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The Last Hoedown - True Story From My Childhood

The last hoedown

This is a true story as I remember it of the last hoedown at my grandparent’s home.

I will relate this story as I remember it. And relate the incident in a poem. Remember this is from the memory of a little girl, although I don’t know if what happened had anything to do with ending the hoedowns, it was the last one I remember, at Mammaw and Pampa's home.

Shyron - Little Brother - Shelby

Shyron - Little Brother - Shelby

High Cotton

Walking to the wagon at the end of another tired cotton picking day

Shelby and I dragged our cotton sacks with their heavy contents, and mine made heavier by my two year old little brother as he climbed onto my sack for a ride, along with our weary little bodies for our walk to the buckboard wagon, to have our cotton sacks weighed and emptied for the last time of that day. We were anxious to climb up on the freshly picked cotton to lie down and unwrinkled the kinks in our tired bones after another long, hot, sweaty cotton picking day.

We put our bonnets over our eyes and relaxed on the ride back to our grandparent’s home, where Shelby and I along with our four siblings were living at the time.

A cool breeze was blowing as the wagon pulled into the barn yard Shelby and I both sat upright the aroma of Mammaw's peach cobbler was intoxicating and told of more than just peach cobbler. Mammaw made her favorite special peach cobbler when something was up, like family get-togethers, but they were always earlier in the day and usually on Sundays.

The sight of Uncle Julian gave us renewed energy, a hoedown was in the making. We ran past him and into the house as Mammaw called out "You girls, hurry-up and get cleaned-up, before people start showing up!" Pampa had not said a word, of course he hardly ever spoke to me or Shelby or any of the little ones for that matter, except to warn us of something dangerous. In fact sometimes I wondered if he even knew any of us by name.

Preparing for the Hoedown, how did the word get out?

By the time we drew water and filled the wash basins it was chilly and we hurried to wash-up and get dressed even though Mammaw had built a fire in the fireplace to take the chill out of the room. Strange weather, it had been so hot during the day, now here we were needing heat.


The Last Hoedown (Poem)

© by Shyron Shenko

The hoedown started out just right

No inkling of danger in sight

The instruments all tuned

It would be a good night

With good food, music and dancing

All were content

Although a stranger came in with the musicians

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Without an instrument

And no one knew who he came in with

No one knew when he left

Or knew where he went

Certainly nobody knew of his malicious intent

At the end of the night

As soon as the musicians all went

Off to bed we were sent

The fireplace was lit

To take the chill from the air

The light from the fire had burned low

All the light we had was the firelight’s glow

There in the darkness

Beyond the firelight’s glow

Sat the stranger just waiting….

Just waiting for us to sleep

And wait for the right moment

Then out of the darkness he would creep

We were startled awake by a slight sound

Both sat bold upright in the middle of the bed

With the cover pulled up to our head

We strained into the darkness to see where evil hid

Then the silence was profound

Until….. the silence was broken when on the side of our bed he sat down

We clung to each other and prayed he would not reach for our cover

Undecided which one would it be

What would I do if he reached for my cousin?

What would I do if he reached for me?

We sat huddled in the middle of the bed

Hoping he would just go away instead

We clung to each other wide eyed with fright

When all of a sudden out of the night

The door was flung open and a shadow ducked in

He lifted the stranger up by his collar then up off his feet

Closing the door behind them and went into the night

Now we were safe to go back to sleep again

Next morning at Breakfast

Still nothing was said about the man who sat down on the edge of our bed

Until Mammaw whispered low

And Pampa answered in his southern drawl “he ain’t ever coming back”

Was all I heard him say as Shelby and I went out the door to play

For one split second I wondered if the stranger was dead

Years later, my cousin and my mom playing music at a party.

Years later, my cousin and my mom playing music at a party.

Louisiana's equivalent to a hoedown.

My Cousin Lester - years later played Lead Guitar for Gene Stokes

© 2015 Shyron E Shenko


C E Clark from North Texas on September 30, 2020:

When something horrible like this happens to someone, it usually effects the rest of their life to varying extents. Some people handle these terrible things better than others as with everything that happens in this world. We are not all the same.

I hope you have been able to take control of these memories so that they have had (and continue to have) as little effect and harm on your present and future life as possible.

I know you are a child of God and have put these terrible memories in His hands so that He can help you deal with them. Together with Him, I hope you have succeeded in preventing these memories from harming your life after this event.

Posting this article to FB. For some reason Pinterest isn't working.

Blessings, dear friend. Stay safe. . .

C E Clark from North Texas on June 04, 2019:

The son of Warren Jeffries (he has some 50 children), Roy, who spoke out against his father for abusing and molesting children and forcing young girls from birth to 17 to marry old nasty child molester men, was found dead recently. They say it was suicide, but I'm not so sure of that. He was 26.

Warren Jeffries is serving life in prison for the things he did, but you may recall he was head (and still is) of the FLDS church not sanctioned by the LDS community. It was a pretty big stink a few years back.

I agree with his life sentence. I think a life sentence is far worse than the death penalty. Once these people are dead, their earthly problems are over, but imagine spending 30 or more years with the kind of people who mostly live in prison forever?

Warren Jeffries was (is) a terrible person. He did terrible things. While no prison could ever be as bad as the terrible things he did to children and women, it's more appropriate than letting him die IMHO.

I relate this to your story here because of the terrible unspeakable things Warren Jeffries did to little children and the fact that his son has recently died. His son has always spoken out against his father and was treated horribly as a result, even as a young boy under 10.

You were so lucky things didn't go worse . . .

Blessings dear friend. Take care.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on May 20, 2018:

Anita, thank you for your visit and comment. Yes I had a family who watched out for children.

Blessings my dear friend.

Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on May 13, 2018:

Sorry for your experience Shyron. Your poem expresses your experience well. Luckily you had a supportive family. You are fortunate to have grown up in such lovely surroundings.

C E Clark from North Texas on May 10, 2018:

I think it's shocking that so many people who call themselves Christians are more than willing to overlook the habit some men have for sexually preying on children, just in order to get someone like Roy Moore into public office. Seems like an awful lot of self-described Christians are willing to put Jesus second -- or last -- in order to get something else they want more. I know a lot of these Christians believe He's so old His memory is bad, but I rather think His memory is sharp as a new tack.

How awful for any child to go through the many terrible things these sexual predators think up!. And then for so-called Christians to condone it and put such a person in office! Basically reward them.

You were so lucky to get away.

Blessings dear friend. Hope all is well with you.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on February 01, 2018:

Au fait, thank you so much for the comment. It is sad that those little girls did not have a Pampa to watch over them. I do know how anyone could do such things to anyone else and especially little ones.

He would have died had he not gone to the hospital and he did not want to go and we argued about me calling 911 but I had to, If he had fallen he would have taken me with him and we would have both ended up in the hospital.

Blessings and hugs dear friend.

C E Clark from North Texas on February 01, 2018:

Was just reading about Dr. Larry Nassar this morning. He was the doc for Olympic gymnasts who has been sentenced to 175 years in prison and it's not over yet. Still more victims coming forward and more sentencing. Unfortunate for these literally more than 200 little girls and teenagers (and more are being added) that they didn't have a pampa to save them. How can anyone do such terrible things to little children and teens? Bad enough what often happens to adult women.

Glad to hear John is home. If he likes hospitals as much as I do, I'm sure he's glad to be at home. Hospitals are sometimes necessary and helpful, but it's good to be home. Blessings and hugs for you both. Wishing you only the best of everything ever. Take care . . .

C E Clark from North Texas on October 14, 2017:

Yes, there are lots of creeps in this world, but I think the men (and they're usually men) who harm children sexually are a special kind of creepy.

Hope all is well. Take care . . .

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on October 07, 2017:

Au fait, thank you for the comments and for sharing on FB, yes there are no shortages of people like that creep and they are not all men.

Blessings my friend.

C E Clark from North Texas on September 29, 2017:

Sharing this article on FB. A sad and scary story and part of the sadness is that it remains timely, because there never seems to be a shortage of creeps like the one you write about here.

Blessings dear friend. Take care . . .

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on May 07, 2017:

Robert, thank you for taking the time to read my story. I am glad no harm came to either of us also.

Robert Sacchi on May 05, 2017:

A very frightening childhood experience. Glad no harm came to you or your cousin.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 01, 2017:

What a story. It was good someone came. You never know what he would have done.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on January 13, 2017:

Anita, thank you for the comment, yes I thank God for my grandparents. I did have an exciting childhood.

I am so glad you like my poem.

Blessings and hugs dear friend

Anita Hasch from Port Elizabeth on January 08, 2017:

Scary Shyron. Thank goodness for your grandparents. It sounds like you had an exciting childhood on the farm. Love your poem.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on May 25, 2016:

Au fait, thank you for sharing my scary true story again. I don't think the people who prey on anyone can think beyond their own self gratification that blinds them to the pain/anguish of anyone else. I am glad he/it did not succeed in harming me or my cousin and glad my grandfather was vigilant, especially on that day.

I do hope and pray that all is well with you.

Blessings and Hugs dear friend

C E Clark from North Texas on May 18, 2016:

Sharing this excellent, yet sad and scary story again. I wonder if those adults who prey on children ever think about how they are ruining an innocent child's life when they do some of the horrific things they do?

Blessings and hugs dear friend. I'm so glad he didn't succeed with either of you. Take care . . .

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on February 23, 2016:

Thank you moonlake for the comment, I am so glad you enjoyed it.

I am so thankful Pampa caught the jerk and got rid of him.

Picking cotton, can sure make a person old before their time.

Well dear friend, I hope that all is well with you.

Blessings and hugs.

moonlake from America on February 21, 2016:

So glad your grandfather caught him and got rid of him. Even back then there were awful men who hurt children. Enjoyed your hub. I can just see how tired you were picking cotton. I have picked cotton so I know just how you felt.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on November 13, 2015:

Thank you Ashley for the comment. It was a terrifying night, but a good thing we were so young.

Ashly Christen from Illinois on November 12, 2015:

sounds like an interesting night for sure! and one that poetry has grow from.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on October 29, 2015:

Sunshine (Linda) thank you for the visit and comment. We were so scared, but our grandpa took care of everything.

Blessings and Hugs my friend.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on October 24, 2015:

I imagined the two frightened children and one big bully and I am so glad to hear that your grandpa took matters into his own hands. Your poem was very good!

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on September 20, 2015:

Robert, thank you for the comment. Yes Pampa was a wise man, who cared for his family and the monster's actions were suspicious and that is what drew attention to him. I hate to think about what might have happened if he had not been so obvious that Pampa had not picked up on it. The terror would have been worse if we had ever heard of what this monster had in mind, but thank you for the empathy.

Blessings and Hugs my friend

RTalloni on September 19, 2015:

Your Pampa may have been a quiet man but he let wisdom keep him vigilant. Both those qualities served him well in that time of need. Pampa clearly cared for you children even if he did not have the ability to express it in other ways. The monster had a suspicious reputation that put others on alert, obviously, and there is no telling how many other girls/women he had gotten by with preying on. Thank you for sharing the account in this day and time. I am sorry for the terror you experienced, but so thankful for an alert Pampa!

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on September 18, 2015:

Hello Sheryl, It did not come to mind when you and I talked. It is so good to hear from you, thank you for the visit.

Blessings and Hugs.

Sheryl on September 17, 2015:

hey girl, I never heard about this! Of course, we met how many years later in Chicago guess the subject never came up.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on September 11, 2015:

Thank you Sujaya, I do appreciate you.

sujaya venkatesh on September 10, 2015:

sweet and poignant

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on August 30, 2015:

Mel, thank you for the compliment, and comments.

I love peach cobbler too, especially my grandma's.

Blessings and hug my friend

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on August 29, 2015:

Fantastic story and poem. Children remember the grim details of these incidents better than adults ever can. I have a weakness for that country peach cobbler too, like Grandma used to make.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on August 24, 2015:

Patricia, thank you for the kind comments and the Angels.

No, I did not need to know what happened to the man with evil intensions.

Angels are returning with blessings and hugs from me to you.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on August 24, 2015:

Kudos for loved ones who watch over us...and you did not need to know what happened to him...only to know he would not bother anyone ever again.

Your poem captured a moment in time and made me want to read on....

Just had to know how it would end....

Angels are headed your way this morning ps

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on August 04, 2015:

Ann, thank you for the comment and compliment, yes thank God, my grandpa was watching and took care of the situation.

Blessings and Hugs dear friend.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on August 04, 2015:

Au fait, thank you again for the comments and the share.

Hope you found a cool place to rest and you muse has not been burned up in this horrible heat wave.

Blessings and hugs to you.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on August 04, 2015:

Kim, thank you so much for the comments, up votes and for sharing.

Blessings and Hugs dear friend

ocfireflies from North Carolina on August 02, 2015:

Wow is right! Sent chills down my spine. Great Work on what had to be a really tough subject. Voted up and shared for sure!

So glad the story ended with the stranger -- strangled.



Ann Carr from SW England on August 01, 2015:

Wow! What a story! So well told and the poem too.

It seems that more than one person noticed the stranger and felt some warning signs, thank goodness. Thank God for grandpas, eh?



C E Clark from North Texas on July 31, 2015:

Come back to share this again. Well expressed as always.

Hope all is well with you. Glad you have at least been in where it's cool even if not in the most desirable place. Take care . .

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 30, 2015:

Gwen, thank you for the comment. I appreciate you reading my story. Yes the sing-a-longs is exactly the same.

Blessings to you dear Gwen.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 30, 2015:

Ruby, thank you for the comments, you are so appreciated.

Yes, I thank God Pampa came in when he did. You are welcome.

Blessings and hugs to you dear friend

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 30, 2015:

Marlene, thank you for the comments, I really appreciate you.

I don't know what happened to him, when I talked to Shelby's sister (Shelby died about 30 years ago) her sister said that they heard of the stranger that is why Pampa kept an eye on him and went to our room the check on us.

Blessings and Hugs

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 30, 2015:

Devika, I am so happy to see you, so glad you are back. Thank you so much for the comment.

Blessings and Hugs, Hope all is well with you.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 30, 2015:

Thank you Kevin for the comment, up votes, sharing and pinning. Here is the way it went, the stranger (pedophile) hid in our room. Pampa must have been watching and suspected that he would try too get one of us and he came to see about us and found the man in our room, he drug him out and that was the last we saw of him.

Blessings and Hugs dear friend.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 30, 2015:

Thank you Larry for stopping by.

The Examiner-1 on July 29, 2015:

Wonderful Shyron! At first, I had thought that when you both - or you three if your bro' was still in the sack - I thought that your Pampa had died. Then 'he' showed up and I did not know what was going on.

It was full of surprises. You did well.

I voted it+++, shared and pinned it.


Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 29, 2015:

Great memories shared here and so amazing to read about special memories no matter what it entails.

Gwenneth Leane on July 28, 2015:

The Last Hoedown was a great story. Reminded me when I was a kid we used to gather with the neighbours for sing a longs.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 28, 2015:

Paula, thank you for the comment, up votes and sharing. Now that I look back my childhood was very interesting, I would not call it fascinating.

Yes this happened in the deep south, I did not mention corn bread and turnip greens, or butter milk.

Blessings and Hugs dear Paula.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on July 28, 2015:

A hoedown sounds like fun. Seems like there's always a bad person around to spoil the fun. If that happened now he would be in jail. Thank God for Papaw.Thank's for sharing your Childhood memorie's. Hugs..

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on July 28, 2015:

Scary. Interesting imagery.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on July 28, 2015:

I read this story with such anticipation, especially when you introduced the stranger. I am so glad things turned out alright for you and your cousin. I don't dare think about what happened to the stranger.

Suzie from Carson City on July 28, 2015:

Good for Pampa!! Never fear. Our grandparents are protectors. Your childhood sounds fascinating Shyron. I get a picture of the deep South.....cotton-picking , peach cobbler and hoedowns!......Thank you for sharing this moving memory with us...UP awesome!

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 28, 2015:

Flourish, thank you again for the comments, up-votes and for sharing. It could have been that Trixie was barking and alerted Pampa to go check on us. I don't know, but I thank God for whatever prompted Pampa to check on us.

Blessings and Hugs dear friend.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 28, 2015:

Dear sweet Faith, thank you for the compliments, comments, up ++++ and sharing. No we did not scream, we sat there frozen by terror. We were not afraid to go outside, because Trixie was outside and she would have attacked anyone or anything that threatened us kids. Maybe she was barking and that alerted Pampa and that is why he came to see about us.

Blessings and (((Big Hugs))) to you to.

P.S. Shelby died of breast cancer.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 28, 2015:

Jodah, thank you for the comments and votes up. Yes I thank God for my Pampa and actions do speak louder than words...

I had not thought of what happened that night until I read a hub that mentioned a "git-fiddle" which my mom called her violin when she played it using a pick, that is when I thought about the incident.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 28, 2015:

Bill, thank you so much for commenting, I do appreciate you. I got goosebumps remembering and writing this. Shelby's sister told me this morning that my grandparents knew of the man, so Pampa must have been keeping an eye on him.

Blessings and Hugs to you dear friend.


Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 27, 2015:

Dana, thank you again for the comments, up votes and for sharing. I do appreciate you.

Pampa was a very quiet man but he did not talk to children, I don't know if he did not like us or what, but he must have felt something for us they raised 5 children, 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Yes we were scared. Shelby passed away for breast cancer about 30 years ago. We were first cousins and best friends.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 27, 2015:

Thank goodness for ESP, "helicopter grandparents" (even in those days), or whatever it was that prompted the intervention just in the nick of time. Wonderful poem. As a parent, I have checked the state police sexual offenders registry to see who all is nearby. It's shocking, but in those days all a family had was vigilance and luck. Voted up and more and shared.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on July 27, 2015:

Wow, dear Shyron, how chilling and vivid! I am glad y'all werent' afraid to go back outside for fear of that man showing up, but being your Pampa said he took care of him, meant there was no way that man would return. Did y'all scream out? Praise God for Pampa!

I love your photos too, and what a lovely child you were and a beauty now, inside and out.

Your poem is brilliant!

Up ++++ and away

God bless you and (((Hugs))), sweetie

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 27, 2015:

Thank you Shauna for the comments. I talked to Shelby's sister today and we were talking about my story, she is older than me and Shelby, she said that our grandparents knew the stranger by reputation and that Pampa kept an eye on him and us girls. I think he had ESP also.

Blessings and Hugs my dear friend.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 27, 2015:

Wow! Shyron that was a gripping true story, and the poem was great. God Bless your Pampa. Actions speak louder than words..he was there when you needed him, like a guardian angel. That's what counts. A great read, voted up.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 27, 2015:

Bluebird, thank you for the comments. Yes my family does love music.

Blessings and Hugs.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 27, 2015:

Must have been very scary for 2 little girls alone in the dark, not knowing who or what was there. I remember how scared I would get at night when I was small. We lived out in the country where there was no light at night and strange things used to happen in our house sometimes. No, I won't write about it because I don't believe in ghosts and what I do think it was might not be so popular.

Thank God for Pampa!

Voted up and BAUI, pinned to Awesome HubPages, and shared with followers.

Hope you are staying cool. Take care . . .

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2015:

Well that was one scary moment for sure. My goodness, Shyron, I had goosebumps reading that poem. Thank goodness for a vigilant grandpa.

blessings always, my friend


Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on July 27, 2015:

That must have truly been frightening for you kids. I wonder who the stranger was and if he is indeed dead. I remember in your story when you said ' grandpa never said a word to the kids, unless, it was to warn you of danger. I guess grandpa's few words and but quick to action really saved the day. Very interesting story. Voted up and shared.

Shyron E Shenko (author) from Texas on July 27, 2015:

Eldon, thank you so much for the comment, you are so appreciated.

Blessings and Hugs.

bluebird on July 27, 2015:

That was well told using poetry and your memories. What a thing for two little girls to go through. At least you were rescued. Wow!

Looks like your family really enjoyed playing music. That is special.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 27, 2015:

Wow, Shyron. It's a good thing your grandpa discovered the stranger in your room! Did you ever find out who he was?

Eldon Arsenaux from Cooley, Texas on July 27, 2015:

Chillingly related! Keep the fire kindled. And keep 'Hubbin'!

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