Palaver from Persimmon Crossingwith Warren Faulk
Grazing Rights, Stock Laws and Other Such Fodder for the Writer's QuillOn 17 May 2000 The Progress Report published an article by Paul Rogers having to do with livestock grazing on public lands. The article triggered an old memory.
I got my first paying job when I was 3 years old. The pay was 2 cookies per day. The job description went something like: Sit on this bench with this twig. If you see a cow trying to get into Mammie Breedlove's petunias, run and tell her.
I took my job seriously. These were serious times. Our entire community had reorganized as a result of World War II. Young men were off to war in great numbers. Men who stayed behind and most of the women had jobs outside the homes and served as Block Wardens, fielded neighborhood emergency repair teams and everybody was on edge most of the time.
Our parents and teachers did not shield us from the truth. I can remember sitting in circle at kindergarden discussing what our fathers and uncles were doing in the war. When deaths ocurred, and they did, we talked about that too. When someone came home on leave they were larger than life. I cannot imagine telling my grandchildren the kinds of things that were on my mind when I was their age.
This was in Alabama, not the wild west. And the lands were private, not government owned. There were no stock laws and cattle were allowed to roam and graze where they pleased, in town or out. Even people living in town had milk cows and let them roam around the neighborhoods. I was afraid of those cows but I wasn't about to give up my cookies so I stood my ground.
Wouldn't you know that the "government" would step in and mess up my good deal? Something called The Alabama Stock Laws were enacted. Everyone had to pen up their cows, and my job just sort of dried up ... but the cookies kept coming until we moved away.
-- Warren Faulk
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