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Dogs at the Manger, January 1, 2015, Number 1364

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The madstone article from a few weeks ago is still bringing comments. Following is a response from Pattie Pettigrew in Houston. I’m going to write it straight from her letter. “My grandpa, Tom Hooten, and his brother, Leemie?, (Klondike Hootens) were on a load of hay and saw a bull they knew was rabid from his actions. They knew he would gore the horses to death so Uncle Leemie got on the horses and rode away while Grandpa distracted the bull. He ran from tree to tree and would stab the bull in the nose with his pocket knife. A tree was down across a creek. Grandpa ran out on it, the bull charged, fell in the creek, and drowned. Grandpa had a sore on his hand and his hand was covered with slobbers. He got a madstone from somewhere and put it on his hand. I guess it worked because he didn’t go mad. I have been told there is a madstone in a museum in Huntsville, Texas. I hope you can read this. I am 86 and my writing is not the best. Pattie Pettigrew.” Thanks Ms. Pattie for the interesting information.

If you’ve ever attended a small church in the country you may realize the agenda is slightly different from the big city ones. To give an example, here is information from Jennie Pickering that I got in a text message about the Charleston Methodist’s Nativity program. The outdoor program was originally set for Wednesday, December 17 and would include live animals. Jeffrey Preas spent a lot of time building the manger and accessories. Later a hay ride type caroling was planned. Due to bad weather the program had to be changed to December 24 when many of the scheduled actors could not attend. Following is a copy of a text we received from Jennie Pickering about the play. “Zach and Jake Garza, ages six and three, and I were shepherds. Jake lasted about fifteen minutes then quit to go play. It was dark and he slid down the slide and got his pants wet so Dana carried him to change. John Jackson, in shorts, was Joseph. Chaney Speight, in camo coveralls, was Mary. Tommie Regan, James Garza, and John’s friend, Mario, were kings. The only live animal was Morgan Baker’s rat terrier. He was doing a fine job guarding baby Jesus (a roll of swaddled paper towels because the doll was not to be found). Jason and Anita brought their blue heeler. Can you guess? Yep, those dogs had the biggest fight I ever saw. It started by Zach and commenced to the manger. Nearly knocked Baby Jesus over before the dogs were separated. Zach couldn’t stop laughing. It did liven up the play.”

With all the Christmas visiting I have not done any hunting or fishing lately so let’s check in and see what was going on in 1986. December 25, 1986. This morning I went to the Highway 19 Bridge on South Sulphur, walked out in the woods, and got the canoe Jerry Lowry and I had recently used. After a family get together several of us went to see millions of blackbirds that are roosting in cedar trees southeast of the old city lakes. Limbs were broken off from the birds’ weight and blocking the dirt road. Just before dark the birds were really swarming in. The old road was like a tunnel because of overhanging limbs. The birds were coming down the tunnel to get to their night spot and the wind from their wings was like a tornado. I had my face covered up but several birds hit Bret as he waved his arms.

December 28, 1986. Sunday. About 7:00 tonight after leaving my pickup at the Buddy Hendricks’ gate at Longridge, Jean and Michael carried me to Kensing. I walked southwest from Red Branch shining my headlight for coon eyes. Got my first coon at 8:00 and moved on toward the mouth of Lake Creek. While walking northwest along Lake Creek I saw a coon’s eye peeping through a crack in a hollow tree. Skinned it and added to my pack. Walked up Lake Creek to the Hendricks’ place where I got the third coon. To the pickup at 10:10 and home.

December 29, 1986. Monday. To Paris to buy Greg a .22 with his Christmas money. Stopped by Paris Hide and Fur on Bonham Street and sold furs. Three bobcats brought fifty, fifty, and forty. The three coons from last night brought a total of fifty. To Pattonvile and asked about a place to buy Bret some show pigs. On to Minter where a man named Brantley, originally from New Mexico, sold us two barrows for one hundred dollars.

January 1, 1987. Thursday. To a big cookout at Longridge about 9:00 this morning. A few were still celebrating the New Year. Those in attendance while I was there were Tony Toon, Huck Elmore, Dean Houchins, John Thomas, Jerry Lowry, Jolly Peters, Smoky Bates, Clyde Porter, Alvin Lawson, Kenneth George, and Tommy Woodall. Home a little after dark and watched Oklahoma beat Arkansas 49-3. Now back to the present, January 1, 2015.

A few weeks ago I mentioned constellations such as the Southern Fish, Orion the Hunter, and a few more. Did you catch it where I tried to trick you by saying the bright star in Taurus was Antares? It should have been Aldebaron. Reckon it was a test or I just wasn’t watching my stars?

A man was telling how his parents never loved him. Said his bath tub toys were an iron and toaster. His father would pitch him up in the air—then turn and walk away. He asked his mama if he could ice skate on the pool. She said to wait until it warmed up a little. Kidnappers sent his mama one of his fingers for proof. She sent word to them she wanted more proof.
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