Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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When Dad was a Boy

I have a patchwork story. Patchwork, because I’ve kind of pieced it together from stories I heard over the years. That means it might not be totally accurate, but to the best of my knowledge, it is. 🙂

Back in about 1939, when my dad was in fourth grade, Granddad moved his family to Tonkawa, Oklahoma, because he’d been hired to plug some wells in Three Sands.

Three-Sands Three Sands

A little background information from http://www.okhistory.org–

In 1920 oilman Ernest W. Marland, on the advice of E. Park “Spot” Geyer, who headed his geology department, became convinced that there was oil to be found southwest of Ponca City near the town of Tonkawa. He persuaded the Humphreys Petroleum Company, Cosden Oil Company, Prairie Oil and Gas Company, and the Kay County Gas Company to enter a cooperative venture to drill ten wells in the area to test the idea. They drilled nine dry holes in a row. (Oi!)

BUT . . . #10 came in at a little over 2600 feet a thousand barrel a day producer! But those first holes and the ones that played out fairly quickly had to be plugged. So Granddad Ray got the job of plugging them.

I can’t give you a scientific explanation of what plugging is, but I know they pulled out of the well hole as much pipe as they could and filled it with cement or concrete.

So Granddad rented a big house from some people who traveled part of the year and moved Grandmother, Uncle Paul, Aunt Phyllis and Dad into it. Uncle Frank, being a high school kid (if I count right, he was about 15) stayed in Old Mannford with grandparents.

My dad was about nine years old–this was at the end of the Great Depression–and spent his days in school. One day walking home from school, he noticed a nanny goat with three brand new babies.

baby boatI’ve heard my dad say many times, there’s nothing cuter than a baby goat. And I think I agree.

A week or two later, Dad noticed the babies were all gone except one. And the owner was in their pen with them, so Dad asked if the man wanted to sell the third baby.

“Yes,” the man said. “I’ll sell her for fifty cents.”

So dad rushed home and borrowed the money from Uncle Paul. (And yes, he later paid it back.) He hurried back to the man and bought the goat.

He named the little goat-girl Meggie and fell head-over-heels in love with her. The entire family loved Meggie. She was full of bounce and vinegar, and kept the fam totally entertained. There was no TV to watch back then.  Since the depression was just coming to an end, there probably wasn’t money for one if it had existed.

Meggie followed Dad and Phyllis around like a puppy. He and Phyllis liked to run and jump off the porch and run as they flew through the air. Meggie did the same thing, even running in the air!

Dad said they couldn’t keep Meggie from climbing anything. She often got on top of their cars so she could reach leaves on trees to munch on. I think he was kind of proud of her abilities. 😉

When the plugging jobs were finished, Granddad moved the family back to their house in Mannford and Meggie moved with them. Of course. But they lived in town, and town really wasn’t the place for a very active and hungry goat-girl.

They moved Meggie out to the farm, out in the basin. They never did teach Meggie not to eat what she shouldn’t. One day they were at the farm, dusting the potatoes with poison to keep the bugs off. Dad looked up and saw the goat with her head in the bag of poison.

He chased her out of the poison and moved it where he thought was out of her reach. But when he got busy again, Meggie found her way to the poison.

I guess Dad’s heart just about broke the next morning when she couldn’t move anything but her eyes. Not long after that, Meggie died.

As far as I know, Dad never owned another goat, but every now and then he talks about getting one to keep the brush eaten down on Eagle Mountain where he lives.

There’s just a little bit more to that story. Dad and his wife have season tickets to the musicals in Tulsa. They’ve been going so long, they have front row center seats, and they’ve gotten to know the people who sit around them.

One couple is from Ponca City. Dad told them he’d lived in Tonkawa for a while when he was a boy. The man said he had, too.

So Dad, being a natural-born story teller, told them about living in Tonkawa. And, he said, he even had a little girlfriend. She hadn’t known he liked her at the time, but his brother teased him about her. He wondered if the Ponca City man might have known her.

He said her name, and the Ponca man laughed out loud. That little girl had grown up to be the man’s sister-in-law!!!

Is this a Small Town World or what?

Any goat stories out there? Care to share? 😀

In case you’re interested, here’s a little bit more about Three Sands–

Cherokee Strip Museum

 

 

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On the Hunt

Can you believe we’ve started the final month in the first half of 2014 already? Oy!

Fun stuff going on this week in my part of OkieLand. One of my faves was when #1 son came to visit last weekend, looking for toys from his Childhood for MY GRANDSON WHO’LL BE MAKING HIS APPEARANCE NEXT OCTOBER! *grins!* Tonka Truck and John Deere Tractor are the toys he was looking for. For some reason, though, we can’t find them. 😦

v3_tonka_mighty

Surprised? I’m not. Since I don’t have perfect recall (some days it seems as if I have no recall at all) and we’ve moved twice since anyone has played with either toy . . .

tractorSigh.

I think we got the truck one year for Christmas. To be honest, I don’t remember exactly. (#1–you have permission to correct me if I’m wrong.) But, boy! I remember the day the John Deere came to live with us.

My Man was working 24-hour call at that time. Yes, he is a pharmacist–SWOSU!–but at that time he was working in the oilfield as a logging and perforating engineer. Anyhoo, he came in one evening about eight or nine o’clock, which would have been LATE for a person who worked in a 9-5 office, but he worked in the oilfield and often came home in the wee hours.

An open-hole logging crew is usually on site, waiting for the moment the rotary gets to total depth, and it seemed to me they NEVER reached TD during the daylight.

Danny and I were excited when Gary came home while Danny was still awake, and (bigger surprise!) he came in with a big bag in his hands, which he handed to Danny.

Danny opened the bag and wow! A big green tractor! And the tractor had a trailer. (If I remember right.)

Danny loved that tractor and played with it for hours on end, plowing the carpet, towing toy cars and hauling imaginary monsters. As our other boys came along and got big enough, they enjoyed it, too.

They had the most fun when there was a pile of dirt to work on. My boys loved to build roads, dig ponds and move mounds of dirt with their toys.

Confession: If I had time, I liked to get out and move a little dirt with them. 🙂 Who cares if our jeans got a little (or a lot) dirty? We had fun!

What we didn’t know when Gary brought home that tractor was that in a few years, we would be moving to Pryor Creek. And when you live near PC, you often see entire families going to town in a trailer connected to a tractor. (Those Amish families have the best ideas!)

If we loaned you (or your kids) either toy, would you give it back? 😉 Please, send it least by October. Seriously, if you happen onto one or the other at a garage sale, antique store or flea market, call me!

Talking about dirt piles, I remember a great big one next door to Marsha Hagberg’s house when we were kids that Debbie, Marsha and I (and probably the rest of the neighborhood kids) had so much fun on! We didn’t play with trucks so much, but there was a lot of make believe (my favorite game, ever) played there.

I’m not sure this kid ever saw a pile of dirt she did like.

Was a pile of dirt a magnet to you? Did you jump your bike over it, move it with your trucks, play “Lost in Darkest Africa,” or stay far, far away from it?

Terminally Curious is dying to know!