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The Chair


 

All of us who have reared children know that it is difficult for the kids to keep their mouths shut, especially about things that go on inside the home.  I was a good example of that when I was around nine years old. I still recall the incident as though it happened only yesterday.

 

In 1945 my parents’ furniture in their newly constructed home was rather modest.  They had a dinette set that was probably a “hand down” from my grandparents. It was old and worn, constructed of wood.  The straight-back chairs were rather unsteady as I recall. All of these facts taken together set up the episode of which I now write.

 

One morning at breakfast, my father came to the table, pulled out his favorite chair and sat down.  Suddenly, the wood cracked and the chair collapsed with him in it. He hit the kitchen floor with a thud.  Uncharacteristically, for my father, he said a few choice words then picked up the broken chair and threw it out the back door.  This event had an impact on my nine year old brain.

 

Upon arriving at school the first thing I told my third grade teacher, Mrs. Georgia Mathews, was that I had something important to tell her.  She sat down at her desk and said, “OK, what do you want to tell me?” I swallowed hard then blurted out, “Well, my dad got mad at my mother this morning, broke a chair, and threw it out into the yard.”  Only part of the story was accurate, as is usually the case.

 

I felt much better telling someone what I had witnessed.  Well, things have a way of correcting themselves in a small town.  My mother owned a beauty shop and as luck would have it, Mrs. Mathews was a customer.  In fact, she had an appointment that very afternoon. Of course, my mother and my teacher both had a good laugh as the real facts of the incident were revealed.

 

Now, suppose that were to happen today?  I suspect that Child Protective Services would be called, an investigation launched, and my father might have been charged with child abuse.  My, have times changed. Personally, I liked the old days better.




 

“THE  CHAIR”

 

BY: NEAL MURPHY

107 Hemlock Street

PO Box 511

San Augustine, TX 75972

936-275-9033

Email: sugarbear@netdot.com

 

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The Accidental Bootlegger


 

 

I never did like to live in college dormitories, so when I was attending Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas, I lived in a boarding house near the campus.  It was a large two-story frame house with eight rooms upstairs, and one large bathroom.  Our meals were prepared and served to us in a large dining room down stairs.  As a 19 year old freshman in 1955, this set-up was about as good as it could get.

 

One of the students there was a few years older than most of us “human debris” freshmen.  I noted that he always seemed to have a lot of spending money, and he drove a nice car.  He was from up around the Tyler, Texas area, near the oil fields.

 

One sunny day, several of us guys were playing forty-two, which is a Texas game played with dominoes.  This fellow stuck his head into our room and asks, “Anyone want to go for a ride with me?”  That was like asking a hungry dog if he wanted some Alpo.  So, several of us piled into his vehicle, and we took off headed south.

 

Driving through Lufkin, 20 miles south, was not unusual for a pleasure drive.  However, when he turned on to highway 94 toward Apple Springs, a little red light went off in my brain.  Let me explain.

 

Nacogdoches and Lufkin were in “dry” counties, that is, no alcoholic beverages were sold.  However, Apple Springs was in a “wet” county as soon as you crossed the Neches River into Trinity County.  There were numerous liquor stores and night clubs all along the highway going into Apple Springs.

 

My little red light was correct….we were headed to Apple Springs and the liquor stores.  We stopped at the very first store, and the driver told us, “Just stay in the car.  I’ll be back in a few minutes.”  He came back with several paper sacks of wine and whiskey.  “Here, put these bags on the back floor board between your feet and keep them there”, he orders us.  I was really getting nervous by this time.


We make several other stops with more sacks of liquor being added to the floor board between our feet.  Finally, I said, “Hey, we need to stop this and get back to the boarding house.”  By now it has dawned on me that this fellow was making his money by buying liquor, then selling it on the college campus at a high profit.  In other words, he was bootlegging,
 and I was an accomplice!

 

Finally, we headed back toward Nacogdoches with our load of contraband. I could picture the headlines in our local newspaper – “Local Boy Arrested For Bootlegging”, and my father was a county official..!  I was really wishing that Scottie could “beam me up” immediately.

He was driving rather fast, and started to pass a car in front of us.  It was then that we noticed the red spotlight and antenna on the vehicle.  Surmising this to be a police car, he eased off the gas and pulled back behind the car.  I could see the officer looking at us in his rear view mirror.  To our horror, the patrol car pulled off on to the shoulder of the highway, and let us pass.  Then he got behind us and began to follow, observing us closely.

 

The driver yelled, “Boys, if he pulls us over, start throwing the stuff out the window!”  So, I was prepared for the worst.  However, a minor miracle happened.  The officer never pulled us over.  He followed us all the way to Lufkin where we made some quick turns and lost him.  Apparently we were saved from hard jail time.

 

As you might guess, I never again took a ride with this fellow.  Looking back, I should have turned him into the authorities, but I did not…..something to do with being a part of the pack and you do not “snitch” on a member of the pack.  I have often wondered what happened to this young man who made me an “accidental bootlegger” for several hours. I have a feeling that he may have had an encounter with the legal system at some point. We know what the Bible says, “Be not deceived. Your sins will find you out.”

 

THE  ACCIDENTAL  BOOTLEGGER

 

BY:  NEAL  MURPHY
107 Hemlock Street
PO Box 511
San Augustine, TX 75972
936-275-9033
cell: 936-275-6986
Email: sugarbear@netdot.com


 

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