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Tiptoeing: Toe walking (walking on the balls of your feet) is common in children I just learned. It is idiopathic (no abnormality) and goes away on its own but can be a sign of problems. It seems to run in families and be more common in girls, possibly because of an interest in dances such as ballet. [I do well to walk on my feet, but I am way over 5]

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Lord of the Caves Part 26

Jaws opened impossibly wide, the alligator shot towards Oh-see-rah. Dropping his fishing line, he fled. Aimed right at him, the alligator’s enormous body blotted out the moon, making Oh-see-rah even blinder, making him move all the faster.

The others were yelling something, but Oh-see-rah couldn’t understand them as he waited for the alligator to slash his back open.

He barged into a blackberry bramble, countless thorns ripping his flesh, but he kept moving, desperate to evade those huge jaws and knife-like teeth. Where was the alligator? He glanced back—it had stopped, likely unwilling to rip into the thorns.

“Over here,” whispered Hah-nah-pah.

“Are you alone?” Oh-see-rah wished it wasn’t so very dark.

“We’re all here, waiting for you,” Hah-nah-pah replied.

Oh-see-rah went through a maze of bambles and joined him. They hurried off, the others joining them.

Oh-see-rah thought of the whisker fish. “Did anyone get the fish?”

Hoh-koh-rah chuckled. “We were too frightened to think of fish.”

Oh-see-rah sighed. “Now we have nothing for the morning meal.”

Hoh-koh-rah pointed left. “A bog over this ways has a good stand of cattails.”

“Why not? Better than starving.” Oh-see-rah veered left, the others keeping up with him.

Just in case something was lurking in the shadows, they scouted around the bog. Nothing.

“Go ahead,” said Oh-see-rah as he got his knife out.

WHOOOOOAN came from behind him.

He started and turned around. The alligator was racing toward him.

“Run,” yelled Oh-see-rah as he tapped one of the men on the shoulder.

The entire group bolted from the bog, the alligator scrambling after them. After a while, they could no longer see or hear the alligator.

Oh-see-rah slowed to a walk. “Halt. Did anyone gather cattails?”

Hah-nah-pah joined him. “No. But I’m tired of cattails.”

“We lost the alligator, so I suggest we stop at a blackberry patch and pick blackberries,” Oh-koh-rah said.

“Unless you picked blackberries in your brambles.” Hah-nah-pah laughed.

“No, I didn’t.” Oh-see-rah asked, “Does anyone know of a blackberry patch nearby?”

One of the new men raised his hand.

“Lead on,” said Oh-see-rah.

A short time later, the same man, said, “Look to your right at the cliff.”

“Hah-nah-pah, check for the alligator,” Oh-see-ra said as he led them to the blackberry vines.

Hah-nah-pah trotted off, soon returning. “No alligator. But we’re too far from water. And alligators don’t run far.”

Everyone started gathering blackberries. Oh-see-rah had made a meal off blackberries many a day, so the night was not a total waste of time.

WHOOOOOAN! Came from behind him.

“Run!” he yelled.

By then everyone had already fled, no one stopped running till they reached the cave’s welcome mouth.

As ordered by him, the two guards were on duty.

As Oh-see-rah passed the guards, he said, “An alligator chased us away from the blackberry patch. Watch out.”

Oh-se-rah and his men stopped just passed the paling stakes. Everyone was watching.

“Giant alligator,” he told them. “I think we lost it.”

Oo-tah-nah came to him. “Little Lol-non got out.”


“To follow you,” she replied. “He never came back.”

Out of the cave with the alligator on the prowl? Oh-see-rah grabbed a torch and a spear thrower.


Copyright 2021 Charles Suddeth

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Taino sport!

Batey is a Taino, Caribbean ball game similar to the pok-ta-pok of the Mayans and Aztecs—Ceremonial Ball though it has many names. The plaza or stone court is also called Batey—the hard rubber ball is a batu.

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Party Taino style!

Areyto was a Taino religious ceremony from pre-Columbian times. It involved singing melodies and chanting tales while dancing—usually in a religious context. Instruments included whistles, flutes, log drums, and sea-shell horns. They were often held on stone dance courts as they worshiped their gods—Cemis. This involved most of the Caribbean islands, especially Puerto Rico (Boriken). I believe private Areytos are still done for funerals.

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Slave quarters, Liberty Hall, Frankfort, Kentucky. About 100 years ago.

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Shawnee warrior!

Don’t mess with Shawnee warriors. This British officer will soon wish he’d stayed in London. The British had a hard time figuring out that Indians didn’t stand in lines and fight. (Disease decimated Indians, not British troops)

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Lord of the Caves Part 25

Later, Oh-see-hah and Ee-shee-nah lay intertwined. He sighed and didn’t care if he ever slept.

Ee-shee-nah kissed his neck. “Get some sleep. I have work to do.”

She left and he rolled over. Snoozing felt so good.

He woke—someone had pulled his sleeping fur back. He blinked. A sly grin on his face, Lol-non sat beside him.

“What happened?” Oh-see-rah dearly wanted a little sleep.

Lol-non dangled a long bone-fishhook in his slender hand. “I made this for you.”

Someone chuckled, a deep, man’s chuckle. “Let’s go fishing,” said Hah-nah-pah.

Oh-see-rah tried to see the cave’s mouth. “Is it close to daybreak?”

Hah-nah-pah laughed. “No. It’s the dead of night. If you’d rather take care of this wee lad, I can—”

“I don’t need anyone tending to me!” Lol-non stood and shouted.

Oh-koh-rah appeared. “What’s wrong?”

Oh-see-rah thought it best to speak of other things. “You going fishing, too?”

Oh-koh-rah picked up Lol-non. “This wee man can be whisker fish bait.”

“Put me down.” Lol-non squirmed.

Still dangling him in midair, Oh-koh-rah said, “Thank you for the fishhook.”

Looking bored, Lol-non quit struggling. “I hope you catch lots of whisker fish.”

Oh-koh-rah lowered him to the ground, and he scampered away.

Oh-see-rah wanted to apologize to Lol-non, but the others were waiting. “Don’t be mean.”

Oh-koh-rah put his fingers to his lips. “Shh. I did that so he wouldn’t ask to go.”

Hah-nah-pah’s eyes sparkled. “We’ll have our arms full of whisker fish. The others are waiting for us.”

Oh-see-rah and group headed for the creek. The moon blessed their little trip as a possum crossed their path but ignored them as if it were Lord of the Forest. A bevy of bats glided overhead, countless little squeaks coming from them.

They soon reached the creek, spreading out so each man had space to find whisker fish. Oh-see-rah tied string to a piece of tree branch and one of Lol-non’s hooks to the other end. He hurled the hook end in so it would sink to the bottom.

Soon, he felt a tug on his line. He hauled in a fat whisker fish and tossed it into the net they brought. This was easier than noodling and far more enjoyable. In no time, he and the others had almost filled the net they’d brought.

Oh-see-rah would have to thank Lol-non for making his fishhooks.

Hah-nah-pah came to him. “The net is just about full.”

Oh-see-rah could almost taste broiled whisker fish. “Let me catch one more, then we can go.”

WHOOOOOAN, came from a distance.

“What was that?” Hah-nah-pah asked.

“Bullfrogs looking for a mate, I expect.” Oh-see-rah realized the fog was getting too thick to see. And why were the critters fleeing the forest? “Tell the others it’s time to go.”

Thrashing arose from the creek.

Probably ducks,” Oh-see-rah whispered as Hah-nah-pah tiptoed away. Oh-see-rah tried to see in the darkness but saw nothing.

WHOOOOOAN, closer this time.

Hoh-koh-rah joined Oh-see-rah and asked, “What is that?”

Oh-see-rah wasn’t sure. “It might be a bull moose.”

“Maybe we can land a moose, too,” Hoh-koh-rah whispered.

WHOOOOOAN. A giant alligator leapt out of the creek.

TO BE CONTINUED Copyright 2021 Charles Suddeth

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Maxwell House banking

Maxwell House banking: Ole John Kelly Riley opened a checking account at the Hominy Holler Bank recently. They gave him 10 temporary checks. Bank called a few days later, said he was overdrawn. I can’t be, he said, I still have 3 checks left. He didn’t need that kind of hassle, so he went home, and like his pappy, he buried his money in a Maxwell House can, in the backyard. (the James gang doesn’t need to know this)

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Progress? 1906, my great-grandfather, Thomas Gillenwaters, left Kentucky, moved to be near his Union Civil War comrade, William Slaughter, who had a huge farm on Charlestown Pike, Jeffersonville, Indiana. By the time I came along, my grandparents owned a small farm nearby, the Slaughter Farm had become the Armstrong Farm—my uncle worked there and brought a tractor over for me to ride. Now it is butt-ugly apartments. I weep as I drive by.

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Chenoweth Massacre

Chenoweth Massacre: July 17, 1789, a dozen or so Shawnee attacked Chenoweth Station, killing 2 soldiers. The family sough refuge in a 2-story stone springhouse. Some reports list 3 children as dead, but this is unlikely. The rescue party was led by Col. Richard Clough Anderson, likely my g…g  uncle. It was the last reported raid in the Louisville area. This is near Middletown, Kentucky, 15 miles from Louisville, near me.

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