Warsh and wear

Randall Franks

Today most folks don’t give a second thought if they get their clothes dirty to go and change into another outfit. Of late, I have found myself babying a electric dryer as I have been trying to get parts to keep it working, so I am a little more cautious about how many clothes I have to wash. In the valley below the Gravelly Spur, an abundance of clothes in the closet was not something that most folks experienced. The Wood boys, like everyone, were often faced with limited things to wear. Little Woody had long grown out of his white cotton dress that he wore in the shadow of his late mother. The dresses provided mothers the added benefit to keep track of a child when they had to leave the room by lifting the old iron bedpost and placing it on the tail of the gown. That kept the toddlers from toddling into mischief. By this point the young boy had graduated to two pairs of overalls and two shirts. After working in the fields two days in a row, both pairs of his overalls and his two shirts were stained with red dirt and mud. He came to his older sister and said “I haven’t got anything to wear to school tomorrow.” She took him into the bedroom reached into the closet, pulled out her extra dress, and laid it on the bed. “Get that on and I’ll wash up your overalls.” Little Woody didn’t have much choice in the matter it was either put the dress on or run around in his all together. So out of the clod covered overalls and into the gray colored dress he slipped. So even though it was late in the day, she pulled out the washtub and the warshboard and scrubbed them overalls from rusty brown to a faded blue. She took them out and hung them to dry on the clothesline, as one would normally do. As the family went to sleep that night, the temperature dropped way below freezing. When the family slowly made their way out into the kitchen wiping the sleep from their eyes with the rooster’s crow, little Woody’s older sister sent one of the other boys to fetch the overalls while she cooked. He brought them in frozen solid, straight as a board. He stands them in the corner taking a bit of delight in the feat. Woody is standing there in her gray dress and says “What are we going to do, I can’t wear those to school and I am sure not wearing this dress.” She took the overalls and shirts and placed them on chairs by the fireplace and within just a short time the overalls and shirts had melted into something looking like the occupants had simply disappeared. She quickly ironed one of the shirts. Woody could not wait to get out of the dress and as soon as the overalls were warm enough and before the iron had hit them, he was into one of the pairs and out of that dress. While the experience might not have been so bad for little Woody if his older brothers did not see the whole thing as an opportunity for some good old fashion ribbing once they got to school. When the Moss brothers asked the Wood boys what they had done the night before each mentioned some adventure they had but one of them had to say, “Woody didn’t do anything. He was afraid to come out of the house cause someone might see him wearing sister’s dress.” Needless to say this was enough to get Little Woody’s blood to boiling and with a little more agitation its safe to say that clean pair of overalls picked up a little schoolyard dirt as the kidders found themselves on the receiving end of his frustration. Good thing his sister washed both pairs of overalls or he’d been back in that dress all over again.

About Randall Franks — Actor/entertainer Randall Franks is best known as “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” a role he performed on NBC and CBS from 1988-1993 and now on WGN America. He was part of cast of three other TV Series including Robert Townsend’s “Musical Theater of Hope” which aired on UPtv (Gospel Music Channel). In his latest film “Broken” he stars with Soren Fulton, Felix Ryan, Bailey Borders and Joe Stevens. In another recent film “Lukewarm” he starred with John Schneider, Nicole Gale Anderson, Bill Cobbs, Jenna von Oy and Jeremy Jones. He starred with Natalie Grant and Billy Dean in the teen drama “Decision“ and in “The Solomon Bunch,” a children’s adventure, Randall does a comedic cameo. As an actor, he has co-starred or starred in 15 films with stars such as Elizabeth McGovern, Mia Wasikowska, “Doc” Tommy Scott; William Hurt, Dolly Parton, Stella Parton and Christian Slater.

Randall is friends with Lee County Courier publisher Jim Clark.

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