The Life and Times, Page 2

As Told to Dan Reddell

When I was four years old, I had pneumonia and an abscess settled on my lungs. A doctor came to the house and laid me on the dining room table, right in the kitchen, and drained that lung by breaking off a rib and shoving a tube into my lung. He used chloroform to put me to sleep by putting a little muzzle over my face. Considering the state of medicine out there in the Plains, it was probably a miracle that I recovered.

I remember when World War I ended, even though I was only six years old. My Dad stepped out on the front porch of our little farm house, and fired his double barreled shotgun; you could hear other guns being fired in celebration. Later, we were in town and saw a train loaded with war materials coming back to be stored--trucks, guns, swords, ammunition, cannons, and lots of things. Pop took me through that train, and I got to see all that stuff.

 Pop didn't have to go in the Army because he had a wife and kids, and he was glad. His brother, Bob, was in the service, but I don't know where he went.

Pop had a reputation for being a hard-drinking horse trader before he met Mom. I never saw Pop play a game of pool in my life, but I heard that he was a pool shark and won a $1,000.00 in a game once.

I never knew his father, and I was always told he died before I was born. I found out he had run away, deserting my grandmother. He married a couple of other times, so there are a lot of Reddells around in Arkansas.

 I don't know a lot about Pop's youth, but I know he went to work making a living for the family when he was 12 years old, hauling logs for a sawmill at a dollar a day, furnishing his own horses, which had belonged to his father.

One of my earliest memories is the first time I saw an airplane, it landed out in a field about two miles from our farm there in Atoka, and we jumped in a wagon and rushed over


to see it.

A lot of other people, wagons, teams and buggies showed up, too. It was painted white and single winged. Two men worked on it for a little while, and then they turned it around, pushed it, and it took off.

There were a few cars around at that time, and some people drove them up to the plane to watch. I also remember going to revival meetings, and when Pop joined the church. One day they took him down to the river, and a whole bunch of them got in the river and baptized Pop right in the river.

In 1919, Mom and Pop decided that Texas would be a better place to live, so they auctioned off the farming equipment and household goods and packed what was necessary for traveling.

They left that rented farm in Atoka for Paduca, Texas, about 250 miles away, in a covered wagon pulled by two work horses, leading two other work horses and a registered Hamiltonian racing mare.

Another family, named Williams, was traveling with us in another covered wagon. They had a son called Stump, about 15 years old. We had traveled a few days when we came to the Red River which had flooded about a half a mile over its banks, and we stopped at the water's edge where a few Model T Fords were parked.

Three boys came by on their horses and said they had crossed the river that morning and it wasn't hub deep to a wagon wheel anywhere, so Pop and the other men decided to follow them.

We started in following them when the horses pulling the wagon in front of us all of a sudden dropped down. They had to turn the wagon around and come back. A little bridge there had washed out and they said we would have to drop down to the left hand side, go around, and come back to the road on the other side of where the bridge was. CONTINUED...

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