residents along Pederson Creek just west of McLean
enjoyed two privileges most other settlers did not have. The creek
bottom held a good supply of clean, sharp sand needed for making concrete.
Extra income could be earned by hauling the sand to nearby McLean
to be used in building structures in the new town. Residents like
the Crockett and Dwyer families sold many a load of sand from the
area, helping them through lean times.
A second privilege enjoyed along the creek depended on the winter
weather. It was a live running-water creek, and under the right conditions
the creek froze hard enough that the school children could skate on
the ice to and from Pederson School. It's hard to believe that the
semi-arid Panhandle of Texas ever provided enough ice on which to
through time, almost every family living in the country sooner or
later experienced a skunk settling under their house. Everyone has
smelled the aromatic scent of a skunk along a highway. Imagine the
smell permeating your home 24 hours a day.
Coaxing the critter from underneath your house without triggering
the odor-making attachment on the rear required prayer and luck. The
best way seemed to be to open all outlets and set lanterns under the
floor because the critters don't like light. If you got sprayed personally,
bathing in tomato juice and burying your clothes in dirt for a few
days solved the problem. I know this from personal experience.
tidbit came my way while visiting with an elderly neighbor. It seems
he had a place on his land where a field terrace emptied floodwater
into a draw. Sadly, each rain left an ugly arroyo which hindered his
farming operations. He tried every gimmick known to prevent the erosion,
all to no avail. After each hard rain, he had to repair the eroded
A friend told him to try laying old bedsprings in the drainage channel.
The man cruised several farm dumps, collecting eight sets of rusty
bedsprings. He laid them side by side and end to end, tying them together
with baling wire and driving metal stakes into the soil to hold them
in place. Last, he hauled native grass hay, scattering it over the
bedsprings hoping to plant seeds of grass and weeds to grow up through
the springs, helping to hold all from washing away.
The rains came slowly, sprouting the seed and he soon had a steel
and native grass mat like no other. The heavy rains came and the mat
held. The floodwaters just passed over, leaving the waterway intact.
The man was elated his efforts had succeeded.
I complimented him on his ingenious but economical solution, saying,
"That looks like a perfect solution to me." He shook his head as a
pained look came on his face. "Well, it wasn't perfect for I forgot
and rode my horse across the bedsprings. That was the hardest I have
ever been thrown and the horse wouldn't get within a hundred yards
of the place as long as I owned him."
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"
January 23, 2005 column