Friends……and I Didn’t Meet Them on the Ark! VOL. 1

Aug 01

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I have  some great memories that flow from the past where an animal made an impact.  Let’s go back  to Cuero , Texas -where I had the run in with a “Louisiana Red Hot” sausage while at the races with Uncle Jesse (from a previous story ) . Grandpa Robert Lee always had an assortment of 2 and 4 legged residents where ever they lived. This little house (even though it was in town ) had a big back yard…about  1 1/2 acres. Residents included on old black and white milk cow that didn’t give as much milk as she used to , a pretty good sized coop with about 30 or so chickens-mostly red chickens that gave brown eggs and lots of 2-yolkers , and one big white dirty hog that dug so much in the mud you’d think she was trying to get to China . I remember she  would eat anything , almost anything. Eating anything was left up to Billie.

Grandma could not understand why Grandpa kept Billie…they didn’t have any other goats; no chance for a herd. No milk either. He still had to be fed. Grandpa said , ” I keep him ’cause he keeps the riff-raff away .” That was just a big lie. He was in a field all by himself…so damn mean no one but Grandpa could go near him. He had long curved horns, bushy white chin whiskers , and if he caught up to you, he would butt you so hard you may not get up. No one knew how old Billie was: but he was a terror and feared.

Soon after Mom , Dad and I had  gotten to Texas , Grandma had Grandpa kill one of the  turkeys that had the free run of the neighborhood. Grandpa laid claim to the flock-some 10-15 of them ; but since they went where they wanted , that tended to be where there was the most food . (Cuero was once considered the turkey capital of the US-they herded them thru town to ship them on the RR) Grandma cut the bird up, dipped her it in flour with just salt and black pepper ; fried it in hot lard. The big black iron skillet was set over a stack of stones with a mesquite wood fire…burning hot. We were eating the turkey , a big green glazed bowl of German potato salad, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers from Grandma’s garden and lots of cornbread baked with bacon grease. It was a warm Texas evening and the sun was about to go behind the trees. We all sat at a big long table outside covered with yellow oil cloth -it had a red , green and blue flower design. Pitchers of tea, cold Lone Star beer for Dad, Grandpa, and Uncle Jesse. I had not had fried turkey before, but it was wonderful.Simple country food that folks had been cooking and eating around South Texas , since it was settled in the 1820’S by German and Czech immigrants and some expats from all over the southern US.

We had finished eating; dishes were cleared and the men sat and smoked. Mom and Grandma were talking. The early evening sky was bright. The story was always retold,as I didn’t remember all that had happened , but I remember Mom screaming and running toward the field ,  just beyond the coop. You see , I had climbed through the fence and was standing in front of Billie. He was gently nudging me with his head , and I was pulling on his whiskers…talking all the while as how he should be more friendly and not chase people. I only came up to his nose. My Dad finally calmed down  Mom-she kept pleading to get me out of there. All the men said, “Why? They seem to be gettin’ along just fine .” Grandpa finally came through the fence and brought me back…it was pretty evident that Mom was not going to calm down completely. She spent the rest of the evening telling all that I could have been killed. Mostly that fell on deaf ears ;  Texas men of that era had a dry sense of humor most times and the evening’s entertainment just lent fodder for some stories to be retold at a later date. I’m sure with several details embellished or a bit out of context.

After that evening,I went to visit Billie quite often . He’d see me and come running up to the fence for me to scratch him. Still would not let anyone else but me and Grandpa around him. It was often a topic of conversation around town how that little chubby, freckle faced, curly haired kid could go in that field with that mean Billie goat…. any time he wanted.

ANOTHER TIME: Donner Pass and the picnic with Chip ‘n Dale and the one legged Jay; the duck that couldn’t quack ;  the eight inch tall Bantam rooster that ruled the roost ; the gunny sack that was moving.

2 comments

  1. Julia /

    Oh, my! What I wouldn’t give to have a picture of little Ross Pullen and that goat!

    • I think there existed a picture of that goat in his most dominant state ; saw it as a kid- but I wasn’t in the pic. I would like to have that snap today. Who knows where it went.

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