When I was growing up in Pangburn, Arkansas, we had very few books. There was no public library. My brother C.E. and I had to be content with the stories our parents told. These tales were about their life experiences. Too bad they weren’t written down because memory is sometimes fickle.
I remember Mama telling about Harry Churchill who had the first car in White County and how he asked some pretty girls to ride with him in the 4th of July parade. Mama and her friend Lula Lape (left to right in the photo) were honored to be selected and at the same time they were scared. But they rode in the parade anyway. Mama also told about riding horseback from Step Rock to Judsonia and from Little Red to Pangburn. She rode side-saddle and I remember seeing her saddle when I lived on the farm. Papa told about riding horseback from Pangburn to west Texas when he was a young man in the late 1890s. I don’t remember any of the details but I do remember he went through Dallas. Now I wonder how many days it took for the trip and where he stayed. Did he camp along the way or stay at an inn and did he go alone or with a group? He told about his experience hauling freight from Searcy to Little Red, a distance of 20 miles. It was dark when he left and dark when he returned. He told how scared he was of panthers and other wild animals that lurked in the darkness ready to pounce on him or the team of horses.
Another story was about climbing Sugar Loaf Mountain near Heber Springs to have a singing at the top. Years later when I climbed Sugar Loaf I had a greater appreciation of that story. I don’t know how they climbed and carried songbooks, too. It took both hands and feet and a boost from behind for me to get to the top.
To me those stories were more interesting than Mother Goose or Jack and Jill. And I still say, too bad they weren’t written in detail and illustrated.