From my ledger. Saturday, August 25, 1984. The first week of school is over for teachers as we just finished five days of in service. A mutiny was almost launched after seeing the new lesson plan requirements for the year. H.B. 246 states we have to teach essential elements. Didn’t we already think we were teaching essential material? After you decide which element you are going to teach you must search through several pages and match up the proper descriptor for it. Like working an unnecessary puzzle before you start teaching.
This morning the alarm clock went off at 4:30 and I went to the Peek Field near Horton. Thomas Skinner has the place leased and hogs are eating his maize. At first light I got to the field and had brought blue heeler, Prissy and bulldog, Bull. A pickup was ahead of me and we parked near each other. It was Ronny (or Randy?) Kenworthy from Campbell and he had a young bulldog named Buddy. After deciding to hunt together we walked north of the maize through thick trumpet creeper vines where the hogs were staying during the day. We hit a well-used hog trail and followed it northwest. While in chest high trumpet creepers I heard Bull bark about seventy five yards away. As we fought through the vines I drew my .357 magnum revolver and eased up slowly. Just as I got close Bull grabbed an ear and Prissy a back leg. When Bull was head to head with the hog and out of the way I shot it in the neck slightly too low to hit the spine. After a short chase the dogs caught again and this time I slipped up within two yards and made a heart shot. The maize eater had eaten his last.
While gutting the boar we saw some nearby weeds shaking as another hog had been hiding like a quail and finally flushed. I ran in that direction and put Bull on the trail but he came back in a few minutes so hot that he rattled when he breathed. The August heat is really tough on dogs. The boar we gutted was probably as big as any I ever killed. Its stomach was opened and sure enough, it was packed with maize. We split the breast bone all the way to the neck so the boar would fit down over my shoulders and not slide off as I walked toward the pickup. It was all we both could do to raise the hog up on my back and I staggered a little as the full weight settled down. After walking south for two hundred yards we came to a small levee where we could bring a pickup. I rested while Ronny walked to get the pickup. Stopping in Cooper I showed the boar to Deputy Red Gilbert, Larry Trapp, H.N. Watkins, and Huck Elmore. At home, cotton scales bottomed out at 160 so I know it weighed more than that. Wag Liles guessed it at 240 but that was too much.
Sunday, August 26, 1984. About 6:00 p.m. Jean, the boys, and I rode to Tira and on east to look at deer. North of Nelta at the cemetery a four foot long rattlesnake was crawling across the road. I got Jean and the boys to stay and watch it from a distance while I drove to find a sack somewhere. At a house southwest of the cemetery I talked to Curtis Skeen who loaned me an Army duffle bag and a hoe. He went back with me to watch and I got it in the bag. East of Nelta we turned north up an oil road and went around the Dark Corner Loop where we stopped and talked a while with one time student of mine, Scott Petty. Through Sulphur Bluff to Dike to Interstate 30 and supper at McDonalds in Sulphur Springs.
Sunday, September 23, 1984. Sheila’s sixteenth birthday. After Church at East Delta and dinner at Papa’s we drove to Lamar County to look at steers for Michael’s agriculture project. Picked out a four hundred pound black one. On the way home we went by Ma’s (my grandmother McFadden) house. She had several visitors and they were talking up a storm. Didn’t hear us come up. I knew they were sitting in the south room that has a lot of big windows so I pulled my cap down to cover up as much of my face as I could. Walked with a big limp across the yard, opened the door to the small smokehouse, went inside, and shut the door. In the house were Ma’s sister in law, Ina Mathews, Ma’s brother, Uncle Will Mathews and wife Ruby, Ma’s brother Cotton Mathews and his wife. I was hiding in the smoke house and just a giggling. Uncle Will is a deputy in Hobart, Oklahoma and I knew he was probably carrying a pistol. Sure nuff, just as Jean started up the steps, Uncle Will was coming out of the house to investigate. We sure had a lot of laughs about that.
Farmers and ranchers sometimes have it tough when feed prices go up while they receive less for what they produce. A chicken farmer tried to increase his profit by mixing sawdust with his chicken feed. One fourth sawdust worked just fine and the hens kept laying as usual. The next week he increased it to half sawdust. He kept gradually increasing the sawdust until he had the hens on a pure sawdust diet. One morning his wife came in to report that fifteen little chicks had hatched. Fourteen of them had wooden legs and one looked just like a woodpecker.