Lizzie Davis





Project, 1885-(1)

Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis

Place, Marion, S. C.

Date, February 4, 1938



LIZZIE'S 'SPONSIBILITY





I.



The first scene of "Lizzie's 'Sponsibility" is that of the small, one

room dwelling place of Lizzie Davis, aged colored woman of Marion, S. C.

A disorderly, ill-lighted, crudely furnished room, saturated with the

odor of food. Behind the front door stands a gayly colored iron bed,

over which is thrown a piece of oilcloth to keep the rain from leaking

on it. In the center of the room are several little quaint home-made

stools and two broken rockers, while in one corner sits a roughly

finished kitchen table, the dumping place of all small articles. Still

in another corner, almost hidden from sight in the darkness, is the dim

outline of an old trunk gaping open with worn out clothing, possibly the

gift of some white person. A big fireplace in one side of the wall not

only furnishes heat for the little room, but also serves as a cooking

place for Lizzie to prepare her meals. On its hearth sits a large iron

kettle, spider, and griddle, relics of an earlier day. The room is dimly

lighted by the fire and from two small doors, together with a few tiny

streaks that peep through at various cracks in the walls and top of

house.



It is about 9 o'clock on a cold, drizzly morning in January, 1938. The

little two room house, in which Lizzie rents one room for herself,

displays an appearance of extreme coldness and dilapidation, as a

visitor approaches the doorway on this particular morning. It is with

somewhat of an effort that the visitor finally reaches the barred door

of Lizzie's room, after making a skip here and there to keep from

falling through the broken places in the little porch and at the same

time trying to dodge the continual dripping of the rain through numerous

crevices in the porch roof. Within is the sound of little feet scuffling

about on the floor, the chatter of tiny children mixed with mumblings

from Lizzie, and the noise of chairs and stools being roughly shoved

about on the floor.



A rap on the door brings Lizzie, crippled up since she was twelve years

of age, hobbling to the door. Taking her walking stick, she lifts the

latch gently and the door opens slightly. A gray head appears through

the crack of the door and Lizzie, peeping out from above her tiny rim

spectacles, immediately recognizes her visitor. She offers her usual

cheerful greeting and begins hastily to push the large wooden tubs from

the door to make room for her visitor to enter, though it is with

unusual hesitancy that she invites her guest to come in on this

occasion.



Lizzie--Come in, Miss Davis. I feelin right smart dis mornin. How you

been keepin yourself? Miss Davis, I regrets you have to find things so

nasty up in here dis mornin, but all dis rainy weather got me obliged to

keep dese old tubs settin all bout de floor here to try en catch up de

water what drips through dem holes up dere. See, you twist your head up

dat way en you can tell daylight through all dem cracks. Dat how I know

when it bright enough to start to stir myself on a mornin.



Yes'um, I tell Miss Heddie here de other day dat I had promise you I was

gwine study up some of dem old time songs to give you de next time you

come back. Miss Heddie, she lookin to a right sharp age, I say. Yes'um,

she been here a time, honey. I tell her to be gettin her dogs together

cause I was sho gwine point her out to you de next time I see you.



I tell you, Miss Davis, I got a 'sponsibility put on me here to look

after all dese chillun. Yes'um, it sho a 'sponsibility cause I think

dere five of dem dere, en it de truth in de Lord sight, dey has me

settin up so straight to keep a eye on dem dat I can' never settle my

mind on nothin. Dey won' let me keep nothin clean. Ain' no use to scrub

none, I say. You see, cripple up like I is, I ain' able to get no work

off nowhe' en I keeps dem while dey parents work out. Dey mammas have a

job to cook out en dey brings dem here bout 6 o'clock in de mornin for

me to see after till dey get home in de afternoon. Cose dey helps me

along, but it takes what little dey give me to keep dem chillun warm

cause I has to try en keep a fire gwine, dey be so little. Dere Bertha

Lee en Joseph, dey start gwine to school dis year en I has to see dey

gets fix decent en march dem off to school every mornin. Dem other three

dere, dey name: Possum en June en Alfred. Ain' but just one girl en

dat--



(Lizzie's attention turns to June, who comes in crying from the back

yard, where all the children went to play during Lizzie's conversation

with her visitor).



Lizzie--What de matter wid you, June?



June--Aun' Izzie, Possum knock me wid de ax.



Lizzie--Great King! What a peculiar thing to hit you wid. How-come he to

do dat?



June--He was bustin up dem stick out dere side de wood pile.



Lizzie--Oh, well, you just go en butt up on de ax. Dat ain' no fault of

he own den. Clean up dat face en gwine on way from here.



(June, crying to himself, remains seated on the little stool).



Lizzie--Let me see now, Miss Davis, I tryin to get some of dem old time

songs together to turn for you what you been axin me bout de other time

you come here. Yes'um, I tryin to blow my dogs--



(Possum enters the room).



Possum--Aun' Izzie, I was bustin up dem splinters dat my daddy brung for

you to cook wid en June come en set right under de ax.



Lizzie--Um-huh, ain' I tell you so? Whe' de ax, Possum? Fetch it here en

put it in de corner. Ain' none of you had no business wid dat ax nohow.

Ain' I tell you to mind your way round dat ax?



(Possum runs back out in the yard).



Lizzie--Like I tellin you, Miss Davis, if de people had a song in de old

days, dey would put it down on a long strip called a ballad, but honey,

I been through de hackles en I can' think of nothin like I used to

could. Is anybody sing dis one for you, Miss Davis? It a old one, too,

cause I used to hear--



(Alfred comes in to tell his tale).



Alfred--Aun' Izzie, June set on Possum's pile of splinters dat he was

makin en Possum let de ax fall right on June's head.



Lizzie--Dey is cases, Miss Davis. I tellin you, dese chillun just gets

everything off my mind. Most makes me forget to eat sometimes. Dere Miss

Julia Woodberry, poor creature, she been down mighty sick en I ain' been

able to go en see bout her no time. Don' know what ailin her cause I

don' gets bout nowhe' much. No, mam, dese chillun don' have no manners

to go visitin en I can' left dem here widout nobody to mind bout dat dey

don' run--



Joseph--Aun' Izzie, I ain' gwine wear no coat to school dis mornin.



Lizzie--Boy, is you crazy? What de matter wid you, ain' you know de

ground been white wid Jack Frost dis mornin? En you clean up dat nose

fore you get dere to school, too. You ain' say your ma send you here

widout no pocket rag to wipe your nose wid? You ma, she know better den

to 'spect me to hunt rags for you. Come here en let me fasten up dat

coat round de neck. You look like a turkey buzzard wid it gapin open

dat way. Whe' Bertha Lee? It time both you been in dat road gwine to

school dere.



(Bertha Lee and Joseph go out the door to leave for school).



Lizzie--Lord a mercy, Miss Davis, my mind just a windin. How dat song

turn what I had for you?



One for Paul,

En one for Sidas--



Lizzie--Joseph, how-come you ain' tell dese chillun good-bye?



Joseph--Good-bye Possum, good-bye June, good-bye Alfred.



Possum, June, Alfred--Good-bye Joseph.



Lizzie--Is you got dat one now, Miss Davis? What de next? Great

Jeruselum! Dem chillun done carry dat tune way wid dem. I can' turn dat

one to save my neck. Just can' come to de turn table as de old man would

say. (12 o'clock mill whistle blows, time teller for many colored people

of the community). Lord a mercy, what dat whistle say? It done come 12

o'clock en dat pot ain' thought bout to kick up none yet. I tell you,

honey, it sho a 'sponsibility I got put on me here to cook for all dese

chillun en see dey ration is cook mighty done, too, so as dey won' be

gwine round gruntin wid dey belly hurtin all de evenin.



(Lizzie begins to stir up the fire to make the pot boil and her visitor

decides to return later to hear the songs).



Date, February 7, 1938





II



It is a damp, chilly mornin about three weeks later, when Lizzie's

visitor returns to hear her sing old time songs. June, Bertha Lee, and

Alfred are playing in the street before the little house.



Visitor--Is Aun' Lizzie at home?



June, Alfred, Bertha Lee--Yes'um, she in dere. She in de house.



Visitor--You children better mind how you run about in all this damp

weather, it might make you sick.



June--Possum's got de chicken pox.



Alfred--Possum's got de chicken pox.



June--Me sick, too.



Bertha Lee--I got a cold.



Alfred--I sick, too.



Visitor--Poor little Possum. Is he sick much?



Alfred--Yes'um, he stay right in dat room dere. (Room next to Lizzie's

room with a separate front door).



Bertha Lee--He mamma had de chicken pox first en den Possum, he took

down wid it.



June--Dere he now! Dere Possum! (Possum appears from around the corner

of the house with both hands full of cold fish).



(Alfred goes to Lizzie's door to tell her that she has a visitor)



Alfred--Aun' Izzie, somebody out dere wanna see you.



Lizzie--Holy Moses! Who dat out dere? Boy, you ain' tellin me no story,

is you? Mind you now, you tell me a story en I'll whip de grease out

you.



Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, ain' nobody but Miss Davis out dere.



(Lizzie hobbles to the door on her stick).



Lizzie--How you is, Miss Davis? I ain' much to speak bout dis mornin. I

tell you de truth, Miss Davis, dese chillun keeps me so worried up dat I

don' know whe' half my knowin gone, I say. Great Lord a mercy, dere

Possum out dere in de air now en he been puny, too.



Visitor--The children tell me Possum has the chicken pox.



Lizzie--No'um, he ain' got no chicken pox, Miss Davis. Dey thought he

had it cause he mamma been ailin dat way, but I don' see nothin de

matter wid him 'cept what wrong wid he mouth. Possum, stand back dere

way from Miss Davis, I say. Yes'um, he been sorta puny like dis here

last week. He mamma must been feed him too much en broke he mouth out

dat--



June--Miss Davis, I know how to spell my name.



Bertha Lee--I know how to spell my name, too. Me likes to go to school.



Visitor--Oh, I think it is nice to like to go to school. What do you do

at school?



June--Pull off your hat.



Bertha Lee--Us writes.



Visitor--Lizzie, how about those old time songs you promised to study up

for me? You ought to have a mind running over with them by this time.



Lizzie--Lord, Lord, honey, I had study up a heap of dem old tunes here

de other day, but I tellin you de truth, Miss Davis, dese chillun got me

so crazy till nothin won stick--



(Willie, age 10, comes over to play with the children and begins to

whistle.).



Lizzie--Willie, ain' you know it ill manners to whistle in anybody

house? Dere now, it impolite to walk by anybody house whistlin, too. You

is too big a boy for dat. Ain' gwine stand for you learnin dese chillun

no such manners for me to beat it out dem. No, boy, mind yourself way

from here now, I got to hunt up dat tune for Miss Davis. Yes'um, I got

one of dem old tune poppin now. Let me see--Great Happy! Dat pot done

gwine out all my sparks. (Lizzie rushes in the house to look after a pot

that she hears boilin over on the fire).



June--Bertha Lee, de lady don' know whe' us sleeps, do she?



Bertha Lee--Dere us house over dere.



(Bertha Lee gets up to point the house out and June immediately slides

into her seat on the bench next to the visitor).



Bertha Lee--Move way, June.



June--No, dis place whe' I been.



Bertha Lee--June, go further, I say.



June--No, Bertha Lee, dis whe' I been.



Bertha Lee--No, go further. (June holds his place) I go tell Aun' Izzie

den.



Visitor--Tell Lizzie I'm waitin to hear that tune she promised to sing.



Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, June settin in my place.



Lizzie--Fetch yourself on back out dere now, Bertha Lee, en settle your

own scrap. Ain' you shame of yourself en you bigger den June, too? Go

way from here, I say. I ain' got no time to monkey up wid you. I got to

get dese collards boilin hard, else dey ain' gwine get done time you

chillun start puffin for your dinner. Go way, I tell you. Miss Davis, I

comin toreckly.



(Bertha Lee returns to the porch quietly and takes her place on the

opposite side of the visitor, while June clings to his place).



June--Miss Davis, does you know Mr. Rembert?



Visitor--Is he your father?



Bertha Lee and June--No, he ain' us daddy.



June--Mr. Rembert, he bought me everything I got. He shoe horses. Don'

you know him now?



Bertha Lee--He bought June's sweater, but dem my overalls he got on.



June--Dem dere pretty buttons you got on you, Miss Davis.



Bertha Lee--Sho is, en dem little chain dere.



June--Me got a sweater just like her coat.



Bertha Lee--Ain' just like it.



June--It most like it.



Bertha Lee--No, it ain' cause dis here wool.



(Lizzie returns to the porch and sits on a little stool near her door).



Lizzie--Lord, Miss Davis, dat tune done left me. Now, de next time dat I

get a tune in my mind. I gwine sho get somebody to place it for me. It

de Lord truth, my mind gwine just so wid so much of chillun worryations

till--



June--Me can sing.



Possum--Aun' Izzie, I ain' got nothin to eat.



(Lizzie returns to her room again to stir up the fire and get Possum

some bread).



Bertha Lee--Sing den, June.



June--Un-uh, I can'. Aun' Izzie might hear me.



Bertha Lee--I gwine sing den.



June--



"I sees de lighthouse--amen,

I sees de lighthouse--amen,

I sees de lighthouse--amen."



(Lizzie and Possum return to porch. Possum has three muffins).



Lizzie--Clean up your nose dere, Alfred. Miss Davis, I ready. Sho got a

mind to turn dat tune dis----



Alfred--Possum wouldn' fetch me no bread, Aun' Izzie.



Lizzie--Dere dey go again, Miss Davis. No, you can' have none of

Possum's bread. Gwine on in dere en catch you a piece out your own pan.

You eat up Possum's bread en den he'll be de one howlin bout he ain' got

none.



(Alfred goes in the room and comes back with a biscuit).



Lizzie--I pretty certain I ready now, Miss Davis. Let dem all get dey

belly full en den dey head won' be turnin so sharp. Dat how-come I

tries--



Possum--Aun' Izzie, Alfred eatin June's bread.



Lizzie--Alfred, look here, boy, you know dat ain' none of your bread.

You sho gwine get a lickin for dat. (Lizzie slaps him). Your ma, she

ain' never left nothin but corn hoecake in your pan since you been born

en you know dat, too. Dem chillun carries me in de clock sometimes, Miss

Davis. Dis one en dat one callin me en de Lord help me, I forgets what I

doin--Clean up dat nose dere, boy.



June--My nose clean.



Lizzie--Possum know I talkin to him. Get on in dere en tell Miss Mammie

to give you a pocket rag, Possum. (Miss Mammie is Possum's aunt who came

to spend the day with them).



Bertha Lee--



"Peter Rabbit, Ha! Ha! Ha!

Make Your Ears Go, Flop! Flop! Flop!"



Lizzie--I has to ax you to bear wid me, Miss Davis. I sorry you come

here on a dead shot en ain' gettin no birds. Lord knows, I tryin to get

my mind--



June--Oo, Aun' Izzie, Joseph been cuttin out Willie's book.



(Lizzie's attention is attracted to Willie, who looks worried about his

torn book.)



Lizzie--Great mercy, boy, you ought to have a pain in de chest. Look,

you settin dere wid your bosom wide open. Fasten up your neck dere, I

say.--Possum, come here, is you do like I tell you? Is you ax Miss

Mammie for somethin to clean up dat nose wid?



Possum--Yes'um.



Lizzie--Look out now, I'll whip you for tellin a story. Whe' de rag? No,

you ain' ax her neither. Gwine on en clean up dat nose fore I wear you

out.



(Possum goes around corner of house).



Lizzie--Help me Lord not to forget it dis time. I sho got dat tune----



June--Aun' Izzie, Aun' Izzie, Possum fall in de tub of water what settin

under de pump.



(Possum appears from around the corner of the house just at that moment

drenched and almost frozen).



Lizzie--Great Lord a mercy! Possum, you looks like a drowned possum sho

enough. Why ain' you do like I tell you to do? You know I don' never

allow you chillun ramblin round dat pump tub no time. Ain' nobody want

to drink out no tub you wash your snotty nose in. Fetch yourself in dere

to de fire en dry yourself fore you is catch a death of cold. Gwine on,

boy. Don' stand dere en watch me like a frizzle chicken. Dere Mr. John

Fortune comin now. I gwine tell him to catch Possum en cook him up.



Possum--I gwine run.



Lizzie--You say you gwine run?



Possum--No'um, I ain' say I gwine run.



Lizzie--Mind you now, Possum, you know what I tell you bout a

story-teller.



Mammie--Miss Lizzie, I just don' believe he know right from wrong.



Lizzie--Well, I gwine learn him den. Ain' nothin I despises worser den a

story-teller. (Lizzie slaps Possum on the shoulder several times and

sends him in the house to dry, shivering from both cold and fear.).



Lizzie--Miss Davis, Mr. John Fortune helps me out wonderfully wid dese

chillun. Say, when dey bad, he gwine cook dem up en eat dem. Yes, mam, I

tellin de truth, honey, dese chillun keeps me settin here listenin wid

all my ears en lookin wid all my eyes, but dey is right sorta

entertainin like. Yes'um, dey got so much of sense till dey done took

what little I is had.



(Alfred comes running in and leans up on Lizzie).



Lizzie--Clean up dat snotty nose, Alfred. You ought to been name Snotty

wid your mouth all de time lookin like you ain' hear tell of no pocket

rag. Move way from dere, June. Don' blow your nose settin side Miss

Davis.



Date, February 10, 1938





III



It is three days later. Lizzie is sitting on her little porch enjoying

the warm sunshine of a bright February day. The children have gone just

across the street to play on the sidewalk and while Lizzie keeps a

watchful eye on them, she is trying once more to call back to her mind

some of the old time songs that she used to sing in her early days. Her

visitor sits on a bench nearby ready to make notes of these old songs as

she sings them. Lizzie's attention is not only distracted by the

children at intervals but also by different ones of her friends

constantly passing along the street in front of the small home.



Lizzie--Lord, Miss Davis, look like everything a hustlin dis mornin.

Yes'um, dis here Monday mornin en everybody is a bustlin gwine to see

bout dey business. Seems like everything just gwine on, just gwine on. I

tell you de truth, Miss Davis, I studied so hard bout dem songs de other

night, I beg de Massa to show me de light en he hop me to recollect dis

one for you. See, when you gets to de age I is, you is foolish--



(Joseph runs across the street to tell Lizzie something).



Joseph--Aun' Izzie, Possum teachin June to hit Jerry.



Lizzie--Uh-huh, I gwine sho beat him, too. (Lizzie turns to her visitor)

Possum, he teachin June to knock dat little one wid de speckle coat on.



Visitor--Is he another child that you are taking care of?



Lizzie--No'um, he grandma raise him en de poor little creature, he don'

have nobody to play wid. Look like nobody don' care when he come or whe'

he go. I say, I tries to collect mine up en take care of dem cause it

dis way, if you don' take time en learn chillun, dey old en dey ain'

old; dey fool en dey ain' fool. Yes'um, I tryin to drill dem, Miss

Davis, but it does take time en a little whip, too. Has to punish dem

right smart sometimes. I tellin you, dem chillun sho a 'sponsibility.

Dem what put all dem gray hair up dere on my topknot. I tell dis one en

dat one to set to a certain place till I say to get up en den I'll get

my studyin on somethin else en de child, he'll be out yonder--



(Heddie Davis, age 72, a neighbor of Lizzies, comes over to join in the

conversation).



Lizzie--Here come de hoss (horse). Come in, Miss Heddie. Miss Davis

wants us to sing one of dem old back tunes dis mornin.



Heddie--Well, I is studied up one tune what I been hear de old people

sing when I wasn' nothin much more den a puppy--Lord a mercy, Miss

Lizzie, dere dem people comin from de trial. Look, dere dey fetchin dat

girl to Dr. Graham now. En my Lord, got de poor child's head all wrapped

up dat way. Dat man, he ought to have he head plucked. He know better

den to cut dat child so close de senses. Don' know what de matter wid de

people nohow.



Lizzie--Ain' nothin but de devil, Miss--



(Boy, about 8 years old, comes across the street and hands Lizzie a

bundle).



Pickle--Miss Lizzie, ma say dere your sewin.



Lizzie--Thank you, son, thank you a thousand times again. Tell your

mamma de old hen a scratchin bout out dere in de yard now huntin de nest

en ain' gwine be no long time fore I can be catchin her a chicken to put

in de pot. Yes, Lord, I got to start savin dem egg dis very day for de

settin. (Lizzie turns to her visitor on the porch and continues her

conversation). Miss Rosa, she does do all my sewin for me en I generally

gives her eggs for her kindness. I sorry dere so much of huntin egg de

same day.



(Little boy, Pickle, looks disappointed and continues to hang around).



Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, sing somethin.



Lizzie--You want me to sing so bad, sugar, en I ain' know nothin

neither. Heddie, turn me one.



Heddie--Gwine on en spill dat one yourself what you been tell me bout de

other mornin en quit your pickin on me.



Lizzie--Well, I tryin to get myself together, but dere so much of

travelin en so much of chillun, I can' collect--



Alfred--Aun' Izzie, can I go to whe' Jerry gone?



Lizzie--No, boy, you know I ain' got no mind to let you go runnin off

dat way. (Lizzie calls to Mammie in the room). Mammie, look dere to de

clock. I gettin in a fidget to get some of dese chillun way from here.



(Pickle still hangs around).



Lizzie--Joseph, come here.



Joseph--Un-uh.



Lizzie--Boy, don' you grunt at me dat way. Come here, I say. Go dere in

de chicken house en hunt dat one egg en give it to Pickle to carry to he

mamma.--Got to scatter dese chillun way from here--



Joseph--Here de egg, Aun' Izzie.



Lizzie--Fetch it dere to Pickle den. Boy, tell your mamma I sorry I ain'

had no egg to send her 'cept just dat one nest egg. Tell her, when she

buss dat egg, she better look right sharp en see is de hen ain' got it

noways addle like cause--



Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, how my nose is?



Lizzie--Look bad. Gwine on in dere en clean your face up. I know you

ain' gwine to school wid all dem crumbs stuck bout on your mouth.

Joseph, gwine on in de house dere en put you on some more clothes. Gwine

on in dere, I say. Don' stand dere on de street en strip.



Heddie--No, boy, don' pull off in no public.





Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, I gwine carry my bread to school wid me.



Lizzie--Hunt you a paper den. You can' go dere to school wid no handful

of bread makin all dem chillun start mouthin round you. Joseph, get me a

paper to put dis here child's bread in.



Joseph--Here, Bertha Lee. Here de paper.



Lizzie--Lord, Miss Davis, it a time. I tell you de truth, honey, dis

here 'sponsibility got me tied both hand en foot. Ain' no rest nowhe'. I

hates it you come here en ain' gettin nothin what you been aimin to

catch. I gwine be ready toreckly though. Let me get dese chillun in de

road en dem songs gwine start travelin out my head faster den lightnin--



Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, make Joseph come on.



Lizzie--Joseph, get in dat road dere side Bertha Lee. Now, you chillun

make your tracks dere to school straight as you can go en if you stop

dere to dat lady house en get a pecan, I gwine whip you hard as I can.



Joseph and Bertha Lee--Good-bye Possum, good-bye June, good-bye Alfred.



Possum, June, Alfred--Good-bye Joseph, good-bye Bertha Lee.



Lizzie--Here dat tune come buzzin now, Miss Davis. Is you got dis one?





Sunday Mornin Band!



"Oh, my sister,

How you walk on de cross?

Sunday mornin band!

Oh, your feet might slip

En your soul get lost.

Sunday mornin band!

Oh, what band,

Oh, what band,

Do you belong?

What band! What band!

Sunday mornin band!"



Heddie--Sis, you is done took de one I been how. I been expectin you was

comin out wid one of dem old time reels you used to be a singin en a

jiggin bout all de time.



Lizzie--Oh, I been know a heap of dem reels. Hoped sing dem behind de

old folks back many a day cause us chillun wasn' never allowed to sing

reels in dem days. See, old back people was more religious den dey is

now. Yes, mam, dey been know what spell somethin in dat day en time.

When dey would speak den, dey meant somethin, I tell you. People does

just go through de motion dese days en don' have no mind to mean what

dey talk. No, child, us didn' dar'sen to let us parents hear us sing no

reels den. What dem old people didn' quarrel out us, dey whip out us. My

father never wouldn' let we chillun go to no frolics, but us would

listen from de house en catch what us could. I used to could turn a heap

of dem reels, too, but he was so tight on us till everything bout left

me. Lord, Heddie, give me a thought. You is de jiggin hoss. Hope me out,

Heddie, hope me out.



(Heddie begins song and Lizzie joins in and finishes it).



"The blackest nigger I ever did see,

He come a runnin down from Tennessee,

His eye was red en his gum was blue,

En God a mighty struck him,

En his shirt tail flew.

Meet me at de crossroads,

For I'm gwine join de band.

Um-huh! Um-huh! Um-huh!"



Lizzie--Great Lord a mercy, Miss Davis, dem kind of tune, dem sinful en

wicked songs, dey what I used to turn fore I been big enough to know

what been in dem. No, honey, I thank de good Lord to point me way from

all dat foolishness en wickedness en I ain' gwine back to it neither.



"Lord, I know dat my time ain' long,

Oh, de bells keep a ringin,

Somebody is a dying,

Lord, I know dat my time ain' long.

(Repeat three times)

Lord, I know dat my time ain' long,

Oh, de hammer keep a knockin,

Keep a knockin on somebody coffin,

Lord, I know dat my time ain' long."

(Repeat three times).



Lizzie--Lord, I sho know my time ain' long. De Lord say de way of de

righteous prevaileth to eternal life en I know I right, people. Lord, I

know I right. 'Sponsibility or no 'sponsibility, Lord, I seekin de

Kingdom.



Source: Lizzie Davis, colored, 70-80 years, Marion, S. C.

Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Marion, S. C.





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