MEAN OLD GRANDFATHER|
Mill Burnett Boyd as told to Louise George
"I could hear them talking
about shearing the sheep and then dipping them before they shipped them."
Personal interviews with Texas Panhandle men and women born in the early years
of the twentieth century rewarded me with hundreds of stories illustrating their
everyday life. I like to share those stories just as they were told to me.|
Mill Boyd’s grandfather filed a claim on farm land near Memphis, Texas in the
late l880s. Mill said, “My Grandfather Burnett being from South Carolina, that
cotton was still in his mind.” Though cotton was not grown in the Panhandle at
that time, her grandfather began experiments in various growing methods and was
soon promoting cotton over the Panhandle. When his own large and diversified farm
began to suffer because of his involvement with cotton, he moved his son, H.H.
and his young family to the home place to help out.
Burnett had given Cy and me a lamb for a pet, and about that time, something happened
that really disturbed me. There was always a lot of activity there on the farm
and I was used to having a lot of people around. This particular time, though,
I could hear them talking about shearing the sheep and then dipping them before
they shipped them. Well, Cy and I had been given that lamb, its mother had died,
and we had raised it. It was a pet and I knew they were going to dip the sheep
and that worried me, because I thought it would drown. In fear, I watched them
build the dipping vat. I had my nose into everything. About the time they got
that whole thing together and brought the sheep in to dip them, I went down with
the measles and my mother pulled all the window shades down…and that thing with
the sheep was going on where I could hear them bleeting, and I just knew they
were drowning. I just lay there and cried, and I cried and cried and cried. |
“My Aunt Sally was visiting and she came in to kind of help my feelings…. She
went upstairs and got her china doll. It had black painted hair on a china face.
The doll was dressed in black taffeta, and I’ll never forget what it meant to
me to have it there with me, that Aunt Sally let me play with her doll.
“It didn’t occur to me that when they shipped those lambs that our pet was going
to go too. When they started to take the sheep to market, which was a little bit
after that, they gathered up our lamb that we had raised. He had gotten to be
a nuisance. The little outhouse was way out in the edge of the orchard, and you’d
start out there to that little building, and that lamb would run behind you and
play and butt you down, so he really was a nuisance. We found out later that when
they got them ready to ship and were in Memphis with them, when they were loading
them onto the train, one man hollered out to my dad, ‘Hey, here’s one that can’t
go. He’s got a blue ribbon around his neck.’
“My dad said, ‘That’s the
one we’ve got to get rid of.’
“Cy and I were crazy about that lamb and
when we found out that he’d been sold and taken away, we were pretty well teed
off. And so, my grandfather felt like he could help the situation and he paid
us eleven dollars for that lamb. The money didn’t help. I still didn’t like my
granddad a bit for selling that lamb.
“For another reason, Aunt Sally
gave me a little banty rooster about that time, a little black rooster. Under
the back kitchen step going out in the yard, there was a little bit of a hole
back up under there, and that’s where that chicken roosted. If anybody would open
that door early in the morning, that rooster would come fluttering out of there
and just scare the hell out of them. One day, my granddad was sick, and my mother
caught the rooster and made some chicken soup. That’s another reason I didn’t
© Louise George|
- December 12, 2004
Mill Boyd is featured in Louise George’s book, Some
of My Heroes Are Ladies, Women, Ages 85 to 101, Tell About Life in the Texas Panhandle.
Louise can be reached at (806) 935-5286, by mail at Box 252, Dumas, TX 79029,
or by e-mail at lgeorge@NTS-online.net.