By Earline Smith Crews
Guest Writer 

The mountain wasn't moved to Muhammad that day


July 11, 2019

I'm taking this advice from Rick Bragg:

"I'm tired of explaining myself and I ain't doing it no more; just write from the heart." So here’s to you, my writing hero. I don't know how else to write except my own experience.

So, in mid June when the peaches were bending the limbs, we ate them fresh off the trees as we sat afork in-between. Mama had us toting big old galvanized washtubs of peaches to the work bench under the shade of the Chinaberry tree so as to prep them for canning. The peaches kept ripening and falling to the ground, some caused by our shaking and some from being too ripe to hold on any longer.

Fop, plop, thud. Peaches rained down onto the ground. No way were we gonna stop to examine those fallen mushy fruits when the best still hung waiting. We stepped in rotten peaches that squashed between our toes and caused our knees to bend when the pit didn't cut slack against our heel.

"Dadgum, that hurt."

Peaches were peeled, destoned; sliced for pies and tarts; pickled for joy of eating and made into preserves and jelly. Mama was dead-aiming to line the shelves in the smokehouse with delicious peaches for her family, the preacher (laudhammercy the preacher loved Mama's pickled peaches!), and most especially for the delight of her judgmental Smith-side sisters-in-law. Whoa!

Mama got her wish.

Jars and jars of peaches lined those old 2x8 shelves in the smokehouse where other canned goods sat. Mama took great pride in showing her canned goods to every female that walked into our lane. Mama felt food secure when those shelves were lined with canned home-grown garden foods. The problem for us young'uns was Daddy.

Daddy didn't suffer waste and lazy young'uns.

One evening after he came home from working long, hot hours laying blacktop for the county and scraping out ditches; he took a look-see at Mama's canning for the day. Then he went out to the row of peach trees to find the ground covered in peaches. Not a good idea to waste perfectly good hog food.

At the supper table that night Daddy assigns peach cleanup to me and Buddy. Daddy says he wants all the peaches picked up and taken to the hog pen and dumped into the TROUGH. Not over the side of the fence, into the TROUGH.

"Understand me now, the TROUGH."


"Unnerstan, yesser."

"Dang, them hogs will root the buckets outta our hand."

"Yes and they act like hogs."

"I hate hogs."

Next morning Daddy leaves for work. Mama notifies me and Buddy that those peaches were getting rottener by the minute.

"The sun is getting up and it's making for a hot mess under those trees. Better get it done early." Now we start our plans to get those rotten peaches cleaned up before noon.

"Hey, let’s build a pen around the trees and sooie the hogs to there to eat up the mess."


"My back feels better already; 'sides, I hate the feel of rotten peaches."

So, we spend the heat index-raising part of the morning dragging some of Daddy's fence wire and some old rotten post to the first tree on the terrace. Posthole diggers are heavy. Very dry clay ground made for slow hole digging. Loud fussing took hold. Rivulets of sweat crawled into cracks and crevices. The sun baked the earth that day. Finally, we shoved a few posts down into some places that were shoveled away and raked some dry dirt against them before we attempted to nail the fencing on.

"Stop it, this'uns falling over."

"Dadgum it."

Sweating caused salt to burn our eyes. Stopping to eat peaches and ponder on our brilliant idea brought doubt. Doubt will shut down a brilliant plan.

"Hey let's just open the pen gate and they will come right here and eat everything in sight, then we can just sooie them back into the pen before Daddy gets home."


"Get back, sooie hogs, that away."

"Dadgum stupid hogs."

People, those hogs took off squealing and rooting right for the peach fest.

"Boy Howdy!"

Me and Buddy climbed into our favorite tree to lay up all relaxed to watch those hogs clean rotten fruit from the whole row of Mama and Daddy's prize peach orchid.

"Dadgum, how much rotten peaches can a hog hold?"

"I ‘on't know, but they coming back this way to eat the pits now."

"Dadgum, sorry hogs."

Then we watched as those hogs turned to root and bump against the trees as prize peaches fell down like hail in a summer storm.

"Daddy gonna be mad as fire."

Things got out of hand with "sooie hog," and "dadgum-it's."

"Dadgum I broke the hoe handle across that 'uns back."

"I hate hogs."

"Dadgum sorry hogs…"


The sun started to slant as Daddy came rolling up in the county dump truck and another hot mid June day was ending. Me and Buddy tried so hard to sooie those peach-coma hogs back into the pen. Daddy and Mama knew better. Me and Buddy knew better, too. We just thought there had to be an easier way. So we tried.

And failed.

Daddy had said there was no shame in failing, ‘cause that is how we learn.

Lesson here was: don't try to let a hog make your job easier.

***The Mountain wasn't moved to Muhammad that day.***

Earline’s first book “Life With the Top Down” is now available for sale in paperback at:

and also available in e-book format at, Barnes &,,, and on the Apple iBookstore.


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