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.
Some 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
My 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!
For 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 Glen
Rose, 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.
The parent and grandparent generations have passed to their rewards,
but left me with memories that do not fade.
They Shoe Horses, Don't
23 , 2012 Guest column
It's amazing how one article can prompt others to recall their earlier
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
Good website, too. Makes me think of all the stories that disappeared
because no one wrote them down. - Nancy Wood, February 26, 2012
It 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
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, 2012
I really enjoyed
your article. I didn't know you had roots in what I believe they
call the Cross Timbers region--Stephenville,
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 Glen
Rose last fall with the senior adults from Crowley Assembly
of God ["Crowley Classics", we're called]. Thanks for sharing. -
Melvin Surface, February 24, 2012
I had not heard that term before being used to identify the region...
- Bruce Martin
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,