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Nolan Maxie

Nolan Maxie

Stories of the Ark-La-Tex

Email: piddlinacres@consolidated.net

"Tri-States is known by some as Three Corners, the place where three state lines meet. The larger region known as the Ark-La-Tex includes Three Corners and as the name suggests, portions of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas."

Stories of the Ark-La-Tex


  • The Million Dollar Nag 5-1-11
    The Ark-La-Tex has many things of great worth. This story of a valuable horse caught my eye several years back...
  • Food for the family in tough times..... And the tools to use 3-1-11
    We grew many various kinds of vegetables in the garden; onions; cabage; lettuce; carrots; radishes; turnips; beans; peas; squash; orka; cellery and others. You can do it yourself, too!
  • Gone With the Wine 2-1-11
    Sometimes during the mid 1960's in far northeast Texas an auto accident occurred late one Friday evening.
  • Straightening Used and Bent Nails 1-1-2011
    Long ago we learned to recycle...
  • “Dollars Worth of Gas. Please” 12-1-10
  • Corn Cob Fights at the Barn 11-1-10
  • Mahoney, Texas 10-1-10
  • Samuel Bell Maxey 9-1-10
    United States Senator and Confederate General
  • On The Way To Texas and Stopping off a time or two 8-1-10
  • Midwife to Livestock, Heavy Labor Defined 7-1-10
  • From Daylight to Dark in Thirty Minutes 6-1-10
  • Black Walnuts and Leeches 5-1-10
  • Half Way to Insanity 4-1-10
  • Death on the Highway 3-1-10
  • “Save Your Money and Watch Your Friends” 2-5-10
  • The Big Waukesha Engine 1-1-10
  • Survivalist Attitudes: Risk vs Reward 12-1-09
  • Texas or Illinois - Youthful Rebellion is No Different 11-1-09
  • The Yo-Yo 10-1-09
    In my area of the Ark-La-Tex in NE Texas, the yo-yo was a manual labor work tool. Labor intensive!
  • Dixie from Burke 9-1-09
  • Chinkapins: Country Kids Love'em 8-1-09
    Does anyone know what a chinkapin is? I’m sure a lot of people don’t know. The burley little nut actually resembles a small chestnut, and rightly so, it is of the chestnut family...
  • Broken Chain: Mended Heart 7-1-09
  • From The Frying Pan Into The Fire 6-1-09
  • Riding the Walking Beam 5-1-09
    If any oilfield brats were ever caught riding the walking beams they could expect a serious reprimand...
  • “And His Mama Cries” 4-1-09
    “And His Mama Cries” is words in the lyrics of a popular song titled “In The Ghettos” sung by Elvis Presley...
  • “Hippies” Include Cows 3-2-09
    The Bovine...is a cow called “Hippie”....
  • Mother’s Wash Day Monday on the Farm 2-1-09
  • A Wild Childhood in the Woods 1-1-09
  • Christmas Trees in the Oil Patch 12-13-08
  • Dropping Off 12-1-08
  • US 90 and US 67; Merging Highways 10-1-08
    Alpine, Texas; and The Marfa Lights
  • AWOL and Out of Gas 9-1-08
  • A Serious View of Important Things 8-1-08
  • "Watermelons Fresh and Fine. Watermelons Right off the Vine." 7-3-08
  • Cheap Gasoline; Oil and Gas 6-1-08
  • Patching Pot Holes in the Dirt Road 5-1-08
  • Cultural Shock Then. Cultural Shock Now 4-1-08
  • Ever See a Cat Fish? Crawfish and Cats. 3-3-08
  • The Rare Bird: A Modern Day Civil War Grandson 2-3-08
  • Running Down A Road Hog 1-1-08
  • Holly Isn’t Just For Christmas Anymore 12-1-07
  • “I Now Thee Wed”, Half a Century Later…. 11-1-07
  • Uncle Lee's Got the 'coon and Gone On. Gone On! 10-1-07
  • Errant City Letter Brings Grave Concern 9-1-07
  • Hot Rabbit Sets the Woods on Fire 8-1-07
  • Swimming With Water Moccasins 6-30-07
  • Piddlin' Acres, Rambo and the Ark-La-Tex 6-1-07
  • "I Ain't Lying Officer" 5-1-07
  • Bull Dogs and Strays 3-28-07
  • "Don't Shoot the Bull" 2-1-07
  • Moving Up To The Main Road 1-1-07
  • Preacher and the Squirrel Hunt 12-1-06
  • "Get the Epsom Salt. This Kids Got Dew Poisoning" 11-1-06
  • Strong Teenage Desire to Make Money 10-1-06
  • Fine Fishing on Frazier's Creek 9-14-06
  • Hurricane Winds Stripped Decal From Patrol Car Door 9-1-06
  • Deadly Explosion in the Oilfield 8-17-06
  • A Country Kid's Thorn in the Flesh 8-1-06
  • Growing up Wasn't Easy in the '40's and '50's…… And it Still Isn't Today 7-15-06
  • "Miss $1.98" 7-1-06
  • Goodnight Paw. Did You Turn the Rooster 'round? 6-15-06
  • Remembering Uncle Jay Ransom 6-1-06
  • Don't go Near the Water, Son, Until You Learn to Swim 5-15-06
  • Coalie and the Speeding School Teacher 5-1-06
  • Kerosene Stops Severe Bleeding 4-15-06
  • Lost Maples Found 4-1-06
  • Encountering an East Texas Mad Dog 3-14-06
  • The Farmer's Daughters Picking Peas 3-1-06
  • A Lady's Major Security Concern 2-14-06
  • Hatching Green Head Mallard Eggs 2-1-06
  • Firewood, Loaded or Unloaded 1-15-06
  • "Shadow's In the Moonlight" 1-1-06
  • Mayo, Leo and Cleo Clark, and the Polly Parrot 12-15-05
  • Roughnecks and Rednecks 11-15-05
    Life in the oil-field in McCleod
  • The Left Handed Twist-tie 11-1-05
  • The Preacher's Kid and a Post Office Burglary 10-15-05
  • "Oh, The Class of '57 Had Its Dreams."
    McLeod High School Longhorns.......
  • The Unforgettable Lightening Bolt 9-15-05
  • Is Your Mule for Sale? 9-1-05
    "This little story came to me straight from the mouth of an elderly and very prominent Ark-La-Tex area Baptist preacher..."
  • On Moss's Mill Pond - Who Owned It? 8-15-05
  • A Midnight Gasoline Credit Card 8-1-05
  • Interstate Oblivion - An Arrogant Speeding Motorist 7-15-05
  • "High Pockets" and a Near Death Experience 7-1-05
  • "Playboy" Burns A Railroad Bridge 6-15-05
  • "Well, I Should've Gotten up and Moved" 6-1-05
  • "Mules" 5-14-05
    Snaking Logs in East Texas
  • Attention All Officers, All Stations: WANTED FOR MURDER.........." 5-1-05
  • Uncertain, Texas, Caddo Lake and Cypress Trees 4-20-05
  • Rambo, Texas 3-9-05
    "... It was, for a long time, a totally Black community..."
  • The Ark-La-Tex and Bogus Springs, Texas 2-1-05
  • The Day Kennedy was Shot 1-16-05
  • My Night at Bessy and Bud's House 1-1-05

    © Nolan Maxie

    More Columns

  • Nolan Maxie Autobiography

    Ramblin' Ray was born in the Ark-La-Tex not too long after the beginning of the Great Depression there in Deep Northeast Texas. He says it has often brought both its blessings and its curses. The depression was still in full swing for his family when he was born and continued long thereafter. It taught people, especially in east Texas, many things like discipline, frugality, patience and a great sense of family unity. He says that they were so poor, they looked up to people on welfare. And not ever knowing much prosperity or that better things abound, they never really realized they were in a depression. There are people in areas of that region today still in status-quo. Some have never fully recovered and never will. They are very complacent, finding solace in knowing that "home is where the heart is."

    During the several years after completing high school really came the toughest times. Ray unsuccessfully tried out for athletic scholarships at a couple of Texas and Louisiana colleges. Many of his peers had to leave that area to find employment. He worked three years for a homebuilder in Shreveport, Louisiana, while attending the Louisiana Trades School. There he gained valuable knowledge and experience in the building trades, marking time until becoming of age to apply for other jobs. He also spent one year in Houston at a couple of other minuscule jobs. There he had a significant experience in "cultural shock". Big Metropolitan Houston had it for a young, greenhand, farm-fresh country boy from Deep Northeast Texas. He couldn't take that for long. Remember, "You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy."

    In 1960, Ray was one of only two applicants accepted from about 250 others at Tyler, Texas, for the Texas DPS Academy in Austin. After successfully completing the very challenging academy, he worked ardently for them for several years and became known as "Ramblin' Ray"; the chaparral bird. Later on he accepted an assignment as Special Texas Ranger. In that capacity his work took him throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and often, Missouri and Illinois, doing loss prevention and claims investigations for Texas railroads. It was also during those years that he attended East Texas State University and night school at the University of Houston. Up until retirement, he maintained status as an actively certified Texas peace officer.

    Ray found railroad work to be the most interesting and challenging. It involved a great deal of travel, both by rail and by air. Working once in a "super" severe winter ice and snow storm along the Mississippi River. It was a long assignment at the gigantic rail yard in East St. Louis, IL. He also worked on location at scenes of large train derailments and crossing accidents. Often Ray worked long hours during extensive railroad labor disputes in Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois. Later on, he spent several years as Transportation Officer with the Texas Prison System.

    Ramblin' Ray and wife, Jean, have two grown sons and three baby grands. Jean was Ray's high school sweetheart and they both are from the "Class of '57". Both are long time "public servants", now retired and enjoy volunteering most any place, writing, public speaking, family (grandchildren) and friends. They find pleasure in pets, especially in "Dixie" the Molly mule and "Turbo" and "Robin" the Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys.

    Ray is a long time dedicated blood donor, now at 140 donations, totaling 18 gallons. He still donates regularly. It all started helping an injured friend in 1962 and over the years, he hopes that his blood donations have helped many injured and ill people recover and regain a normal life.

    Texas Escapes, John and Kate were discovered by Ray in a most unusual and rewarding fashion. While researching Sanderson, Texas, and planning a train trip there, John was most helpful and congenial. They are a God send. Hats off to John and Kate, and their enormous project.

    Nolan Maxie
    January 17, 2005

    Nolan Maxie's articles have appeared in:

    USA Deep South - Ms.
    Muscadine Lines - A Southern Journal - Tn.
    Open Minds Quarterly - Sudbury, ON. Canada
    The Forward Press - UK
    Pen-point View - WVa.

    Conroe Courier - Tx.
    Atlanta Citizens Journal - Tx.

    There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave,
    There are souls that are pure and true;
    Then give to the world the best you have,
    And the best will come back to you.
    - Madeline Bridges {Mary Ainge De Vere}





























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