up in the suburbs of Houston, I looked
forward with excitement the opportunity to visit my grandparents “in the country”.
They lived along Hwy 67; and, from Houston,
it was a six hour auto journey, mostly on Hwy 6.
Our visits were usually
during the summer months when we could enjoy the outdoor experiences of rabbit
hunting throughout the cedar-breaks, hiking to one of two stock ponds to fish,
“help out” with feeding the chickens and gathering eggs, “slopping” the hogs,
or just playing in the fields.
excursions included going to Glen
Rose to swim in that fabulous pool, driving to Mineral
Wells (I never acquired a taste for the water from the mineral springs), and
going to the Paluxy River
to drown worms (we were sometimes lucky and actually caught fish!).
cousins scratched their names in the soft rock of Chalk
Mountain. For whatever reason, I never had the opportunity to autograph the
landmark for posterity.
I recall celebrating one Fourth of July, back
in the days when one could buy those loud, repeating, colorful fireworks… it seems
that the sounds of the booms echoing back from surrounding hills are still ringing
in my ears!
one Christmas trip, I was
bundled in blankets in the back of Dad’s ’52 Chevy pick-up truck, along with the
suitcases and packages (no room in the cab), observing the light decorations of
farms and small towns along the way, and arriving late at night. I tried to imagine
how occupants of the rural homes were spending their evening. Granny and Grandpa
did not have a Christmas tree, so we went out the next day and cut a three-foot
cedar, brought it back to the house, and proceeded to decorate it. We scrounged
about a half-dozen ornaments, made bows from ribbons, and made a popcorn string
for a garland. In the eyes of many, it was probably pretty pathetic; but, to me,
it was pretty grand! That night we slept on pallets on the floor near the old
wood-burning stove in the living room.
Grandma cooked meals on a wood-burning
stove and oven; she had that down to a science, as I cannot remember eating tastier
home-cooked meals and bakery goods. She also had a kettle in which she heated
water over an open fire in the back yard for doing laundry. That kettle was also
used for making homemade lye soap. We had to haul water by bucket from a neighbor’s
well across the highway. The house had electricity, but no plumbing.
Grandpa had a knack for story-telling. There was the one about the old Spanish
explorers hiding treasure chests in a cave in one of the mountains located toward
being guarded “to this day” by hoards of rattlesnakes. Then, there was the one
about (Spanish explorers, again!) constructing a pig pen from bars of silver somewhere
in the hills. And, (yep, you guessed it) Spanish explorers burying bags of gold
among the roots of a walnut tree near Walnut
There was a general store nearby where we could get candy,
while the grandparents where shopping for their goods. There was no television;
entertainment was provided by radio programming.
The only family names
of nearby residents that I can remember are Parham and Underwood.
In their later years, the grandparents relocated to Stephenville,
in a house at 515 South Devine, where they continued to raise a few chickens and
grow productive vegetable gardens for cooking and canning. Upon graduation from
high school, I wanted to live with my grandparents and attend Tarleton College;
but, that did not happen.
parent and grandparent generations have passed to their rewards, but left me with
memories that do not fade.
Horses, Don't They? February
23 , 2012 Guest column
amazing how one article can prompt others to recall their earlier years... I
received a letter from Zoritta Jackson, now 91 years old. She and her husband
operated a general store and gas station on Hwy 67 in Chalk Mountain until his
death in 1998. - Bruce Martin, Leawood, KS, , October 04, 2012Great
story! Good website, too. Makes me think of all the stories that disappeared because
no one wrote them down. - Nancy Wood, February 26, 2012It
made a very interesting article. It seems so much is lost from small towns across
the U.S. I won’t say Waco,
TX, where I was born, is a small town like Chalk
Mountain was, but I have come to realize a lot was lost in Waco
back in 1953 or so. A tornado ripped through the downtown area, especially the
town square, and today I really can’t identify a lot of the places there. I remember
the old buildings and walking around the square as an aunt of mine worked in a
bakery there. The old
Brazos River bridge is still there, but you can only walk over it now. My
aunt drove over that all the years she worked in that bakery. After my folks moved
to Fort Worth, I would spend a
good portion of my summer in Waco
with my grandmother, two aunts and uncles and a cousin. It was a lot of fun that
was for sure. My aunt would drive her son and I by the Baylor campus to see the
bear mascot they had. I probably couldn’t find my way around that campus now as
the university has grown so much. Guess those were my “good old days” and it was
fun. - Nancy Howard, February 24, 2012I
really enjoyed your article. I didn't know you had roots in what I believe they
call the Cross Timbers region--Stephenville,
Granbury, and regions roundabout.
The section of the North Texas District of the Assemblies of God takes that name,
Cross Timbers Section. We live just north of Alvarado
only an hour or so from the sites you describe. We went to the Passion Play in
last fall with the senior adults from Crowley Assembly of God ["Crowley Classics",
we're called]. Thanks for sharing. - Melvin Surface, February 24, 2012 Interesting!
I had not heard that term before being used to identify the region... - Bruce
story. I remember all of that, too.....in central Kansas. Only my grandparents
didn't have electricity, nor indoor plumbing. Great memories. - Don Homrighausen,
February 23, 2012 Ed
and I really enjoyed the article. We're impressed with your writing. Ed said he
grew up pretty much the same way only in a different part of the country, Homedale,
Idaho. His grandparents sound a lot like yours. His grandpa could sure tell the
stories, like how they pulled the big Sturgeons out of the Snake River and had
to pull them out with a tractor.....Ha. This is the story he used to tell Doug
Buchanan and he would laugh and laugh. - Ed and Linda Wolt, February 23, 2012
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