Whitesburg KY
Mostly clear
Mostly clear

The day the polecat got us

The dirt road out of Cane Branch was in the creek most of the way. The two miles walking to Burdine School was a real chore some days. If it had rained, you had to wade the creek barefooted, carrying your shoes if you had shoes, and put them on at the mouth of the hollow.

When dew was on the weeds and you lived in the last house in the hollow, you were soaking wet by the time you got to school. Most of the kids went barefooted until the first snow.

In the summer you had to hurry home from school and work in the field until it got dark. In the mornings we had to feed over 100 chickens, slop the hogs and milk a couple cows before we went to school. We got up very early and the only light we had was a kerosene lamp.

One morning my brother, Roger, and I were walking to school and when you walked the mile out of the hollow you had another mile of walking on the railroad tracks. This morning the coal train had many cars loaded with coal heading for Ashland, and we had to find another route to school.

There was an old unused road that ran parallel to the railroad tracks, and Roger and I took it. It was very narrow and you had to watch out for snakes.

We came upon a polecat in the middle of the road that would not move. We threw rocks at it to get it out of our way, and it squirted us good. When we got to school the teacher sent us home.

Our mom was very upset with us and would not let us in the house. She boiled water on her old woodstove, poured it into a large washtub on the back porch, and handed each of us a cake of soap and told us to wash good while she washed our clothes.

Needless to say, we watched out for polecats from then on.

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