Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Our Great Little Silver

Ole Silver was one of the greatest little chums a guy could have.   This picture shows more than the four cousins or the pony. 

To the right, behind Silver with Milton, Donnie and Yvonne is the old stone house.  The one they lived in when they came in 1900.  To the left is the other stone house.  They were each just one room.  The second one on the left, had originally been farther to the right, toward the other one.  When they came, it was a half dugout, in the area where we had a garden.  But Grandpa and the boys or men, had dug it out and rebuilt it where is now sets.

When we moved there on January 31, 1941, the square room had no roof.  But had an octagonal wooden wall around it.  The walls were six or eight feet away from the stone walls and was covered with wood shingle roof.
Those are the two buildings involved in the evening of the Halloween party and the ghost.  When we moved there the wood walls and roof were in pretty bad array.  Within a year we had torn down the wood roof and walls and put on the roof you see in this picture.  Just on the outside east wall, there was a pile of old lumber and some pieces of corrugated iron roofing.  In front of the Stone house is the cistern, right behind me.

Daddy had a pair of little rat terriers.  Oh, they loved to hunt mice and rats.  As we began pulling those boards apart, there was plenty of activity and fun.  Immediate caution sized our throats when Daddy lifted the end of sheet iron and an eighteen inch rattle snake struck at him.  I guess we didn't imagine at that time what was in store for us all.


 And Assume All His Responsibilities

Grandpa Easley was bed fast for five years.  Aunt Pearl (his youngest daughter) and her husband, Uncle Everett Davis had moved in to take care of him and run the farm.   It was an agreement of his family.  But I never knew any of the arrangements.  During that time, Grandma Easley died.  Mother and Daddy had planned to marry in November, 1936, but due to her death they thought it best to wait a few weeks.  So they were married, as you know, December 19, 1936.

While Grandpa was still living, it was agreed with his estate that Mother and Daddy would buy his place.  I know none of those arrangements either.  Uncle Everett learned of defense work in Washington State.  He asked to be re-leaved of his responsibilities on the farm.  Our Parents agreed to begin January 1, 1941.  But Grandpa died on New Years Day.  So Uncle Everett's were able to leave and we could move at our leisure.   We did.  On January 31, 1941 we moved into Grandpa's house.

This is the house they built in 1906.  Grandma and Grandpa are standing under the corner of the porch between the two post.   There are eight men besides Grandpa, six women besides Grandma, six babies in arms and eight children on the ground.  I know they had six living sons and three daughters.  So this probably was not a gathering of cousins and other relatives.  But mostly members of Grandma and Grandpa's own family.  Maybe an uncle, brother, or cousin might have been staying for a while.

The house faces west, the road runs north and south.  They are facing south and a little west.  The porch crosses the front and goes along the entire south side.  There are two rooms on the front and one long room extending to the east.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Riding Along with Family Members

Thanks to Pallie Sue and Yvonne for providing these pictures.
Kit on the far side, Kate on our side.  Daddy is driving.  I am behind him looking over his shoulder.  Pallie is sitting beside him.  Papa is just behind her.  Sitting to Papa's left is someone.  We wonder it that might be Yvonne.  Granny is behind Papa.  Milton sits between the wheels with his legs hanging down.  I think that is Linda Kay to his left.  Kathryn is in the brown coat at the back and we're guessing that might be Donnie in the red coat by the back wheel.

We left home going south toward the Red River.  A half mile south we crossed Squaw Creek just to the north of the Little Red House.  We didn't turn left and cross Squaw Creek again.  That would put us in the driveway to the Little Red House or we could have turned south toward the river.  Instead we turned to the right going west and after about 4 or 5 city blocks, we went up the high hill and passed Teddy Joe's house.  That's where this picture is taken, a little farther west of his house.  The field to the north is in that property farmed sometimes by Uncle Ross or Mr. Rosser or L. D. Rosser or Elmer Easley.  I was with Daddy one time at the east end of that field, before it dropped off the hill into the pasture.  L. D. had planted peanuts there.  They had an old thresher and were threshing the peanuts.

About a quarter mile ahead of us was Tater Mountian on the north.  That was in Delbert and Ima White's pasture.  Another eighth mile or so was the corner of Papa's farm where we turned north toward their place. 

Thelma would have taken this picture.  I don't know if she brought Granny, Papa and Kathryn over to our place for this ride, or if they drove themselves there.

Here we are a bunch of cousins at our place on Grandpa Easley's farm.  I don't know who brought who or when. 
We're in the driveway, facing the road.  I'm not sure why the 10 gallon milk cans were setting right there.  But we did bring them up from the dairy barn for the milk man to pick up.  Maybe they were empties he had dropped off.
Thanks to Pallie Sue and Yvonne for providing these pictures.
In the back ground, is the stone house that was on the place when the Great Grand Parents moved there in 1900.  Grandma had her cooking fire right out front.  Her bean pot hung over the fire the year round.  Papa told me they had beans every meal, three times a day.  They had other foods, too, what ever was in season.  After each meal she threw in another hand full or two of beans.  She would have needed to add a little more water, as well.

On the sled, across the front, from left to right are:  Milton, Ronald, Pallie Sue and Donnie.  I am holding the reigns next to Linda Kay and Yvonne.                                      

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Our New Team of Two Little Jennies

When we first moved to Grandpa's farm there was an old horse named Nuben.  I never knew, but I suppose he was left over as the last horse of Uncle Everett's farming days.  Daddy had him harnessed and pulling a sled while we picked corn.  Corn does not produce well on dry land farms in Southwest Oklahoma.  The ears turned out to be "nubens" as well.  After that fall, Nuben wasn't there any more.  I never thought to ask Daddy where he went or what happened to him.

But soon after, Daddy came home one day with a beautiful saddle horse.  He was "Ringler Joe."  Daddy rode him a lot.  He rode him after the cows very often.  Soon after Ringler came, we got Ole Silver   I assume that Ringler went with the others in the auction.

We had the auction, because Daddy had surgery on his stomach ulcer.  The Doctors told him to reduce his labor and work for two years.  By the end of the first year, he was beginning to go again.  The surgery was in August.  The next May, Donnie was bitten by the rattle snake.  It had rained and the fields were too muddy to drive in them.  He drove down the road, climbed the fence and ran across the narrow field.  She and the others were walking in the fenced cattle lane.  Daddy picked her up from across the fence and retraced his steps carrying her back to the car.  I was concerned about him running and lifting, but I understood it.

Sometime later in that year, he bought a pair of Jennies from Claude Wilson.  We were so glad and enjoyed them for several years.  They were Kit and Kate.  Kate was more gentle.  Kit loved to bite.  Every time I harnessed her, she would watch for an opportunity to nip me on the arm or leg.  And she wasn't above giving a kick.

They were good little donkeys.  We got a lot of work from them.  Some old man had left a set of wagon wheels and frame at Papa's place.  It seemed to me, that it was there a long time.  After we had the donkeys, Daddy ask about it.  He gave it to us.  Daddy reworked it all and cut it down to "donkey" size.  He made a wagon bed with side boards and a seat for two or three up front.

I drove them after the cows almost every day after school.  Some times we took the tractor.  One time when I was hunting the cows with the Kit and Kate, I came up over a sand hill.  As we started down the other side, a skunk ran out of a sage brush.  He scared the donkeys and they started to run.  Fortunately he didn't give us a spray job.  That would have been a mess.  But the Kit and Kate headed for a China Berry Tree.  The trunk was 8 or 10 inches through.  They were running full tilt, straight for the tree and I couldn't get them to turn to either side. Somehow the wooden wagon tongue had been broken, so Daddy put in one made of pipe.  When that pipe hit the tree trunk, it glanced to one side and then the neck yoke holding up the front end of the tongue took the next blow.  Each end of the neck yoke is fastened to the collar around each donkey's neck.  Then the right end of the neck yoke came loose and that left us all at a stand still.  I got down and backed Kate and Kit up.  When they were far enough back, so their heads could bypass the tree, I hunted over the wagon and found a little bailing wire.  With that, I could wire the neck yoke back to Kit's collar.  Then we proceeded on our cow hunt, until we found them after a few more sand hills.  The rest of the journey was uneventful. 

One Sunday morning it was raining.  In Oklahoma one never knew how wide spread a rain might be.  The road by our house was far too muddy to drive the car, but a mile up the road it might be dry.  When morning chores were done, Daddy said we could try to go to Church ... three and a half miles north and three quarters east.  But because of the amount of the rain, he thought we ought to go in the wagon with the team.  It was a fun ride.  I don't remember about the other end of the road.  But I think the roads were dry after about a mile.  We continued on and arrived at the Church yard full of cars and pickups, feeling like we might have been pioneers from days long past.

While I was trying to recall details for the paragraph above, I discussed it with Donnie.  She reminded me of another muddy Sunday.  We had all gone to Church on a beautiful winter day.  Thelma and Dillon invited me home with them for Dinner at noon.  Claude and Clara Wilson with their children (all younger than me) had gone home with Mother and Daddy and my younger siblings.  Late that afternoon it came one of those Noah's rains we sometimes got.  We at Dillon's didn't go to Church that night.  Mother and Daddy with the Wilson's all started to Church that evening.  Donnie said they were more in the ditch than on the road.  All the people who were able to push, were in the muddy road ---  pushing!  When they finally go there, Upton and Thelma Mitchell were the only ones.  They just lived about a quarter mile away.  The country Church had no bathrooms and no phones, -- no way to clean up.  They had some kind of service or Bible study, then settled all the children down on pews for naps.  Their plan was to sleep until the mud roads froze.  So sometime after midnight, everybody woke up, got in their cars and went home.

North of our house about a mile there was a mud hole in the road when it rained.  It was between two hills and very difficult to have the speed to go through without getting stuck.  I was with Daddy once in the wagon behind Kit and Kate when we were pulling somebody out of that hole.  He had tied a chain between their front axle and our back axle.  He gave the donkeys the signal to pull.  That car, stuck is that red clay was a heavy load.  The donkeys pulled.  Daddy urged them on and finally they got down on their front knees and pulled until that car came out of the mud!
One time we had planted our cotton seeds.  A heavy rain came and packed the fresh plowed soil.  When the sun came out, it baked the field so that the seeds couldn't push through.  Daddy's idea worked.  He drilled holes in the sweeps of an old horse drawn cultivator.  In the holes he put through some bolts he had sharpened and screwed a nut on the underside.  We hitched the donkeys to the cultivator and I got on the seat.  Daddy adjusted the plough so the sharpened bolts scratched and broke through the dirt.  So the seeds were able to sprout.  The donkeys plodded up and down the rows.  I sat on the seat and together we saved over a hundred acres of cotton seed.

Also, Daddy plowed the garden and moved dirt from place to place with Kit and Kate,  pulling the slip until earth rolled over the back.  As our younger brothers and sisters came along and cousins came to visit, we set everybody on the sled and had lots of fun while the donkeys pulled us up and down the roads and paths of the yards and fields.

Thursday, February 7, 2013



My dictionary says:  Shivaree  "a noisy mock serenade to a newly married couple."   I didn't think of it as a "mock" serenade.  But, then Shivarees were all over, a little before I reached my teens.   They was supposed to be a surprise on the new couple.  Family and friends of the community brought food for a party.  They played tricks and games.  Then eating together everybody welcomed the newly weds "to life among us."

In earlier days, I heard or read that the Groom was often made to sit astride a fence post or a rail and several guys carried him around, shaking the rail, bouncing the poor fellow up and down.  I never saw the joy of doing that kind of "fun."

The first Shivaree I heard about happened when our parents were young.  The young couple were living with her parents in a house Uncle Will had built, now the "Teddy Joe Sheehan Place."  The family had heard there would be a Shivaree that night.  A guy from the neighborhood slipped into their barn and watched through the loft door to see if they left, and which way they went.  Indeed, they did.  In late afternoon, they came from the house to the barn, climbed the ladder to the loft and sat down on bails of  hay.  When the folks all began arriving for the Shivaree, the "snick in the barn loft guy" had to reveal himself.  So he and the couple came into the house together.  It was a great hurrah for everyone.

 I'm not sure the order of the next three Shivarees.   When Senior Walker and Phyllis got married, the Shivaree was at Aunt Lou and Uncle Lloyd's house.  When we arrived, there were a lot of people and the couple were sitting together on the couch.  Everyone seemed so happy and there was lots of talking and laughing.  I must have been between five and seven years of age.  They are still married.  We saw them when we were at Eldorado last fall.  They look great and are still working the farm.  Senior is still in his 80's, but closer to 90.

Aunt Bonnie and Udell Walker were engaged before he went to England for the 2nd World War.  When he came home for his grandmother's funeral, they decided to go ahead and get married.  They suspected a Shivaree was brewing, so they came to our house.  We got the chores done early and all went across the river to the well in Mulkey's pasture.   ( People from Oklahoma had helped to dig it and often went there to haul home a couple barrels of good water.)   Mother had made a picnic and we cranked a freezer of ice cream.  After a while, as it began to get dark, we could see the lights of cars as they turned around in our driveway.  It was a lot of fun for us, watching our own house from those four or five miles away.  We could laugh and talk and watch  and they could not see nor hear us.  A week or two later at Shumakers the family  and friends came for a fun Shivaree.

After the war, Aunt Nina's sister, Gladys and Eddy Brammer were married and  living with her folks at the next farm just north of us.  They must have not been expecting the Shivaree crowd when they came.  Anyway, Gladys and Eddy ran out the back door into the cotton field.  That lets you know it was the fall of the year.  Several cars were in Albert and Itha's yard.  Head lights were shining every which way.  Gladys and Eddy ran together and had to lie down when lights were swinging across the tops of the cotton rows.  Then they would crawl or run some more.  After a while they got separated.  And now they were each on their own trying to stay away from the searching crowd.

I don't remember why or where, but Mother had gone somewhere that evening.  Daddy was home with us.  We had supper and family prayers.  Then Daddy put the girls to bed.  About 11:00 there was a knock at the door.  It was Gladys.  She said, "Gordon, we got separated and I am so cold!  Could I just warm up a little?"
He told her the girls were in bed in the northwest bed room.  There were two beds in there.  He told her to take the empty one.  There was plenty of worm covers.  She could get warm and be safe.  About 11:30 or 11:45 a group of Shivaree chasers came to the door wanting to know, if Gladys had come by.  Daddy told them, "Yes, she had.  But the last he saw of her, she was headed west."  They went on their merry way.  Daddy never knew how long she stayed or when she left.

The last Shivaree of the community was that of Johnny and Mary Lou.  After they were married, they rented Mr. and Mrs. Jay's house.  One night soon after, a happy group in celebration mode came roaring into their back yard. There were shouts of "Go away," from the back door where everybody had parked.  And then came some shots of gun fire.  As fast as a speeding bullet, the joy makers speed away.  A few weeks later the lot of humble, happy friends and neighbors came again with prearranged permission and had a grand and joyful party with the newly weds. 

I've never heard of any more attempts to give any body a Shivaree in our neighborhood.  It may still be a practice somewhere in the world.  But in my experience, I've not heard of it anywhere.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Our Wonderful Little Pony

The years crept slowly by.  Gradually 1941 rolled in to 1942.  Daddy and Percy Ryan had met in the Altus office of men seeking work on the new Altus Airforce Base.  After a few weeks they were assigned to work together as a team of two.  As they worked and talked, they become friends.  They had many similar interest.  They each had 3 or 4 children.  During a time of the year that we could be away from the farm, Daddy and Percy found and rented two rooms of a three room house.  The land lord was reflooring one of the rooms.  So Ryans rented one room and Easleys the other.  We all moved to Altus for three months.  That must have been the first time Mother and Sylva met.

Ryans belonged to the Church of the Nazarene.  We were Methodist.  Granny had grown up in Texas during the development  of the Holiness Movement.  The Church of the Nazarene grew out of that Movement. Granny's brother-in-law, Ab Tucker was a Nazarene Evangelist, who had preached a Revival Meeting at the Mid=Way School.  That may have been the meeting where Mother and Daddy were both saved.

I think we may have gone home on Saturdays and attended Sunday morning service.  We did go to the Nazarene Church in Altus with Ryans some Sunday evenings.  So over time our bonds grew closer and closer with the Ryans.  After the men were finished with their work at the Air Base, we made a trip one week-end to visit the Ryan Family at Ryan, Ok.  We attended Church with them that Sunday.  Their Pastor was Rev. J. E. Ray.  His wife, Daris, taught the Children's class.  She read the most exciting story.  I really enjoyed that class.  Ryans, Rays and Easleys all had about the same number of children and all about the same age.

After several months, Daddy bought us a shetland pony from Percy.  His name was Silver.  We called him "Ole Silver."  He was black and white, a wonderful friend and pet for children.  I don't know, if someone had trained him to be careful with children, or if that was just in his nature.  Often I tried to make him run, all to no avail.  Daddy rode on him a time or two, and each time got him galloping.   We had a kids size saddle which came with him.  I enjoyed currying his coat and braiding his mane.  I put on his bridle and saddle to ride him for the milk cows at chore time.

One summer day, I had a new idea.  I brought our little red wagon up along side Ole Silver.  With a rope tied to the wagon tongue, I then tied it to the saddle horn.  As we started on our first safari, the sound of the rattling wagon scared poor Ole Silver, until he shot out the driveway and down the road a quarter mile before he finally stopped.  We ran down to lead the pony back and pulled the wagon home by hand.  One day when Pallie Sue was 18 months old, Silver was tied to the shade tree in the yard.  Someone looked out to discover Pallie sitting behind Ole Silver with her arms and legs wrapped around his back feet.

Cousin Kelly Johnson was Papa's very favorite of all his cousins.  One summer he and his wife, Cousin Pallie, came for a visit.  They were highly loved by all our clan.  Everybody had gathered at our place with dish after dish of food.  As the festivities moved along, someone brought Ole Silver to be tied at the shade tree.  After a while I noticed that my cousin, Yvonne Shumaker, had climbed into the saddle and was sitting on Ole Silver.  I had just walked onto the porch and there noticed a stick laying close at hand.  It was a great opportunity to give Yvonne a wonderful scare.  I picked up the stick and gave Ole Silver a poke on his rear end.  Quicker than an eye can see a flying horse hoof, my upper lip swelled out almost a half inch, and silvers foot was back on the ground.  O the pain and the awful embarrassment!  You better believe, I've never done it again!

At the auction a few years later, our young friend, Edwin Latham, begged his folks to buy the pony.  But Mr. McMines, our shop teacher, bought Ole Silver  for his two little daughters.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Little Johnny Wants to Play

When we were stuck inside the house on rainy days, I remember standing, looking out the window.  I was whining, complaining that we couldn't go out to play.  That's when Mother taught us the song:  "Rain, Rain, Go Away.  Little Johnny Wants to Play."  It was novel for a few minutes.  But we soon discovered that singing the song didn't make the rain stop.

But Mother was a woman of many ideas.  She brought out her thimble and for a while we played, "Hide the Thimble."  After that was, "I Spy."  We hid a button: beside the pitcher on the table, hung it on a nail in the wall, or stood it by a vase on a shelf.

On better days, in the evening, after chores we played other games:  hiding seek: sheep my pen; kick the can; snd drop the handkerchief.

I always thought the "Halloween Party" was October of our first year in Grandpa's house.  But now that I consider all that had happened:  the Sweet Corn harvest that September 18, 1941; Pallie's birth at 3am in the morning of Sept. 19; maybe other complications; I don't know, maybe the next year.  What I do remember was how wonderfully Mother decorated the house and all the young people of the neighborhood who came for the fun and the games......and their chase after the ghost.

Mother let me stay up.  I suppose Donnie and Pallie, regardless which year, were already sleeping soundly in bed.  The party was in the long "T" room.  Because of the time of year, the heat stove was up.  Mother (and probably Daddy helped) had hung a tight wire from one end of the room to the other.  It was 6 or 7 feet above the floor.  She had hung balloons by foot long strings from the wire.  The guests were paired to stand by a balloon and between the two, they were to burst them.  The guy on one side, held the balloon under his chin.  The girl on the other side might need to stand on a brick or two and hold the other side of the balloon under her chin.  They squeezed and tried with might and main to brake their balloon.  The first to succeed won a prize. 

There was a tub filled with water and apples for dunking.  There were treats and every body had a frolicking, roaring good time.  And then at some lull in the conversation, one of the guys asked, "Are there any ghost in these old buildings?"  Daddy and Lawton's eyes met across the room.  I'm not sure of the sequence, but Daddy went through the bed room and got a sheet.  Lawton led the crowd of young people out the south door from the living room.  He led them east, across the back yard.  In the light of the rising moon, the old stone house where Grandma and Grandpa had first lived, lent itself to the developing drama of the evening.

I remember holding Mother's hand as that mob of youth milled about, at the entrance of the Old White Stone building.  It was just one room about 12 feet wide and maybe 18 feet long.  The wooden roof extended about 8 feet on each side and in the front.  They were sure they had seen the ghost inside.  One of the guys found an ax and was waving it around.  Some how Lawton was able to take control and divert their attention to the other stone house nearer our own house.

Once again a roar went up!  Someone had spotted the ghost in that other stone room.  It went out the small back window and crossed the yard to the road.  Some of the swift guys were on the trail like hounds on a fox.  Up the road they went like a strong south wind.  The gang was gaining on the ghost.  But at Albert and Itha Miller's mail box, the ghost crossed the ditch, jumped a barbed four wire fence and disappeared into the mesquit tree pasture.  The crowd of runners came panting back with all kinds of mysterious questions and tails to spin for years to come.