Festus

Nae's Nest —  March 11, 2012 — Leave a comment

Great, G,G,G,G Grandpa Festus

Oh my!  I am still sorting through the family tree.  I just can’t believe how many nuts there are!  (Not to mention a sap or two!)  Take Great-G-G-G-G-Grandfather Festus.  He believed he was a cowboy, born and bred in Gold Dust, Texas.  Truth be known, he was born in Eastern Kentucky in a small place called  Coal Dust.  He was raised on a farm about 5 miles outside of town. He had never stepped foot outside of his state.  The only parts of Texas or cowboys he had ever seen were in the  western story picture books he would read.

Great,G,G,G,G,Grandma Gizzy

As a boy, he was raised around horses.  He became an accomplished rider.  He grew into a fine-looking young man and married his childhood sweetheart, Gizzy. About a year after they married, Festus had an accident.  Gizzy was pregnant with their first child.  She went into labor..  Festus was scared to death.  He saddled Horace, his horse, and rode as fast as he could to the midwife’s house.

However, Festus decided to take a “shortcut” across the holler and over the mountain.  There was an old deer trail he knew he could follow.  It was much shorter than traveling all the way down the hilly, winding, dusty holler.  His mind was made up.  Festus decided to take a “shortcut” across the holler and over the mountain.  There was an old deer trail he knew he could follow.  It was much shorter than traveling all the way down the hilly, winding, dusty holler.  So over the mountain he went.

The family farm house. Coal Dust, KY

Festus was riding the horse much faster than he should on a mountain deer trail.  He came to a particularly steep part of the mountain.  It had been raining for days, and the mountain side was slippery.  Festus paid no heed.  He continued to ride as fast as he could down the steep slippery slope.

Well…..you guessed it, Festus had an accident.  Horace lost his footing and tumbled down the mountain a fair piece.  Festus was thrown head first onto a boulder alongside the path.  His head hit hard against the boulder.  He was knocked out.

Fortunately for Gizzy, the midwife, Jotti, had decided to visit.  Gizzy was in full labor and ready to birth.  It was quick and easy for a first time delivery.  Little Igor was pink and healthy too.  It was after Igor was born that Gizzy finally asked Jotti where Festus was.

Gizzy thought he must have decided to stay at Jotti’s and smoke pipe tobacco with Jotti’s husband, Kimby. Jotti said she never saw Festus.  She was out making

Grandma Gizzy pregnant with Igor. I am not sure who the little boy is next to her, I think it is Grandma's nephew Percy.

her weekly rounds.  She said that Kimby was with her.  He saw that Horace was gone, so he knew Festus was too.  Kimby often went with Jotti while she made her rounds.  He enjoyed visiting and drinking moonshine with the husbands.  Jotti wasn’t crazy about this because she would be stuck dragging a very drunk Kimby home, which included tying him to his horse and pulling him along.

Jotti went outside to find Kimby.  He was in the barn sleeping in a bad of straw.  She woke a very grumpy Kimby up and explained to him that Festus was missing. Once Kimby found out Festus was alone at his house, he jumped up and mounted his own horse.  Yelling that weasel better not be in his moonshine or he would fill his backside up with buckshot!   He was in a bigger hurry since he was worried about his moonshine, she thought sourly to herself.

When Kimby approached the area where the deer trail and the holler met, he was startled to see Horace standing there almost as if he were expecting Kiimby.  Horace whinnied and carried on in a terrible way,   Kimby knew of the shortcut.  He was also aware Festus knew of the shortcut.  In fact, Kimby and Festus frequently used the trail to get away from the revenuers.  Kimby knew every nook, cranny, rock  and any other spot which could be used to hide either himself or the booze.

The town of Coal Dust, KY

.

Kimby climbed off his horse and walked over to Horace.  He was puzzled as to why Horace was here.  However, he wanted to know where the hell Festus was.    The way he figured it, Festus, seeing that no one was home, helped himself to the moonshine.  Kimby figured Festus fell off Horace while trying to get his drunk ass back home.

Kimby climbed right back on his own horse and told Horace to get someone else to help.  Kimby continued on down the path.  Horace, crying, followed Kimby.  Kimby was annoyed!  Not only had Festus helped himself to his prized moonshine, his stupid horse was following him while crying like a school girl!   The more Kimby thought, the angrier he became.  Finally, he stopped so fast in his tracks, Horace’s nose smacked Kimby’s horse, Liquor, right in the rump.

Kimby was so angry he began cursing outloud.  He was certain that Festus, the free-loader, not only helped himself to Kimby’s shine, but was also trying to steal a few bottles.  This is probably why Festus never came home.  Even though his own wife was in labor with his first baby, he was too yellow-bellied to face Kimby while he was sneaking a few bottles of Kimby’s shine home.

Family friend and midwife, Jotti with her daughter, Queenex

Kimby was not only going to find Festus, he was going to kick his ass!  He turned his horse around so fast he bumped into Horace, who was still crying.  What a wimpy, snot-nosed, four-legged baby Horace is, thought Kimby.  For a moment, he thought of shooting the cry-sack just to put him out of his misery….well, ok, thought Kimby.  He’d gladly shoot that damned horse to put HIMSELF out of his own misery.  He decided to let the over-sized chicken shit live.

Kimby, with his shotgun in hand, started down the path.  He swore he couldn’t hear himself fart with that cry-sack horse following so close behind.  Kimby was amazed that dumbass Festus took this path with the condition it was in after 3 days of rain.  However, considering the man was stealing, he figured Festus would do just about anything.  Festus was also an idiot, so he had that going against him too, Kimby chuckled to himself.

As Kimby came to a particularly slippery curve, Horace began sniveling even more.  He started to shake and back-up.  Kimby didn’t know what the hell got into that stupid horse.  Horace was the one who wanted to come this way and now he wants to turn back????  Kimby figured that horse was nearly as stupid as Festus.

Top Row, Left to Right: Nafe, Mud Bottom Row, Festus, Kimby

“What the…Oh my……No!  Festus!  Festus!  Can you hear me buddy?  Festus?”  Kimby jumped off Liquor and ran over to Festus.  He was sprawled against a boulder.  It was obvious he had a head wound with all the dried blood both on his head and the rock.

“Festus!  Can you hear me?  Its me, your old drinkin’ buddy, Kimby.  Can you hear me?”, shouted Kimpy who was feeling both guilty and frantic.

Festus opened his eyes.  “Thank God!”, cried Kimby.

Festus said, “Baby”….

Kimby assured Festus both Gizzy and the baby were fine.  He asked Festus if he thought he could stand on his feet with his help.  Festus said he was willing to try.  With great effort, pain and sweat for both men, Festus was on his feet.  He leaned heavily on Kimby.

Festus, with great support from Kimby, dragged his feet as Kimby pulled, struggled and guided him along.  It was a great challenge getting Festus on his horse.  After several tries, Festus had an “alert” moment and shouted “kneel” to Horace.   Shockingly, Horace knelt his front legs all the way down on his knees.  Kimby was able to lift Festus up enough for him to get on the horse.  Before allowing Horace to get back up, Kimby tied Festus on him.

The stage coach stopped in Coal Dust about once a month. It was a big deal and was frequently met with a parade of people anxious for the mail and the latest news.

Evidently, Festus and Kimby were making enough noise to disturb some nearby hunters.  They cautiously wondered over until they recognized Kimby.

“Hey Kim, how’s the shine business goin’?  I am pert near ready to tote me a bottle er two.”  said Mud, the bigger of the two.

As they got closer, they saw Festus.

Dr. & Mrs. Orval

“Kimbo, whats wrong with Festy?”

By this time, Festus had passed out on Horace, who was still on his knees.  They both were snoring.  Kimby said he didn’t have the time to explain it all right then.

He said to the boys, Mud and Nafe, “Please, get Doc Orval.  Tell him Festus is hurt real bad.  Tell him to hurry, cuz I aint sure he is goin’ to live!”

Without question Mud and Nafe went after Doc Orval.  Kimby tied Horace to Liquor and they headed back to the house.

As soon as Kimby and Festus arrived, Jotti burst outside.

“Where have you been?  What took you so long?  Gizzy has been asking for Fest-…..”

She broke off her sentence as she look toward Festus for the first time.

“Oh my!  What happened? “

“”Let me get him in the house, I will explain then.”

Jotti went on into the house to let Gizzy know Festus was home, but he had been injured.  She helped Gizzy to move over in the bed and fluffed a pillow for him.  Jotti let Gizzy know Kimby would explain everything just  as soon as he got Festus settled in.

This is a postcard which I found in a trunk with Grandpa's things.

Just then, Kimby got Festus through the open doorway.  Gizzy looked over at him and let out a gasp when she saw the head wound and bloody makeshift bandage..

Once Kimby got Festus into the bed, he told of how he come to find Festus.  He said he didn’t know how Festus wound up on the boulder.  He thought maybe a rattlesnake startled Horace. (For Gizzy’s sake, he decided not to mention how he mistakenly thought Festus stole his shine.)   He said Festus has talked some, but mostly he has been sleeping or talking unnatural like.  He mentioned how Mud and Nafe came along and went to fetch Doc Orval.

Just then the baby let out a little cry.  He had been in the bed with his parents the entire time.  Kimby gave the boy a looking over.  He proclaimed the boy looked just like his Ma.

This painting was done by Grandma's Aunt Suzalou. Igor was around 5 months old, I think.

“Hallelujah, God Bless him and Amen!”, he shouted and he tossed his hat in the air.  In spite of the situation, the women managed to chuckle.

Just then Mud, Nafe and Doc Orval came on in.  Doc went straight to the bed.  He frowned at Jotti, knowing she had delivered the baby, since Igor was crying at the moment.  Ever since Doc found out Jotti was a midwife, they have never got along.  He says it is an unsafe practice, only a licensed Doctor should deliver babies.  Jotti claims his real gripe is that HE is losing money (and/or chickens, pigs and apple pies) by her delivering babies.

Doc grunted at Jotti and turned to Festus.  He placed smelling salts under his nose.  He had not been awake since getting on Horace.  The salts made Festus snort and fart loudly.  He opened his eyes and was staring directly into Doc Orval’s face.  Festus squinted at the Doc and said, “Your breath smell like a dog’s ass!”

Doc turned red with embarrassment as Jotti, Kimby and Grandma chuckled.

Doc began to examine Festus.  It soon became evident that Festus was “not in his right mind”, the diagnosis was “senility”, which is what they called anything that had to do with the mind – memory loss, hallucinations, and anything else that simply could not be explained in that day and time.

Grandpa's favorite hunting dog, Raquel.

In Grandpa’s case, he seemed to have created his own world.  It was his fantasy since he was a child.  He believed he was a cowboy in Gold Dust, TX.  He knew everyone, including the Doc.  He just didn’t like the Doc much.  Grandpa wondered if Doc thought he was a fool.  Doc is trying to get him to believe such malarkey that the liver will change colors, rot and basically die if it processes too much whiskey!   Kimby and Festus both got a good chuckle over that.  Ever since that day, neither one has cared for the Doc nor did they care if Doc knew how they felt.

Time went on.  The baby grew and was now a year old!  In spite of his delusions, Festus is a wonderful daddy.  He dotes on his baby cowboy.  Gizzy is now pregnant with child #2!  She is due in about 3 more months.  Festus is very excited.  He hopes one day, he will have an entire bar full of cowboys and cowgirls.

Festus never did come back to reality.  He lived the rest of his life very happy and satisfied living in “Texas” and being a “cowboy”.  Other than this problem, Festus was his self.  He still enjoyed drinking shine with Kimby.  He still enjoyed hunting with Nafe and Mud.  He still hated the Doc.  Nope, nothing had changed except that he was now a proud father.  They went on to have 8 more children, including this pregnancy.

Igor, a year old. Grandpa was giving him a bath. Grandpa always refused to take Igor's hat or boots off for bath time.

I want to thank  – Jake of http://poemsandponderings.wordpress.com/   for the expression “sap” in the family tree.  I had never heard this term before and thought it was cute.  Jake is becoming a pretty good mentor and friend.  He is an excellent writer.  I believe you will enjoy his blog as much as I do.  Click on over and check it out!

Nae's Nest

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I find myself "Dancing With Cancer", problem is...I can't dance. I stumble, bumble, and get pulled along. To keep my sanity, (humor me), I write short stories, a journal, musings and poetry....just about anything goes.

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