SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Aunt Sara Spread Love, Uncle Mont Gave A Dollar, "Never Hit A Lick At A Snake"

By Bob Weaver 2003

On warm summer nights, families once sat on the front porch, a time for stories about deceased family members, their struggles and lots of funny tales, nearly always ending with a step-by-step account of how they died.

"Grandma Riggs had asthma and they would put her in front of the fireplace where boiling water would loosen her up, and then they would tie a bag of herbs around her neck, but after a while nothing worked."

"When Aunt Bell Kerby died they heard the angels sing after they covered the mirrors with cloths. A glow appeared around her head when she went on to be with the Lord."

"Uncle Alec was so tight he wouldn't give a dime to see a piss ant eat a hay stack."

"Ole Jim Riggs was so sick he couldn't stand up, and right up until he died he had to be carried out to his place on the rail fence at Hur to do his business (Jim would never use the outhouse, let alone a bathroom)"

"Aunt Mary never got a day's peace married to that man. He killed her with his hateful words, but he got his due, a six year dyin' from some strange disease that made him crazy. His eyes got wide and he drooled all the time."

"Uncle Mont always gave me a dollar if I could recite the Ten Commandments."

"Poor little Becky never lived to see five-years-old, but she was an angel."

"They always said someone would kill that #*^+@ - but he outlived them all."

"Ben was so lazy, he forgot how to breathe."

"All that family died, except one, in the great flu epidemic."

"They should have put "Never Hit A Lick At A Snake" on his tombstone, but he sure could play a fiddle.

"Uncle Henry was never the same after he came back from the war."

"Uncle Eddie never got married, said he never trusted women, but he would sneak off down on Rowels sometimes."

"Grandma fell ill on Tuesday evening. Lost her appetite. By Friday we were giving her soup by the spoon. She looked me in the face and said 'My time has come, and I am ready to be with the Lord.'

"Aunt Sara spread her love around ... but most of those kids turned out pretty good."

"Uncle Lawrence had his leg cut off when a cable broke at the dock in Grantsville in the 1930s. They put his leg in a cement block the day of the accident and took it down to The Big Bend Cemetery. The block sat on his grave for about 35 years, until the rest of him came along."

"The crossing is near. Margaret's eyes are set."

"Uncle Harry looked out the window and turned to Aunt Nancy and said 'The sow is about to have her pigs,' and he took one long breath and fell dead." Uncle Harry didn't have a sow.

And then there was Scottie McCoy, the last store-keep in the Village of Hur, who honored all her pets on Memorial Day by placing plastic or live flowers up and down the rows of her pet cemetery - chickens, turkeys, parakeets and guineas.

She went so far as to obtain those little markers on a spike from Stump Funeral Home for each grave. After the final auction of the family estate, the markers were removed and placed in the trash. I recovered one, on which the name of remembrance was simply "Nell."