and I loved the western movies each Saturday at the Strand Theatre in Marlin.
Before the main feature they would always have a cartoon and then a continued
piece. The idea was to encourage moviegoers to return the next week in order to
learn how the cliffhanger came out. One of the serials featured real-life animal
trainer Clyde Beatty. He had his own circus and he was the first to mix lions
and tigers in the same cage. His movie adventures took place in “Darkest Africa”
as they announce so menacingly each week. In each episode he would fight a lion
or face a fierce band of dangerous looking savages. Before the attack the suspense
would build by the sounds of drums in the distance. BOOM,boom,boom,boom,BOOM,boom,boom,boom.
That would later be the cause of one of the scariest moments in my life. I had
been down with the flu. About all a mother could do in those days was to see that
we got plenty of bed rest and to apply cool cloths to the forehead to reduce the
fever. After a couple of days of this treatment I woke up thirsty one evening
and called for my mother. After several more attempts there was no answer, so
I gingerly arose to see if I could find her. I was so weak I should have returned
to bed but instead I went outside to look for her. I immediately had to sit down
on the back steps. Dusk was rapidly approaching. As I sat there gazing at the
growing shadows toward the bottomland near Big Creek I thought I heard a faint
sound in that direction. The longer I sat there the louder it became. Then I recognized
that unmistakable rhythm. BOOM,boom,boom,boom,BOOM,boom,boom,boom. African Drums!
I was sure that I would see a swarm of fierce savages emerging from the woods
at any time. The whole scene was so real no one could have convinced me it wasn’t.
About the time my fear reached its peak I saw my mother step out of the henhouse
with a basket of eggs. Suddenly the drums stopped. I looked back down at the bottomland.
It looked completely normal again.|
That evening my fever broke and I made
a quick recovery. All the flu symptoms had disappeared by the weekend and I couldn’t
wait to get to the Strand Theatre to see how Clyde Beatty would come out of his
scrape this time. However, I never told anyone about “The attack of the fierce