Saturday, March 30, 2013

EASTER ! ! !

Resurrection, Rebirth, Renewal

In ancient Roman times the folks celebrated the coming of spring, rebirth of the earth, hatching of eggs and the birth of animals.  It was a time of rejoicing.  Hibernation is over for another season.  Migratory birds and animals make their long return to their springing place.

The Bible tells us that King Herod killed the Apostle James (in the year 44 A.D.) and arrested Peter to kill him, too.  Acts. 12:1-4  Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.     2  And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.     3  And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also.  (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)     4  And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions (a quarter of a hundred or twenty-five x four = 100) of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.  [KJV]

And verse five tells us more:  5  Peter therefore was kept in prison:  but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.     Notice:   The Roman Easter and the Jewish Passover were about the same time of the year  ...  spring time.  Rome celebrated Easter in spring.  The Jews celebrated the Passover in spring.  That would have been necessary, because the First Passover in Egypt required a lamb to be slain.  Lambs are born in the spring.

For several years, Aunt Thelma sponsored an Easter Egg Hunt in their pasture.  I don't know that it was just for the Kids of High Point Church.  I always thought all Kids of the Community were welcome.  I remember the Rosser and Hickman kids and others already named in Midway School at the hunt.  Aunt Thelma raised a gaggle of geese and every year she boiled a goose egg.  That one she decorated in a very beautiful way and called it the Prize Egg.  I think It was the Prize.  I don't know if there was something else to be received as an additional prize.

Easter was / is a time of great joy.  Aunt Thelma's hunts were on Saturday morning about 10:00 A.M.  All the parents drove into the great yard and parked their cars and pick-ups.  All the kids poured out of those same vehicles and flowed through to the back yard, on through the barn yard and down the slopping pasture grasses spotted with thorny mesquite trees and dappled with patches of prickly pair cactuses.  There also were rocky outcroppings that must be dodged.

I still remember the excitement and joy.  Then when the yell for GO was given, the explosion of wonder propelled dozens of kids across the grassy land scape.  I still remember the yards long legs of Clayton Mensee as he bounded down the hill to grab an egg he saw.  Roenna Rosser won the prize of the great goose egg.  It was a day to keep remembering these seventy years later.

It must have been such day, a day of incredible transformation from the deepest sorrow to immensely volcanic joy, even a day greater than any other day since the beginning of creation, a day of the most awful moan and groan caused by the most awful sin in the history of the world suddenly transformed by the shout, the blinding light of the rising of God from the dead.

Easter in the Christian world is not a Roman Easter.  It somehow symbolizes Israel's deliverance from Egyptian slavery.   Hunting Easter eggs is a kind of symbolic expression:  chicks hatched, bunnies born, new calves in the pasture, March winds, April showers, May flowers and the cold dead winter is over.  It's a good thing to play games and maintain cultures that portray the deep meanings of life and eternity.

But somehow This Easter, the Christian Easter tells the Story of Eternity before time.  In that Realm, God:  Father Son Holy Spirit, One God, not They, by determined decision "was Lamb standing, as if slain."  (Rev. 5:6 NASB).  That Realm is Spirit more real than any real thing we know.  But He came into our reality to be born, to live and to die for the reality of our very real and awful sin. 

The crying pain of Jesus followers gave way to the blasting light of Resurrection.  HE IS ALIVE!  Give glory, honor and praise!  The Lamb of God has given fulfillment to the Eternal Plan to deliver man from Adam's awful sin and wash away our own selfish, self-centered, self-aggrandizement.  He came to call us, not to an egg, not to a bunny, but to the unconditional love of the All Powerful, All Present, All Wise, Ever Gracious, Ever Merciful, The God of Everlasting Loving kindness AND HE'S ALIVE.  THIS IS EASTER!

I can only imagine the bounding long leaps of eager anticipation as Peter and John  raced toward the opened tomb, their radically confident hope of The Living Christ! He appeared in their room with the others.
His presence, His words, the sound of His voice --- verification!!!  HE LIVES!  CHRIST IS ALIVE!

Throw open your hearts door and let the King of glory come in.  Ps. 24:8-9  "Who is the King of glory?  The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle.     9  Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in."  (NASB).

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Fellowship, Singing and Music, Preaching, The Word of God, Prayer, Revival Meetings
Singing Schools, Vision, Inspiration, Truth, Integrity, Faith, Hope, Love

Dinner in the Church Yard happened every year.  When the District Superintendent came they called it the Quarterly Meeting, (I don't know why, because I don't remember him ever coming but once a year).  That's when the Church Yard filled up with the most fabulous, delicious, delectable, fragrant and beautiful plates, dishes, bowls, pans and jars, of fried chicken, baked ham, roast beef, baked beans, green beans, black eyed peas, corn bread, homemade loaves of baked bread, fried okra, baked sweet potato, mashed potato, boiled potato, baked potato, cabbage slaw, candied carrots, pickles of all sorts, six layer cakes, and pies beyond description.

The D.S. preached.  The Treasurer gave his report.  New officials were selected.  Benediction was delivered.  Men grabbed up four pews and carrying them out the door, put two, end to end, facing the other two.  Ladies were rushing to their cars or pick-ups to bring out their baskets of homemade staples and delicacies.  The seat of the pews were loaded with all that food.  The Pastor offered a prayer of gratitude and thanks for the bounty of the table in a land of little money, regular drought and very little rain.  Parents and older kids filled plates.  Jugs and huge containers held home made iced sweet tea or lemonade.  We feasted beyond our tummy's capacity, to our hearts content!  That day, it never rained and the sun always shone.  We all went home to our evening farm chores filled with happiness and joy.  Our God in His Heaven was good to his people.

High Point Church was on circuit with Prairie Hill Church twelve miles to the north.  Parsonage for our pastor was in the Church yard at Prairie Hill.  On second and fourth Sundays of each month, he preached there after their Sunday School.  Those Sundays, we had Sunday School only.  On first and third Sundays of each month, Pastor and his family came to High Point.  After our Sunday School, he brought the message of God to our hearts and minds.  (I don't know if we really thought of it that way.)  When there was a fifth Sunday in a month, Pastor had a vacation day and both Churches had only their Sunday School. 

Whoever was on the list to clean the Church that week, took the Pastor's family home with them for Sunday dinner.  They stayed with the host family all afternoon and when evening chores were finished, they all came back for the Sunday Evening Service.  Then Pastor and all made their twelve mile trek back home.

In the days of Church in Midway School, they had annual Music Schools.  There seemed to be a network of traveling music teachers.  One that Daddy especially liked was Mr. Simms.  He was about Daddy's age and they seemed to have good fellowship.  I don't know where he stayed during that week or most of them were two week arrangements.  We still had one or two after moving into the High Point Church.  He used a blackboard and wrote up the shapes of the music notes that were already in our hymnals.  The eight notes are: do, ra, me, fa, so, la, te, do.  When you knew the shapes and the name of the shape, then we could learn the sound that went with the shape.

Music was very important.  The Churches wanted to train their congregations to sing the part that fit their own voice.  The sound is remarkably beautiful to hear an entire Church full of people sounding like a trained choir.  Every year for many, the Church had been providing that kind of training.  After we were in the High Point Church, I remember only two singing schools.  Years later in the Eldorado Church of the Nazarene Daddy had someone come teach a singing school.  That was the last I've heard of them.

There were a lot of good singers in the High Point Church.  Papa was a great promoter of music.  When he was a young man, Daddy remembers that he ordered instructions and a hymnal for learning shaped notes.  The next Sunday after the material came, Papa took the package, after lunch, onto the front porch and studied until he had it all memorized.  And then set in to sing through the hymnal.  I still remember him in the High Point Choir, sitting or standing in his pew, marking the beat with his hand as he sang out the most beautiful tenor voice I have heard in a life time.

Granny had taken music lessons by correspondence.  As a young woman, she had played pump organs in Revival Meetings around their area.  It was the time of a Great Awakening in central Texas, early 1900's.  Before the Easley children:  Thelma, Gordon, Lawton and Kathryn were married, they sang as a quartet on the radio from Vernon, Texas.  Later they didn't sing together very often at Church.  Granny, Thelma and Kathryn sang a trio pretty often.  Kathryn attended a singing school in Dallas a time or two.  Granny and Papa sang in a quartet at the Church with Mr. Jay and Oren Weems.  That was a good sound, until one of the male voices sadly went off tune.
          An insert:  About our parents -- Thelma, Gordon, Lawton and Kathryn -- singing at Vernon, Texas.  Several of you mentioned you didn't know about that.  So I have asked who remembers?  Uncle Elbert, heard them singing as a quartet on many occasions.  "They were that good.  They could have been on radio, but I don't remember hearing that they were."  Yvonne, Donnie and Pallie didn't know they sang on the radio.  Keith heard Daddy talking about it.  Pallie, finally,  remembered Daddy and Kathryn talking about when they sang on the radio.  Edwin heard his Dad, Uncle Lawton, say they sang every Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. on the radio in Altus, Okla. for maybe six months to a year.  He only knows about them singing in Altus.  And I remember it was in Vernon.     We have to agree, we may never know.

There were good singers at the Odema Church.  On fifth Sundays of a month, we had a singing at either, their Church or ours.  The Congregation sang hymns, or various groups or combinations of people might offer to sing or be called out to sing.  Before my time on Saturday nights or once a month, the community met at someones house for music and fellowship.  Anyone who played an instrument came to play, and people sang along, listened or visited until a young farm laborer playing his violin began to play "Home Sweet Home."  Everybody knew the evening was over when Dick England played his going home song.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Fellowship, Singing and Music, Preaching, The Word of God, Prayer, Revival Meetings
Singing Schools, Vision, Inspiration, Truth, Integrity, Faith, Hope, Love

The Methodist were meeting in Midway School House when I first remember going to Church.  To begin the Service the pianist started playing and all who wanted to, would stand around the piano to sing.  Mother sat in a school desk with a baby or two on her lap.  I remember standing with Daddy one of the times.  Those services were held in the southeast class room.  I don't know how long services carried on in the school.  The last service I remember there was held in the High School Auditorium.  Brother Powers was the Pastor.  I sat in a seat of the front row next to Aunt Bonnie.

After that service all the family went to some one's house for lunch together.  I remember Aunt Bonnie telling Mother, "Brother Powers said, 'Carlton was the only person in the whole service who didn't stand up for the last hymn and prayer.'"

A mile north of Midway School and three-quarters of a mile east was a rather high hill with a country store and filling station on it.  The place was called High Point.  Our congregation was able to secure an unused Methodist Church Building from a few miles to the east.  The men hauled it to a few acres of land across from the store.  I think they made an arrangement with the farmer and if or when the Congregation needed the property no more, the land would revert to the farm.

The Midway School was established in 1919.  I don't know if the Methodist Church began meeting there from the very start.  Our parents with their families, were attending there as teenagers.  Granny's brother-in-law, Uncle Abe Tucker, an evangelist from Texas, preached a Revival Meeting there when Daddy was fifteen years old.  That would have been 1930.  Mother got saved in a Revival Meeting in the school when she was seventeen, which would have been 1934.

I remember the men restoring the building.  The window pains were in trouble.  They had to add new putty.  It was a rectangular building.  After it was set on the foundation, they built a large assembly room and two Sunday School rooms across the back.  I don't know if that happened immediately or a little later.  At the start, our children's class met in the back (north) west corner by the front door.  Irene Easley, Moss' wife, was the teacher.  We used American Sunday School Union literature.

The lessons were on 3 x 5 cards.  A story was on the back and a colored picture of the story was on the front.  Those were her teaching materials.  It seems that there was a new learning project about every quarter.  Once we learned the Ten Commandments.  Each Sunday we received one. It was a "D" shaped, light weight card stock which folded in half made the "D" shape.  The brief Commandment was printed on the front.  Next Sunday we received the second one.  We repeated the old ones and added the new one.  After a while we had the whole lot of them hanging together and could take them home.

In the Midway School, Papa had been the Children's Teacher for many years.  When he resigned, Uncle Everett Davis, Sunday School Superintendent, ask Mother to teach the class.  That was about the time or a bit before they were married.  Her only students were Myrl and Byrl, her little twin brothers.  She taught the class until about the time or just after I was born.  By that time there were 22 children attending the class.  And that all happened in Midway School.

Because of the controversy over slavery the Southern Contingent separated from the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1844 to become the Methodist Episcopal Church South.  The Methodist Church meeting in Midway School was connected to that denomination.  Their Sunday School was a member of the American Sunday School Union, so their materials came from them.  In 1939 the two branches of Methodism reunited.  It was with them I got saved, was baptized and had my first license to preach.

Monday, March 25, 2013


A Very Good Place to Learn and Grow

My first memories of Church were in Midway School.  When the country was first developing, that is, the country of south central Jackson County, Oklahoma, the people built a Church House.  It was called Odema.  [I don't know why it was called that.  I never thought to ask.]  Anyway, at Odema any and all church minded people gathered there for services.  If a Baptist preacher came riding or driving through, he could preach.  If a Methodist preach came riding or driving through, he had the same privilege.  Across the road, they dug the Odema Cemetery.

It was located at a cross roads, two miles north of Granny and Papa's farm.  The cross roads had a creek running through it.  So, they gave the corner crossing a kind of dog leg, horse leg, jack rabbet leg, maybe a fish tail bend in the intersection.  Just be sure to slow down and look both ways.  I think, but not sure, there was a store on the northwest corner at one time, and there might have been a one room school.

By the time I remember, Odema was the Baptist Church and the Methodist met in the Midway School.  Midway School was the merger of at least three smaller schools: Odema, Custer, and I don't remember.  A record I saw said Odema had first been called Gill, started in 1893, closed probably 1919.  I didn't find when Custer started or where it was located.  It closed about 1916.  Midway opened about 1919.  Our parents, aunts and uncles attended school there.  (Well, I'm not sure about Myrl and Byrl.)  I remember attending Aunt Bonnie and Aunt Kathryn's graduation on the same night in Midway gym.  The record I read said Midway continued at least until 1940.

BUT it was still in operation when I started. Because, Mother and Daddy said the School Board were afraid they were going to loose the school for lack of students.  The building was a beautiful, two story brick.  There were several rooms.  I don't remember ever going through all of it.  When I started, we used two rooms for eight classes, one teacher for each room.   The Board ask our folks to let me start in January of 1944, to finish the second semester of 1943-44.  I was six years old on Christmas Day 1943.  So now that I was six, I could count as a properly qualified student.  I finished the term in May, 1944.  I started over in first grade August 1944-45 and Leanna Mitchell was the other first grader that year.  Mrs. Edith Levell was our teacher.  There were four classes in the room.  Her sister-in-law, Mrs. Wise, taught the other room of grades: five, six, seven and eight.

During that first full year, the School provided hot lunch, at least part of the year.  Mother had been sending a cold, homemade lunch.  She made fried apple pies or other fruit.  They were so good.  I still remember how they tasted.  The Hot Lunch Program provided a dish I still could eat by the cup.  They had crunchy peanut butter mixed with a huge amount of blue ribbon syrup.  It was served in a large crock bowl, about one gallon size.  We or they, dipped it out onto our plates with a real big serving spoon.  O, it was so good!  Sorry you weren't there to try it also!

Midway School was about six miles southeast from Eldorado.  It had been a full twelve grade school.  By the time I started there, their High School had been lost to Eldorado.  The Eldorado School sent a bus out to pickup the high school students who rode our bus each morning and brought them back in the evening.  So then all of us, High School, Middle School and Grade School students boarded our bus and were delivered to our homes.  Our two teachers, Mrs. Eidth Levell and Mrs. Wise were sisters-in-law.  They lived next door to each other in Eldorado.  They caught the Monday morning bus in Eldorado and rode it out as the driver came to pick up our Midway High Schoolers.  We had two teacher-ages on our School property.  The Teachers lived together in one of the four room houses.  Our Janitor and Grounds Keeper were Mr. and Mrs. Weems, who lived in the other  teacher-age.  (This Mr. Weems was a brother, I think, of Gail's grandfather.)

Those Teacher-ages were to the east side of the School House.  The large gymnasium was to the west of the school.  The coal house was in back of the school.  Our cistern for drinking water was just outside the west wall near the Lunch Room.  Farther west and behind the gym was the playground and far out were the outdoor toilets for boys and girls.  The 4.1 acres of school property also included a ball diamond.  Milk was bought from the neighbor across the road and up the hill.  A couple of the older boys walked up, about a quarter mile, to bring the bucket of milk back before lunch time.

In our class room, Mrs. Levell had a most wonderful sand box.  One play time lesson I remember was "Little Red Ridding Hood."  She put a mirror in the sand and just covered the edges with we had a lake.  Her paper stand-up characters with trees and houses told the story of Little Red Ridding Hood going from her home through the woods of many trees to visit her Grandmother.  The bad wolf and the great hunter/wood chopper were all there.  The sand box was a table with 1x6 boards nailed around the edge.  It was a great aid to the imagination of a boy.  My sand box at home was on the ground.  Clayton Mensey whose family attended our Church was in a higher grade, but in that room.  One day Mrs. Levell noticed he seemed ill.  Then he got red spots on his face.  He had the measles.  He lay on a table in the room the rest of the day and rode the bus home with the rest of us.  In a couple weeks when I got the measles, Mother Shumaker and Grandaddy with Myrl and Bryl came to see me and the twins brought me some "quite, lay on the bed in a darkened room" toys to play with.

Our second grade began August 1945-46.  Christmas 1945 was my eighth birthday.  During our second grade the School House caught fire and burned down, some of the brick walls were still standing.  I don't remember, if it happened on a week end or during a holiday.  The School Board rallied to provide housing for the School.  The gym had bleachers on the north side, the stage was center of the south side with dressings rooms on either side.  They turned the east dressing room into a rather nice apartment for the Teachers.  The four room teacher-age was used for our classes.  They tore out the partitions to make two long rooms side by side.  Mrs. Levell and grades one through four were in the west room.  Mrs. Wise and grades five through eight took the east room.  The back porch of Weems' house was enclosed and a foot wide shelf was build against the back wall for our eating table.  Mrs. Weems was the lunch room cook.  So now she cooked in her own kitchen and served us on her own back porch.

By the end of May 1946 we knew our Midway School would be no more.  I'm sorry I don't remember the names or grades of all the students.  I'll try to give the names of some kids or families who attended the school or rode the bus while I was there:  The Rosser family lived across the road form us.  Their children who attended were Roenna, Adrian and Shirley.  Cocky and Harold Mitchell came.  Leanna Mitchell and her older brother.  Loren Freeman, his cousin Wayne Neeley, more cousins were Uncle Perry's brothers and sister, Johnny, Tommy and Barbara.  Virginia and Billy Roy Hall were siblings of Daddy's best friend, Johnny Hall.  Ozella Ward, the Hail kids and some of the Dickerson's.  Wesley Miller, was Aunt Nina's younger brother.  Kathleen and Harold Buckhanan attended.  The Mense's, Carroll's and Richie's were all to the east edge of the district.  Hey, guys, I must apologize for any and all mistakes and omissions.

Midway School was a great experience for me.  I did enjoy my two and a half years there.  Mrs. Levell was a good teacher.  We read lots of Dick and Jane books.  We had lots of fun and I learned not to cheat on spelling words.  That was a lessons that has lasted me for a lifetime.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


But Where Will We Get the Water?

All the area where we live had hard water.  From Eldorado south and east, Sandy Creek and east, from Eldorado to the River and east, the water was filled with gypsum.  It was hard and you couldn't get suds to clean the clothes.  One could use pond water, that would be rain runoff from the hills around and probably had cattle drinking, walking, doing their thing it, so probably not the best.  Well water had the gyp.  Cistern water was from rain off the roofs.  That would be okay, but you might need it to cook, drink and bathe.

Granny and Papa had two cisterns.  So if they were full, they might have used some of their rain water.  She did have a washing machine, the old ringer type, they were all that way.  And I think her machine had an electric motor.  I remember Daddy saying she boiled the clothes in the big black kettle over a fire in the back yard.  They used lye soap and rubbed the clothes on a scrub board.  I don't know how that worked, because I thought lye soap wouldn't make suds.  In summer when it didn't rain, and it almost never rained, Mother took our clothes to Mother Shumaker's house.  They had a gas engine on their washer.  They brought it out into the yard, set up the wash pot, built a fire underneath and put in water from the cow pond just to the east of the house.  Myrl and Byrl pulled a two wheeled trailer with two fifty-five gallon barrels behind the tractor.  One stood on a rock at the pond's edge and dipped the water with a bucket while the other grabbed the bail and dumped into the barrel.  They drove up into the yard next to the washing operation so the women could have all the water they needed.

Generally Mother took her washing home and hung it on our own clothes lines.  Mother Shumaker didn't have any close lines.  She layed her wash over the barbed wire fence and on the limbs of a big mesquite tree.  More often Mother, and maybe Mother Shumaker, took our laundry to the Laundromat in town.  They had two or three huge boilers to soften the water.  The ringer washers and tubs were all set up along an open gutter with boards in place so no one stepped or fell into it.  The first I remember being there, I was five years old.  Mr. Conner was the owner.  I remember he asked how old I was.  I held up five fingers.  He said, "Well, it takes your whole hand to tell your age."  I thought that was pretty cool.

When Uncle Udell came home for his grandma's funeral, she was Mrs. Massey, he and Aunt Bonnie decided to go ahead and get married, rather than wait for the war to be over.  So maybe they made the arrangements at that time to buy the Laundromat.  I know it didn't seem long to me, after he got back that they were running it.  They had a little trailer house parked in back where they lived.  They were living there when Ronald was born.  Udell was a hard working man.  He reorganized the Laundry and moved the boilers from the front windows to the back corner.  He up dated and installed a machine to spin water out of the clothes, so when they were hung on the line they dried faster.  They also made and had ready to use starch, available for ladies who might want it.  Starching was a big part of clothes care in those days.  All Sunday type clothing: shirts, collars, blue jeans, bonnets (and 0, did they wear bonnets) needed to be starched, hung up to dry, then mended if necessary, ironed and hung on hangers ready for the next using.

There was a charge for the starch and the use of the clothes spinner.  If the weather might be humid or it was winter the drying time could be quite a while.  If it was summer time or a good south wind was blowing, the clothes might be dry by the time you finished hanging them on the line.  In that event, one returned to the other end of the line, taking down and hanging the next line full.  If the wind was blowing pretty stiff, you had to watch it or the starch would get whipped right out of the cloth.

After Uncle Udell died, Aunt Bonnie continued on in the Laundromat until she had run it a total of fifty years.  Ronald was a huge help.  He stepped in as a very early teen to do his part.  The other kids helped also and Mother Shumaker was living in town by then.  She was there to make a meal, baby set a kid and always to sew and writing letters to family far afield.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Work Never Ends

To answer a few questions, we kept raising pheasants and started releasing them from the pen.  They hung around for a little while, but not like chickens would.  When we had the lawn sprinkler running, they'd sometimes take showers:  early morning or late evening.  Gradually they moved on, from the barnyard to field and pasture.

Percy found a place or friend who had the peach canning equipment.  I think he borrowed the equipment and bought the cans and lids.  Maybe a person or family could do it on a small scale.  But I think it should be a large, full throttle operation.  It's probably easier when one or two persons are doing a bushel at a time, with jars and lids, caners and a home cook stove.  You'll find it greatly challenging and richly satisfying, if some of you want to get a gang together near an orchard and go at it with might and main,

The time line of those years are not all uniformly sequential in my mind.  Daddy was friends with George Littlefield, bank president, of First State Bank in Eldorado.  He ask Daddy to build him a house.  Daddy agreed.  There was a very good, well known cabinet maker in Eldorado, Mr. Wintz Tensley, much older than Daddy.  They may have collaborated on the building a little.  Most certainly, Wintz built the cabinets and Daddy helped with installation.

That's the house where the twelve interior doors were all standing together, leaning against the wall, and almost straight up.  One day during a big thunder storm, he was stooped over working on a project, facing those doors.  A huge clap of thunder jarred the doors, in such a way, they fell over and hit Daddy on the top, front of his head.  They knocked him backward against the opposite wall.  He first thought he had been struck by lightening.  Then he thought he had been killed.  Then he wondered about the difference in this place and heaven.

Years later, in the fall of 2005, he was staying at our house for a little while.  On a Sunday morning, we were going to Church.  Joanna was staying home with Lilly, due to her stroke.  Daddy and I had gone onto our porch.  He held to the porch post, while I carried his walker to the car.  When I turned back to help him walk down, he had fallen and was lying on his back on the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps.  He was really hurt, but insisted he would go on to Church.  The Congregation had planned a pot-luck lunch after the service.  Joanna and Lilly knew we planned to stay and eat.  The people enjoyed Daddy and he seemed to always enjoy them.

When we go home, he said, "I think my back is broken."  O my goodness!  Now what have I done?  He refused the hospital.  He was willing to have an Xray.  But the ambulance insisted on taking him to a hospital.  So I drove him to the Chiropractor and they did the xray.  The picture showed he had once, a loooonng time a go, had a broken vertebrae.  The same one was broken now.  They said it looked like a plate might look, if you dropped in flat down on the floor.  It had splintered into dozens and dozens of tiny fragments, but because of the remarkable muscular structure, they had not come apart, rather had healed in place.  And the current break was a new one over top of the old one.  Remarkable!  Recommendation?  Wait for it to heal.  They did give him some inferential treatment, which might have helped with pain a little.  He almost never complained.  It's amazing how tough he was! 

When hay time came, we took out and manned up to bailing hay.  That required four men.  Byrl drove the tractor pulling the bailer.  Uncle Ross stood on the platform, forking hay under the ?hammer?.  I dropped the block between the bails.  Daddy sat on the left side (if you are facing the back of the tractor) and punched the wires through.  I sat on the opposite side punching them back.  Daddy tied the wires.  He could tie a bailing wire so it never came undone.  When the bails dropped out of the bailer, it was my job to stack them on a sled Daddy had built for that purpose.  Always before, everyone just let them fall in the field and there they lay until the truck came and all help came to pitch them up and haul them to the barn or stack.

But Daddy the inventor, made this sled.  It was four, one by twelves, eight feet long, laying side by side.  The two middle ones were spaced about two inches apart.  The four were nailed together across the top with another one by twelve.  When the bails dropped out, I stacked them on the sled from back to front.  They were one length ways, two cross ways and the last one length ways.  The second layer were two cross ways on top of the bottom four.  Then two more layers in the same form, so a stack of sixteen would not fall over unless we crossed a gully or a steep terrace of some kind.  Then I had a six foot bar to jab into the ground in the two inch space.  I just stood there on the sled holding the crowbar in place as the tractor pulled us all along and the bails of hay slid off in a nice little stack.

We also did custom bailing for neighbors and family.  Must make it home for family farm chores.  Sometimes feeding pigs and milking cows after dark.  Mother and the girls at home were always there helping carry the load.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Improvements Continue

The house and yard used a corner out of about a seven acre patch.  The patch started north of the house at the fence between us and Miller's.  It came down behind the house to the east in a kind of shallow "L" shape.  Daddy fenced that area, about five acres, using cross ties at all the corners.  That acreage he called the bull pen.  The original old rock house was in there.  The toilet and chicken house were there.  Then he built a barn for the bull.  A pig pen was attached to the north side.  There were two grain bins and the manger for a couple or three animals.  The donkeys were also kept there, when they weren't working.

On our side of the fence nearest the house to the east, Daddy built a pheasant pen.   Our pasture had several coveys of bob white quails.  He had been reading about stocking pheasants, as well.  He learned that pheasants bought or caught and brought in, would not stay.  So the recommendation was to buy the eggs and hatch then on sight.  That's what he did.  He found a plan for a pen that would work well and had it ready by the time the clutch of a dozen pheasant eggs had hatched from under a standard size setting chicken hen in our new pheasant pen.

Our pheasants were ring necks.  Quails and doves were the only game birds in our area.  So the pheasants were considered exotic.  As they grew, we were all so excited to watch their progress.  In their second year the cocks began growing their beautiful feathers...   When the Ryan family came for peach canning that year, we worked under a big shade tree and the pheasant pen was under the other side of the same shade.

Daddy had torn out Grandpa's old cow barn below the house, after moving the two-roomer and making our barn on the rise to the east of the windmill.  I'm don't know when he started planning to build a new, modern milk barn.  By 1946 he had rounded out a beautiful area on the west side of the windmill, with his front end loader on the ford tractor.  As he changed the contour of the hill where the old barn had been, it all opened up to make a beautiful wideness and raised the level of the ground around the water tank, so it's sides were only about eighteen inches high. 

That was the year he poured the foundation for the new barn and stamped "1946" in the cement of the thresh hold of the front door.  He started putting in new fence from the mail box at the road along the south side of our driveway, going east.  It continued around to the barns built onto those two rooms.  And now he began tearing out the fence beside the road going south toward the river.  He used cross ties at all corners and for extra support ever so often along the way.  It was a huge project. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


... By the Way ……………

Along the By Ways in this blogging experience, questions arise.  Paul asked, if Percy Ryan founded Ryan, Oklahoma.  Percy’s daughter sent this answer.

            Stephen Walker Ryan was the founder of the town of Ryan and he was Daddy’s uncle. He was working cattle near the river and drove them through that area of Red River, through Indian Territory, and became friends with the Indian living where Ryan, Oklahoma is now. He soon set up a trading post, and settled there forming the town. We still have one cousin that owns a ranch near the old home place there, but all the older generation of Ryan’s are gone. Mother is 94 now and is the last of that generation.                               Judy Ryan Cook.

Daddy had met Percy Ryan, in 1941 or 1942, at a work site, building the Air Base in Altus, Oklahoma.  They became great friends for the rest of their lives.  Our families visited back and forth often.  Ryan’s youngest daughter was Eulene.  She was a sweet, fun, petite little girl when we first met them.

After several years one of our little bantam hens started to set.  For some reason, Daddy had named that dainty little chicken, Eulene.  One day someone gave him five turkey eggs.  He ask, “Do you think Eulene would set on such large eggs?”  

So the Percy Ryan story reminded me of this one:    He offered one to her and she tucked it right under, with her beak.  As he gave them to her, she kept taking until all five were covered by her feathers.  It was really amazing.  They all hatched and followed her all around the barnyard every day.  She took up bringing them into the dairy barn at night.  When the poults were large enough to fly, she roosted on the top of a stanchion.  They would fly up, two on each side with her wings spread out to cover them.  The last one flew right under her.  She stood astraddle him.  She continued covering all of them for another week or two until they were large enough to lift her right off her roost.  Then she flew beside them.  It was such a fun experience.

It’s time for me to give a word of THANKS!!!  So many people have blessed me is so MANY ways over the years.  And you who have been following this blog are adding blessings to me and to others…by reading, telling and sharing.  

I appreciate you who have joined the list of followers.  And I am grateful, also, to the many who are following these homely stories from your spot somewhere in the world.  I don’t know much about the workings of all this great electrical world that binds us together.  Because of it, we have unknown friends through out the United States, Europe, China and Southeast Asia.   My very sincere appreciation and thanks.        Carlton

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Extra Jobs after We Bought and Moved to Grandpa's Farm

Daddy may not have had a years long plan in his head, but to me, it almost seemed that way.   We no sooner moved in until he was cleaning up around the square rock house and building the new roof on it.  Of course, there were always the daily chores, bringing cows from the pasture, grinding feed for the cattle, milking, gathering eggs, weekly laundry and making sure we had water.

After the Rock house roof was finished, the two roomer, extending from the east end of the house porch was moved to begin the new barn.  Farm work was never ending, so buildings and repairs sometimes waited weeks or months...years.  But they were never forgotten.  Grandpa kept his fences in good shape.  During his years there he walked the fences every Sunday after breakfast.  He carried pliers, a hammer and pocket of staples to repair as he went or remember some place to make major repairs during the week.  But as he aged, the fences kept aging also.  I think the first fence project was across the entire north side of the farm.  It was a half mile long, from the west end at the road separating our land from Albert Miller's farm.  It ended when it reached Hiram White's place on the east.  The back fence was a mile long, running from that northeast corner by Hiram's to the river bank on the south.  That installment took a long time.

The Orchard had been planted and required upkeep.  When the trees began bearing fruit, it had to be gathered, preserved or sold.  All the family: aunts, uncles, grandparents had free access.  One year our dear friends, Sylvia and Percy Ryan from Ryan, Oklahoma came with their children.  They were our ages.  We always had lots of fun together.  They are Albert Lee, Clarissa, Judy and Euleen.  Percy had tin cans with lids and the sealer.  Daddy had arranged for big black cast iron boiling kettles from among the family.  One had lye water for eating the skin off the peaches.  Then a kettle of cold soda water to kill the lye.  They had made bushel size chicken wire baskets for dipping the fruit into the kettles into the water with the front-end loader on our Ford Tractor.

Mother worked in the kitchen making sugar syrup for pouring into the cans filled with peaches.  And she prepared meals for the work force of twelve hungry workers.  Sylvia worked under a shade tree at a table near the pealing and cooling process.  She supervised us eight children, some almost teens.  You see their names above and we were Carlton, Donnie, Pallie and Linda Kay.  Our jobs were to cut the peaches off the seeds, called stones.  We cut them into wedges.  Some of us filled the cans.  Some of the older ones helped Sylvia put on the tops and turn the crank that set the lids.  Then they were given back to Daddy and Percy to boil them in the big kettles until they had sealed.

It was a wonderful time.  The work continued about a week.  As we cut the fresh, tree ripened peaches to go into the cans, the juice ran down our arms and dripped off our elbows.  Often we could lick it off and Oh that juice was so good.  Doing that work in the hot summer time under that old shade tree, we didn't need sugar syrup on our peaches.  The taste and joy and fun continue in my mind to this day.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


I know I'll Miss A Lot of His Story.  I'm Sorry.

I never knew him to have only one job.  He started milking when he was three years old.  At that same age, Papa taught him to sit on the seat of the disk and drive the four horse team to plow the field.  When he and Lawton were early teens, Papa bought a very large ram.  Spring came and they decided to shear the old fellow.  After chores and breakfast, the got out the mule shears and started the job.  At noon they turned him loose and went in for dinner.  As soon as dinner was over they three caught the ram again and continued shearing until they finished, in time for evening chores.  Papa, the boys and the old ram were all worn out.  Does anyone remember how many pounds of wool they fleeced off the old boy?   That was the beginning of raising sheep and winning shearing contest at the Oklahoma State Fair, Oklahoma City.

Already, I told you that Papa bought a forge, an anvil and a blacksmith hammer, when Daddy was fifteen years old and he had bought a lot of iron rod and coal.  Daddy made all the tools a blacksmith might need is a working shop.  In that same year, Daddy used two old pocket watches some uncles gave him to make one good running watch.  Grandpa was impressed with the accomplishment and asked him to clean the Old Shelf Clock.  These were extra activities, since work on the farm never ceased.

In 1934, Granny and Papa built their new house.  They had bought the farm in 1912, the year they were married.   It was already rented for two years.  Papa was renting a farm before they were married.  So in 1914 they let that farm go and moved to the farm near the river.  So after 20 years in the old house they moved into their cement house, and tore down the old one.  Papa had hired a well known, accomplished carpenter to build the one we all know.  In the agreement, the carpenter was to train Daddy in the trade of carpentry as well.

They set up a workshop beside the driveway on sawhorses.  Daddy's job was to use hand planes to make the windows of the house.  There were 2 windows in each the two north bed rooms and one in the bathroom.  The front room had 2 windows and a door with windows.  Granny and Papa's bedroom had 3 windows on the east and 5 windows on the south.  The south kitchen door and the window over the sink had to be made.  There were 2 or 3 windows in the back room and a couple in the door and windows of the dining room.  The folding doors between the dining room and front room had many small rectangular windows.  I don't know if he made those or they may have been available ready made.  He planed all summer long.  The wood used was white pine.  No knots were allowed.   No doubt there were other jobs and lessons learned.  For instance, Keith told me today that that's where he learned to read a square for cutting roofing rafters.

He was a busy boy / man from beginning to end.  I've told you in other stories about the places we lived and the kind of jobs he had.  I started this blog for the purpose of showing he was always doing other jobs than planting cotton and milking cows.

I'm going to publish this one, hoping someone will have memory spurts and help me remember what I probably don't know.  Especially the paragraph about his making the windows.  It isn't clear to me the part he was doing.  Thanks and have a great Sabbath tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


#  3     February 18, 2013

Robert Was Butchering Their Hog in the Back Yard'

She was born in Lilly and Robert Owens’ house on Oak Street.  Her Mother is Pearl Decker.  The Doctor said, "I,ll just take a ham of the hog in payment for delivery of the baby."  Lilly said, "You are not getting one of my hog hams."  Here, “I’ll give you a $5.00 bill.”  And that was a bunch of money in 1938.

Lilly (Burdine) Owens is Pearl’s aunt.  Burdine Valley is in Pulaski, County.  The Valley is full of Burdines, Whitakers, Raineys, Deckers, Aurthers and so many more.  Kentucky Highway 80 runs the length of the state and right through the middle of the valley.  It’s a 14 mile walk to Somerset.  One must leave early, get his shopping done, and come back as far as possible, then stop off at someone’s house to stay the night.  The folks at home will be waiting for some of the supplies when you came in next day.

The Owens moved to Cincinnati for work.  Pearl asked, if they would raise the baby.  While they were there Lilly Mae reached her third birthday.  Their next door neighbor was Mrs. Gorsuch (?).  Every Wednesday she baked cinnamon rolls.  By the time that fragrance went wafting out through the neighborhood all the little kids had surrounded her door.  She came out with her huge pan of sweet treats and before long, those rolls were all gone.  

After a year they moved on to Indianapolis.  Lilly Mae grew up 16 blocks from the Circle.  She walked to Public School Number 16 through eighth grade.  Miss Finney, the music teacher, was her guiding light.  She never out grew the influence of that remarkable woman.  For High School it was a mile walk to Washington High.  Her hunger for knowledge drew her to go for summer school as well.  The three libraries and inspiring teachers encouraged her great ambition for academic excellence.

The Old Sunday School Bus from Westside Church of the Nazarene came rattling by each Sunday morning.  Lilly saw to it that Lilly Mae was ready to go, though she was always eager to ride and attend the Junior Class.  That Teacher never told her that she ought to go to the Second Grade Class for Girls.  Something deeply spiritual about That Teacher drew the eight year old to come into the class of early teens.  That Teacher wept and prayed as she taught the Bible Stories and guided eager learners in the Ways of God and His Truth.  At that early age she gave her heart to Jesus Christ and He walked with her the whole way!


# 2     February 17, 2013

Lilly Mae Owens, born November 17, 1938

We started college, September 1956.  We were back for a second year, September 1957. 
Most of ’57 I was attending Emmanuel Church of the Nazarene.  Several college Kids started attending there.  Someone had an old school bus for sale.  Some visionary Students arranged to buy it for transportation from college to Emmanuel each Sunday.  Those who rode paid a $1.  After a while the Bus belonged to the Students.

One Sunday evening during a revival, Lilly Owens, as a second year student was in attendance.  During Testimony time, she stood up and said, “My Pastor, Brother W. H. Johnson, back at Indianapolis Westside always says, “The best corn is not grown on the mountain, but in the valley.”  Then she sat down.  That was the first time I had seen her.

At the end of May 1958 school term, she went home for a year, to work.  That summer I moved with our family to Louisianna.  Daddy was leaving the pastorate of the Church in Eldorado, and taking a Church in Oak Grove, LA.  Granddaddy Shumaker was sick in the Altus Hospital.  The truck came to move our belongings.  We waited, wondering, if we should go or stay.  Then he died and soon after the funeral, we drove to the rented parsonage.  The little boys and Linda attended school in Oak Grove.  Pallie and Donnie graduated High School from there the next spring.  Friends, the Jack McClung family asked me to live with them and I attended a third year of college in Monroe, LA.

A lot of events took place beginning the summer of 1959.  Our Parents moved across state to pastor the Nazarene Church at Rodessa, LA.   Donnie and Charles were married.  He was in my class at College and they moved to Bethany.  September 1959 found Lilly and me back at Bethany Nazarene College, to finish our last two years.  Pallie Sue had come for her first year and was rooming in Fanning Hall where she met Lilly.  I was a religion major.  Lilly was a science major studying Pre-Med.  So our paths had never  crossed.  Soon after the second semester began, our Folks and family all moved to Bethany.

I never knew why, but Lilly asked Pallie, if she could come to our home and cook a spaghetti supper.  Mother and Daddy had rented a large house across the street from campus.  So Pallie and I were able to move back home from the dorms.   Lilly cooked all day long.  O my goodness, that supper was something beyond our Southwest Oklahoma imaginations.  Our little brothers and sister fell in love with Lilly that night, as did we all.


Is Your Water Good?  Do You Have Enough?  Where Can You Get More?

Grandpa's place had a dug well of water, when we moved there.  I don't know who dug it.  A windmill pumped the water into a cement tank.  The tank sides were probably more than or about two and a half feet high.  The bottom was, of course, poured cement and it was about ten by fifteen feet.

Whoever dug the well must have dug four or five feet across.  They dug down about ten or twelve feet, until they hit rock, a kind of limestone.  It seems they could hear water in or under the rock.  So they started laying rocks and cement flat in a circle.  They brought the circle of stones up a little more than two feet above ground.  The inside opening of the well was about three feet across.   Then they broke through the bottom of the well.  The way it looked when Daddy and I were working on the pump rods, the water flow was inside an oval stone underground pipe with an opening about three feet across and maybe four feet deep.

After we moved from the farm, Uncle Lawton's family moved there.  So our family knew the well from 1900 into the early 1960's.  During all those years the well never went dry, even during the ten years of the great drought. The only problem, people couldn't stand the taste of the water.  It had the taste of gypsum rock, as did all the farms in the whole area.  When we ran pipelines from the well to the farm buildings, the faucets had gypsum buildup.  We had to scrub it off with a wire brush, before we could attach a water hose.  Cattle did drink the water, but they didn't have a choice. 

The water in Red River was salty.  Our main source was rain.  Everybody had gutters on their roofs and caught the rain water in their cisterns.  Because of the blowing sand and dirt, it was good to let the first of the rain  wash the roof, then direct it into the cisterns.  I personally think rain water is the best.  It is just so good!!!  If it comes off good cedar shingles, for me that is a flavor that just can't be beat.  When the water in the cistern gets low, it is wise to pump or draw out the last with a bucket.  Then go in on a ladder or by a rope and scoop out the mud.  After it's all out, pour down or lower several buckets of water and wash out the bottom of the cistern.  All that goes down must be brought up.  I've done it several times myself.

When the rains failed, we had to go hunting water.  There was a well in Eldorado where we could pump water into our barrels and haul it home to our cistern.  On the south side of Red River the well water was good.  When Daddy was young, the men in Oklahoma ask Mr. Mulkey, if "we" could dig a well in his ranch.  He agreed.  Many of the men on our side of the river went over to help sink the well.  The soil was so sandy they couldn't get the walls to hold up as they dug.  It kept caving in.  Their solution was to lay a ten foot circle of stones, and cement them together.  After they had laid about 3 layers, they begin to pump the sand out from under the ring of stones.  As the stones sank, they laid more stones.  After a while, twelve or fifteen feet down, they came to a bed of gravel that had seep water.  When the stone walls of the well were deep enough, water had risen enough to maintain an adequate supply;  They laid a cement circular top on the walls and installed a hand pump through the top.  That water was delicious.

That Mulkey well furnished hundreds of barrels of water to dozens and dozens of Oklahoma families through many years of the last century.  We and friends often went there to have holiday picnics.  There was no bridge, we had to ford the river.  Countless numbers of trailers, wagons and pick-ups have made that crossing through all those years.  After all the mules and horses had long gone, Delbert White still drove his team of mules from his house, a half mile south, a mile east, a half mile south, cross the river, up the south bank and two or three miles to the well.  He hand pumped both barrels full, tied on the canvas covers and retraced his path.  The trail he followed  weeks on end for many years.  Water might be more precious than gold.  You can't make coffee or tea with gold.  You can't bathe the kids or dogs in gold.  Three fourths of our planet is covered with water.  A huge part of our body is composed of water.  Water is a mighty precious gift from God. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013


# 1     February 16, 2013

You Never Know at the Start, What Will Come at the End

November 4, 2002, about 4:00 in the morning I woke up.  Lilly was sitting on the side of the bed.  She was rocking back and forth.  I spoke to her, but she didn’t answer.  She indicated a trip to the bathroom.  I helped her walk there and back.  We lay down again… thinking what was happening might go away.   (How foolish!) 

When I awoke again, there seemed to be no change.  We walked down the stairs together.  She sat on a chair beside her piano.  I said I would call the Rockford Hospital.  She shook her head vehemently.  I didn’t understand.  I knew she needed a Hospital.  She reached into her purse and brought out her medicine bottle.  She shook it at me, to show me the Dr.s name.  Then I understood, Swedish American Hospital.  Our friend Ed came to drive us to the emergency room. 

The stroke had taken her voice and her right arm.  Her right leg dragged, but held as she limped along.  Over time she completely recovered and even played the piano again.  The second one came at breakfast, July 15, 2005.  She had just eaten.  I was making something for myself.  She went to our sitting room.  I brought my saucer to sit with her.  It couldn’t have been more than two minutes.  Her eyes were shut, she was breathing hard and  couldn’t respond.

This time I immediately called the Ambulance.  The nearest hospital was Dixon.  They advised treatment with my consent.  She was then flown by helicopter to Sweds.  After each event, she had also been weeks in Van Mater Rehab, Hosp.  This time, the stroke had taken her ability to speak or swallow.  Her recovery seemed complete, except for those problems.  We fed her through a stomach tube.  She seldom made sound.  But sometimes we laughed so much that she could, too.  She would clap her hands with joy.  She never quit being her own joyful self!  Her mental faculties and her love for life never failed.

Joanna had come after the second stroke, in time for Lilly’s home coming.  February 16 had been a fairly nice day.  Toward evening, we decided to go for a drive.  So the three of us started up highway 2, through Byron.  About a mile past, we hit a patch of black ice.  Traffic coming toward us had been on ice the whole way from Rockford.  So they were traveling at about five miles an hour.  Joanna and Lilly were in the front seat.  I was behind Lilly.  Our car turned cross way in the road and slid into the front of an oncoming pick-up.

Joanna was injured but not hospitalized.  Lilly and I had broken ribs, punctured lungs and other broken bones.  Her body died and she flew to Heaven about 11:00 p.m.  What a grand reunion, we will have some great, glad, glorious morning.