The Life and Times, Page 3

As Told to Dan Reddell

So we started around that way when the wagon bed just raised up four or five inches inside the standards that held the bed on. We were scared to death, but Pop just stood up, yelled, and popped those horses on the rear-end with a checkline, and I mean to say, they dug in and pulled that wagon out of there.

We got out without any injury or trouble, but if it had been a little deeper, we would have washed down the river. After that, I never liked water enough to get in it and learn how to swim.

We got back on the road and went on past the mainstream of the river on the far edge where we went up on a big bridge, crossed over, and went up on the side of a high bank to camp.

 We headed on down the road the next day, and a couple of days later, the cars we had left behind caught up with us. When night caught us out on the road, we would just camp wherever we stopped.

If we were in a town, we drove our wagons into a wagon yard that was designated just for wagons to park in.

 I was seven years old at this time, and my sister, Lea Etta, was five.

We arrived in Quanha, Texas, just below the Red River and near Paduca, in a snow storm. This changed Pop's plans to continue our trip in the wagon. He rented a box car on a freight train and shipped everything, including the horses, on to Paduca.

 While loading the horses, the racing mare was kicked by another horse, breaking her leg. She had to be shot, which was a traumatic experience for Pop. He was so proud of that mare.

 We rode a passenger train into Paduca where we transferred back to the covered wagon and spent a few days in a wagon yard while Pop found a farm to rent from a man named Sam Barret.

We lived in a two-room house at this time, but in a while we moved into a large house, and my Dad

farmed cotton on three different farms.

In 1921 we had a hundred or so acres leased, and then the grasshoppers came. The grasshoppers were eating up the cotton. They got so thick you could hardly see the sun. We took five gallon buckets of arsenic and walked through the rows, scattering teaspoons of arsenic along the bottoms of the plants. It saved the cotton crop, but we were very worried.

 We farmed those half-mile long cotton rows by having horses pull our go-devils down the rows. They were like a sled with two runners and blades that went out on the sides, like wings on an airplane. The blades would plow through the dirt about two inches deep, cutting the weeds on the ridge of the furrow.

I would drive the thing and Pop would turn the team around at the end of the row. As I got bigger, I could turn the team myself, and he would turn Lea Etta's team as he cut weeds with a hoe.

It was here that I started school at the age of seven. My teacher, Mrs. Bobolt, had nine kids of her own, and she was a lousy teacher. School was a little old house on the back part of the farm we lived on, and I only went there seven days before I got my first licking.

A kid named Jack Todd cursed me one day and then went in and told Mrs. Bobolt that I had cursed him. I had never in my whole life heard what he told her I called him. She whipped me good. I remember one other time she whipped me that made me hate her.

We had lined up to get drinking water, they hauled it in a barrel, and I liked two or three kids of being up to getting my drink of water, and one of her kids went and told her that I drank and poured the water back in the barrel. She took me in and whipped the dickens out of me.

What I couldn't figure out was she took me right out of line before I could even get a...CONTINUED...



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