Bits & Pieces

By Brenda Boykin


Use Your Voice

My daughter is always telling me to use my voice when something peeves me off a little and I fume about it later. You know, like when a loud mouth bagger in the grocery store announces to the world that you just purchased some chicken gizzards. My son is always telling me to use my voice by voting. Occasionally I remind him that I voted for Nixon and was embarrassed by Watergate and haven’t got any better results on the few occasions I voted since then.

I know more about using your voice than either of my children. When I was young and living in a rural area of NC, hardly anyone had a phone. I lived with my grandmother for a year and her nearest neighbor on either side of her was about a half a mile away. My grandmother bought milk and butter from one and used the phone of the other, when need be. Most people did not have cars either, including my grandmother. We walked everywhere for the most part, except for my cousin who was lucky enough to have a mule. Rather than waste a trip, my grandmother would send me out in the yard to holler the neighbor’s name every minute or so. If they were at home, they hollered back. If Granny wanted butter, I would holler “Butter?” and they would holler “Yes,” or state when it would be ready. If the answer was “Yes” it was understood that I would be right there.

Another reason to holler at them was because they had lots of hound dogs and one in particular would rather bite a person than gnaw on a bone.  They would tie the dog up if they knew you were coming. The other neighbor with the phone went to town a lot to sell produce and an assortment of things they made, so you never knew if they were coming, going, or staying at home. They were the high class neighbors because they had a truck and a phone. Granny said the only way reason they had both was because they did not have any young’uns. They had a dog too, but it was just a yippy yappy dog. If the neighbors did not reply in 15 minutes or so, you tried again later.

We also used our voices to call the animals in. Every group of animals had a different call. If you wanted the hogs for instance you hollered “Su-ee” and only hogs came to be fed. I can’t remember what the call was for the cows, but only cows responded. To get the folks to come in to eat, “Come and get it” was the call. If you whistled, only your dogs came and no one else’s, regardless of which family member whistled.

Now days, I reckon, nearly everyone has a phone. Some even have a cell phone for each family member and at least one phone for the house. But do people talk? No! They text! I don’t. The other day I had to communicate with a friend that only text. The phone thought it was so smart that it could read my mind. I tried to text the word “margarine” and it kept changing it to “magazine.” By the time I figured out to abbreviate “margarine” to “marg,” I could have called the White House, called in the dogs and put supper on the table. So I say, “Use Your Voice!”


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