RIDING IN THE BACK SEAT WITH MY BEST FRIEND, BLAIR

April 7,2017

My father-in-law.

I learned more history today, the East Texas kind.

Blair’s dad, Brosure (Ambrose Davy Wright), when he was a young man, bought a new suit to wear on a date with a pretty young lady that he and his older brother, Hiram, knew.
He laid out the suit, then went outside to get the horse and wagon ready.
His brother, Hiram, went inside, put on the suit, and waited until the wagon was ready.
Brosure came in, Hiram went out a different door, got in the wagon, and had his own date.
With the same girl.
When he got home that night, Brosure was waiting in the dark, with a whip, and proceeded to tear the suit he had bought to shreds, tore the shirt off Hiram’s back with the same whip.
Brosure went inside.
Years later, Uncle Hiram showed Blair the scars on the back from the “discipline” administered by his younger brother.
Hiram kinda chuckled, “Oh, I deserved what I got, but, if I’da had a gun, I’da probably shot him. But, you know, I knew I was wrong. An hour later, it was all over and done with. We were still brothers.”

Brosure married a different girl, Bessie Alice Wren. He started a transport company that traveled between Dallas and Shreveport.
He told Blair about coming to Belzora Landing, (just south of Hawkins, on the Sabine river) and taking the ferry across.

When Blair was young, the family lived at “the old Taylor place” as sharecroppers. Blair remembered that they had some Elm trees in the yard, down near the creek, and he and his friend would pretend to be Tarzan, (Johnny Wiesmuller version) and they would bounce the elm branches down and leap to another branch.
“Hey, Tarzan, you see that?”
“Yeah, Tarzan, I sure did. Watch this!”

There used to be a dentist in Lindale whose office was above the drug store/soda shop. His office had a window that opened out onto a flat roof.
When he pulled someone’s teeth, he would just drop ’em out the window onto the roof.
Blair said there was something intriguing about seeing teeth that way, and they used to go up on the roof to see them. Once, he counted over forty teeth.

Sometimes, someone would say,”It’s been awhile since we all went down to the river,” so the weekend would come, they’d hitch up their wagons and gather at the Sabine River, for fishing, talking, campfires, and stories. So many stories.
The ladies liked these outings, because, the distance between homes in the Lindale woods didn’t give them much chance for conversation.
Whoever came, came. Whoever didn’t come, didn’t.
The men would unload their guns, lean them up against a tree, and they would stay there through the weekend until the owner picked it up to leave.
There was usually a brown jug of whiskey on a log, to share with whosoever will. Most just took an occasional sip, but occasionally someone would drink too much and would pass out.
They used to say, “Bad people pass out, but the good people go on.”

Brosure had a younger brother, Emmett. Blair said he was a little bit tongue-tied.
Once he picked up a hitchhiker, and the hitchhiker put the stuff he was carrying in the back. Emmett never looked back there.
The next day, the police came, told Emmett that they found a stolen tommy gun in his wagon, and arrested him.
The trial was questionable, but Emmett was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years at the Huntsville prison farm. He always claimed it belonged to the hitchhiker.
He escaped the farm three times, would travel from Huntsville back to the Lindale Mineola area, hiding when he heard a vehicle, hitching a ride with the people that would pass by in a wagon, offering his services as a farm hand. Everyone liked Emmett.
He would eventually make it back to his brother, Hiram’s house, and he would live in the woods on his property. He had a homemade bow and arrows.
Brosure told Blair, “One time, we were all over at Hiram’s house, and Emmett showed us how to shoot a bow. He drew back, we heard the whoosh of the arrow, and the thud, as the arrow went through Hiram’s rooster’s head, and pinned it to a tree. Hiram couldn’t be mad at Emmett cuz, that was how he survived in the woods. Everybody liked old Emmett.”
After Emmett escaped the third time, the authorities told him that they wouldn’t take him back to prison if he would leave Texas and never come back.
So, Hiram moved to New Jersey.
He still came back for an occasional family reunion.

Blair told me, that he never planned ahead. I guess that is why he remembers all these wonderful stories. Everyday was a day to be lived. You lived, you saw, you listened, you learned, you remembered.

One day at a time.

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