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Showing posts with label Bullard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bullard. Show all posts

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Daddy

My Daddy, John William Howard Teal, my mother Opal, and me at around age 2 (top) and 4 (middle) - snapshots taken near our rented apartment in New Orleans LA, and in Bullard, Texas. The studio photo of Daddy and Mother was probably from about the same time as the Bullard picture.  Daddy has the same suit on, although he probably wore that suit only to church, weddings, and funerals and kept the same suit for years!

I am reminded often of Daddy, and miss him even though he died in 1982.  He was honest, hard working, a man of faith and love for his family. He was a good businessman, a good cook, a good son, a good brother, a good husband, and a good father. He worked hard in the cafes which he and my mother owned, and worked even harder taking care of a small herd of cattle on the land he bought from my grandparents an acre or two at a time to help them financially. He liked growing things, planting a small pecan and plumb orchard, and growing seasonal vegetables in his garden. In my mind I have vignettes of him grafting pecan trees, pinching suckers and picking tomatoes, calling his cows with his truck horn, and throwing out feed and hay to them. Other pictures of him have him baking fresh yeast rolls, rolling out pie crust, grilling hamburgers, and making chicken fried steak. At my request, he would put a spoon of mashed potatoes on the grill with some chopped onions - I loved fried mashed potatoes!  When he was at work in the cafe he wore a short white cap and , a fresh white apron, and when he came home he smelled like hamburgers!

He loved his grandsons.  He took Sean fishing and to feed the cows. He let Ben play with the hose in the front yard and Ben turned the hose on him!  I have a picture of Jeremy, our middle son, when he was a baby with one of Daddy's old felt fedoras on.  After his death, I kept Daddy's hat on the shelf in my bedroom along with one of his belts and his whetstone. They have all since been given to the grandsons, but I can almost touch them in my mind. His hugs still touch my heart.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Finding a Keeper




In recent efforts of cleaning and clearing, I went through a box that contained things left behind by my mother.  As I looked at papers and dates and tried to decide what needed to be thrown away or passed on to someone else, I found a number of things that my mother herself probably once held and decided what to do with, because the dates were from years when she was a child.  I found myself thinking of the reasons first my grandmother and then my mother kept certain things.  One little pink booklet came apart at the binding when I turned the pages, but all the pages contained glimpses of life many years ago. The booklet was titled Catalogue and Premium List of School and Community Fair, Bullard, Texas  At the bottom of the cover was the location and date:  Bullard School Grounds, November 10-11, 1922.  

I was intrigued with the little book as I looked through the pages which listed sponsors and advertisements and the list of exhibits and competitions like Best pound of butter, Best bronze turkeys, Best dozen tea cakes, Best counterpane, Best tatting, and Best baby!  Of most interest to me were 2 sections where pages were missing.  Both times, there were penciled notes in my grandmother's handwriting that indicated numbers of items from the missing pages.  My hunch is that these were categories in which some of her craft or some competition entered by a son who was a winner!  Since my mother's brothers were only 4 and 1 that year, that would have been her oldest, Vinnon.

33 1/2    Best display potted flower  (which won wallpaper, given by Huges, hermer? & Son Tyler, Texas - value $3.50.

79  Winner of Mule Rase (which won mds. (merchandise?) given by Adam Wall, Drug. Co., Tyler Texas - value $2.50)

80  Winner of Horse Rase (which won mds (merchandise?) given by Walsh Hdw (hardware?) Co. Tyler, Texas - value $2.50)

Then I saw that on the front of the booklet was printed in pencil in small neat letters: VINNON TERRELL.  I looked again at the date.  And I understood why my grandmother kept the book.  I knew why my mother kept it. And why I will keep it and pass its story on. I put together the name and the date and remembered.

Vinnon was Ky and Clyde Terrell's firstborn son, born in 1909 so he was 13 years old in November, 1922.  He was killed in a hunting accident on Christmas day of that year.  He went hunting with a neighbor boy who got him back to that family's front porch where  Vinnon scrawled a goodbye note to his mother and father. I have seen the bloodstained note and heard his story all of my life. In the same box I found pages of his handwriting and schoolwork. My grandmother kept these things and her memories of her first son.  I never heard her whine or complain or bewail his loss, but I heard the story of the way his short life blessed her.  She knew raw grief then, and in many other ways later in her life but when I think of her I think of generosity and faith, of love and nurturing, of courage and determination.  And that she always grew flowers. I am glad you won the fair prize for that, Grandma!

                                       Opal Terrell, Travis Terrell, Vinnon Terrell  circa 1921


Friday, December 20, 2013

To Mary Ann From Daddy


On December 18, John William Howard Teal, my father, was born to Thomas Jefferson (1877- 1958) and Ida Mayfield Teal (1870 -1958)  Ida must have considered her first child a gift for her own birthday on Christmas day a week later.  Three more children, another son and two daughters were quickly added to the family because Ida was in her late thirties when she married.  Times were hard for poor farmers, so Howard, his sisters Edna and Lela, and the youngest, a brother named Woodrow worked hard along with their parents on farms, one in an area called Mt. Enterprise in Cherokee county, finally settling in the community of Bullard, Smith County, Texas, where they farmed and had a small weathered clapboard house. I remember visiting my Teal grandparents.  Papa Teal, 7 years younger than Ida, was a round white haired man with a red face.  He was hard of hearing so he seemed very loud and gruff.  Ida was a tiny woman with white hair worn in a tight bun.

Daddy was loving and attentive to his parents, especially his mother, calling her "Mama."  Many people have told me he was one of the kindest men they every knew.  He was also kind and caring to our Mother and to my sister and me. He did have a temper but rarely lost it.  Since he only had a 7th grade education, he worked very hard to earn a living. He was working at Cameron's cafeteria in Tyler, TX when he and Mother married.  They both continued to work there for some time. During World War II, they moved to New Orleans, LA so he could work as a welder in the shipyards. After they came back to Texas, he worked in the Bon Ton Cafe in Jacksonville, and eventually owned a restaurant with his brother. Later he owned and operated the Bus Station Cafe across from the Liberty Hotel in Jacksonville.  My first job was in that cafe. I was twelve years old, and pleased to greet customers and take their orders.

Although they didn't live on the farm, my parents purchased land from my maternal grandparents where Daddy kept a small herd of cattle, had a garden with a fruit orchard and grew some crops.

Daddy made a profession of faith and was baptized in the cotton gin pond in Bullard before he and Mother married.  He was a faithful member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville and rarely missed a church service where he could be found on the same pew two rows from the back every Sunday.  He loved his grandsons and they loved going with him to feed the cows.

I never doubted that he adored me and I adored him.  He was proud of my good grades and the fact that I went to college.  He has been dead for over thirty years but I still miss him.  It is part of Christmas for me to honor his birthday.  He was not big on gift giving, but every Christmas he put chocolate covered cherries under the Christmas tree for me from him.  Today, I bought a box of Queen Anne Chocolate Covered Cherries and put the unwrapped box under the tree with all the wrapped gifts.  Thank you, Daddy - you are still a gift to me.