field notes ➤ Sophie Taryole, 1982

❝ My dad’s name was Taylor Coon, and he was born in Okfuskee County, April 11, I believe he said, in 1889. . . .

A few years ago when Dad was well, he used to say, “You all talk about hard times,” he’d say, “you should have lived in my day.” He used to tell me about when him and his sisters was growing up when they was small, he said that they lived out in the shacks somewhere. And he said in his day when he was a small boy there was no quilts and they slept in deerskins. They’d take the hide and dry it someway. He used to tell how when they lived in an old shack, it was like a tent, said they put hay on the floor so they would sleep warm. They piled the hay—I don’t know where they got the hay, maybe wild hay—they spread it out and they slept on it. Was talking about being warm when he used to tell about things like that, you know, him and his sister they talk about it was cold and those deerskins dry. They said they just rattle. He used to tell about things like that, said, “You all have it easy,” said, “If you live in my day.” He was teasing me.

Another thing he said, long time ago there was no flour, and he said they used to go out in the woods, I forgot what he called it in Creek word, but he said they sort of grow out in the woods and they were like a potato that they pulled and they were white-like. I don’t know what it is, anyway they were white and he said they would wash them and they would mash them, get whole bunch of them and mash ’em up and he said that was the way they made biscuits.

He said they hunt a lot when they were small, and he used to tell the time when they lived out in the woods and all they did was fish and hunt and he said that’s the way they had to eat to survive. That’s the only thing he used to tell me about, how things were and how they lived.

He said Indians in those days, they didn’t work, so I don’t know how some of them, you know, they had money, I guess. And he’d tell me about long time ago Indians all lived together for some reason, said they would all live together and they all got along. All went fishing, whole bunch of them go fishing. . . .

They all lived together and they all go together and share food, whoever was neighbors, he said they help each other. He said people visited each other. He said nowadays they have a job and they don’t visit each other like they used to, even neighbors that live just a little ways, after it got modern, well, you wouldn’t see that family maybe for days or weeks ’cause they working. ❞

The World and Way of the Creek People
edited by David Michael Lambeth
(privately published, 1982)

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