Reflections

Social Contacts Limited By Lack Of Transportation and Communication

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone I hope you are having a good week.  I’m not going to encroach on Bill’s column, but a couple of items recently brought back old memories. One was about Lex Robinson riding his horse to town.  

I knew him and his brother, Alf.  Lex kept Fox hounds and at times he hunted with Elmer Higginbotham and my uncle, Charley Badley. He was something of a character and he was well liked by everyone.  I remember Howard taking me coon hunting with Alf Robinson, and he had a dry sense of humor whereas Lex was more outgoing.  Another item was about Johnny Craven and Dolan Nichols trying to get transportation to see some girls that they knew.  This was a common practice then as not everyone had a car or even access to one.

 I was friends with Johnny Craven and he was a good guy.  I wasn’t friends with Dolan as he was big in sports and I was something of a klutz and therefore not in his league–he thought.  I usually had access to Mother’s Model A Ford and Bob Smith and Jim Peacock were frequently with me.  

We took advantage of what we had and Jim on occasion dated in his Dad’s log truck that had the doors removed.  The girls didn’t seem to mind, in fact in recent years one laughed about those times.  Bob was dating a girl who had a very strict Mother who would only let her go if we took her little brother along as chaperone.  

One night we went to another girl’s house to see if she want ed to go with us and she started making excuses, primarily that her father was sick.  She mentioned it several times until the little brother said, “we weren’t planning on taking him with us.”  We thought that was hilarious and even thought she didn’t go, it put us in a better mood.  I know that young people today would find it hard to believe what we went through in those days.  

Looking back I don’t know how we made any social contact as most country people didn’t have phones and cell phones were over fifty years down the road, but we coped somehow.  Back then guys would fight if they thought you were trying to date a girl in which they were interested.  Coffeeville had a reputation like that and for that reason most of us went to Oxford or out in Panola county.  

We rarely went to Grenada because of unreliable transportation or lack of gas money for longer trips.  

Later when Jim got a “souped-up” Model A Ford and Kenny Burk had become part of our little entourage, we were frequently in Oxford. I don’t know why, but all three of us would crowd in the front seats of the car instead of one sitting in the back.  I said seats because the two door Ford had bucket seats in the front.  We would always stay out later than we should, and one night I was half asleep between Jim and Kenny in the front when I looked up and we were off the road and parting willows on the shoulder. I merely took the wheel and steered us back up onto the road and then woke Jim up.  

It was fortunate because  a culvert was just ahead and if we had hit it we would have flipped over.  Later, a friend of ours, Jack Harrelson, in a similar situation, received massive head injuries and died. In retrospect, we were fortunate that most of us survived our teen years in spite of our careless ways.  

I don’t think that most of us really gave much thought to the dangers that we put ourselves in a lot of the time.  I know  I paid for my escapades when my kids got old enough to drive or go on dates and I thought about all of the things that might happen to them.  I know many of you had similar experiences when you were young, and I’d like to hear from you about them.  My email address is charlescooper3616@sbcglobal.net or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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