One of our favorite places to hang out was at Harrison Dotson's store in Phelps. It seemed like there was always a bunch of men standing around swapping stories and, being boys wanting to grow up too fast, we heard lots of interesting stuff. We knew who was running around with who and lots of other juicy gossip. Boy, my ears perked up when I heard them telling a good one.

Just before Christmas one year, Harrison got in some fresh coconuts. Nobody in our little section of the world had ever seen one before and people would come to look at the coconuts. Harrison had a bunch of little boys who liked to sneak stuff out of the store when they thought he wasn't looking. They were determined to get their hands on a couple of those coconuts. The poor boys didn't know that Harrison was watching them out of the corner of his eye. Harrison said to one of the men, "Watch me play a joke on them boys."

The boys eased very quietly behind the counter and finally got to where the coconuts were. Just as one of them was about to nab one, Harrison boomed, "Just what do you boys think you're doin' with them mare's eggs?" "Mare's eggs," one exclaimed, "we thought they was coconuts and we just wanted to try one." "Them ain't coconuts," Harrison replied, "them's mare's eggs and you better not break none." With that, the boys took off.

That night, they talked about how they would love to have a pony and knew they just had to get their hands on at least one of the mare's eggs. The next day, they tried again but Harrison caught them. "I told you boys to leave them mare's eggs alone." "But, Daddy," the oldest boy pleaded, "we'd love to have a pony. Can't we have just one of the mare's eggs?" "This is the last time I'm tellin' you boys to leave them eggs alone. Don't you know if you crack one, the milk will run out and the pony will die?"

Sometimes it was hard to get the boys up in the morning. Harrison's wife would holler and holler and he had to threaten them to get them to get up. One morning, Harrison yelled at them to get up and told them they were having store-bought gravy. They had never heard of such a thing and they came bounding down the stairs and fighting to see who could get to the table first. Even though it was the same old gravy Mrs. Dotson made every morning, those boys believed it was store-bought gravy and they never had any more trouble getting them up.

Luther G. Eldridge©
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Original photo courtesy of Stockstash

"Rocky Top"
Sequenced by Dick Anderson
Dick Anderson's Country Midi Guitar