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Texas | Columns | "It's All Trew"

Pederson Creek
offered unique privileges

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew

Early residents along Pederson Creek just west of McLean enjoyed two privileges most other settlers did not have. The creek bottom held a good supply of clean, sharp sand needed for making concrete. Extra income could be earned by hauling the sand to nearby McLean to be used in building structures in the new town. Residents like the Crockett and Dwyer families sold many a load of sand from the area, helping them through lean times.

A second privilege enjoyed along the creek depended on the winter weather. It was a live running-water creek, and under the right conditions the creek froze hard enough that the school children could skate on the ice to and from Pederson School. It's hard to believe that the semi-arid Panhandle of Texas ever provided enough ice on which to skate.

Down through time, almost every family living in the country sooner or later experienced a skunk settling under their house. Everyone has smelled the aromatic scent of a skunk along a highway. Imagine the smell permeating your home 24 hours a day.

Coaxing the critter from underneath your house without triggering the odor-making attachment on the rear required prayer and luck. The best way seemed to be to open all outlets and set lanterns under the floor because the critters don't like light. If you got sprayed personally, bathing in tomato juice and burying your clothes in dirt for a few days solved the problem. I know this from personal experience.

Another tidbit came my way while visiting with an elderly neighbor. It seems he had a place on his land where a field terrace emptied floodwater into a draw. Sadly, each rain left an ugly arroyo which hindered his farming operations. He tried every gimmick known to prevent the erosion, all to no avail. After each hard rain, he had to repair the eroded area.

A friend told him to try laying old bedsprings in the drainage channel. The man cruised several farm dumps, collecting eight sets of rusty bedsprings. He laid them side by side and end to end, tying them together with baling wire and driving metal stakes into the soil to hold them in place. Last, he hauled native grass hay, scattering it over the bedsprings hoping to plant seeds of grass and weeds to grow up through the springs, helping to hold all from washing away.

The rains came slowly, sprouting the seed and he soon had a steel and native grass mat like no other. The heavy rains came and the mat held. The floodwaters just passed over, leaving the waterway intact. The man was elated his efforts had succeeded.

I complimented him on his ingenious but economical solution, saying, "That looks like a perfect solution to me." He shook his head as a pained look came on his face. "Well, it wasn't perfect for I forgot and rode my horse across the bedsprings. That was the hardest I have ever been thrown and the horse wouldn't get within a hundred yards of the place as long as I owned him."


Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"
January 23, 2005 column



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