Part 1 - Family Roots
Leder tied Hissy around his britches and headed out for a day of adventure. Hissy was a water moccasin Leder used for a belt. This arrangement was the result of his mother, known to all as Ma Minnie, who insisted that her family would live naturally and would not allow ‘store-bought’ items to be used or even worn. Clothes were woven by Ma Minnie out of cattail leaves and various vines. Pa Henry accepted this arrangement without question for it was Minnie that had save Pa from certain death.
Leder’s older brother Pend, had grown to the age that he was expected to assist his Pa in gathering enough edible plants for them to survive. Ma Minnie also would not allow the killing of other creatures and that included fish and frogs. Ma Minnie had preached this vegan style living from the day she found Pa Henry laying over a log that was floating down the river. Henry, as she named him, was found unconscious with a large lump on his head and, upon being revived by Minnie, claimed to know nothing of his past, not even his name.
At that time Minnie was a young woman living alone in a hole in the bank of a quiet tributary off a large river running through
country. Upon her arrival at this place she had seen muskrats living in holes and figured if it was good enough for them it was good enough. Minnie had a hard life up to this point and wanted little to do with others. That ‘Henry’ had no past encouraged her that he would be free of the taint of what she derisively called ‘man unkind’. Henry was about her age and she suggested to him that he should live with her in the hole in the bank. Henry, having no memory of living any other way, eagerly accepted. Ozark Mountain
Henry, from the first day, regarded Minnie with awe. He felt secure with her because of her deliberate and forceful personality. He eventually fell in love with her but he remained awestruck. Minnie for her part admired Henry’s strong back and his willingness to work hard to please her. Whether or not she loved him didn’t really matter to Henry; what did matter was that she would have him.