Recently I sent a bunch of old photos of my family to my daughter. She did not get much of a chance to get to know my father, now that she has had a chance to see what he looked like when he was younger I thought I might take this opportunity to relate some of the stories I hears him tell at family gatherings when I was just a lad and quietly sat in a corner and listened to the grown ups.
Dad was born in 1913 and raised in the Springfield Missouri area. His Mothers family the Hick’s was living in Nixa a few miles away. Dads Mom and Dad later moved to the Carthage area where he finally met and married my Mother Betrace Eldora Payton, Know and loved by all as Bea.
As a young man and boy Dad worked mostly as a farm hand in various capacity’s. His father was mostly ill and the burden of family support fell mostly on his young sholders as he was the oldest. In the early days families were very close knit, and inter reacted together much closer than is found today. Dad had a favorite Uncle Charlie, Dad’s mothers youngest brother. They often worked together in the fields and as hired hands. On one occasion after a days work Dad and his brother Luther were heading home in the family’s old jalopy when Uncle Charlie came up behind them in a old Ford Model T truck . Flashing his lights and laying on his horn he signaled he wanted to pass. Dad ignored him and sped up and straddled the center of the road. Uncle charlie was known to to take a nip or two or even three, kept on the horn and trying to pass. Finally after a while he decided to take matters in hand and jump the ditch and pass off the road flying off the road over the ditch he had not calculated that there was not enough room between the ditch and the fence line I guess he plowed down close to a quarter mile of fence posts before he could stop. He was madder than a wet hen luckily in those days vehicles were made much more sturdier than to day there was minimal damage to the old already beat up truck. This same Uncle charlie always wanted to carry a gun, it bothered the rest of the family because no one trusted him with one. He was determined because he evidently thought someone was after him. He finally managed to get his hands on one. One day while he was off working somewhere else the family installed a new corner fence post at the edge of the drive off the road, the house sat almost eighth of a mile off the road (this was a neat old two story wood frame house with many rooms. It had a dug well on the kitchen porch with a rock wall and a wooden roof the water was drawn by a windlass in a wooden bucket and was cool and sweet, I was there a couple of times as a kid). Any way ity was late when they finally finished setting the post and one of the boys left his shirt draped on the post. Ole charlie came home late on foot and it was dark and he was staggering along by moon light. As he neared the house he saw the new post and I guess a breeze caused the sleeves on the shirt to move. They said Charlie hit the porch at a dead run with his pistol stuck straight in the air with out ever taking a shot at his assailant. They took Charlies pistol away from him the night that he and his brother Frank did some work for a old Aunt and spent the night at her house. Charlie and Frank shared a bed upstairs. The bed was a old four poster and Frank draped his clothes and hat on one of the foot posts. Charlie woke in the middle of the night and shouted You Sum ABitch and snached his pistol from under his pillow and started blazing away.
One more before I hop this train for the night. Dad as a young man before he got serious about my mother liked to party country boy style. After moving to the Carthage area was planning to go to a barn dance after work on night. He happened to know where he could get a quart jar of shine for two dollars. This was during the probation era so shine did not flow real freely. Dad figured he could sell his shine for a swig for a quarter and make a tidy profit. Two dollars was quite a investment for a working man to make in those days. he was probably working for fifty cents a day then. Any way back to the story on the was to the dance he figured he ought to sample the liquid to test its market value. Now he was driving and drinking from a quart jar at the same time. This meant while he was taking a sip his nose was over the open rim of the jar not only was he drinking it but breathing the fumes at the same time. By the time he arrived at the dance he had breathed and drank enough of this elixir that he was in a highly friendly state and wound up giving everyone samples of his joy and wound up with a headache and empty pocket the next morning but extremely popular. Well it is extremely hot and and uncomfortable in this little room. Think I’ll head to my wife’s air-conditioned bedroom. ramblingbob””’s jumping train for the night.