Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Few Memories by Bill

Heavener. What a bunch of memories I have of where I was born and grew up. Living by the railroad tracks and being part of a railroad family gave me lots to remember.

For example: the hobos, tramps, and bums. Today we would call them homeless people, or misplaced individuals, but to my Grandmother, they were “hungry guys”. When I’d go down the alley to her house, it was not a surprise to see a couple of “them” sitting by the back door scarfing up what ever she was feeding them. I never did hear of them doing her any harm. They were just thankful for the meal she gave them and passed the word on to others as they traveled the rails.

I’ve often wondered HOW people get run over by a train. One of the first things my Daddy taught me was, IF there is a pair of rails, there IS probably a train coming. And, he also explained that they couldn’t stop very fast with such a heavy load behind them. So, “Look BEFORE you get out on the tracks, not AFTER you are already on them”.

It's kind of like learning about matches when you are young. They burn. And, don’t put your finger in a mouse trap, it hurts! Nowadays, parents try to keep all the things that can hurt you away from their kids, and they grow up a bunch of dummies. Well, no common horse sense anyway. I’m drifting away from my memories, so let me refocus.

When I was young, and that was a long time ago, I remember Saturdays when the farm folks would come to town riding in their horse-drawn wagons and other horse-drawn vehicles. We boys would sit out on the lawn swing with Granddaddy by the graveled highway. By the way, he lived where the drive-in now is,beside the auto parts store. We would watch up north on the highway and, when we saw a horse-drawn wagon coming, we would run beside his house to the alley, cut over to the corner by Ledbetter’s house (where the Burger Joint used to be), and jump on the back of the wagon. We’d ride ‘til Granddaddy saw us and made us get off. He thought he was keeping an eye on us, but we would do it time and time again ‘til finally he made us go home .

We would go to town on Saturday with a quarter. It cost ten cents to get into the theater, a nickel for popcorn, and a nickel for a coke. Then we would stop by the drugstore for a nickel ice cream cone after we got out of the show.

Another thing I remember growing up is the way we used to go over to the Methodist church and play in the old oil branch after a good rain. It was called the oil branch because it started up at the old round house where they worked on the steam engines.

Water would carry the oil slick down by the church, the library, behind the old Long Bell Lumber Yard, and then on down past the jail. It was really slick and oily, and made a real wonderful water slide. It went under the streets on the way thru town and was a great place to play after a good rain. That was ‘TIL the Rev. Ralph Patterson called my Mother and told her what we were doing. Then the fun was over, but it was a good time ‘til he ratted on us.

It was fun. We never intended to drown or get stuck under the streets like Mother explained that we could. Today kids have to PAY to ride a water slide, and they aren’t nearly as long or as slick as “the old oil branch”. She even explained to us that it came right through Reeder Thornton’s barn lot and picked up some of that “stuff”. I guess today the EPA would call it e-coli or some funny name like that.

Guess that’s enough for today. If you like these kind of “memory” stories, let me know. I’ve got LOTS of ‘em. Check out www.billsafflegaffle.blogspot.com for some stories about the old Babcock’s Store as well as some current adventures of this Old Codger.

Bill Babcock


At May 6, 2008 at 11:41 PM , Blogger John Inman said...

Bill, welcome to the group. I personally would like more of you 'memory' stories, and I'm sure you have a bunch to share. I do believe the Rev. Patterson you were speaking of might have been Gordon, Jim's dad. Ralph is his uncle, married to Rena Hall now. I may be wrong, too. But, please, share your memory stories.

At May 7, 2008 at 8:48 PM , Blogger Craig Hall said...

Welcome aboard, Bill, and keep those memories coming. Really enjoyed it. We played in the oil branch when we were kids.


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