Earline’s childhood was filled with the everyday workings of a large family that included her parents, nine children, and her daddy’s brother, Uncle Lon. But when the kids weren’t working, doing chores, in school, or playing jackknife or poker, they’d find other ways to amuse themselves, and at times it was at someone else’s expense. A favorite target was poor Broward Davis. One night they all decided to go over into Will Wester’s satsuma patch.They told Broward they needed a place to put the satsumas, tying his overalls at his ankles, stuffing his overalls full of the fruit. They’d posted someone who was to come down just at the right moment and yell, “Come out or I’m gonna shoot!”
But a different person came along down the railroad, which went right by the satsuma patch. It was Grady Hamm, who at his own inspiration yelled, “I’m gonna shoot. You’d better get outta there!” An unexpected voice, an unpredicted twist!
A mad scramble ensued, kids getting over and through the barbed wire fence as fast as they possibly could. But Broward, overalls stuff with fruit, could barely walk, and he sure couldn’t run. Somehow he managed to get to the fence, but when he tried to get over it, he got caught on the barbed wire. Sawing back and forth, unable to bend his legs to get himself unstuck, he was at the mercy of whoever was yelling at them. Broward was yelling, too.“Help me! Help me! Don’t shoot. Don’t shoot.”
All the other kids had run away by the time Grady found Broward, who breathed an obvious sigh of relief when he discovered it was just Grady Hamm trying to scare them all. And at least someone did finally get him off the wire and rid his overalls of all those satsumas.
During that scramble, Earline had fallen on the railroad tracks and cut her knee. She would have that scar the rest of her life to remind her of the satsuma episode. And as if that weren’t enough, she’d have her daughter writing about it for everyone to see.