Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fannie and the Polite Stranger


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                        Emma Walker Phipps                Fannie McKenzie

ws_A_Path_in_the_Woods_in_Autumn_768x1024Fannie McKenzie was my grandmother's niece who married Horace Werden and lived with him in a log cabin on a farm north of us. Every day she would feed her sheep and her chickens and guineas and then walk a mile through our woods to teach at the Balch school house. Most days after it turned cold, she carried a spur triggered pistol in her muff to shoot squirrels on the way home.
squirrel1On a day which was cold enough to see her breath, she met a stranger on the path who asked what the shortest way was to get across the river.
"See that hogback, yonder?" she said, pointing this way and that. IMG_1818
"Right beyond the top, there's a fork in the path. Take the path straight east, down into the hollow and follow the creek. Just keep a-going and directly you'll end up at McCann's Ford."
"Yes ma'am," he said with a wide-eyed nod, "Yes ma'am!" And he hurried on his way.
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"Well now, he's awful polite," she said as she watched him go. And then she remembered the pistol in her hand as she put it back in her muff.
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Tom Phipps

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