Three Peckered Billy Goat
By Robert “Okie Bob” Layton
My service on Guam was up. I was transferred back to the United States with orders to report ADJ “A” school NATTC Memphis in November. I also learned that I was selected for promotion to 3rd class ADJ3.
I arrived back in the states on the 18 October 1968 eager to get married. On the 23 October I grabbed my girlfriend jumped in my 56 Chevy and headed on out for Gainesville Texas to get hitched.
There is an old saying around these parts about sex and newlyweds. It goes something like this:
“On the day you get married put a bean-jar by the bed. For the first year of married life put a bean into the jar every time you have sex. After your first wedding anniversary, take out a bean every time you have sex. The bean jar will never be emptied in your lifetime”
Being young, dumb, and full of lust. I was going to try my hardest to fill that jar up before that One year timer went off.
After a quick honeymoon, then staying with kin folks,it was hard to find the solitude necessary for my matrimony quest. I was ready for some privacy so as to get working on that bean jar.
Just 20 years old I was in my prime and Horney as a Three peckered Billy goat!!
We packed everything we owned in the 56 Chevy and headed toward Memphis. I was really lucky and found a room in a large very old mansion in Munford, Tennessee, a little small town just north of Memphis.
The old Manson looked like it was built in the 1860’s, it had that style of architecture. My new wife and I lived in the servants quarters located in the rear of the house. It was a one room affair, with a small kitchen and table with a queen size feather bed.
My wife wasn’t a June bride but she qualified for that old saying! [Hotter than a June bride in a feather bed]. So between the Billy goat quest, and feather bed we were aiming on making good—filling that bean jar!
There was just one problem.
We was living in a haunted house, and the old woman who owned the house and lived in the house with us, –was “bat shit” crazy!
We started to notice the craziness of our landlord the first night we moved in. After getting all unpacked my newlywed and me were just starting to go to bed when—- in walks Misses Puryear, unannounced, catching us in the most compromising position!
She wanted to know if we had the water running.
She said “I can hear the water running.”
I said “It wasn’t us.”
“You are not running up my water bill like you had last month.” She screeched
I didn’t know how to reply to that.
I thought—- Hell I was on Guam last month!! I had only been here in the house a couple of hours I just chocked it off to the previous tenants maybe she thought I was them, so I let it go. How wrong I was!!
That was just a beginning of a nightly visitation from her.
She would always walk in, never knock, just appear and start talking—— this old broad was frigging spooky!!
One night she walked in and demanded that I quit scratching on the walls!
Another night she claimed I was outside her bedroom talking loudly in the hall.
Another night she claimed I was up stairs walking about, and moving furniture around.
Within the first week I was ready to move the heck out! I just didn’t have the money to move, so I was resigned to tuff it out for three more weeks.
The nightly visits from her kept on like clockwork, added to that was our own observation of nightly mysterious noises and commotions coming from different parts of the house, plus ghostly glances of misty looking motions at the door ways. This bizarre accommodation was getting intense.
Old Lady Puryear seemed to be Ok at times, but when the sun went down she would morph into some kind of a witch. Her Jekyll and Hyde personality, would swing from a pleasant charming little old lady, to an agitated emotional wailing banshee!
It all came to a head the second week.
I had come home from school and had just sat down for supper when I get a knock on my door. It was the Tipton county Sheriff behind him peering around his shoulder was Old lady Puryear.
“Mister Layton?” he asked.
“Mister Layton I need to talk to you,” He said vehemently.
I was at loss, for I had committed no crime.
“Ok,” I said.
“Let’s go outside,” he suggested.
I follow him out to the big open lawn in the front of the house. We stopped about halfway to the street. The sheriff turns to me facing the house.
“Mister Layton don’t worry you are not in any trouble.”
“Thank god,” I replied.
“I’m going to put on a show for Misses Puryear to see, so don’t pay any attention to my finger pointing. and arm waving understand?” he gestured.
“Yes sir,” I nodded.
“Misses Puryear called my office, she said you were giving secrets to the Yankees,” he said.
“The who,” I exclaimed.
“You Know the North the Yankees,” He said.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” I said
“I know ,I know that was a hundred years ago,” shaking his head side to side
“Let me explain.”
“Her father was a confederate Cavalry Officer with Nathan Forrest during the civil war, and she has these spells that she is in the civil war.”
I was standing there with my mouth open– flabbergasted while he was jabbing his finger at me–telling me this weird story.
“Wow,” I uttered
Inside the house the old woman was peeking thru the drapes looking at us.
The Sheriff said “She has done this before. To keep her from calling every five minutes I come out and do a show for her.”
“I have notified her son who lives in Nashville. I think she has gotten to the point that she has entered this fantasy world and is stuck in it.”
“Really,” I say.
“Any way he is on his way to have her put in a rest home.”
“I’m sorry about this but we will need you to move!”
“Well I don’t object to that.” I remarked
“Here is what I got for you Mister Layton. On the west side of town I know some people who have an old airstream trailer, the rent is 35 dollars a month.”
“That would be great we was wanting to move at the end of the month anyway.” I said
“Problem is—– I don’t have the 35 dollars to spare now” I added
“If I could get half of this month rent back [25 dollars] I would leave now,” I further stated.
“Let me see what I can do,” He said.
The Sheriff leaves goes back into the house with Old lady Puryear. He comes back out hands me 25 dollars. I go inside get my wife and we both come out, the Sheriff takes us over to the Trailer. We came back, pack up and were out of there before dark.
I had my 56 Chevy pulled up to the back side of the old house. Just as we were pulling out for the last time, old lady Puryear came running out to the car.
“Mister Layton will you tell those men to leave please?” she begged.
“What men?” I ask.
“The ones under the house disconnecting my water pipes,” she replied. She had this sincere pleading look on her face!
Taking an example from the Sheriff.
I get out of the car walk to the side of the building, bend down at the crawl space opening that went under the house.
I loudly yelled out, “You men get on out there now— Yawl hear—Yawl leave her pipes alone.”
I turn to old lady Puryear, she was a beaming, convinced that the problem was acknowledged and resolved.
She said in a very kind sweet southern Drawl, “Thank You Mister Layton.” She then turned and contentedly went into the house.
Our move into the trailer went smoothly. We had packed everything up including our supper still warm in the slow cooker. And wouldn’t you know it——We had Beans for supper!
As for the bean jar let’s just say there were enough left over after my divorce to plant a 5 acre garden!!