Living in a small town in West Texas, we will use any excuse to have get-togethers. The church is a big part of our lives and we like to have pot luck dinners often. Everything is homemade and delicious. There are always wonderful vegetables dishes, can you imagine five different kinds of squash dishes~beautiful salads, and always hot rolls. We usually have a smoked brisket from HEB and that is the only thing bought-and-brought, the rest of the meal is built around this. The dessert table will have everything from cherry cheese cake, to pies and cobblers, and cookies, everyone brings their favorite recipe. ( the Women of the Church published a cookbook a few years ago ‘Passed and Present 1903-2003′. First Presbyterian Church of Eldorado, Texas) The dinning tables are covered with linen cloths and there will be a beautiful centerpiece on each table. We make dinners for family funerals, or when the kids graduate from school, Thanksgiving and Christmas, then dinners for no special reason. There are big hamburger picnics at ‘Church on the Waters’ at Clear Creek on the Powell Ranch to end the summer. (sometime a baptism too) When it is announced that we are having a pot luck luncheon, I get my ire up, it is not a luncheon, it is a full fledged dinner. Eldorado has the finest cooks in the world, we celebrate every occasion with our very best. And as always “Thank You Lord for our church family”.
One day when the boys were little and we lived on the farm over on Will Davis Road we were on our way to town when we saw a big rattle snake in the road. We stopped and I found a rock while Daddy watched to be sure the it didn’t get away. He hit it but only stunned it, it was slithering around and rattling. Then Mr. Belk drove up in his big butane truck and got out to help. He said he could spray it with butane and it would freeze like a block of ice. He got his big hose off the truck, turned on valve and sprayed. He said, “if you get these snakes froze solid, you can hit them with a stick and they will break into a hundred pieces.” By then, Longino and Goya had driven up.The kids were standing there with me watching. Well OK, it’s Show Time! Mr. Belk hit the snake with the nozzle on the hose but nothing happened. “Guess we need another blast!” So this time he gave it a big thorough sousing until it turned pure white, frozen through and through, solid as a rock. He hit it with the nozzle again~ and again~ and it didn’t break into a hundred pieces, or even two pieces. “Well doggies”. Then he decided to just set it on fire instead. He stuck a match and WHOOP! The barrow ditch was on fire in both directions, all the way to T.P.’s gate and back nearly to town. Goya grabbed little Paul up and ran down the road, Dan was running neck in neck with her. I was just running. (so much for my theory that a mother will try and save her babies first). Mr. Belk jumped in his truck and shot off down the road to get it away from the flames, dragging the dripping hose behind him. In a few minutes I heard the fire whistle blowing and the fire truck was there a hurry. Half the town came out to see what happened. Back then, when there was a fire, everyone showed up. it was like a social event, something to talk about at the coffee shop for the next week. I always liked Mr. Belk, he was a nice man. I don’t think any of us ever forgot this day.
In 1935, when I was two years old, my mother and daddy and older sister moved to Eldorado. It was soon after the Great Depression. Somehow Daddy put enough money together, with the help of my granddad to build house, it had four rooms and a bath. It cost $1,600, (I have a coffee table that cost that much).
This was a good time for two little girls, a new house, Daddy earning enough money to keep things going, Mother was an artist and taught painting. She also canned our food, even things like tamales and fruit cake. She made all our clothes and was good at everything she did. She played the piano at the Presbyterian Church for several years and was blessed with many gifts and talents.