The first people who lived on this hill were the Mooneys. Long gone now, they were ancient, even when I was just a boy. Jessie and Martha sat fat in metal chairs all day long. Like two mounds of mashed potatoes. I could see them from my bedroom window. He wore bibbed overalls and she house dresses, always with a full apron.
The old lady would take her hair down every now and then. Sitting right there in the front yard just outside the porch rail, she’d pull the thick wire pins, hold some in her toothless mouth and lay some of them in her apron. Then that greasy hair, light grey and dark grey, would fall around her. It was an awful sight.
They were fat as old people were in those days – people who had gone from farming and spending every waking moment moving over the ground and bending and digging and pulling and carrying to living completely out of the store and never an end of flour and sugar in the house. Biscuits every morning and cornbread in buttermilk every night and nothing to do but sit and whittle, maybe feed the few chickens that were still left.
It was said that Jessie could find underground water with a willow stick and that he could touch warts and make them disappear.