History History Works


Montauk, Missouri

"I guess people think that me an' Brother Bill an Sister Mary air funny critters,'cause we don't go nowhere an' don't know nothin', only stay at home, cut brush, an' run the plow, but somebody has got to throw their back to the sky an' work to feed this ol' world.

"Us three live alone, an' me and Bill hain't never been married neither. Bill is seventy-nine, an' I am seventy-four years ol'.

"Sister Mary married a long time'ag4 but her man died an' she come back home to live with me an' Bill, an' we jist cain't git along without one another.

"I don't see no sense in this ol' gettin' married. Oh, Godys, none of that stuff fer me! No-sir-ee. Oh, it might be all right to marry, but if I did, me an' my man would jist live together like brother an' sister, cause I shore wouldn't raise no kids.

"I am satisfied to live as I am. No man to kick me in, nor kick me out, and that's worth somethin'.

"Me an' Bill an' Mary go barefooted all summer an' work like the dickens, but we jist don't like to wear shoes at all, 'cause they hurt our feet.

"You see this horn lying' across my lap? Well, my pappy made it over fifty years ago. It is made of Cedar wood, an' we call it our 'trouble horn.' You ort to hear me blow it. I can play a tune on it. I can play 'Jesus Lover of My Soul.'

"Me an' Mary an' Bill stay at home all the time an' don't harm a critter on earth, nor we don't want no one to harm us, so I've got my neighbors posted that when they hear the sound of this ol' horn, to come. So, when I see a stranger or anybody snoopin' about the place that don't act right, I git out an' give my ol' horn a toot, an' here comes my neighbors.

"I believe in everybody bein' honest an' tendin' to their own business. Some people act like they air so religious when they hain't got no religion at all.

"I think all the religion there is is jist what you do. Oh, of course, I believe a feller ort to fill the Ten Commandments, an' I feel that I have done that, too. I have actually filled 'em plum full, but, of course, I chaw terbacker an' smoke, an' cuss a little, but I guess that's not no bad sin.

"I am a whiskey person in a way. Now if we could all make our own whiskey an' bitters we would all feel better. You cain't get nothin' now, except pizen stuff, without payin' a war pension fer it, an' we hain't got nairy one to pay."

Painting and text by Lennis Leonard Broadfoot, copyright © The Harlin Museum, used by permission. History Works is supported by a generous private gift and a cadre of community volunteers. Collaborating groups include the Harlin Museum, the Bryant Watershed Education Project, and the West Plains Council on the Arts.

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