When I was growing up in the 1930's I was dumb about
the world. I never listened to the radio and my family didn't take a paper.
We didn't have a telephone or a TV. What am I saying; there was no such
thing as TV back in the 1930's. My whole world was the 20 acres of the oil
company camp where my family lived.
One morning when I woke up my mother called to me to
get dressed because my breakfast was just about ready. As I was tying the
bowknots in my tennis shoe laces, I was thinking what I was going to do on
this fine summer day.
When I walked into the kitchen Mother was just setting
a big bowl of oatmeal down at my place, there was already a big glass of
milk there. After I ate my oatmeal and drank my milk I made a run for the
front door. Mother said, "Don't let that screen door … "
The telephone rang and I answered it. It was Sweetpea,
and he wanted to know if I wanted to go out across the river on the Tyler
highway and get a brew. "Sure," I said, " come pick me up. Johnnie is having
one of those Tupperware parties and she will be glad to get rid of me for a
couple of hours."
A car horn blew outside and I called to Johnnie and
said, "There's Sweetpea, I’m gone."
"Ok," she said, "but don't let that screen door … "
I got in the front seat of Sweetpea's Studebaker with
him and then looked in the back seat. There sat Tiny and Sonny and they each
had a Budweiser in their hand. Sonny said, "you want one?' as he held up his
Well, after two hours driving and six beers later,
Sweetpea pulls in at this little adobe building with a big red neon sign out
front that says, "Rosa's Canteen." We get out of the car and go inside. The
place is jumping. There is a Mariachi band and a bunch of Las Vegas
showgirls dancing. We find an empty table and sit down.
This Chinese waitress comes over to our table and
asked what we want. Tiny pushes his 10 gallon Stetson hat back with his
thumb and says, "Honey, I want you."
She swings a hip against his shoulder and says, "I
mean to drink, silly." She takes our order and sashays back to the bar to
Seven eyes follow every sashay of her hips. Only seven
because Sonny had one of his eyes closed. Smoke from the cigar he was
smoking had got in it.
Four beers and one cigar later we decide we will go on
down the road to the next beer joint. As we are leaving the Chinese waitress
says, "Don't let that screen door…"
We get in Sweetpea's car and start off down the road
again. Two hours later Tiny says, "Pull over Sweetpea, I need to take a pit
stop." So Sweetpea pulls over and we all four get out to water the daisies.
Now we're out in the middle of the desert and haven't seen another car for
Well about the time we get the water works turned on
up drives this car with a red and blue bubblegum machine on the roof. A
deputy sheriff steps out and says you guys are under arrest. We want to know
what for. He says, "Indecent exposure. Get on your nags and follow me to the
All four of us are sitting in chairs in front of the
desk and the deputy is sitting behind the desk. He pulls out a drawer and
takes out four arrest forms and a pencil. As he licks the lead on the pencil
with his tongue he asks Sweetpea what his name is.
Sweetpea tells him and he says, "Spell that."
Sweetpea says, "s w e e t p e a," and the deputy
prints it on his form that way. All this time his tongue is sticking out of
the corner of his mouth.
Then he turns to me and says what is your name.
Well my Mom-ma taught me to never lie, so I tell him,
"Say ain't that a girl's name?"
"I guess," I tell him, "it depends on what part of the
country you're from."
Sonny says, "Say deputy what kind of six-shooter you
got on your hip?"
The deputy says, "That's a genuine colt single-action
first generation 45 caliber peace maker."
"Hey, can I see it?" Sonny asked.
"Shore." and he hands Sonny his pistol.
"Man, this is neat, I’ll buy it from you?"
"Can’t do that," the deputy says. "I need it for my
"I’ll give you a hundred dollars for it" Sonny states.
Man that's more then three months pay the deputy
thinks. "Ok, you got a deal."
Sonny paid the deputy and we got up to leave. As we
walked out the front door the deputy called out, "Don't let that screen
We piled back in Sweetpea's car and headed for home.
Tiny and Sonny were in the back seat, asleep. I was schootched down in the
front seat about to go to sleep when Sweetpea said, "Uh-oh."
"Uh-oh what?" I said as I sat up.
"It looks like a road block up ahead."
Sure enough when I sat up I could see two tanks
blocking the road. They had their turrets turned toward us, and those big
canons were looking right down our throats. The holes in the end of those
canons looked big enough to roll a basketball in.
Sweetpea rolled up to the roadblock and stopped. This
Chinese officer came over to the car and wanted to know what our names were
and where we were going. Well, what we told him is a whole nother story for
a different time, but it didn't satisfy him so he put us under arrest and
took us to prison. They even took Sonny's six-shooter away from him.
Tiny called this lawyer he knows and he arranged bail
for us. It took every penny all of us had, but we made it and they turned us
loose. On the way out of the prison the warden yelled, "Don't let that
When Sweetpea pulled up in front of my house, I said,
"The next time you guys want to go get a brew, don't call me."
The house was dark so I knew the Tupperware party was
over. I opened the screen door and grabbed the doorknob. Shoot it's locked
and I don't have my key with me. I rang the doorbell and waited. Nothing
happened. I rang the doorbell twice. Nothing happened.
I kicked the door several times and hollered real
loud, "Johnnie, let me in." Well you can bet something happened this time.
Johnnie jerked the door open and said, "Stop
hollering, you will wake up the whole neighborhood." She turned around and
stalked off down the hall to the bedroom. As she went she said, "Don't let
the screen door …
I followed her down the hall. I sure was happy to be
Now for those of you that have
stuck this out to the very end I want to thank you for letting me get this
out of my system. I also want to make you a promise. I'll never write a
story like this again, so help me … well you know.