I sort of lost the plot for a while – too much to think about – but I’ll carry on with these posts of excerpts from the diary of a young lad living in the Eastern part of Texas in 1869.
The last bit was here where Joe decided he needed to be honest about himself as well as about everyone else.
Jan 28th [Thur]
I don’t think I’ll write every day. What would be the point? Got up ate grits, fed hogs, fed hens, saddled horses, waved Pa and Jacob and Isaac away. That’s every day. I’ll write things that I think are important, or funny, or I think people might want to know.
important, or funny, or I think people might want to know.
Like that we keep Dominie hens, or Old Grey hens some say. They are pale grey but each feather is striped with darker grey and if they sit still in a shadow the little critters are really hard to find. The cocks have bright red combs and the loudest crow to get us all up in the morning. We’d sleep all day if it weren’t for them.
Jan 29th [Fri]
Ma suggested a write a bit about me. So here goes. I’m Joseph Skidmore and I’m eighteen years old. I have brown hair and brown eyes and freckles. I went to school in Mr Dunlap’s parlour like all the other kids round here but I guess the learning stuck a bit more with me than it did with most. I had a sister once but she was killed by the same rattler that bit me and gave me this bum leg. Ma told me that the poison made my leg stop growing properly. I have to use a stick because walking far makes my back hurt, being all to one side and I can’t use stirrups so I can’t rope steers, or rope horses on foot. But I can ride and I drive the buckboard well. There are things I can do and if I’m somewhere where I’m going to stand still for a while I put a block down to put my short foot on that. I read and write better than anyone in the family but Ma and I wondered if I could get a job in town at the store or the undertakers, but the store keeper and the undertaker both have boys of their own. Ben, the undertaker’s son asked Pa if we could swap but Ben’s Pa wouldn’t have it. It’s a good business and Ben’s going to inherit. I don’t know what I’ll inherit. A third share of a ranch doesn’t seem like that much to look forward to to me. But I mustn’t be ungrateful. I could have ended up like my poor sister.