My wife and I could not provide the 24-hour-a-day care she needed so she went from a swing bed at the hospital to the nursing home for rehabilitation.
We promised her when she could walk again we would bring her home.
I think she thought we had put her out to pasture and gave up hope.
Easter Sunday a few days before she passed, my wife and I got her some fried chicken and apple pie from a local store she always loved, and carried it to her.
We didn't know at the time but a stomach virus had taken over many of the patients.
She told us to get it out of there, she didn't want to see, eat or smell it.
My last words to her was "Happy Easter to you too, Bye". Hers to me was,"I aim to be home by the first of April".
I gave a small eulogy at her funeral and told the folks that I doubted anyone there had not had something hand-made by her.
I read from the book of Proverbs 31:10-31 about a virtuous women.
No one I know fit that description better than her.
Ole Sarge's final order was complete, she went home by April.
On the Porch with Dirk is a recurring article written by Dirk Thayer, an avid outdoorsman and storyteller.