|I took this picture in Collins, Mississippi in my|
Mamaw's front yard.
Back in the day, when my mama was about three or four years old it was very common to walk out onto the front yard and see children playin'. My mom's brother always played the sheriff, while Mom played the loyal deputy! I don't know if this is relevant but, they were shirtless lawmen. Usually it was just my mom and her brother but on this particular day their cousin came a callin', so he joined in on the fun. He was given the unfortunate title as "bad guy". After much hootin' and hollerin' (because that's what you do when you play Cowboys and Bad Guys in south Mississippi) the Sheriff and Deputy caught their man and took him at gun point. They were toy guns, not cap guns because Mamaw couldn't stand the smell of a cap gun. He'd done wrong and justice must be served! Like so many children in the south, my mom and her brother grew up watching Roy Rogers and The Lone Ranger, which means there's only one way to make "thangs right". He had to hang. So the Sheriff got the rope and they tied it up in a tree in the front yard. The bad guy climbed up the tree (to his own hangin'), the noose was tightened and the sheriff and deputy shoved their cousin AKA "bad guy" off the tree and he hung. Mamaw heard the racket and cut him down from the tree while the lawmen stood and watched. Needless to say, he didn't come back to play Cowboys and bad guys.