The Nose Knows…

What website do you go to most and why?

 

1. mypopquizblog.com
    Reason: curiosity (nosy) and pride

2. postcardslive.com
    Reason: proud of my daughter and a little bit on the nosy side!

3. facebook.com 
    Reason:  I’m too dang nosy! (hate to admit it—afraid it’s true!)

The Speller’s the Feller

What was your first memory from elementary school?

 

That’s easy…and once again, it comes back to the teacher.  

I was blessed that the lady who had taught RJ and (I think) Bubba when the family lived in Beasley had moved to Freeport and was also my first grade teacher. Her name was Ms. Elizabeth Bailey.

Coming from a family of three older brothers who were constantly competing with one another, I developed a very competitive nature! THUS, my fondest memories from elementary school were the ‘spelling bees,’ because I was so competitive and a darn good speller!

 I hate these iPhones which do your spellllling for you!   :-)!

Balancing Boogers

What was your favorite subject in school and why?

 
I think I would have to say math & geometry.

My Daddy loved math and could add up columns of numbers ‘in his head’ without even using a pencil. He would challenge me to try to do the same. When I got to algebra, he and I would study my lessons together, because he hadn’t studied algebra before, but he was already a master at the logic of numbers!

I loved Algebra 1, but hated Algebra 2 because it was harder. But my teacher was anything but boring. She was a little lady named Ms. Beville, and she made Algebra & Geometry literally ‘come to life’! Maybe I can briefly explain how she did it. She used humor, which was really appealing to a 10th grader much more interested in football and golf than academics! She used to tells us her nickname was ‘Booger Beville’ and that Algebra was nothing more than taking these little ‘boogers’ on one side of an equation and making them equal with the ‘boogers’ on the other side. SHE GOT MY ATTENTION! Then when we got to geometry, she literally laid the groundwork for my love of building and carpentry…angles, squares, circles..the whole bit!

If you only knew how many nights I would work til 10 or 11 o’clock building our house 36 years ago. If you pay close attention to the panels in our den, you might hear, “Now, you wanna be sure and get all these little boogers to line up and be balanced or equal.” You might even check out the wooden venthood in your own kitchen! :-)). Wes’ daddy and I wrestled with that way up in the night! Look at it and say, “Thank you, Ms. Beville!”

Ain’t She Sweet

What was the first instrument you learned to play and who taught you?

 

I started playing two instruments at about the same time (both of them were inspired by my love and admiration for my brother, R.J.), the trombone and the ukulele!

Uncle R.J. loaned me the trombone he had played in high school, and I think I’ve already told you about joining the Junior High band in the 7th grade at Orange, Texas.   R.J. could make that trombone sing! His inspiration was the band phenom from the 1940s, Tommy Dorsey.

R.J. had purchased a little ukulele. He showed me as I listened to him what a simple instrument it was to play!    The first song he taught me was “Ain’t She Sweet”!   I thought I was a real musical stud when I strummed (and sang) that tune!    It was just a short step from that ukulele to the guitar!

The Empty Nest

Today is Jon’s birthday. What is your favorite memory of Jon as a kid?

 
There are so many memories I have of all you kids that it’s hard to say ‘this is my favorite’. With Jon, it happened when he was about to go to Abilene to college, but he really didn’t want to leave home.     Every time one of you kids went off to school, your mom would grieve for several days, almost as if you were ‘gone’. Busy as I was working, we always had the next young’un still at home, and I just didn’t experience that maternal separation each time like she did. We always still had kids in the nest.

I used to stop at our house every day (Route 2 Box 129) to eat a little lunch.  (By this time, mom had finished and excelled in her education. She had bachelors and masters degrees from Sam Houston   and was in demand as an English teacher in both Normangee and Madisonville.) This day I walked in to eat lunch, and there was a note on the end of the bar which said, “Bye, y’all. I’ll miss ya….and if I get homesick, I’m comin’ home!” (I still have the note in my little brown shaving kit in my closet)

Anyway, I knew how badly Jon didn’t want to go to Abilene…and college. He had been a genius as a builder, even as a little boy!   When I read that note, I looked outside. His pickup was gone, his trailer was gone, and his horse was gone!   I cried all during my lunch and, when it was time for me to head back out on the mail route, I thought I’d better go into my lavatory to wash the tears from my face.

When I went to the lavatory, I was in for another surprise! (When Jon  graduated, he received a bottle of Kuros, very expensive and good-smelling cologne. I would sneak into his bathroom and borrow a little Kuros.  The aroma was so distinct, that it had become a game with us–Jon would holler, “Get outta my cologne!”) When I got to my lavatory to wash my face, to my surprise there sat that little bottle of cologne with this note underneath. “Dad, this isn’t much, but maybe it’ll let you know how much I love you!”  Well, I really started bawling then.  I couldn’t stop crying for a full 6 hours! I still have that note (and the cologne) on my lavatory!:))

My baby boy was gone! Also his horse, his truck and trailer. I just wasn’t ready for that ’empty’ feeling…and the ‘nest’ was empty!

BUT…leave it to Jon. He called me in October with these words, “Dad, you’ve gotta help me with Momma. I can’t stand it out here…I’ve gotta come home!”    I said to him, “Now Jon, you know Mom’s not gonna stand for you dropping out of school.” He replied with a typical ‘Jon’ism, “Well Dad, I can flunk out a whole lot cheaper at Sam Houston than doing another semester here at ACU.”   His heart just wasn’t in it, but Betty and I have just thrilled to watch him blossom and grow since!

Before Norwegian Cruise Lines, there was Art and Jan…

What was the first vacation you ever took with Mom, and where did you go?

 
The first one that made me realize what an awesome woman I had married was a mission trip when we went to Huron, South Dakota. We traveled up through Oklahoma, Kansas, and then in to South Dakota. This was when we lived in Quitman. We did a great deal of sightseeing both up and back home.  If memory serves me right, we came back down through Missouri and Arkansas.

 
The folks in Huron (a very small church) had been door knocking, and the folks we stayed with were a couple (I think they were Lutherans) named Art and Jan Andersen. Jan was studying the Bible correspondence course and had opened her home to us. This was my first experience with a purebred Norwegian family. They were definitely steeped in the traditions of their culture!  Quite an experience for a couple of kids from Texas!

I Get Around

How many states have you been to?

 

I’ll just list them, and if that produces a story worth telling….I might elaborate! (Not me!)

1. Texas
2. Oklahoma
3. Louisiana
4. Arkansas
5. Kansas
6. Alabama
7. Florida
8. Georgia
9.Tennessee
10. Kentucky
11. Indiana
12. South Dakota 
13. West Virginia
14. New York
15. Pennsylvania
16. Virginia
17. California
18. New Mexico
19. Colorado
20. Missouri

Some of those states I’ve been in several times over the last 72 years…in fact, a bunch of times!  If I think of any others I’ll let you know.

I’m not nearly as well-traveled as my wife, daughter, two elder sons, grandson and my granddaughter.  :-))

Jon and I love hanging out on Concord Road.:-))

I had a Fiat over this Italian Girl…

What is the first family vacation you remember?

 

All the ‘vacations’ we went on with mom and dad were generally in connection with gospel meetings or singing schools. One such trip was to Poughkeepsie, New York for a singing school and gospel meeting at the church where Brother ‘Shack’ Hartsell’s daughter lived. They lived out in the country on a polled Hereford ranch called “Clove Creek Farm”. The family stayed in town, but I got a job working out on the ranch which was owned by Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., son of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt the president who preceded Truman.

Roosevelt was the U.S. representative for the Italian Fiat Motor Company. There were 2 other college students there, also.The other boys were Ivy League–one attended Cornell University, and the other went to Princeton. One highlight I remember from that vacation was when we helped Mr. Roosevelt plan a picnic for some guests he was entertaining from Italy. The man was a ‘bigwig’ owner of the Fiat company coming to visit, and he wanted to see ‘Clove Creek’. His name was Gerabaldi…a famous Italian! The reason he wanted us to help him with the picnic was that Mister Gerabaldi was bringing his 16 year-old daughter with him, and Mr. ‘R’ thought we could help entertain her! This was the summer before my senior year in high school, and it is so hard to describe the anticipation we three boys had all that week. Wow! An Italian girl! We could just see a Gina Lollibrigida (Jimmy Durante used to call her Gina Lolibrigidigger) or a Sophia Loren! Both girls were Italian actresses (and luscious pin- up girls)! Remember, we were 17 and 18 year-old boys….anyway, after a week of anticipation, the day came, and their beautiful, long, luxurious limousine came rolling up to the farmhouse, and out stepped Mr Gerabaldi and our dream girl! She was a little, short, fat, Italian….the farthest from what we’d been expecting! I can’t tell you how fast those boys retreated and let me be the host for Miss Gerabaldi! We rode horses through the pasture, all the way up to the highest spot on Clove Creek, which was a beautiful view of the whole place. We (us boys) had gone up there earlier in the week and mowed out a spot for us to spread this very romantic picnic lunch! And here I am, with this little fat Italian girl whose feet don’t reach the stirrups, who’d never ridden a horse before. Can you imagine what I’m feeling? Disappointment is an understatement!

I’ve never been the greatest horseman myself, but that was a ride I’ll never forget. Mr Roosevelt was a giant man (about 6’7″ tall), and when he and Mr Gerabaldi came driving up to the picnic spot in his pickup, he had changed clothes and had on khaki pants and shirt. When he squatted down to where we had the checkered tablecloth spread for the beautiful picnic, his pants split, and one long, bony knee protruded, and the whole crowd was petrified…except Lanier…I fell out laughing! And guess what? Mr. Roosevelt did, too. He and I just ‘connected.’ I had no idea, really, what an important man he was, even though he was the son of a president, an international businessman, an influential politician in his own right…and me, a little nobody from Louisiana, sitting there laughing together about his split britches! He talked with me about my future, dad’s singing schools, and even had me sing some Southern Gospel music for him. The Italians and the other boys all were the audience for these two ‘new friends’! I suppose that’s why this vacation is one of my most memorable early vacations. Clove Creek was built by some movie actress from the early 1930s, and our ‘barn’ was originally a movie theatre with little twinkling lights in the oval ceiling (which also was painted to look like a night sky). Mr. R. told me that the actress who lived there hosted her Hollywood buddies there back in the ’30s. I checked the Internet, and Clove Creek still exists. I’m gonna have to do a little more research.

Anyway, also a part of that trip was a visit to Hyde Park (FDR’s residence), and I even got to see West Point. More importantly, our trip took us back through Kentucky and my mother’s birthplace…even the old single-walled house where MaMaw was born, up in the mountains near Nicholasville, Kentucky. We also visited the cemetery where both her parents (my maternal grandparents) are buried. We even got to visit with her Aunt Susan, who lived on a tobacco farm near the banks of the Kentucky River in one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever seen. Aunt Susan lived down in the river bottom, and mother’s family lived way up the mountain. I Also got to meet MaMaw’s double first cousin (brothers married sisters–a typical hillbilly practice). His name was Homer Benton. I had never been inside a tobacco barn until that day at Aunt Susan’s. I had seen pictures of them, but it’s a totally different experience to see how it’s cured and the smell…I’ll never forget! Even tried chewing tobacco after that trip!

J.D. Harkrider

Since he was mentioned several times in her dad’s last post, Karen “googled” J.D. Harkrider and located the following:

Longtime resident of Nacogdoches’ Hotel Fredonia celebrates 102nd birthday

Posted: Oct 24, 2013 6:01 PM CDT
Updated: Oct 24, 2013 6:01 PM CDT
By Donna McCollum – bio | email

23784142_BG1NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) –
Hotel Fredonia in Nacogdoches has the honor of serving guests every day. However, the staff isn’t shy to say they treat one guest better than others – especially Thursday.

J. D. Harkrider, an 11-year resident of the hotel, has been listening to “Happy Birthday” sung to him for 102 years. Each year it just keeps getting better. “I have enjoyed a good life these 102 years, but the first 23, I was pretty rowdy then,” Harkrider said.

This quick-witted gentleman has slowed down, but not much. “You’d be surprised at the people that don’t believe I’m as old as I am,” Harkrider said. Sometimes he has to show his driver’s license to prove his age. He’s got two more years on it. Good thing. The former car dealer, among a lot of other trades, just bought a new car.

“I don’t drive at night, but daytime I go where ever I want to,” Harkrider said. He’s flying out to a great granddaughter’s wedding later this week because it doesn’t interfere with visiting his favorite ball team. He still goes to the Atlanta Braves spring training games. Harkrider said he goes to about 18 games each year.

The rest of the time, the sports fan enjoys the place he plans to call home for the rest of his life. “I’m gonna die here,” Harkrider said. “There’s not an employee here that doesn’t want to do something for me.” The gestures come back in so many ways. “He’s very uplifting for me,” said Susan Pack Reents, the owner of Hotel Fredonia.

Especially when it comes to aging, something Harkrider says others complain about way too much. “Some of ’em are afraid of it,” Harkrider said. “I am not. I’m ready to die when the Lord gets ready for me.”

The faithful husband attributes a good Lord and a good wife of 66 years for his longevity. “And she’s been gone soon be 13 years, and I haven’t been interested since,” Harkrider said. But when asked if he notices the young ladies in his hotel family Harkrider quipped, “Looking don’t cost anything.”

Harkrider can be found most any day at the Hotel Fredonia restaurant during 6 a.m. breakfast, or a noonday lunch. He welcomes company at his reserved table. Anyone joining him is guaranteed a fun history lesson.

I Gave My First Car the Blues

What was your first car, and was it new or used?

 

My first car that was my very own was a 1950 model 2 door Ford coupe that my dad bought for me when I went off to college at Nacogdoches. Up until then, I could always use the old ’52 dodge for dating, etc. while I was in high school.

Dad, as always, played a little surprise trick on me for me to get the Ford. As we were driving from Louisiana to SFA, Dad said, “I need to drive on down to Houston and see Bubba about some business.”    He left me there in Nacogdoches at Shaw’s Dry Good’s Store, where I was to work. He told me he’d be back after lunch, and we’d unpack my clothes, and I’d meet my landlord.  My understanding was that I would walk to work until I could afford to buy myself some type of ride.   To my surprise, that evening your Uncle Bubba came driving up in that little Ford.   Dad had bought it for $150 and was giving it to me for a graduation gift.  Wow!   It was totally unexpected….and the only stipulation was that I had to drive uncle Bubba back to Houston.  

Regular gasoline only cost about 10-12 cents per gallon….very little expense for me to have that fine little automobile.  I wanted to change the color from black to metallic blue, so–genius that I was–I sandpapered the black finish. Then I painted the whole car with aluminum paint, sanded that, and then ‘wiped on’ a light blue automobile paint.   It was definitely different (not exactly as I’d planned, but I was still mighty proud of, it because ‘I had done it all’).

Dad loved the way it drove, stick shift and all, but he never was wild about my ‘paint job’. About a year later, he gave me a 1951 Cadillac he and mom had purchased from Mr. JD Harkrider there in Nacogdoches. Brother Harkrider was an elder in the church there where I was leading singing. I was still driving that Cadillac when your mom and I got married in 1962. We had our first date in that car August 20, 1961….interestingly at a little drive-in on the property that your brother Jon just recently purchased.

After we married and moved to Quitman in 1962, we bought our first car together, a brand new 1961 Volkswagen.  We bought it from Brother Harkrider in Nacogdoches, and it cost us about $1900.   That was the car we had when you were born, and you had your first ride in it coming home from the hospital.   Wish I still had that car!  :-))