Pap’s Milk Cow

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An Article About Growing Up In Knox County Ky

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A story passed down to me from my Mother’s side of the family.

Pap’s Milk Cow

My grandparents were much like early families. They worked hard and scraped by but were always happy, smiling and had some type of inspirational advice or a quick happy event to recall for anyone who may become discouraged along the way. It was a very loving family and we were taught to be helpful, understanding as well as compassionate to others. It was from these strong family bonds that we were taught to be prepared for the real world. I remember when we were nervous and uncertain about a dealing with someone who had some authority in some job that one of us were applying for and whether we were qualified in applying and being were afraid of being rejected. Papa would always say “They put their pants on the same way you do, one leg at a time” ” All they can do is say no they can’t eat you”. Such strong encouraging words of advice for a young person that really put the un-nerving situation into perspective. I could write about all these memories but it would be a very long article so I will share a couple memories that stick out to me the most.

My grandparents had a very large family, everyone did in those days. My grandparents had to plan for things and figure a way to pay for them ahead of time. I remember many times being told by one of the family about a cow papa had for many years. He milked the cow and she provided for the family this basic commodity. I remember the milk was stored in several glass, gallon sized Fischer pickled bologna jars and the cream always floated to the top. I would ask if one of my aunts remembered the cow and was always told the same story. Yes we remember her, every time she would have a calf we knew it wasn’t long afterwards that we would have a new brother or sister. Papa would always plan ahead and the calf would be just the right age to sell when mama would give birth. You see the calf was what payed for the doctor when the new baby came along.

Papa was always the one that had to do the discipline, if you want to call it that. We would be caught doing something we weren’t supposed to be doing and mama would send us to papa for the trial and verdict. Papa would smile at everything and had patience beyond belief. He would line us up in the living room and his “discipline” would involve this hour long planning of how we were going to spanked and how hard and how we need to brace yourself so we didn’t fall when we were spanked. He would be giggling under his breath and we were scared we were not going to come out of it alive the entire time. After all this hour long teasing and giggling he would tap you and say “Don’t do that again”. He would then explain why and what impact it would have on someone or ourselves.m That lasted another half hour. When it was over we knew what we had done and why it should not be done.

To this day I do not ever remember getting a spanking from him but I feel he taught me more than any other family member. Papa exerted this same pattern with dealings with others who “did wrong”. He could do it in such a nice way that when it was over you would just have to thank him for explaining it to you.

Pap’s Milk Cow