By Allen Hamrick
This article is dedicated to the many people, living or deceased, who have entertained those close to them with stories, art and song throughout their lives. A good writer can hold the reader to the edge of their seat with laughter or keep them riveted with the drama as it unfolds. Unfortunately, we live in a world now where the ability to entertain plays second fiddle to the daily trudge of living. Without good writers, everything from magazines to directions would be a challenge. Without good artists, we couldn’t see the story being told and have the story come alive before our eyes. Who has read the stories of bear attacks where the victim barely survives in old Outdoor Life magazines? Without the story teller and the illustrator, the story could never be told as it should to give it life. Yet there are those that can tell how they went hunting or store shopping and leave you laughing for days.
This article, which I hope will continue each week, will highlight some of those local artists that can write, draw, or tell a tale. If you have a family member, living or deceased, that can or could do any of these things, we would like to feature them. They say that laughter is the best medicine, and these days we need as much as we can get. So, this week I would like to feature a lady who had talents beyond what could ever be explained. Her stories would keep you laughing and always wanting more. Her ability as a character artist was beyond her years. She was a wood sculptor, as well, and could carve a bird that looked like it would take off and fly. She was the last teacher of the Lilly’s Fork School, and she died way too early. Her name is June Odom, and this is a letter she sent to me about her losing her teeth. It’s a challenging read but well worth the effort. For the full effect, you have to read it as though you have no teeth in your mouth. Enjoy!
June Odom’s Tale of Woe
Last night at eleven, I went to bed as many times I’ve done before, and laid my head upon my pillow once more. Then I took my teeth out from my mout’ becau’d my gum’d wud “tore. To go wit’ out my teef at night had never been my ‘tyle. Un’tile I puttum in agin’ when my gum’d had re’ted awhile. But he came early, as usual, dat ol’ scruppy tand man, an when I dripted awp to ‘tleep my teef wud in my han’. Putt’em in your pocket, I tol’ myseoupffh, but I didn’ tell me when. Toe I clutchte’m a little tighter an dripted awp again. I’m chure I ’noared loudly wit’ one node hole caved in, my two gum’d clamp’t t’gedder, an’ my node a re’tin on my chin. W’en I woke up a tree a.m. wit’ my jaw’d tardern ever an weeshin’ por a wolly pop whur day’d been clampt t’gedder. But my teef wud now not in my han’ an I’ze peelin all aroun’ t’lidin m’ han’ over d’ mattrutt, but my teef could not be foun’.
I’ll hap to wait till mornin’, I tought, t’ try t’ pind my teef. But I chined my little plashlight ‘till lookin’ por my teef! I ted t’ myselp, maybe day went between d mattrutt and d ‘tead. No, day’d hap ta chew t’rew d mattrutt ta git down unner d bed. Toe, I que’t. I’ll wait till mornin’ an den I’ll pind my teef. But, I looked beneat’ d bed pread an’ d wrikls in d cheet; ok, I’ll wait till mornin an try t git tum tleep. But, fir’t I got ta creep to da bat’ room. I ju’t detied ta lay me down per a nudder hour and ret my weary hide. But, I lay down upon my teef, an’ dey bit me on my tide. OUCH! I ted, you naughty teef. Why be you toe di’tre’t, you’ve chompt so many lett’ut heads, I’d tink you’d appreciate a ret. Now, you’ll pay, you’ll weesh ta goonuzz you’z back in da Polident bowl. When I wiped da blanket puzz awp ye and putche back in dat towered hole, you’ll weesh you’d never bit me. Back in dat rancid jail hout por d re’t a yer un natural lipe, PLOUP!! How do you like those apples, teeth?
It wasn’t just the story but the way she wrote and illustrated it that makes the story a treasure of mine. If you or you know someone who would make Clay County readers stay riveted to their seat, let us know. We would be glad to publish their work.