Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Lonie and the Bear

Since I quote Terry a lot, and Terry's always talking about his great-grandma, I want to make sure anyone who just stumbled into this conversation knows about whom we speak. My grandmother and Lonie were best friends all of their lives. They were also cousins. Lonie married my grandmother's brother, Buster (he's the one standing behind the right shoulder of my grandmother, who is seated in front of her three brothers). Buster's real name is Rufus Edward and my grandmother's was Minnie. Their father was Amos Owen Ashworth, son of Thompson Lorraine. Thompson Lorraine was married to Sarah Perkins, who is from a different family of Perkins than Josh, if I remember correctly. Their mother, Mary Heard Simmons, was the daughter of Melissa Drake, whose mother was an Ashworth (Polly Ashworth, James, Jr.'s daughter) and whose father was John Drake, Jr. The Drakes were the first Mulatto family of our group to arrive in Louisiana and Texas.

But I digress. I knew Terry's great-grandmother as Aunt Loan. My grandmother always called her "Loan, my sister." I guess that about says it all. Blessed be both their memories.

Well, Aunt Loan was a real card. She had the most delightful way of speaking. Very slowly and very deliberately. "Well" became about three syllables as "We way uhl". She also had a slight vibratto to her voice. I loved taking my grandmother to visit with Lonie for a few days at a time.

This is a true story as recounted to me by my grandmother, Minnie Ashworth Droddy, "Mama." I was home from college, sitting in the kitchen with Mama, having a cup of Seaport coffee, dark roast. "How's Aunt Loan? I ask. "She's fine," Mama tells me, "but did you know she saw a bear?" It seems she was sittin' in the rocker on her porch, mama says, when she noticed a big ol' black dog across the road, and her thinking it might be one of her grandson's deer dogs, she heads across the road to collar it and put it in a pen. "Well, Minnie," she says, "I got right up on that ol' dog and it suddenly reared up on its hind legs and turned into a ba-a-a-ar," in that amazing voice of hers. Mama said Lonie didn't remember how she got back to her rocking chair on the porch, but that she did it in a hurry. Terry says he's not sure what the greater miracle was, that dog turning into a bear or Loan getting back across that road to the safety of her porch, covering about 30 to 40 yards in about 4 steps.

And that's a true story.

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