Month: December 2014
Fannie and the Polite Stranger
Emma Walker Phipps Fannie McKenzie
Fannie 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.
On 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. “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.
“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.