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from: Oxsan (Mugtoe's Dad)
There are three things you must know to understand the deep and lasting emotional stream of this essay.
In the period of 1927 to 1937 when this story takes place there was no such thing as porn. There might have been in Chicago or Los Angeles or New York but in the Panhandle of Texas it just didn’t happen. I was ten in 1937 and had never seen anything remotely resembling porn. I had looked with scholarly interest at the corset section of the Sears Roebuck catalog while I was sitting in the privy until my grandmother tore the corset section out. It was becoming somewhat more worn than the remainder of the book and I think that she had a clue why that was. Despite the fact that I was raised partly on a construction truck by a bunch of ex-cons who taught me to cuss like a sailor at three and a half years old I made no connection between sex and profanity. “Motherfucker” was something you called a guy who spit tobacco juice in you coffee – it had nothing to do with sexual relations with your mother.
When I was not around the construction crew I was on my grandparent’s farm. I knew all about cows being in heat and taking them to be serviced by the bull and I had helped “pull” more than one calf which I considered a rather messy and distasteful job like sticking for bloat and I made no connection emotionally about that process and sexual reproduction in the human although I was vaguely aware that there was a connection.
My Grandfather was Superintendent of the Sunday school at Aiken Church (non-denominational Protestant church) that was the only church within driving distance of the farm. We attended there twice on Sundays and once on Wednesdays every week and for two weeks twice a year at revival we went twice a day for all fourteen days. Sex was a mystery to me. I knew that it was not to be talked about, that I couldn’t go to certain movies during the week (an unnecessary injunction because it was thirteen miles to the nearest movie) and that two-piece swimsuits, which had just been invented for women were sinful. That was about it for sex.
So with that preamble: The summer after my tenth birthday when I got to the farm my grandfather told me that the neighboring farmer Mr. Sid Brown, had broken his leg that very same day and that it would be a very neighborly thing for me to do to go over to see Mrs. Brown and offer to milk their one cow morning and night for a couple of weeks, until Mr. Brown could at least get back up on crutches. I really wasn’t too keen on staggering over to the Brown farmhouse at five in the morning every day before breakfast for two weeks but decided at my Grandfather’s urging to do it as my duty to a fellow Christian, after all Sid Brown was the Chairman of the Board of the Trustees at the church and the Browns had no children to help them. So the deal was made with Mrs. Brown and sealed by a big piece of hot apple pie and a glass of milk in her kitchen. She took me out to meet the cow, showed me where the bucket would be and where I was to put the milk in the milk trough on their back porch. In those times no one ever locked anything anywhere so I had access to the barn and the Brown house even though they would be asleep when I did my neighborly duties.
The first morning I staggered down to the Browns carrying a coal oil (kerosene) lantern and found the Brown’s cow awaiting my ministrations, put a bundle of maize in the feed trough to placate her and proceeded to milk her without incident. I was about to Carry the bucket of milk up to the Brown house when I noticed a burlap bag (tow sack to us) hanging on a nail in the corner of the barn. I felt the outside of it and it felt a bit like books. I got the milking stool and climbed up on it and got the bag down and found that it was stuffed full of magazines. I pulled one out and it was a “Spicy Detective” magazine. I was amazed. The curvy blonde on the cover had on a torn dress that showed a bit of her panties and had been torn off her shoulder such that one breast was totally exposed. As I thumbed through the book I saw dozens of even more revealing pen and ink sketches of semi-nude women usually bound and gagged and with a desperate look in their eyes. This demanded further study. I put the book in my belt under my shirt and carried the milk up to the Brown’s porch and beat it home. I put the magazine in the collection bin of the wheat combine before going in the house and having breakfast.
Several times that day I found an opportunity to go out to the wheat combine and climb up into the collection bin where I could lie in complete privacy and study these pictures more thoroughly – and read the text which I found to be far more inflammatory than the pictures even. This magazine evoked burning questions too. Why did Sid Brown have a whole tow sack full of magazines like this? Was it my duty to say something to someone? Who? Certainly not my Grandparents. Not the preacher, Brother Apple. Besides I enjoyed looking at the book and began spending more and more time in the combine bin. Then my cousin, Howard of my same age but greater sophistication came out to the farm for the week and hailed this horde in the combine bin (I had got several more of the magazines by now) as a great treasure. There was a big argument between Howard and I as to whether the cover of the magazines I had was a photo or a drawing. He wanted me to get some more magazines out of the tow sack so I promised to do so the next morning.
So go the best plans of mice and men. The next morning Mr. Brown met me at the barn as I was going in to milk and told me that after today he would be able to handle the milking himself and that he surely did appreciate the great service I had done to him and his wife. While he was talking and I was milking the cow my eyes strayed over into the corner AND THE SACK WAS GONE. I was quaking in my boots but Mr. Brown never mentioned one thing about any sack or any “Spicy Detective” magazines. I practically held my breath until I had put the milk in his milk trough and hurried home where I beckoned Howard outside to tell him about Mr. Brown discovering the sack. Howard agreed that it was a bad thing but that after all we still had the four or five magazines up in the combine bin. I agreed and we went in to breakfast.
It was sort of a rule at my grandmother’s house that there was no mention of anything bad at the dinner table. The conversation was supposed to be light and cheerful and if anyone had an argument or a complaint it was to be taken up privately and not at the dinner table. As we were eating breakfast that morning my Grandfather mentioned lightly to his son Weldon (without looking in the direction of Howard or myself) that it was only a month or so until the wheat would be ripe and that yesterday he had oiled and greased the combine mechanism and cleaned it up generally so that it would be ready to harvest wheat. He stated (without looking at Howard or I) that he had cleaned out the bin too because evidently the winter winds had blown some trash into the bin. That was the last I ever saw or heard of “Spicy Detective” magazines. Years later when I was a grown man I did stop by Sid Browns farm just to say hello to Mr. and Mrs. Brown. We talked about crops and the weather, but we never mentioned anything about Spicy Detective Magazines.
ANTI POPEYE-X FAN CLUB
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