At first, things were a struggle. Not the farm. No, Pop was away enough that everyone else had learned how to do just about everything that needed doing. But for Big Sweety, taking on those unique skills that his Dad brought home with him, became his responsibility. He was glad his Dad had taught him so much about electrical wiring, plumbing, carpentry, painting and all the things that go into turning a house into a home. He had no idea how much work his Dad must have done between adventures in the NAVY. He had lots of opportunity to apply those skills.
Between him and Momma Sweety, the “young ‘uns” had everything they needed to grow up, get an education, and learn to be responsible adults. But Big Sweety had to stay home and help his Momma. Pop’s death was hard on her, and although she always had a song in her heart, and smiled a lot, sometimes, she would get that far away look, and then would go be alone somewhere on the farm. Big Sweety understood. He had to do that, too, sometimes.
Every time Big Sweety and Momma Sweety had a break, though, Big Sweety had to hit the books and do a lot of homework. He thought his Momma was the toughest teacher he ever had. When he took his Senior Year finals, though, he had made the highest scores in the county. Several colleges wrote him saying they would sure love to have him at their school. They offered to pay for everything. He wasn’t sure, yet, that he wanted to go. While he thought about things, he poured himself into the work of the farm. That was two years ago, and he was still thinking.
Momma Sweety knew all along that Dad had been teaching Big Sweety about shooting and survival skills. One day, she came up to him and said, “Sweety, you need to go git yer brothers and teach ‘em how to do all those things your Poppa taught you. They’re old enough, now, and it is time fer ’em to learn.”
Big Sweety looked at his mom as if the poor woman had grown an extra head. “Um…H..how did you know about that?”, stammered Big Sweety.
“Son,” Momma Sweety said, “ a woman grows eyes everywhere when she becomes a Momma. They ain’t no such thing as a secret on my farm. A rooster don’t catch a bug without my knowin’ about it. Now git. Take your brothers and teach ’em how to grow up’n do the “man things” yer dad taught you…and take Daisy, with you too.”
“DAISY?!?!?”, Big Sweety was exasperated at that. “Momma, Daisy is a girl. What’s she need to learn all that stuff for?”
Momma Sweety looked Big Sweety right in the eye and said, “Lookie here, young ‘un. My girls are gonna grow up and know everything your Daddy taught you. I ain’t gonna have no fainting daffodils on my farm. No sirree. A girl can do just about as many things as a boy can do, and they can do some things boys don’t even know exist. So I ain’t gonna have no arguin’. Go git yer sister and teach her just like your poppa taught you.”
“Yes Ma’am.” Said Big Sweety. He knew better than argue with Momma Sweety when she got that look in her eyes. That stare could put the fear of God in a statue. He might be twice her size, and stronger than anyone around, but he was not about to cross Momma Sweety when she starts glancing at the big wooden spoon. She was always telling him, “You still ain’t too old for me to spank, boy!”. He believed her. Besides, he really loved her a lot. She was strong and soft at the same time. Besides, he needed most of those spankings. He was glad she knew when to hug him, and when to swat him. He figured he has to have the best mom in the world.
He went and got Daisy, Dan and “Hassle”, and taught them what his poppa taught him. He also taught them how to do all the things poppa had done to make a house a home. He knew that men played as important a role as women did when it comes to making a home. It’s just that they see different things as being important.
Funny how life just picks up and keeps moving. That was fine with Big Sweety. He had a naturally sunny disposition, and welcomed each new challenge. Nothing seemed to really get Big Sweety down. He has a kind heart, a generous nature, and his Momma was always sayn’, “That pup ain’t never met a stranger!” Which is true. He wanted everyone around him to feel welcome and part of the experience, what ever the experience at the time was.