Christmas was the big day on that place. Everybody was given a present, such   as hams, molasses, and clothes. The children hung their stockings up and they   was filled with apples, oranges, candy and cakes. Every family cooked   Christmas dinner at their own house. On the 4th of July, we had a big   barebecue dinner. We ate to our hearts content. No work on that day. Our corn   shuckings wasn’t in the form of a party. Rainy days when nothing else could be   done we went to the cribs and shucked the corn. We liked that cause everybody   was together and could laugh and sing and have a good time. I never did play   with none of the children on the place. Old Miss had a swing put up for me,   under one of the big trees in her yard. She made me lots of pretty rag dolls   and dressed them all up nice. When she went out in her carriage, I set on a   little stool at her feet. She always took me with her. She said she didn’t   want me hearing all them stores ’bout “Rawhead and bloody bones” or “hants”   and ghosts, that was told to the children to scare them. One reason I ain’t   scared of all them things now, is because it was all kept from me, when I was   young. I ain’t never seed a ghost in my life, but I believe somebody has died   in this very house I lives in, ’cause heaps of times I wakes up in the night   and hears something scratching on the walls. There is something buried here,   somewhere—no doubt about that. I asked the people living next to me, if they   knowed anything about it, but they is people I don’t class with, so I can’t   put no ‘pendence in what they says. They believes in all these Hoo doo   doctors. I let them persuade me to try one of them doctors just one time. The   old man had some kind of a book that could shake your sickness off, if you put   your hands on it. I put my hands on it, and it sure did nearly shake me to   pieces. They learned later, the book was made out of electricity. So they ran   the old man away from here. If them folks could do all they claims they can,   they would be living a little better their selves. All that sort of thing came   along after slavery time. When a slave got sick, a white gentleman doctor came   and gave him the right kind of medicine to cure him. The old woman on the   place, nursed him back to health. The old women was pretty good doctors too   for little small ailments. They made herb teas that were mighty good for   colds. They made a medicine for the children, that cured them of worms.   Children now ain’t healthy like them children was. They all wore asafetida   bags around their necks which kept them from having diseases. I wear a piece   of lead and a penny now for my heart trouble. Its the only thing that does me   any good.



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