Uncle Jake and Aunt Molly was real good people, and ever one really liked to go there and visit with them. They all liked Aunt Mollies chicken and dumplings and her apple pies was the very best. Uncle Jake and Aunt Molly liked to sing the good ole gospel songs, so when they had finished their meal they liked to get every one to join in and sing a few songs. In the summer time when they had their cabin doors open an ye could hear em singing loud and clear for a long ways. It really echoed up and down the valley. It was a real treat to be the right distance away and hear those beautiful songs that they really loved to sing, and could sing so well.
Then Uncle Jake would get the kids to gather around and he would tell em things that happened long ago to him or someone he knowed about. Now, he had a way of tellin about things that made it seem like it jest happened, or then he could make it seem like that hit was when he was jest a little feller, or maybe long before he was born. But he always went into great detail to make the story seem like it was real, an most of the time hit was a true story.
Uncle Jake and Aunt Molly were kind and gentle people that loved to have company. Uncle Jake, he was kinda slim and skinny, and wore pants with suspenders, and long sleeved shirts with elastic bands to hold his shirt sleeves up. He wore bright gold rimmed glasses and in th winter time he wore his old black hat, and some times a big red or blue handkerchief around his neck. In the summer time he wore his old straw hat. He walked real spry like and could do a good days work when he getting pretty old.
Aunt Molly always had her hair rolled up on the back of her head and she wore glasses too. She was a small spunky type woman. Ifín she went out side she always wore a bonnett, coures, she wore her apron too most of the time.
Uncle Jake had an old mule that he kept to plow their garden with. They always raised most of their food stuff. They always planted potatoes and turnips for the winter time and buried them in a hole. They called it the "tater or turnip hole". They had a cellar for their canned fruits, and vegetables of all kinds. They always had a sack of good dry hulled walnuts or hickory nuts to crack and eat. He raised corn to feed "old Pete" the mule, and enough to feed his hogs that he raised for their meat.
Except once in a while he would shoot a deer that come a little too close to their cabin, then they would have deer meat for a while. Course they always had two or three cows and their calves for their milk and a steer to butcher about one in each year. Then they had chickens to furnish thin with eggs, fried chicken and then of course them good old chicken and dumplings.
Then they had this here big old black dog, they called him "Old Duke". He was one of the biggest dogs that you'll ever see. He was the best all around dog that I ever saw, and he weren't afraid of nuthin, and he seined to see everything that moved around th place. He really was the first one to know if something strange or unusual was going on around there.
He seemed to know everything that Uncle Jake would say to him, and he minded him just like a kid. He would go with Uncle Jake to the field to plow, and he would pull his coat off and put it with his water jug. Then he would tell Old Duke to watch the coat and water for him and he would stay right there. One day Uncle Jake broke his plow handle at the other end of the field, so he jest unhooked Old Pete from the plow and cut across to the house to repair the plow, and didn't go back to th field till the next day, an ole Duke was still right there with the stuff he was watchin for Uncle Jake. So I guess he was really a true friend and dependable for whatever he was supposed to do. He'd tree big old snakes and if Uncle Jake wanted him to kill it he would grab thin and almost snap their head off, he slung thin so hard. One time he treed up a tree that was up on a steep hill side, th tree wasn't too big, just tall enough so the coon that was up in the top, I guess he felt safe until I got up there to th tree, an he jumped out of that tree an Old Duke landed right on top of him, and they jest went a rollin down that hill, part of th time Old Duke was on top, and part of th time th coon was on top. Th coon was a screamin and a hissin and a bitin, and Old Duke was growlin and yepin, cause that coon was a puttin up a real fight. I was a feelin sorry for Old Duke, he was a gettin all scratched up, and that thing was a bitin and a chargin Old Duke, about that time they locked together, jest a diggin an a clawin at each other, and here they went right down that hill jest a rollin an when they got to th bottom of th hill they was both about give out, but Old Duke thought he just about had him whipped when that old coon made a real last effort and was lucky and grabbed Old Duke by the nose with his teeth and really hurt him. He was a yeppin and howl in, about that time the old coon ducked into a den that was under a bluff that was right there in the ditch, and Old Duke didn't know the den was there.
After that, Old Duke would go up there and watch for that old coon to come out. He was kinda hid and real quite, just a watchin for that old coon. Finally he saw that thing come out from under that bluff and just started off down a path. Old Duke didnít move or nuthin, till the coon was away down from the den. Then Old Duke run in between him and his den, I guess the coon was surprised cause he didnít try to run, till it was too late. Old Duke and him tangled right there and this time Old Duke was lucky and got a good hold on the coon and jest held on and shook him till all th life was gone out of him. So that must be the most gritty old coon that Old Duke ever got a hold of.
One time a deer came up to Uncle Jakeís yard in th night time and Old Duke woke up and seen it. He always liked to run the deer. He chased this one away back in th woods, up th holler and up over th hill. The first thing he knew he was about a mile from home, and he gave up on th deer and started back to th cabin. He come to a fence and just thought he would jest jump over it. He did, but his foot got hung in the wire fence, and he couldn't get out.
Now, Uncle Jake and Old Duke would do any thing for one another. So, when Uncle Jake got up the next morning and went to feed Old Duke, he wasn't there. He called, and called, but, Old Duke didn't come. So Uncle Jake went off out on the other side of the cabin and called real loud. Old Duke heard him, and he barked and barked cause he knowed if Uncle Jake could hear him that he would be there to help him. Sure enough he heard Old Duke a answer Ďn him. So he told Aunt Molly that something warn wrong with Old Duke and heíd be back in a few minutes. He went off in the direction he heard Old Duke a barkín then he'd stop and call him again, and Old Duke would answer him again, he kept goin in that direction and a callín, and heíd get a answer every time. He went right to where Old Duke was at, and boy, was they ever glad to see each other. Uncle Jake was real easy so he wouldít hurt him very much. When he got him out. Uncle Jake set down on th ground and let Old Duke lay on his lap. They was real happy to be together again, seined like they both knowed that it was jest luck that Uncle Jake had heard him when he answered his call. His foot was real sore, but it would be alright after they got it doctored up when they got home. He was lame for several days, and then he was as good as ever.
One morning in th winter time Uncle Jake went out side of their cabin and he seed some smoke coming up out of th timber. Jest looked like they might have some neighbors that lived there, it looked to be at least a mile to where th smoke was a comminí out. They thought, they wasn't any one a livin that close to them. So he walked off out in th woods a ways a tryín to see jest where that smoke was at. He warn away out there in th woods and Aunt Molly hollered at him to tell him that breakfast was ready. He answered her, and said he was a comminí · But he look at where that smoke was a comminí from, then he looked back at his cabin and noticed that th smoke from his cabin was a goiní straight up too. Well he thought--if some one lives there at that smoke a way over yonder.--They might see th smoke from our cabin, and come a lookiní to see who we are a liviní here.
Uncle Jake washed up and was a eatin his breakfast Aunt Molly had fixed for him. He had fried rabbit and biscuits and gravy, honey and butter and hominy grits. He told Aunt Molly that he had saw smoke a goiní straight up out of th timber, but didn't know where it was at. About that time, Ole Duke barked and it sounded different than it usually does when he barks.
They both went to th front door and they could see someone a commin up the path. It was a man that said he was lost and wanted to know how to find his way out of there. They invited him to come in to rest and visit a spell before he left. They gave him a cup of coffee, and they got to know about who he was and that he was the man that lived over there where th smoke was a comin out. So Uncle Jake told him that he had saw smoke coming out over yonder, and the man said that is surley where my house is at. He said that he had only lived there about three days. So Uncle Jake told him that when he is ready he would go and show him the best he could where he thought it was. But they wasn't any smoke there now. He said Iíll go with you part of th way and we'll both learn where it is. After they had walked about a mile, they could see the smoke again, and it was the man's house. Say; I never ask you your name, mine is Jake Perkins If you are my neighbor, I need to know your name; Yes, my name is Andy Wheeler, and I just live here alone. But I just wondered what was up there in thin woods and I got lost. Well thank you Jake for helping me to find my way. Well, Iím proud to help out when I can.
I guess I better get on back, I see Its a lookin a little stormy, But I believe I can make it back before it rains. They decided to visit often, and he started back. He got a way back up there in the woods, and it looked pretty rainy. Uncle Jake looked around for a shelter in case it did rain. Then it kinda settled down and he went on through the woods. But he decided he and Andy didnít come that way, and he stopped and looked around and soon seen that he was lost, and he didnít know what to do.
He noticed that Old Duke didnít even come with him. He was really
lost now, but he just happened to think that Old Duke was the answer to
his problem. It seems like the wind has stopped blowing and it was real
calm and quiet. About that time, it come to him; all he needed to do was
make Old Duke hear him when he called. He called, and called for Old Duke,
finally, he heared Old Duke a answeriní him. They called for each other
several times as they got closer and closer to each other, and finally
Uncle Jake knew where his cabin was at. When he got there him and Old Duke
were really glad to see each other. I reckon that this really proves who
is manís best friend, and I guess they really need each other.