PoP's Southern Thangs: Mr. Bowen


Mr. Bowen

Rich's post Lost Traditions made me think of Mr. Bowen.

My neighbor across the road, Mr. Bowen, was in his seventies when he found me crying at his fence behind his house after the older boys had left me in their dust, and he became my best friend until he died. I don't remember how old I was, but probably about six. I loved going to visit him, where he would always give me my choice of a piece of candy, and then regale me with stories of the Confederacy, as he spit into his spittoon.

He would tie chickens on his clothes line by their legs, and then go down the row slitting their necks with his handy Barlow knife, as he chawed' on a plug of Brown Mule, which was my Christmas present to him each year. One year my mother asked if I didn't want to get him something different, and I was dumbfounded, as I told her, but that's what he likes! Every time my mother would bake loaves of bread, I would take one to him steaming hot. There isn't much better than this smothered in butter. He taught me how to make my first slingshot among many, many other things. I really miss him.

From Free North Carolina


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