by: Eddie Trapp
Grandma Annie Mae McFadden was born in 1900 and passed away in 1992. Seven years before she died she sat down and wrote, “Some Things I Remember.” In places her writing was hard to read but here goes:
“I remember when there were no electric lights in the country. The first radio I ever heard was at Hilderbrands in Paris, Texas. I looked everywhere for the band playing music. Finally someone told me what it was and I remember the first car I ever rode in. It was from the depot in Paris to the Paris Plaza.
I remember the first commode I ever flushed. My friend Joan was with me. I was about half way out the door. She grabbed me and began pulling me back. She said, ‘Every bit of that water is running out.’ I think it was 1932 when they plowed up a lot of cotton. My husband raked the cotton out and carried it to a shade. We picked cotton out of the burs and had two good cotton mattresses made. Then cattle prices went down to two or three dollars a head but the government went to paying four to six dollars a head just to kill them. We sold them several then decided to just have the rest canned so we carried eleven head to Enloe and had them canned on the halves. That is why I don’t like beef today.”
We today don’t know what our folks over the years had to live through.
While on the past I’ll tell of my great great great grandparents George Washington Mathews and his wife Elizabeth Cranford (listed as Crawford in places). Later in life they called her Blind Granny Cranford but when she was younger during the Civil War she was walking home from a neighbor’s where she had helped deliver a baby the night before. She found a Confederate cap laying in the road and picked it up. Her husband was off to the war somewhere and when she got home she found Union soldiers in her house eating breakfast. She held up the cap and said, “If yall knowed what I know you wouldn’t be sitting there.” They hit the door a’running.
Another time when Blind Granny (before she went blind) was home alone with the kids some Union soldiers came by and were going to take her milk cow. Times were hard and the kids had to have milk from the cow. She got a gun and stood between the cow and the soldiers. Said they would have to kill her and the kids before they got the cow. They left without the cow.
Enough on long ago history and now some current. Skunks are beginning their annual February shenanigans as I am seeing many run over on the highway. I’m also getting more calls for skunk removal. Last week Junior Larkin and I fished Cooper Lake and on the way home a caracara, sometimes called a Mexican eagle, was feeding with buzzards on a dead skunk in the road. Caracaras have long legs and a lot of white on their head. A few times I have seen red tailed hawks, caracaras, and buzzards feeding together on a dead animal near the road. It is egg laying time for buzzards, eagles, great blue herons, and all large birds in our area is here. They must get an early start since it will take months for the young to develop. Watch for buzzards sitting on top of old barns and houses as they find nesting places. As you are near the spillway while crossing the dam at Cooper Lake look off in the north and see the huge eagle nest in the tip of a very tall tree.
Cousin Dan Peters came this past weekend to hunt hogs with me. Brought his son, high school sophomore John. Dan’s girlfriend’s son, senior in Lamar High School, Keaton, also hunted with us. Locals helping me with the hunt were Denton Humphrey, Tanner Phifer, and Casey Williams. The weather was in the thirties as we rode four wheeler and small trailer to the river bottom near Charleston. After an hour and half chances were looking slim but soon Denton’s dog, Red, bayed two hogs. Zack, Purdy, and 380 ran to help bay until Denton got there with catch dog Blue. Both hogs were caught within two minutes and our visitors had some meat to take home. The hunters spent stormy Saturday night at our cabin on the river bank. As they came out Sunday they checked my traps and found three pigs in one and two in another.
As Junior and I walked to our fishing place last week I told him of hearing hammering toward Tira boat ramp a week or so earlier. It went on for three hours while I fished. I thought something was under construction at the parking lot. Soon the sound started moving and I realized the sound was coming from a boat. Somebody was beating on the side of a boat with a paddle or some object. As Junior and I started fishing the sound began again. While we fished we came up with lots of possibilities about the banging. Maybe animal rights people were trying to scare fish away from fishermen nearby. Could someone be trying to attract fish? It is a fairly common practice to beat on the water with a limber pole to mimic the sound of feeding sand bass and attract fish. Is this boat banging a new method? On the way home we stopped at Rick Murray BBQ and he said it was a new method for “waking up” hybrid stripers that were not feeding. Anglers could see hybrids on their fish locators stacked up beneath their boat but they just wouldn’t bite. Somehow the beating turns them on. Have you ever beat on the side of a boat for three or more hours? I wonder if anybody ever motored over and asked them to quit making so much noise. That sound carries for miles across water.
Young folks, there was a time when a man would come to your porch and leave bottles of milk by the door. You left him a note telling how many bottles to leave. Here are some notes left for the milk man: I’ve just had a baby; please leave another one. Please don’t leave any more milk. All they do is drink it. Please close the gate behind you because the birds keep pecking the tops off. Sorry not to have paid my bill but my wife had a baby and I have been carrying it around in my pocket.