my grandparents, Earl and Lavonia Goode, lived in Wilson
County, Texas, they had some good neighbors. One of them was Paul
Svoboda. He was just like one of the Goode family. He was around a
lot. Clare was the baby of the Goode family. Clare was one year older
than me. She was my aunt, but she was more like a cousin. Clare adored
Paul. He was like a big brother. He was also like a brother to the
other Goode girls in the family who were all older.
It was during the mid 1930's. Paul was just a young man, and lived
at the Goode farm for a while, helping with the farm chores and the
harvesting. He slept out in the hay loft. They lived out in the Camp
Ranch community then, and by then my mother, Bertie Lee, was married
to my daddy, Lawrence Zook, and they had me and my two sisters and
a brother. We lived down the road from my grandparents. Paul was a
good friend to my mother and daddy also. He was a kind man. I can
vaguely remember him. He was a quiet gentleman.
When Clare was sick, or woke in the night with scary dreams, Paul
Svoboda was the only person who could calm her down and get her back
to sleep. One night Clare woke and was crying a long time. Finally
one of the older girls went to get Paul and he put Clare up on his
shoulders and began to walk her outside under the stars. She loved
to ride on his shoulders, and that always seemed to quiet her. That
night, the family went outside with Paul who walked around the yard
with the crying child, hoping something would quiet her. The moon
came up over the oak trees and shone brightly as it rose higher in
the night sky. The moon enthralled Clare and she began to quiet down.
But then she began to cry again, "I want the moon! Gimme the moon!"
Paul tried to explain to the child, "I can't get the moon. It is too
big and too far away!"
But Clare kept on crying "I want it. I want the moon!" as she reached
out her hands toward the sky, reaching for the moon.
Finally, Paul said, "Child, I can get you anything you want, but I
can't get the moon!"
Ever since that time, my aunt Clare has been reaching for the moon.
She is 83 years old, and she hasn't given up!
When my grandparents moved over to the Fairview
community before moving to San
Antonio in 1937, they had some good times. All the girls were
musically inclined. Grandma played the piano and the guitar and sang,
and Grandpa played the fiddle. As the girls got older, they learned
to sing and play guitars and the piano.
One hot summer night, the family gathered on the front porch as her
sister Ellen sang "Blue moon of Kentucky". Every time they sang that
song, Clare cried, the tears running down her cheeks. For some reason
she thought it was the saddest song she ever heard. That night Ellen
played the guitar and sang the old sad song, and Clare leaned her
head against the weathered old boards of the porch, thinking about
how lonesome and blue that man was waiting for his girl to come home.
But also maybe she was still that tiny girl reaching for the moon?
While the singing was going on, the family was making homemade ice
cream. H. E. and Johnny, her two older brothers were taking turns
cranking the handle of the old wooden ice cream maker. As the ice
cream sat for a while and hardened, they saw two figures walking down
the road. Some how the two Connally brothers, Wayne and Merrill (brothers
of John Connally, who became Governor of Texas) who lived down the
road, must have gotten wind of the ice cream making! Or maybe they
heard the singing. Grandma sent Sallie back into the house to get
two more bowls and spoons.
Later on, Ellen got out her guitar again and she and Sallie and Fay
sang some more old folk songs. They all sat laughing and eating their
ice cream, the crickets and tree frogs were chirping in the hot summer
night, as the girls harmonized on their favorites, "Dear Old Daddy
of Mine", "Red River Valley", "Silver Threads Among the Gold", and
the really sad one, "Barbara Allen", which made everyone cry!
Finally midnight came, and with the younger kids lying asleep on the
porch on an old quilt, the Connally boys left to go home. The Goode
family gathered up their young ones and went back into the house,
which had begun to cool now, with the night breezes blowing. The moon
was high in the sky now, and the stars were dim in the moonlight.
The sad songs still echoed their mournful words as the cows lowed
in the pens down by the barn, but Clare was sound asleep as her daddy
lifted her up from the porch, as she dreamed about sad songs, ice
cream melting on her tongue and the moon out of reach in the sky."
© Lois Zook Wauson
"They shoe horses, don't
they?" January 7, 2016 Guest Column
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