“A good friend knows all your stories. A best friend helped you write them.”
June 5, 2017 - Last week Pam and I attended The Peavy Family Reunion in Chireno, Texas. As we drove up Loop 34 near town, a large white house suddenly exploded into my view. “Stop…back up, Pam”, I said….and pull off the road.” “I know that house.” “I spent a week in it in 1951...I was 19 years old… and the house looks exactly like it did back then!” And for half an hour I told Pam my story.
In the summer of ’51 my church Pastor (Dr. Carroll Chadwick) invited me to attend Revival services he’d be preaching at The Baptist Church in Chireno, Texas. “I’ll be driving back to Center every night but have arranged for you to stay with one of the church families during the week.” Monday night I stayed with School Supt. Melvin Miller and his wife, Joy.
The next night I went home with Bank-President H. V. Hall, his wife Laura and “Aunt Lou”, H. V’s grandmother. Their house had three floors…and my room was on the top one. As I entered the room, I spotted a pair of military dress boots, a bed, and an unidentifiable “something” on a nearby table. “Know what this is, Junior?” “It’s a television…watch this”, H. V. said. When he turned it on, the screen turned to snow, buzzed a while and then I noticed movements in the snow. “That’s Roy Rogers!” I exclaimed. “Hey, that’s Trigger!” “We had to erect a 50 foot antenna to get signals from Shreveport”, H. V. said.
The next morning H.V. told me to walk down to the bank and “Laura and I will show you around”. “Don’t let the cats get you”, he said. When I asked him what he meant, he just laughed and said, “You’ll see.”
And I did see. About half way to town, scores of cats suddenly swarmed all around me. All colors, sizes…they were in the trees, along the road… and all around an old house. There must have been forty of them. When I walked in the bank, H. V. laughed, “Well, did the cats get you?” “Every time we pass that house, there’s twenty cats digging and twenty covering up,” he laughed. Then Laura handed me a silver dollar. “Junior, don’t ever lose this and you’ll never be broke”, she mused. “And before you go home, walk down the street and see Dewey Ennis’s new Studebaker.” I kept Laura’s dollar in my pockets for many years before it finally went missing. But I have never lost the many rich memories of H. V., Laura and sweet “Aunt Lou”. They are stored in my heart.
I continued to attend revivals with Brother Chadwick all that summer and was amazed at his large treasure chest of friends. In Chireno his friends (like the Millers, Rev. Roy Monzingo and The Halls), became my friends, too….
…. some of my very best.