The Ghost Of Paddy Whack Hollar

The little valley, or draw, or holler, depending upon from which part of the County you hail, wasn't much in the way of size, but it had a great demographic value throughout the tri-county area.

It was just a little to the North and West of the little town of Rector, about 7 miles through the woods on little roads where quite a bit of the time the trees were grown together at the top, completely covering the road, making it quite dark during the day, but, extremely dark at sun-down.

The little valley gained its name after some of the hilarious doins of a few of the folks who resided in the old-timey log cabin there in the darkness.  They used to carry paddles (much the same as ping-pong paddles), with which to swat wasps, bumble bees, yellow jackets, honey bees . . ., you know, any of them flying around critters what backs up hard . . .

One day, after receiving the business end of a switch taken from a willow tree down by the crik, the little feller nicknamed "Gator-hater," which eventually shortened to just "Gater," was still stinging quite smartly on his caboose when he picked up a chunky green cow-patty, tossed it up in the air and skillfully gave it a powerful swat with his paddle.

When Mom saw that, she grabbed the paddle, and skillfully whacked Gators backside which was still stinging from the willow-switching of merely 3 minutes ago.  His little sister was laughing hard, and used the word "whack" to describe the sound of the incident.

Amidst her giggles, she kept sying "Gator whacked the patty!".

Had he not objected, she would have dropped it.  But the more he fussed about it, the more she called him the Patty-whack . . . And, it stuck.

Of course, with it quite thick and very green, it more or less just splattered, deftly covering the entire face of the paddle.  However, a small amount flew through the air and splatted against momís just washed, nice & clean, white sheet, sticking momentarily, then began oozing down to the lovely lace ruffle.

Now, that ruffle which was the cause of many complaints from dad, not only in attempting to tolerate it tickling his face whilst attempting to catch some shut eye . . . well, it didnít look manly either.  "Made it hard to sleep looking like a man when he was lying there in the midst of all those ruffles," he explained.  But Mom won out, and the ruffles stayed!

Gator was one for "agittin" into all kinds of meanness, and usually felt the sting of the "whack on his paddy" numerous times each day.  Every time it happened, his little Sis would laugh and say "Gator got his paddy whacked again!"

Gator would threaten her with "if you don't shut up I'm gonna whack your paddy!" at which time Sis would run to Momma and tattle and then giggle cuz he couldn't get her.

So were the years of the young life of a tot by the nickname of Paddy.  But as the days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months, soon the years had proven natue true again, and Paddy aged.  The years were not kind to the likes of those who had to work like dogs attempting to eke out a living in soggy marsh bottoms.  Sooner than he though possible, Gator was a young man alone, parents gone, Sis married off and living in the big city.

Gator had his eye set on the purty lil sweet Ira Rae Jean ***.  One day he came in and found her in the arms of another man, who promptly pulled a long bore colt .45 out, leveled it at Gator's chest, and calmly pulled the trigger.  He went back to enjoying the sweets of Ira Jeans fruits as Gator lay there with his life draining slowly from his body.  The couple soon left, not even taking the time to close the door, as the flies, drawn by the smell of death to the corpse on the floor, began their gorey duties of cleaning up.

The years passed slowly, and with no one to attend the underbrush, no one around to ask questions, no one to attend to the upkeep of the little old log cabin, it was slowly overtaken by the natural growth of the forest.  After many years, the son of the lady who once lived the life of the poor folks on the farm, ventured out to find the place of which his dying mother spoke just before passing.

He had never heard the story, and it sounded like too much of a fairy tale to be true.

What's that sound?

George Cavaness

© 2000 - 2019

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The Ghost Of Paddy Whack Hollar

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