Texans are hard working, fun
loving people who have a distinct culture all their own. On their moments
when they are enjoying social gatherings there is a thing they do that is
so much fun.
Their story telling will start
with one after another account as to how poor they were. Sometimes, the
tales can go from the sublime to the ridiculous. "We were so poor, we
thought when they said round steak, they meant bologna!" The laughter
then would rock the room. As soon as it died down, another story would be
forthcoming. There was a fine line in divulging just enough information so
as not to make the history to sound too unbearable.
For instance, it was all right
to say the family had bologna to eat, but it would not be good to tell
they had nothing to eat. This was the fine line. Whether it is a way to
apologize for their tremendously successful lifestyle, which was one of
opulent living, or whether it was an escape valve for the drive where they
were pushing themselves, one could not know.
One story told was great, we
thought. It was one a man told of when he decided to go into business for
himself. He said, "I worked for a company and I had to drive from
Rockwall to downtown Dallas every morning. This meant I had to be out of
the house at least by five thirty in the morning, heat, rain, sleet or
snow." "One morning I was in the middle of a line of traffic, so
long I could not even see the end of it." "I sat there looking
at that long row of red tail lights." "We would move a few feet,
stop, wait, and move on a few more feet." "Of all those people
there must be a service they need." He thought to himself. Making
that decision, he got out of his car and yelled at the top of his voice,
"I'm going to do it." Probably, someone would have held their
hand up in an encouraging wave, saying, "Go for it." With those
thoughts in mind he went into a business for himself and, as a result did
become very successful, in fact to the status of becoming a millionaire.
In this spirit of things the
following story is told.
The children played through
the days, eternally. There was never a stop in their play time. They
climbed trees, barns, swung on home made swings, made up games of their
own, and generally were left to their own pleasures. Their number along
with playmates in the area gave them a protection and freedom to go about
their play with no adult restraint.
"Come on, let's climb
this old shed and jump off," Jill called.
"I can get up there
faster than you!"
"Oh no! You can't,"
Jill was the oldest and always wanted to be first at any of their games.
They spent time with that
activity until they were bored with it.
Someone began to yell down the
chimney built atop of a storm cellar. The echo of their voices resonated
into the large empty underground cement building. They would take turns
calling out names of their friends. They yelled, "Hello, who are
you?" With this thought they could imagine there was actually someone
in the cellar who was answering them. They became tired of this game after
a while. If there was slowing down of an activity there always seemed to
be someone who was pushing ahead to look for something new to do.
The small pieces of lime stone
rock were like a piece of chalk. With the chalk someone would draw the
rectangles necessary for "hop scotch game" This game would keep
them entertained for a greater length of time. They threw the stone to one
of the boxes as the moved up the ladder. It was a simple game. The older
of the children were kind in that they would allow the younger children
many infractions of the rules. A stepped on line, someone unbalanced and
falling, or not being able to remember their place was often overlooked.
After they tired of this game,
they had just about used up all their ideas to entertain themselves. The
younger boy discovered he could stomp on an over ripe pear on the ground
until it was crushed out of existence. Of course, the other children were
mildly interested in the activity and they went about the ground where the
pears had fallen. They were busy mashing and crushing the fruit. It was an
interesting activity and they were too busy with the fun of it to notice
any danger of any sort.
Wind was always moving and
jerking at things about the place. It was a common thing to have boards
jerked off the lighter built sheds. Sometimes, the nails would be still in
the boards as they were thrown here and there about. The boards with nails
poking up would melt and blend into the ground making themselves
invisible. It was on one of these nails little Bob stepped. The nail went
all the way through his shoe and was sticking up through the top part of
the shoe. He was paralyzed with the thought that the nail had gone all the
way through his foot and he stood screaming at the top of his lungs.
Jill stood starring at the
nail and then she was alert. She ran to the house, "Mama, Mama, Bob
has stepped on a nail." "It went all the way through his
Their mother was as usual
moving as fast as the children, and when she got to the screaming child
her knees were weak with the thought that a nail had penetrated his foot.
She reached down, lifting the boy's foot off the ground, and at the same
time jerked the board and nail away from the screaming child's foot.
Quickly, she was busy taking his shoe off to examine the injured foot.
"No blood," she
In his curiosity, Little Bob
stopped crying to look down to his foot. "No blood?" He asked.
Their mother was jerking his
sock off to look. She then picked up the boy's shoe. There was a hole in
the sole right where the nail had gone through. The nail had simply
slipped in between the boy's toes without penetrating his skin. She was so
relieved the boy's shoes were worn and old and that the nail had gone
through the hole and between his toes she couldn't be angry with his for
crying so needlessly.