Tag Archive for bubba

Halloween Fright Night

One very early, very scary moment I had forgotten about happened on Halloween in 1948. We were living on 4th Street in Freeport, Texas.

My dad certainly was anti-Halloween (as he was so many things), but he would not let us go trick or treating because it was “…too much like begging. If you want candy, then work for the money, so you can buy your candy! I don’t want my kids to beg!”

This particular Halloween he allowed us to dress up and go trick or treating–but the only house we could go to was our own house. We lived next door to the church, and he had mother take us there and use that as the ‘staging area’ for our big experience. We (me [age 7] and Nancy [age 6]) were so excited as we headed next door to trick or treat the parsonage. As we traipsed up the sidewalk to knock on the door, the front porch light was off, which was a little scary, and we were talking about how we were going to scare Daddy.

My costume consisted of a Lone Ranger mask and a holster for my cap gun, so I’d look like ‘the real thing’! We didn’t know our Daddy had gotten a big army blanket that Uncle Bubba brought us when he came home from WWII. He put the blanket over his head and hid behind the shrubs by the front porch. After we knocked on the door and no one answered, we turned around to go back down the walk, and this giant with the blanket over his head stood up and hollered and scared the living daylights out of both of us. I took off running, then heard him laughing–but I think he achieved his purpose.

I never did want to celebrate Halloween again–until I married Betty Jo Farris–and she (as you and your brothers know) celebrated EVERYTHING! :-))

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!   :-)!

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!  :-))

I Get it Honest

How old were you when you started driving, and who taught you?

 

 I started driving when I was 13 years old when we lived in Orange, Texas and I was in the eighth grade. My dad was my teacher…and he was not famous for being the greatest driver in the world! We had a 1952 model Dodge, which was one of the first Dodges with an automatic transmission.   Up until 1952, you had to shift through the first two gears using the clutch with your left foot, and then the third gear was your running gear.  

The next year, Dad bought a 1953 model, which was Dodge’s first V-8 which also had an automatic transmission.  You would put your gearshift in the drive position, then accelerate to about 30 mph, then let up on the accelerator and the transmission would go ‘click’ and automatically shift into high gear, or your running gear.   (By the way, the reason we had a 1953 model so soon was because Daddy had wrecked the ’52 on the way to preach in a gospel meeting at Kirbyville, Texas. A cow stepped out on the highway and, when he swerved to miss her, he hit a tree and even turned over a couple of times… Oh, and by the way, he caught a ride on in to Kirbyville and still preached that night!)

So….I really had a great teacher!  And Uncle Bubba taught me how to drive a standard gearshift in his 1950 model 6 cylinder Ford pickup.

That’s why I’m so versatile, and such a good driver!….in spite of what your mother says!   :))

God Bless the Workin’ Man

You mentioned your Dad worked for the railroad in Wharton.  What jobs did he have when you were growing up?

 

beasley_txWhen Nancy & I were born (1941&42), Dad owned and operated a little drugstore with a soda fountain in the little town of Beasley, Texas.  Back in those days, pharmacists didn’t have to go to college to be certified to open up a pharmacy.   Dad had worked under the supervision of an old guy by the name of Slataper who owned a drug store in Rosenberg.   I think that’s where he was working when your Uncle Bubba and Uncle RJ were born. He moved out to Beasley and started his own business there, primarily because that’s where Mama’s sister (Aunt Sally) & her husband (Uncle Henry Ellison) lived.

Mamaw’s family all stated coming to Texas from Kentucky around 1910 and by 1914 at the death of her daddy, William Benton. Her mother had died in 1908 giving birth to her 12th child, uncle Bill. Mamaw was born in 1904, Aunt Tamar in 1906 and then Uncle Bill in 1908. 
     

My daddy’s dad, known to everyone as Brother Tex (Texas Hulan Stevens), was a circuit riding farmer/ preacher in the late 1800s until his death in 1932.   Instead of a horse, he would ride from town to town on a train called the Rock Island Line…..and his middle child, Roy Stevens (1899-1969), would travel with him and lead singing for him.   It was at one of their stops at Beasley or Rosenberg that a young lady named Hallie Mae Benton caught Roy’s eye (she was 14, he was 19), and in 1919 they got married.  He was 20 and she was 15.

They lived on a farm in a little community called Fordtran down between Halletsville and Victoria. Their first baby boy was born when she was 16 and only lived a few days…. Eldred was born when she was 17, Texas Hulan (Uncle Bubba) when she was 19, and Uncle RJ when she was 23.   I, Benton Lanier,  came along when mom was 37.  When I questioned her at her 75th birthday if I was kind of an accident or a surprise, she demurely replied that I was more of a disappointment:)) She then said, “Nancy (born not quite a year later in 1942) was the surprise. I would have never had another on purpose….you were my last shot at a little girl.”

When Granddaddy (Bro. Tex) died in 1932, my daddy began preaching at some of his daddy’s appointments in places like Beasley, Rosenberg, Wharton, and Rock Island.   Many said that he truly felt a calling, not only to preach, but to try to fill his father’s shoes. In 1942 after Nancy’s birth, the 26th & North Shepherd Church of Christ in Houston called Dad to be their preacher, and he became a “full-time preacher” for the rest  of his life.
    

He taught all of his children the value of hard work and I can’t tell you how many times I heard him quote the apostle Paul, “if any won’t work, neither shall he eat!”   I often heard him say, “Always remember who you are.  Number one, you’re a Christian and number two, you’re a Stevens–in that order, and don’t you ever forget that!”

He was good at anything (as far as work was concerned ) that he tried to do.  Businessman, construction work, and one thing that sticks in my memory is his typing.   He used his 2 huge forefingers to literally make his old Underwood (desktop) typewriter sing!   He used to say, “I’m a hunt and pecker, but I want you to learn to type the right way!”   …and he made sure that Nancy and I took all the typing courses that we could in school.