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 Texas : Features : Columns : Spunky Flat and Beyond :

THE HORN OF PLENTY

by George Lester
George Lester
It was one of those rare occasions when Sam and I had to be put in the charge of a caretaker for the day. I'm pretty sure the term "babysitter" was not invented until decades later. There was another family living on our farm so their teen-age daughter was asked to stay at the house and look after us while our parents were away. Her main job was to keep us out of trouble. That was more of a task than she bargained for. We were pretty independent for eight and nine years old and we didn't appreciate someone riding herd on us. After we had lunch, our caretaker told us she was going to take a nap and she warned us not to make any noise. She had no idea what was in store for her. As soon as she dozed off we went outside to seek adventure. With our great imagination it didn't take us long to find it. There was an old abandoned car out behind the barn so we decided to see if there was anything we could salvage off it. Sam spotted a horn under the hood. It was one of those that made an "Ahoooooogah " sound. We loosened the bolts and wiring and removed it. Now all we needed was a battery. Sam stood there looking at the two bare wires and I could tell he had thought of a way to make it go. Our house had the only electricity in Spunky Flat, a 32-volt DC system powered by a gasoline engine. The horn was designed for six volts. We knew that five times that much power would give us a mighty blast. It was more than we could resist. While the teenager slept peacefully on the couch we stuck the wires into the wall socket.

"AHOOOOOOOGAH"!! It far surpassed our fondest expectations. We learned later that it could be heard for a mile in every direction. Sleeping Beauty suddenly became airborne. To say that she was angry with us is putting it mildly. She informed us that our parents would be told about this incident. We reminded her that she was supposed to be looking after us and not taking a nap. As we stood there glaring at each other she realized it was a stand off.

Sam and I kept our fingers crossed as my dad thanked her and paid her for her day's work. She gave us a smirk and left without saying anything. Later, when she was offered the opportunity to take care of us again she politely refused. It was a puzzle to Mother and Dad, because she really could have used the money.
George Lester
Spunky Flat and Beyond - A Memoir
- June 1, 2006 column
 
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