I’m thrilled to report that several folks have recently paid dues for Madison County Historical Commission. Individuals or couples seeking membership pay annually. If you enjoy these Musings and have yet to join, you may mail your check to Madison County Museum, P.O. Box 61, Madisonville, TX 77864.
Several years ago, MCHC and the Museum compiled a small blue book of fun recollections of locals. Jerry Reed told one entitled “The Golf Course,” which I will now relate in his own words.
“Back in 1952, what is now the Viser Lake Addition, was the Municipal Golf Course. It was also the home of numerous cottontails and jackrabbits.
“Since we didn’t have computer games or ‘pot,’ it was a popular sport to chase rabbits on the golf course in my 1942 model government surplus Willys jeep, even though L.B. Stover and Dr. Jeff Carter did not approve of this activity.
“Well, one night, my friend, Charles Strawther, called and invited me to ride around with him to see what we could get into. It had been raining a lot that day, but we decided to see if we could find a few rabbits to chase anyway. Well, you know the rest of that story. Yes, we got stuck right in the middle of No. 4 fairway.
“We walked out to Highway 75 and caught a ride back to his house and woke up his dad, Neal Strawther (1905-1975), and told him our dilemma. Being the kind man that he was, after about 10 minutes of scolding, we got in his pickup and headed for the golf course to pull us out.
“That’s not the end of the story. Yes, we got his pickup stuck, too, and had to walk back out to the highway to catch a ride back to his house. We then called Ronald Standley and told him what had happened. Of course, he had to drive up there and look at the mess we had made on the golf course.
“Yes, he got stuck too. Now we had two pickups and a 1949 Ford coupe stuck right in the middle of the golf course. We were now in bad trouble.
“As you notice, I have not told my parents yet, and the golfers still didn’t know. So, we still had to go through all that agony — and we did.
“The next morning, we called Calvin Clute, and he came out with his wrecker and made a full day’s wages in about two hours.
“Charles and I lived through it, but even after all these years, we still remember the occasion vividly.”
That’s the story that’s in print in that blue book, but when I talked to Jerry recently, I learned more. He said, “You know, we really got in a good bit of trouble
with Coach Ray. Charles and I were both playing basketball at that time, and we weren’t supposed to be out at night with girls. Coach Ray wasn’t so mad about us getting stuck, it was because we’d had LaMerle Wester (Sharp) and Anne Westmoreland (1938-2016) with us. Coach got wind of it, got pretty angry, and made us do lots of pushups and such.”
That was not the beginning of the mischief for those two boys. Jerry also said, “Once when we were about 7 or 8, we were at my grandmother’s house, on the corner of Casey and Collard. She had chickens in her back yard and a post oak tree that had grapevine in it. Charles and I were climbing, and we’d heard of folks smoking grapevine. I went in the house, got matches, and we cut some grapevine. I went first and sucked up a big draw. It put a horrible blister on my tongue, and that was my first and LAST time to smoke grapevine.”
Jerry also shared one more incident, saying, “Another time, Charles, his cousin Ronald Standley, Hiram Lee Jones, and myself went out to Mr. Strawther’s place on Strawther Road. We spent the night in an old tin barn and it was NOT a fun night. We got into a lot of mischief and got scared.”
Some of you that are my age may remember when Charles Strawther (1938-2012) was our junior high science teacher. One day he told us in class, “Just remember, always wear a shirt or T-shirt when you are ironing a shirt. I can tell you, a stomach burn hurts.” I always hated that he left teaching to work elsewhere. It was a great loss for students here.
Today we might judge boys that got into mischief as related above rather harshly. We might even predict bad ends for them. These guys turned out fine. Hiram Lee Jones went into the military and was a minister for years, and Ronald Standley served as commissioner of Precinct 1 about 12 years ago, besides working elsewhere. Jerry Reed has been trusted businessman, and I’ve already told about Mr. Strawther. Good men, for sure.
I love hearing stories. If you want to share such, please leave a message at the Museum at (936) 348.5230.
Madison County Museum, at 201 N. Madison St., Madisonville, TX, is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Museum curator Jane Day Reynolds welcomes your visits. Memorials or donations may be mailed to the Museum, P.O. Box 60, Madisonville, TX 77864.