J.B. Webb — Just how did I live this long?


I have been reading a fellow old-timer, Jerry Lincecum, who has been writing about growing up in the old days. He is good and uses words I know the meaning of but his words are all spelled right, unlike my spell ’em like they sound, which confuses my spellcheck and wife Susan.

So far he hasn’t said much about his brushes with, lets say fate. I have more readers than I knew and I appreciate every one of them. What most tell me is how much they enjoy my mishap stories.

If they would printum like I writeum, you would roll around laughing but some won’t get past the censors. Little kids read this paper too.

Not having been on the water, I’m not going to write about something I haven’t done fishingwise. Instead I’m taking my newer readers and old readers back to some events that happened as I grew up. It has been a long time since I wrote about any of them, so here goes.

Most are humorous and all true, and a lot of the people I won’t name are still around who would vouch for most of this. Enjoy.

I was born in a house on a creek bank at Elmont. Doctors still made house calls then. When the doctor finally got down the muddy road to our house my grandmas had me wrapped, oiled up, seasoned and laying on the door of a coal oil stove oven. After he checked mother and me out I’m sure he told them to not leave me in too long.

Getting older, I told you all about the time when I was around six or so the horses ran away with me in a wagon. One time I stepped on a nail in a board in the cow lot; washing my foot in coal oil saved the day.

I can’t remember if I ever had a tetanus shot ’til I was in school. In school we got shots for things I had never seen or heard of.

At Bill Barret’s Elmont grocery store one day, too many Saturday westerns and new cowboy boots and a big mouth for a little kid made two older boys whup me plum out of my new boots.

I got no petting from dad or mom. l just missed getting a whipping for fighting which would have been wrong — I was doing more yelling and running than fighting.

Growing up saw me nearly falling in the well we used for water at grandpa’s as most of me, except my toe nails, was inside the well looking at frogs swimming around and some that had died and turned white.

After pulling me out, Grandpa took a bucket and rope and caught them all out. We never boiled water, just drank it, washed in it and cooked, and no one ever got sick.

Bathing in a No. 3 washtub, using lye soap outside in the summer and in the kitchen in the winter kept me clean. I wouldn’t have ears this big but one of my grandmas dug deep and pulled hard.

I loved fishing: I climbed up on top of the barn fence with my fishing pole and one of the cows came over and licked the hook. I jerked, the cow bellered and took off jerking the pole out of my hand. She ran right through the fence with my fishing pole.

All of her cow friends thought she was going shopping and left out with her. Daddy came home and after we got the cows gathered I won’t go there.

Playing cowboys and Indians with my little brother I was in the walnut tree and told him to shoot me. He did and I fell off the limb.

My pig-roping was a big learning event growing up. I had a fat-tired bike I stripped down and found enough twine and rope to rope with. I tied the rope to the crossbar and backed up on the storm cellar.

We had some pigs weighing about 60 pounds or so. One came out, I took off. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t rope a pig. The pig destroyed my bike and between daddy and the piglet did a fair job of near killing me.

I have had a love-hate problem with chickens. I love them fried up next to gravy and taters. On the hate side, we had a mean rooster that chased me everywhere.

One day he got me cornered in our dog house and was working me over when Grandma saved me.

One time my cousins and I had real firecrackers, not the weenie ones you get today. We were shooting them in the yard. We lit and threw them — there wasn’t any warning on the package back then. One old hen ran out and grabbed one and blew her head off. We all got spanked and had chicken and dumplings for supper.

Getting older we did things in cars and on tractors that today OSHA would flip out over and should have by rights killed us, but it was fun.

Skipping on to getting in school saw me getting spanked from the third grade ‘til my junior year. I think I spent more time in the bookroom where the paddles were kept than the books did.

I had friends who could drive their parents’ car to ride around with. Every car back then carried a piece of hose and some kind of container to put gas in as we didn’t have much money.

Farmers around Gunter and the surrounding area probably saw their tractor mileage go up after we finally went to buying our own gas. I saw a time or two when we were on dates and the car stopped — the old saying we run out of gas was true, not a ruse for a little hanky-panky.

I also recall us boys loading up in Killer’s ’54 Chevy, some riding on the fenders, others hanging out the windows, all of us shooting 22s and never one of us getting shot.

We were running around in wheat fields shooting jackrabbits and cottontails in the car lights. Falling off or out of the car was expected and you tried to roll away as much as you could because the driver couldn’t see you once you were gone and falling off wasn’t a reason to stop a good rabbit hunt. We fed the trunkfull of rabbits to our FFA pigs at the school barn.

At a later time we found a field of roasting ears. We drove down the row while we pitched the ears in the same trunk the rabbits had once occupied. Several people had corn on the cob to eat and didn’t question too closely about where it came from.

Our next voyage into our budding crime stage after the corn caper found us in James’ ’51 Ford Coupe. We planned to branch out and help harvest a watermelon field over by Tioga.

We had a black car and worked better at night. You would be surprised how many watermelons you can get in a two-door coupe. Well, the light came on at the farmer’s house and we heard the screen door slam. We had heard from questionable sources that this farmer was prone to shoot.

Getting out fast was on our mind but there were more watermelons in the car than we figured on and no room for us. James was scared and took off. We all got a hold of something and were making a clean get away ’til we hit the ditch full of blow sand.

Weighing more than it did when we crossed it the first time the car stuck. The farmer’s car lights were moving and we did too. It looked like four octopuses at work as we flung watermelons out. As the headlight was coming our way, to this day I’m not sure we didn’t pick that Ford up and run with it while James floored the pedal to get out of the ditch. That scare was enough to put us on a semi-straight path.

I’ll stop here until I get another slow spell when I will continue my fun-filled journey through life living on the edge for you. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s left and I passed over.

 

Rules for posting comments