disturb, especially by minor irritations
I don’t know what it was ’bout this critter that
riled me so, ’cause when you holt it up next to other animals, there ain’t that much that’s spec-tac-a-lar ’bout it.
showing a brooding ill humor
Pap tells me, “Little Charlie, neither you nor the pup hadn’t showed signs of being nothing but
dour and gloomish, but when we put you one next to the other...well, sir, it was though someone struck a flint on gunpowder! Sparks flew; y’all both made noises that neither pup nor babe had ever made afore, all the while rolling and laughing in the dust, then, like y’all had a talk ’bout it and took a vote, tore off in them woods together.”
a device or control that is very useful for a particular job
Ma said the way I chased after that puppy brung to mind this
contraption she’d seent at a fair in the city of Charleston when she was a girl.
a mechanism that can move independently of external control
automaton,” she called it. “’Twas one-half fancy pocket watch, one-half tin can, and one-half little boy, and it moved jus’ as stiff and wobblish as you done running after that puppy, Charlie.”
reflect deeply on a subject
I don’t remember doing the talking, but the picture of that wiggling, squirming, wet-tongued, fat ball of fussing and fur is in my head so strong that it’s something I’m-a be
pondering ’bout for the rest of my days. And I’m a real big
It didn’t take but a half a second, but that look’s what got us both to
cavorting and carrying on so.
an adult female hog
Pap tolt me, “A good dog is the same as a good person; they’s born that way, not made. Ain’t no silk purse ever been made out of a
a playful, attention-getting act done for fun and amusement
antics was first-rate nonsense to me.
disturb, especially by minor irritations
When the pups had been first born, Pap got
vexed with me once I started naming ’em. I couldn’t unna-stand why, but he’d made me stop.
put up with something or somebody unpleasant
'bide having nothing so common in her home and sold the curtains to George’s cousin for next to nothing.
fight or struggle in a confused way at close quarters
After a bit she began
tussling to get set free, even biting at Pap’s hand.
slightly short of or not quite accomplished; all but
If I hadn’t been cursed to see what happened with my own eyes, it probably would’ve been
nigh on useless to try and figger how my pap come to be laying there, but I’d trade being ignorant ’bout it in a hop, skip, and a jump if that meant the sight of him wouldn’t be barging into my dreams no more.
unaware because of a lack of relevant information
If I hadn’t been cursed to see what happened with my own eyes, it probably would’ve been nigh on useless to try and figger how my pap come to be laying there, but I’d trade being
ignorant ’bout it in a hop, skip, and a jump if that meant the sight of him wouldn’t be barging into my dreams no more.
carry with difficulty
I don’t care how much you want to get rid of the remembering, you might as well not fight it, you might as well jus’ go ’head and make yourself a holster, ’cause that memory is yourn and you gonna be
toting it ’round for the rest of your life.
take the first step or steps in carrying out an action
She stood straight up, shaded her eyes with her right hand, then threw the rake to the side and
commenced running at me.
become of; happen to
Sheriff Jackson said, “Little Charlie, I hope you won’t mind riding ’long and showing me the place in the woods where this tragedy
befell your pa.”
an estate where cash crops are grown on a large scale
Then it hit me; we’d gone so far out that the tree Pap picked must’ve been on the Tanner
“Sheriff Jackson! Sir! I swear on my ma’s head that we didn’t know we was stealing no one’s wood. Pap wouldn’t never do nothing to rile up Mr. Tanner. We seent the whuppings he give to folks who’s
poached on his land. Pap wouldn’t do nothing to cross him.”
a temporary police force
This was a
posse, a sad little one, but if you’s seent a
posse afore, it ain’t hard to rec-a-nize one the second time ’round.
disabled in the feet or legs
Why else would they think I was gonna try and run off and give me a
lame horse so’s I couldn’t?
a trap for birds or small mammals; often has a slip noose
I looked for a way out, but there wasn’t gonna be no escaping; the sheriff was smarter than he was letting on. I’d falled into his
alongside each other, facing in the same direction
The way the posse was lined up had the sheriff and one the ’nother men up front and me and Petey riding
abreast in the middle whilst the other two men trailed behind.
That set the other men to
guffawing and chuckling. Petey laughed right ’long with ’em, never knowing the joke was on him.
a personal belief that is not founded on proof or certainty
“Naw, Little Charlie, I done tolt you this ain’t got nothing to do with no lumber stealing. From my
reckoning, this here’s Injun land. Jus’ hesh up.”
separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument
Petey held on to the barrel of his pistol and shook it at me like it was a hatchet, ready to
cleave me clean in half.
chop or cut away
Ma says the way Pap swings his ax is one of them things that makes life worth going through; says she probably wouldn’t-a never married Pap if she hadn’t run ’crost him in the woods,
hacking hunks outta trees.
characterized by directness in manner or speech
“Son, you got to understand why we got questions ’bout what happened out here. There wasn’t no witnesses and...well...to be
blunt, word’s going ’round that your pa had come into some money and was fixing to run off to Cincinnati with...”
cause to lose one's composure
The sheriff looked mighty
a disorderly outburst or tumult
I heard her covers rustling, then she whispers, “If they here to arrest you, don’t put up no fight, Charlie. I’ll come visit you in jail soon’s I can. It might not be for a spell; all this
kerfuffle’s got me so worked up I’m thinking ’bout going on o’er to May-May’s for a while...”
I was half ’specting to see shackles and a pulled six-shooter in Sheriff Jackson’s hands, so I was took
aback when I opened the door and he’s holting his hat in his right hand and a burlap sack in his left.
a restraint that confines or restricts freedom
There could be
shackles in the sack and Petey could be hiding outside the door, peeing his pants for the chance to yell, “You’s under arrest, boy,” afore he used that rusty pistol to bust my skull open.
a tiny or scarcely detectable amount
If y’all’s to fall behind on what you owe Mr. Tanner, I ain’t gonna have no choice but to evict y’all. Them Tanners don’t care one
whit what kind of grieving y’all’s in the middle of.
enclosed firmly in a surrounding mass
This here stone was
imbedded in that maple. Wasn’t no way to tell by looking at the tree, but when Big Charlie struck that first blow, this was right under the bark.
a tenant farmer who owes a portion of each harvest for rent
Said so many crops was blowed away that lots of
sharecroppers starved and even the Tanners got sunk so low they had to sell off some slaves.
intrude in other people's affairs or business
Sheriff Jackson said, “The old folks what seent it say God took a notion to scratch his forefinger along the earth,
meddling with humans jus’ for a laugh. But didn’t no one find it funny. We lost nineteen souls..."
having a difficult and contrary disposition
I wasn’t ’bout to sneak no looks at Miss Daponte; ’twas well knowed that ’long with being the strongest woman in Possum Moan, she was also the
spring back; spring away from an impact
Strong’s your daddy was, when he laid into that maple, the head of the ax must’ve hit the stone, which caused ’em sparks you seent, then it
ricocheted back like a bat shot outta the bad place.
state of sorrow over the death or departure of a loved one
I’m truly ’shamed that I wasn’t more considerate of you at this time of your
force with the thumb
gouged this out the tree and thought you might want to keep it.”
a cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the powers of evil
“Oh, yes, I ain’t certain of the chapter nor the verse, but I knows somewhere in the Bible it say something ’long the lines of ‘When the trees starts to fighting back ’gainst the woodsman, it’s a definite sign that the end is near and that the
apocky-lips is nigh upon us.’”