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Family feud

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During the Great Depression there wasn't a squirrel left in the Ozark Mountains. Squirrel is quite tasty, if you haven't had it. Small game was almost completely decimated by starving families. I know older people who still eat groundhog, which I can't imagine eating. Fortunately, there is no shortage for wildlife any longer.

I know a family, we'll call them Jones, who is still at odds with another family, whom we'll call Smith, after an unfortunate depression era instance involving a ham bone. The Jones family had a ham bone, a real prize at the time. They had used it to season their pinto beans four times. The Smith family did not have a bone to season their pinto beans. Being close friends and neighbors the Jones family decided to share with the Smiths, on the condition the bone be returned in two days time. The Smith family was so happy about the bone that they cooked a meal for the extended family. Cousins, uncles, aunts, and in-laws gathered, each contributing what they had. It turned out to be a fine meal, with potatoes, corn cakes, poke salad, and sweet milk. However, there were no pinto beans. The Smiths used the bone to season black eyed peas; it was all they had. After the meal they returned the bone to the Jones family who took it straight to the kitchen and plunked it into a pot of beans.

The beans did not turn out right. Once a bone has been used in peas it can't go back to beans without changing the flavor. It would have to forevermore be used in peas.

The Jones family confronted the Smith family about how it wasn't very neighborly to borrow a ham bone and ruin it in a pot of peas. This led to yard brawl with about twenty men and some women. There were black eyes and broken bones. For years the two families were at odds. Fist fights would break out between children in the school yard and adults in the town square. Many didn't even know why they were fighting, but knew it was a matter of family pride. To this day there is no friendship between the two families.

I wonder if Hatfields and McCoys fought for such a worthy cause?


  1. Niamh's Avatar
    Jeez. It amazes me what can cause rifts between people.
  2. 1n50mn14's Avatar

    Enough said.
  3. pussnboots's Avatar
    I was thinking the same thing, the Hatfields and the McCoys!!!
  4. applepie's Avatar
    It's amazing the things that can start a feud, and as trivial as it seems now, I can certainly see how it was a HUGE deal then:)
  5. Virgil's Avatar
    Great story. At least they didn't take out shot guns. To be honest I'm not sure I even know what a ham bone is.

    As to ground hogs, I've heard (no I've never eaten any) that they are supposed to be very tastey. We have lots where I work (the place where I work is in the country, or what use to be the country; suburbs have encroached) and they look very plump and tender.

    Here's what they look like for those that don't know: