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Hill Country Living

Horsing Around Is Trouble For Wagner Buddy

By Coulter Fussell

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Fourth of July! I know you all ate a lot of sandwiches. I know this because when I went to the Piggly Wiggly on July Fourth, the bread shelf looked like the Mojave Desert. A tumbleweed rolled down the aisle and I heard that whistle sound from the cowboy movies. The rest of the Pig was a madhouse. I saw people in there that I haven’t seen in years. It was like a family reunion with buggies. Do you all only eat on holidays? Where do you all get your food the rest of the year?
I went fishing way out in the woods that day and caught about 300 tiny bream. One was almost a keeper so I’d call that a success. I didn’t get back to Water Valley until after dark so I missed the fireworks and music, but I did catch the rouge fireworks show that happens somewhere over near Blackmur each explosion-worthy holiday. I could hear and see some of these fireworks from my house and appreciate the time, effort, and dedication those mystery people put into their pyrotechnic displays each year. Thanks, whoever y’all are!
I usually only publish an old Water Valley every other week but I thought it might be neat to see if I could find some old letters about celebrating Indepen-dence Day. Of course, John Henry and his friends from Bingham School did not disappoint. John’s friend Lewis who writes frequently (and mostly about the ladies) has a Fourth of July holiday that starts with an impressive two-girl date resulting in ripped clothing that he has no shame in bragging about. But the rest of his trip home takes a turn for the worse. I’m not sure which is more disturbing, the fact that the tragedy happened at all or Lewis’s complete lack of detail in the retelling. But it does seem to prove that July 4th is the same through the ages…good times and boat wrecks.

Carson & Lewis
Grain, Real Estate, and Live Stock
Parker County Flouring Mills
Weatherford, Texas July 9th, 1884

Mr. John H. Wagner,
Water Valley Miss

Dear John,
I hope that you will excuse my long delay in fulfilling my promise to write to you. I have been very busy telling old friends howdy and talking to the girls — oh my! How sweet they can talk and look. I taken two girls out to Springstown on the Fourth of July and made an all day stay of it and came home by moonlight and had the best time on record. I hope that you enjoyed the Fourth as well as I did! On the way back my breast yolk got broke but we soon repaired that.
I received a letter from Jackson a few days ago. He and Sling & Billie were both well and having a good time. We were all eight days coming home when we got water bound and had to take a boat and cross the Galveston Bay. The saddest occurrence of our trip was the drowning of the Captain of the boat on which we were riding. Nothing could be done to aid him before he sank the third time. I was standing on the back part of the boat and saw him when he sank.
Are you going to school next session?
I will close as I know you will be getting tired of my nonsense.

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