HILLBILLY HERITAGE


Many of my ancestors lived in the Ozarks of southern Missouri.
I grew u
p visiting with relatives who introduced me to their unique, colorful way of life!

Here are some of the stories that were told by my dad's cousin, Larry Todd (1941-1991), about his Uncle Bob Todd who lived Wright Co., Missouri. Robert Henry Todd (1885-1981) was married to Lola Allen and they had four sons: Buster, Pete, Wood and Babe. These stories were taped during a visit to the family homestead by Dorothy (Miller) Shriever, of West Linn, Oregon.

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Windy Bob

Larry Todd describes Uncle Bob:

He could shoot the eye out of a squirrel a quarter of a mile away.

He talked to everyone the same, never got excited or sick, always had a garden.

Bob flies in small plane with Pres. Johnson who threw $5 and $10 bills out the window over Arkansas.

He used to tell everyone he'd just gotten out of jail. The truth was that he worked at the penitentiary in Jefferson City. The only crime he ever committed was telling stories.

He claimed to be the twin brother to Harry Truman and mayor of Wright Co.

Clever Bob

Once Larry went into Hartville with Bob. People gave Bob stuff (candy bars, chewing gum, ball point pins, cigars, pocket combs) because he went into stores and asked what they’d give a man for his birthday.

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Larry's story about Uncle Bob
and the Slick Cat

Bob used to carry a baby cat around with him everywhere he went. Stopped by houses and asked for a pan of water to cook the cat in later on. He got a lot of free meals that way. The cat was “slick” from being carried around so much.

Asked Larry, “Do you read the bible? Have you read the part where if you had two coats and your brother had none you should give him one? I think the same thing should hold true with ball point pins.” Bob had a cigar box full of pens he “swapped for” over the years.

Bob Was a Tease

Bob told Larry there was a 14’ alligator in the creek that dragged him in by the leg.

Bob told Larry his gum was made out of chicken manure. Lola told Larry to tell Bob his chewing tobacco was made out of “cow manure and cabbage and there wasn’t any cabbage crop this year!”

Old collie dog named “Bullet” was howling and moaning. Bob tried to get Larry to put him out of his misery. Larry couldn’t do it because Bullet had saved him from the old sow. Bob said he’d get Freddie Glen Crawford to do it, he would kill his own mom for 50-cents.

Thrifty Bob

LISTEN Click the button to listen to
Larry's story about Uncle Bob
and the Chewing Tobacco

Bob was close with his money, a real penny pincher. He got Babe to go to town everyday to get him a can of Prince Edward tobacco. Once Babe bought 10 cans. Bob told him to take 9 back. Said, “If I die, somebody else will get to smoke ‘em.”


LISTEN Click the button to listen to
Larry's story about Uncle Bob
and the 1-Cent Check

Fannie gave Lola a permanent. Bob wanted to know “How much did it cost?” Fannie told him one cent. He made out a check for one cent.

The Dirt on Bob

Went to bed every night at 8 PM. Didn’t matter who was there. Got up at 5 AM. Expected everybody else to be up too. Pulled off the covers and said, “People die in bed.” Breakfast was biscuits, bacon, sausage, and eggs, enough to feed a bunch of thrashers.

Bob never took a bath. He wore long underwear, long sleeved shirt and overalls, summer and winter. Anybody else would have suffocated in an outfit like that. Overalls would have stood up and fought back if you tried to get ‘em in the washing machine. They threw a handful of dogfood over in the corner and when the overalls went over to eat they shot em in the back. Could stand up in the corner on their own.

Uncle Bob asked Larry to cut his hair. Then Bob wanted to cut Larry’s hair. If you don’t like it you can always let it grow out. Larry once brought an electric razor which Bob had never seen before. He wanted Larry to shave him. When Larry got around by his right ear and cheek there was a great big dog tick as big as your little finger. Bob told Larry to “Pull it off!”

Good Neighbor Bob

LISTEN Click the button to listen to
Larry's story about Uncle Bob
and the Flat Tire

Woman standing beside car had flat tire. He helped her and she said she had no money to pay. She took off her britches and laid them up on the roof of the car. Bob said “Lady if you think I’m going to trade you my new overalls for those you’re crazy!”

Uncle Bob and his neighbor, Herman Nichols, kept rain gauges on posts by the road. Herman would pour an extra inch of water in his gauge. Uncle Bob couldn’t figure out why it rained more on Herman’s side of the road. Herman was one of the only ones who could pull the wool over his eyes.

The Garden of Bob

Bob would steal Herman’s cucumbers and claim that he’d grown ‘em. Said it was nothing to grow 150 lb. watermelons. He sat out in his garden and his stories were good fertilizer.

Larry took his city-girl wife down to visit Bob. They drove up, Bob was sitting out in garden in a chair, had a hoe. How much do you weigh to the quarter?

Watermelon crop. The ground was so rich, the watermelon grew so fast that it skinned all the hide off ‘em… next year was so hot that the corn in the field started popping and the cows thought it was snow and they layed down and froze to death.

SOME EXAMPLES OF OZARKIAN TERMINOLOGY

Carry = to take somewhere

Catty Whompus = crooked

Whopper Jawed = out of alignment

Dafeeda Road = a freeway onramp

Poke = a sack or pack

Hotville = Hartville

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