times the events we experienced in childhood seemed a great deal
more important, exciting or exaggerated than they do now in adulthood.
I was 6 or 7 at the time. I recall one warm summer afternoon very
near the end of WW-II; my family and I were visiting with the Stewert
family. They lived in the community of Walton Center, Texas. That
is in southeastern Cass County on FM 125, only a couple hundred
yards from the Louisiana State line. It was about six miles from
my childhood home on the Rambo oil
lease. The Stewerts had an older son who was serving overseas in
the US military. My parents and we kids had stopped by to check
on him and see when he might be coming home. But more importantly
to me at the time, they had children to play with near my own age.
Old Uncle Jim
Stewert had a big English bulldog named Mary Ann. That dog seemed
very big and ugly to me. She lay around on the front porch sleeping
a lot. But, when spurred into action, she could be terribly mean
and vicious to other animals, especially to stray dogs. That seems,
I have learned, to be the natural character of some large Terrier
and Bulldog breeds. I have also read some place where dogs aren't
naturally mean and vicious, but man makes them that way through
agitation, prodding and attack training.
We children were all playing out in the red dirt road, when a large
black stray dog came bouncing down the road wanting only to pass
us by and move on along. But, as carefree, playful kids, we all
wanted to pet that stray. So we blocked the dog's path in order
to stop it and pet it. (Please don't try that at home) Mary Ann
sure didn't like that. Jealous that we kids would pet another dog,
not to mention hating stray dogs, she rapidly moved into action.
As Mary Ann came up close, that stray tried to flee. Mary Ann caught
it by the back leg and scuffled it over into the road ditch, where
the two fought viciously for a while. We kids, not knowing how this
dog fight would turn out, got very excited, gleefully jumping up
and down and cheering for the underdog; the stray. Wow! A big dog
fight like I had never seen before, nor since, right there before
our very own eyes. ----- Too soon though, all the joy, jubilance
and excitement turned to sadness, fright and screaming, crying children.
Mary Ann had quickly gotten the upper hand of that stray. She locked
her jaws on that dog's throat and didn't budge an inch until it
lay lifeless. We kids were severely shocked. Never having seen such
a horrible sight, I was frightened to death. Terrified, quickly
I ran fast as possible to the house where the adults were sitting
on the front porch sipping hot coffee from a saucer and talking.
Exhaustedly I told them what had happened out in the road. It seemed
of little or no surprise to Uncle Jim. No big deal! He said Mary
Ann was very capable of that and did it quite often. It was just
one more dead dog for him to have to drag off, dig a hole and bury.
But, I can tell you; it was a big emotional deal to us kids. A very
sad and gruesome sight young children should never have to witness.
I would never, never forget what I, as a young lad, saw there that
It was now late in the day and after a while, my family and I got
ready to leave. We all piled into our old 1939 Chevrolet pickup
and headed for home. Dad, mom and one sister usually rode in the
first class section, "up front" in the cab. Another sister and I
frequently rode in the fun and game section, the "open air" back
pickup bed. Back there, my dad had built a nice little board bench
for us kids to sit on.
As we arrive home and pulled up into the yard, my little "Poochy"
dog came running out to greet us. Picking him up in my arms, I hugged
and hugged him, thankful he was safe and sound. "Poochy" was the
fuzzy, cuddly little puppy Bessy and Bud had given me several months
earlier for spending the night with them in their home at Huffines.
He was a good, frisky, loyal little pet and he lived to be thirteen
Maybe I'll see you on down the road!