Stephenson Tales


A Southern MammyFirst it must be understood that in the south, the term "Mammy" was NOT a pejorative term in the slightest no more than "Nanny" is now. The mammy was a respected member of the family.

When I was very little Mom was not at all well and so we went to Arkansas for her to recover and gain some strength. I had a wonderful black Mammy named Virginia May and I called her Inny May as I was learning to talk. She was a wonderful devoted caring person and I loved her with all my infant heart. She was my constant care-giver--in fact she cared for the entire family like mother hen with her brood. She had one major problem and that was that in moments of anger or frustration always burst out in the most nautical type language. My mother was very apprehensive that I might pick up some of her obscenities and warned her that she must hold herself in check as no one spoke in those gutter terms in our family and she did not want me picking up and repeating such language. Once, when giving a dinner party for about 12 people Mammy prepared the meal as usual, set the table and waited on the company. Upon clearing the table, with a stack of dishes a foot high she tripped over the sill leading into the kitchen. Mom held her breath as the dishes cascaded from one side of the kitchen floor to the cabinets on the other side. The company heard from the kitchen, "JEEEESUS.....savior pilot me--over life's tempestuous seas." (an old revival hymn sung at the top of Mammy's voice)

Composed on 15 September, 2008.

ClotheslineThe house in Morrilton 603 (or 605) Green Street was on the bank of a hill that sloped away from the street and the back door was about 12 feet off the ground. There were about a dozen or more steps leading down and it was in this back yard that Aunt Lula and Aunt Charlie hung their laundry. I loved to play there. One day Inny May came to the back door and shouted, "Honey chile, you bettas get outa dem jimsong weeds--you get wass-nes' stung."

When I got up to the back door she had already retreated into the kitchen and I could not reach high enough to grasp the screen door handle so I wailed, "Opie do, Inny May, Opie do'!".

{{Jimsong is a corruption of Jimson}}

Composed on 16 September 2008.

© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008

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