Mrs. Williams told someone at church one Sunday night that I could be President of the United States someday if I wanted to. Do you realize what that can do for a fifth grader when he hears his teacher make that kind of remark! She never tolerated any foolishness from this potential national leader. I had to tow the line in her class. Maybe that is why I never went into politics. What is said and what is heard isn’t always the same thing.
Dwight Eisenhower is re-elected as President. There went my chance. What you can do is more important than what you can’t do.
February 8, 1956 marked the death of Grandma Walker at age 81. She died an easy death at her oldest child’s home. Aunt Myrtle said that she called out to grandma, who was in another room, “Momma are you feeling alright?” and her response was “yes Myrtle I am feeling better than I have felt in a long time.” Those were grandmother’s last words. When Aunt Myrtle went in later to check on her, Grandma Walker had died.
The funeral was held at the Jones Funeral Home in Hamburg, Arkansas but friends and family gathered at Mother’s house. Lots of food was shared and Grandma was buried next to Grandpa on a cold and rainy day.
I still visit that cemetery on occasion and remember those two special soles. Those two who have such a special place in the hearts of so many. The church still stands and the highway has now become the main artery between Hamburg and Crossett. I still remember it as an old logging road with a few houses scattered here and there.
The construction of the U.S. interstate highway system was approved by Congress. The suburbs begin to grow at the detriment of the urban neighborhoods. The world starts to get smaller.
The Morrison’s moved next door. He was a friend to all the kids in the neighborhood. He made himself available and all of us took advantage of it. He raised Homing Pigeons and gave three of us, Billy Ray, Donald Ray, and yours truly, a pair after we build a loft for our birds. We would go over every afternoon and watch his birds fly. My life became better. He was a wonderful man that treated me as his own. I miss him!
His daughter’s bedroom window was next to a huge fig bush. In the summer, I spent lots of time talking to her and eating figs. I liked them both. His younger child, Bill, was a funny little boy and it was impossible not to like him. He was, after all, his father’s son. The older Bill gave me my first pair of Homing Pigeons, and along with them, many hours, and years of enjoyment. He helped me build a house for my birds. What a guy!
After his family moved away, he always found time to stop by the house and check on me. Stephen Covey said that, “To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.”
It was not unusual for me to visit with Aunt Estelle and Uncle Claude during the summer. Sometime Sandy and I would ride her horse Buddy and when the rodeo came to Crossett, Byrian would let me ride behind him in the opening ceremonies. Sandy was a good rider and she rode her horse alone.
We always got free passes to the rodeo if you were in the opening parade. On one of those nights, a man’s horse got loose after the rodeo and Byrian and some other riders caught the runaway animal. Byrian jumped on back of the bridless horse and tried to get it under control. As it took off down the deserted back road, Buddy took off after them. The bride slipped out of my hands and fell to the ground. I grabbed the horses mane and held on for dear life and the saddle slipped from the top of the horse to between his legs.
That is probably the only reason the he stopped running on the moon lit road. We eventually found Byrian and rode home. The next day the owner of the horse was upset with Byrian for giving up on his horse. It was an adventure that I would never forget.
The high school band director held an assembly for fifth graders for the sole purpose of recruiting new band students. He told us when we would meet for practice and suggested that we not join just because our best friend is. As soon as I find out that my best friend was interested in joining the band so did I. We both selected the cornet as our instrument. We had about ten or so students join that year and some that joined when we got to the sixth grade.
Elvis Presley and rock and roll was the thing! He had at least three songs on the radio station that year, Don’t Be Cruel, Blue Suede Shoes, and Hound Dog.
Charlie Dumas, Charles Chadwick, and I sang We Three King in the Christmas play. We each sang one stanza as a solo and the rest of the fifth grade classes sang the chorus. There were three classes of fifth graders and each class chose one person to sang the solo part. Mrs Williams thought it would be a good idea to practice during class. Nothing would do but for me to stand next to my desk and sing my solo while the rest of my class mates joined in their parts.
Charlie could hear through the class room wall and told everyone in his class that he had the best voice. I suspect that he was correct for once in his life. He did have a brother that went to Nashville, Tennessee in hopes of making his fortune singing country music. Charlie eventually moved to another town and Charles failed a couple of grades.
We all eventually succeeded in graduating from high school. The classic movie The Ten Commandments hit the big screen. Cuba is hit by Fidel Castro and his revolution.
Life is about not knowing what will happen next.