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Monologue by Sam Funderburk

Funderburk, Sam
Funderburk, Sarah
Date of Interview: 
Childhood adventures,; Stories and storytellers; Then and now; Relationships with people and places
Sam Funderburk tells family stories from childhood: his grandfather making moonshine, his father accidentally giving mash to the pigs, and while mules.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Sarah Funderburk interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
SF (Sam Funderburk): My name is Sam Funderburk. I'm 53 years old. I was born here in Charlotte at Presbyterian Hospital. I lived the first six weeks of my life in Marshville, North Carolina. Then when my dad built the house up on McAlway Road we came to Charlotte. Back in those days, in 1946, McAlway Road was just two wagon ruts with grass in the middle now it's sort of a main cut through from Monroe Road to Randolph Road to Cotswold Shopping Center. My dad used to squirrel hunt at Cotswold Shopping Center back in those years. Thinking about the year 2000 coming up in what 45 days? I started thinking about how things were when I was a kid and what I remembered that changed and Lord, it's been a lot of changes since then with computers and the cars and everything. But I think back to the earliest times I remember down in Marshville when I would visit my grandparents. On my mom's side there was MawMaw and PawPaw. That was their names and Pa Pa he had a saw mill all of his life. When we used to spend summers down there I remember that he had about six or eight teams of white mules. He was crazy about white mules. He'd go all over the state buying all the white mules he could find I think. And I remember early in the mornings laying in bed I'd first wake up and I could hear the saw mill hands one or two would come early in the morning to get the horses, to get the mules and take them to wherever they were going to be cutting that day. And these old guys would talk to the mules all the way down the road you could hear them, "Gee ho haw," all these things that supposedly the mules know what they were saying but couldn't prove it by me. They used to use these mules to what they call snake the logs out of the woods. They'd cut all the trees with axes back then and trim the limbs off and they hook these snaking tongs on these mules and the drivers would drag these big logs up out of the woods to where they could be sawed up into planks and loaded on trucks. That's one of my earliest recollections is spending time down there in the summer time and I used to ride on the sawmill truck with one of my uncles and we'd stop on the side of the road and cut some somebody's lassy cane and take it in the cab of the truck with us and we'd chew lassy cane it's sort of like a candy stick to us. On the other side of the family, my father's parents lived down towards Pageland between Monroe and Pageland and he was just an old dirt farmer all his life. Good as gold. I don't ever remember him having much. He had one white mule named Dan. I used to throw a burlap sack on him and jump up on his back and, and ride. Me and old Dan got along pretty good as long as I give him some apples or something every now and then. Did a lot of hunting or learning to hunt down there at Grandpa Funderburk's place. I remember I could almost take you to the tree where I shot my first squirrel. But listening to my dad talk about him growing up back in those days I remember one story he told me one time and I hope I don't get it mixed up because I think he said it was my Granddad Funderburk did it, it could have been an uncle, though. Anyway, they told my dad to be sure to slop the hogs. Now if you don't know what slopping the hogs means usually you kept a bucket or tub out behind the back door and any table scraps, apple peelings, tater peelings, whatever, you threw them in there. When you scraped your pots and pans out you poured all leftovers in it. It got pretty rank looking but at the end of the day or the next day, you'd carry that bucket down to the hog trough and pour it in there and the hogs just sort of go wild over it. Well, my dad was, I think he said about 11 or 12 years old, and his dad told him to be sure and slop the hogs. And he was just getting to the age where he could do chores like that. Five or 10 gallon bucket of slop was pretty heavy. Well, Dad didn't know any different but my granddad also had a bucket of mash. He made a little bit of liquor every now and then and my dad got the wrong bucket and poured that in the hog trough. Yeah, the hogs dug into that pretty good, too. And my granddad came home and he didn't know what was wrong with his hogs until he questioned my dad and Dad told him, I said, "I slopped the hogs like you told me to." And he said, "Where did you get the slop?" He said, "Out of that bucket in the well house." Well, that turned out, like I said, that was his mash he was fixing to make to some, some home brew and Dad done went and got his hogs all snockered. When he told me that story he told me about another guy down in that same area. This might have been an uncle. And the sheriff got word that he was making brew. Well, he was kind of smart. He had his brew in a 55 gallon drum but he had dug a hole and buried that drum and put another barrel on top of it and sure enough the sheriff came in whatever building, the smoke house, well house or wherever it was, he grabbed that top barrel and shook it and saw it was empty and kept going. He didn't think to move that barrel and look under it and see another 55 gallon drum there of mash ready to make the liquor with. Don't know if he ever got caught. Most of my kin folk had quit making liquor by the time I got big enough to enjoy it. One story that involved me indirectly when I was growing up we spent some time with my uncle down on a pretty nice sized farm between Marshville and Monroe. I guess I was eight, 10, maybe 12 years old at that time. My brother and I used to ride the combine. Back in those days you had a combine you had to pull with a tractor. And my uncle drove the tractor and my brother and I rode on the combine we changed the sacks of grain, throw them off and pick them up at the end of the day. But I remember one day when it must have been a Sunday because we weren't working and a cousin had come from across the street and he and I were playing around the barn. That was somehow always the way, the place you play on a farm I guess, was either out the woods or in the barn. My uncle had a bunch of pigs and quite a few baby pigs running around. He didn't like us to mess with his pigs. We got up in the barn loft and there was always some string, twine that they used to tie the sacks together or untie them to feed the hogs with. We tied eight or 10 of those strings together made us a rope of about 15 or 20 feet long. Put a loop in the end of it and hung it down there hoping a pig would step in it. Sure enough a pig stepped in it. We yanked on that rope and it tightened up around that hog's leg. Well, that pig started squealing. He was squealing loud, loud enough for my uncle to hear him and we couldn't figure out how to get that rope off that pig's foot because you don't go jumping out in a hog lot with mama hogs out there and mess with her piggies. Well yep, we got in trouble. Don't remember being punished for it. You know how life is. You don't always remember the bad stuff. You just remember the good stuff. I do remember one time he had one pen off to the side and a pretty nice size hog in there must have been, I don't know, four or five hundred pounds. It looked like it to me, anyway. And us three or four kids were sitting up on the fence and poking at him, throwing sweet gumballs or rocks maybe. This pig didn't do anything he just, he just looked at us but I got up the guts and I jumped off the fence and that hog came at me. That was the day that I learned that a hog would attack you. There's no way I could have jumped back over that fence if that hog hadn't been after me. But I did clear that fence. And I never tried that little trick again.