The Little Boy Cook
Joe Baxter Davis
In the 1940’s we lived in Birmingham. Daddy worked as an auto body man and painter, but he also was a Baptist preacher. He had attended Howard College, when he had the money and looked for every opportunity to preach. Daddy was offered the job of the Associational Missionary of Coosa County. We were all excited and ready to move to the country.
We moved to Equality, Alabama and started our farming. Daddy still had to work in auto repair and the duties of preaching, finding pastors for churches and establishing churches. Mama taught school andmy two brothers and I did the farming. We were 5, 7 & 9 when we started learning to farm. When daddy was asked by our neighbors what he was raising he would answer boys.
We were fast learners
Daddy spent a lot of time on his grandfather’s farm growing up so he knew what to do. Even though we were very young we were fast learners. Mama and Daddy depended on us. We all worked very hard to do our part to help our family, my brothers and I became the farmers for our family. We took care of the animals, built fences, cut wood to heat the house, milked the cows and all the other chores, it was our way of life. We enjoyed the farm.
In 1944, I had a bone disease and had to have surgery. After several months of being in the hospital, I went back home to the farm but now I was on crutches and could not work on the farm. I was very disappointed. But guess what Mama and Daddy had a plan. I could be the family cook. I was so excited. I had always loved to watch my Mama cook but now I was the cook. So at the age of nine in 1945 I was our full time cook.
I enjoyed cooking
I would get up early in the morning and help build fires in the fireplace and in the little kitchen stove, then I would make homemade biscuits and cook bacon, sausage and eggs for the family while my brothers fed the animals, did the milking and all the others chores. Daddy would go to town to work, Mama was teaching school across the county and was only home on weekends, so my job was very important. I enjoyed cooking so much and my family seemed to enjoy the food, maybe they were just hungry.