as told to Louise George
Personal interviews with Texas Panhandle men and women born in the early years
of the twentieth century rewarded me with hundreds of stories illustrating their
everyday life. I like to share those stories just as they were told to me.
Boyd was born at Indian Creek, a little community south of Memphis, Texas. Her
family moved to Dumas in about 1919 when she was in the third grade. Her home
has been in Dumas ever since, but she’s never forgotten her first impression of
the town. She said, “Out about three miles I looked and I could see the town…with
just a few houses here and there, dotted around. Dumas was so little and it looked
so lonesome.” Her grandparents lived outside of town some distance from the nearest
grocery store. Mill enjoyed telling this story about her grandmother.
my Grandmother and Grandfather Burnett first came here to Dumas, they lived out
across where the railroad track is now in a house called the Eiland place. It
was the first house out west of town on the north side of the road.
a funny story about my Grandmother Burnett. You talk about a character, she was
a character. She always paid her bills right on the money, first of the month.
Rain, shine, snow, or whatever, she went to pay her bills. Grandmother Burnett
was a little bitty, slight woman and she always wore dresses that had yokes and
high necks and were full all the rest of the way, clear down to her ankles. She
wore a hat that she put right square on her head. She had an old dog that was
with her all the time. So, the first day of the month, Grandmother Burnett put
her hat on and here she went with that dog following her, walking across the prairie
and clear down to Main Street to Earl Thompson’s Store to pay her grocery bill.
“One day when Grandmother walked into the store to pay her bill, she was laughing
her head off she was just so tickled. They asked her what she was laughing about.
They said, “Mrs. Burnett, what’s happened that’s so funny?”
them that sometime before that the kids had all got after her. She had gotten
all her teeth pulled, and they told her, “Ma, you’d better get you some teeth.
You just look awful without any teeth.” So she said she did what they told her
to do. But, she said, those teeth just hurt her so bad, she had a hard time.
“She could hardly tell them she was so tickled, but she said, “You know, about
halfway to town, my teeth got to hurtin’ me so bad, I decided I’d just get rid
of the doggone things.” And she said, “I came by a prairie dog hole and threw
them down that hole and I’ve been thinking how scary it must have been to them
poor old dogs to see those teeth coming down after them.”
© Louise George
Mill Boyd is featured in Louise George’s book, Some of My Heroes are Ladies,
Women Ages 85 to 101 Tell About Life in the Texas Panhandle. Louise can be reached
at (806) 935-5286, by mail at Box 252, Dumas, TX 79029, or by e-mail at email@example.com.