book.gif (6205 bytes)                              By   MARY  KAY  DANCY  SMITH


For quite some time I have been trying to figure out just what I want to add to this page. I know what Jimmy wants me to print and I will, but there are so many other memories that I have that I just don’t know where to begin.

Growing up in Dancyville meant that you didn’t have just one set of parents. Instead, every adult in the town had say so over what you as a child/teenager did. A prime example of this is the last time I "fought" Wayne Beard. Bet he doesn’t even remember this one! He had been picking on me at school all day. Now let me explain how that was possible. You see our school was only a three-room school. In the first room you had first and second grades. In the next room you had 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. In the last room you had 6th, 7th and 8th. Since Wayne is a couple of years younger than I am, he was always in the room with me. On this particular day I’d had all of his foolishness I could stand for one day and had told him so many times. Finally after school he got just a little too close and as much as I hate to brag, I put him on the ground. Not knowing that his grandmother was watching from the road above the school I picked up the closest thing I could find (a brick bat) and told him that under no certain terms if he didn’t leave me alone I was going to bash his head in. (I really wasn’t going to but needed to make a point.) From what seemed like out of nowhere I heard a scream and the command "Don’t you dare. Turn him loose!" Naturally I did and went home praying Baw Baw never told my parents what she saw. Evidently she didn’t since I never got in any more trouble for what had happened.

Growing up in the country also meant being around all kinds of farm animals always. At an early age I learned first hand what the expression ‘Drunker than a ------’ meant. In my case it was drunker than a pig. In the late 1950’s Mr. Jack Hunter was the sheriff of Haywood County. His brother, Mr. Pete Hunter, and his family lived in Dancyville. One night Daddy came home and told me that he wanted me to go with him to see something. Mr. Jack had gone on a raid of a whiskey still and kept some of the mash. Mr. Pete had brought it home and fed it to his pigs. Mr. Pete’s hog lot was on top of a hill. From the highway all we could see was pigs rolling around on the ground or staggering about trying to figure out what they’d had gotten a hold of!! Believe you me that alone taught me to Just Say No real fast!

Another pig story but with a different ending. Sunday afternoons in the country meant find your own entertainment. Being bored, I went looking for something to do. In the field was a sow. She was minding her own business when I decided it would be fun to ride her around the lot. I did and fun turned into more fun. When she had gotten rather hot was when Daddy discovered me on her back. No one had told me that she was pregnant. That is until Daddy found us! Then I got informed real quickly. The next week she delivered 21 piglets. What makes this story so funny and interesting is the fact that Daddy was with her when she was delivering the piglets. After she had delivered at least 15, Daddy called Mother and told her to call Mr. Frank Campbell and ask him how to turn her off. The best part of this story is she raised all 21 of the piglets. Needless to say, I never rode a sow again. However, she did pay me back in the long run for riding her. When the piglets had gotten big enough to roam the field with her they managed to get into the back yard one afternoon. When I got home from school I found them roaming around everywhere in the yard. While I was trying to get them back into the field, the sow managed to push me into the barbed wire fence. Trying not to get cut by the wire I tore my favorite skirt.

Mr. Bob Clark always had horses and we all loved to ride them. Everyone’s favorite was "Blackie". Daddy never did want me to ride any horse but Mr. Bob made it a point to let everyone ride this horse. Whenever all of the children saw him riding around town we would gather in the field above the school and right behind the gin lot so we could each take our turn riding. After my son was born I was so proud that Mr. Bob took Ken in the saddle and let him ride also.

One more animal story and I promise to quit after this one. Another one that involves Wayne Beard even though he denies that he was in on this one! Mother asked us to go and kill a chicken for supper. Now having never rung a chicken’s neck before we didn’t know what to do after we finally caught the thing. Looking around the back yard we saw a fence post. We put the chicken’s head into a split in the top of the post and each took a foot. When Mother looked out the kitchen window she came running with a butcher knife. She swore that we had pulled its neck at least two feet long before she got to us. Needless to say we were never asked to kill a chicken again.

When Daddy was growing up there was a Negro lady that worked for his mother. I have been told that she chewed his meat first and then fed it to him. Can believe this since they were just like their own parents. She was called "Aunt" Mitty. Mitty Jones was her name but I honestly don’t know her Christian name. After I was born she would always send her son to our house with a large basket of spring flowers for my birthday. She couldn’t afford a gift from a store but those flowers meant more than any store bought gift could ever mean to me. I often pass by where their house was on the Stanton Road and want to go see if any of the flowers still bloom there in the spring.

With the coming of spring each year also came the production of new fruit on the trees. If any one has ever eaten fresh plums from a tree you know what I mean. However, one Saturday several of us decided that we would see who could eat the most from the trees. Needless to say we ate all of them no matter how ripe they were. Now trying to out do the rest of them I ate probably the most half ripe ones. The next day I was miserable with a stomachache. As we often did on Sundays we went to LaGrange, Tennessee to eat lunch with Daddy’s sister Aunt Allen Cogbill. At least they ate lunch, I laid on their bed moaning and groaning all day with Daddy telling me the whole time that it served me right for eating the plums. If I remember correctly, no one had much sympathy for me that day!


Index to Mary Kay's Down Memory Lane:

Mary Kay Dancy Smith -  Mary Katherine Dancy Smith - daughter of  James Hughes & Mary Frances Rhea Dancy
Jimmy - James K. Dancy
Wayne's grandmother, Also known as Baw Baw - Jennie Ruth Beard - wife of Thomas Emmett Beard
Daddy - James Hughes Dancy
Mother - Mary Frances Rhea Dancy