The late spring and early summer of 1959 and 1960 I was a Farm Reporter (parochial “Measuring Tobacco”) for the USDA in Hart County, KY office. I arrived one morning at Charlie Lobb’s home to measure his tobacco patch. Charlie was in his usual attire, bib overalls washed many times. Charlie had a smile on his face because he was happy to see me. His mother and my mother were cousins. The families had been close since childhood. I, being the son of his close family member made me a close family member. Charlie’s mother had another cousin that was very close to her, her husband. Yes, Charlie’s mother and father were first cousins. Charlie lived with his sister, Annie, from birth to near death. They were separated by their inability to care for themselves and each other. Thank God they did not have any children. Although I have seen such in my old neighborhood. Charlie was very dear to me and so was Annie. Annie had a mental impairment similar to mine. Her disease was never treated properly. I am sure she suffered much.
On this morning I told Charlie the reason I was there. He told me to get my gear We had to walk a little bit to get to his patch. As I walked along a very narrow road, I began to have very severe pains to have my bowels relieved. I told Charlie about this and he said, ” Ah don’t worry about it Emmett has an outhouse right next to the tobacco patch. There is no fence between us.” He continued, “I use it all the time. Emmettt could not care less.”
I rushed up to the outhouse and opened the door and there sat Emmett. I said, “Excuse me”. Emmett said, ” Come on in, this is a two holer.” Emmett was looking at a Sears & Roebuck catalog. I say looking at not reading. Emmett could not read his name in neon lights. As I sat down Emmett started getting up and hitching his bib overalls. As he was doing this a nickel or quarter fell into the hole. He continued without interruption. As I remember I am amazed at his pair of bib overalls. In a ladies style shop In New york or Las Angles today it would have sold for $300-$400. The indigo was almost gone from the washing. On each leg was two carefully hand stitched patches. One on the knees and one on the thighs. As Emmett turn there were also one patch on each buttocks. Also there were a few spots where the horizontal threads were there but no vertical threads. Emmett’s mother had not got to these yet, perfect for today’s women of style.
As Emmett finished hooking his last galsis, he reached into his bib pocket and pulled out his billfold and removed twenty dollar bill. He threw the twenty into the hole he was just sitting on. I said, “Emmett what in the world are you doing”. Emmett replied, ” You don’t think I am going to go down in there for a quarter do you?”
Note: The people were real, the story is not