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    Texas Memories | Forum

    Busted Flat in Jayton, Texas
    c 1956

    by Mary Mathias
    I have just found your website and have been reading the stories about small Texas towns. I was raised in Dallas and now live in Houston, but for many years I lived on the South Plains of Texas. I went to school in Canyon, married a boy from Floydada in 1950.

    Our first home was in Crosbyton. My husband was the Elementary School principal. Two of my children were born there, we moved to Spur in 1956.

    My story is about a trip to Dallas in August while we lived in Spur. On the way home we decided to take a different route. We always traveled at night so the two little ones would sleep, plus it was cooler. Of course there was no such thing as AC in a car in those days.

    It was a very dark night, no moon. And the road was very lonely. All of sudden my husband realized we had a flat tire, and after unloading the trunk discovered the spare was also flat. So here we were in the middle of nowhere with two young children and two flat tires. My husband told me he would hitch a ride with the next car and for me and the kids to wait in the car. That was not going to work, I was not about to sit out there with these two babies for who knows how long. He tried to convince me that no one would pick us up if it was all of us, which didnít phase me. I was NOT going to stay in the car.

    We had seen very few cars on the lonely road, but after a while we saw headlights coming toward us. Sure enough, it stopped and we all piled in, including the flat tire. The driver and his friend were airmen on their way from Ft . Worth to their base in New Mexico. They asked my husband what kind of work he did and when he told them he was a high school principal, they groaned and let us know they did not like school people. I thought for sure we were going to be murdered on this road and would not be found for days. There was a fork in the road that I knew was coming up soon and thought if they took the left road, we were dead for sure as that was not the road to Jayton. Luckily, they took the right road.

    Once in Jayton, they let us out of the car and went on their way. I felt much better, but still uneasy. It was probably 10:30pm by now on a Sunday night and the town of Jayton was closed down for sure. My husband carried my son on his shoulders while he rolled the tire down the street while I carried the baby daughter. We had no idea of what to do.

    I finally saw a dim light in what was the hotel, but no one was there. So we kept walking. My suggestion was that we look for a house with toys in the yard as a sign the occupants had children and might be willing to help us, and sure enough we found a house with a toy car in front and there was a light on in the house. We knocked and a young man came to the door, followed by his wife. We told him our sad story and they invited us in. These people were wonderful, and offered to take us to wake up the fellow who owned the Texaco Station. Into his car we hopped and drove to wake up the owner of the station, who was sound asleep and not too happy to be awakened. But seeing our plight, he drove to the station and fixed the tire.

    Did I mention that we had no money? But we offered to pay and he declined. Can you imagine that after all he had done? Now the problem was how we were going to get back to the car which was several miles out of the town, but I didnít need to worry. The gentleman with the toys in his yard offered to drive us to the car, and he refused to take any money, which was nice because we didnít have any.

    Iíve thought of this event in my life many times since and can picture this couple with two kids who were in their pajamas on this hot August moonless night, with the father carrying the young boy on his shoulders rolling a tire down the street of an empty little town.

    The people of West Texas are the greatest people in the world. My husband is buried in the Earth, Texas cemetery and I moved to Ft. Worth in 1963. I will always treasure the years I lived where we had a sand storm every Friday and where the people would get up in the middle of the night to help people they didnít know.

    My thoughts are that we sometimes cannot repay the people who do these types of things for us, the only way we can repay the debt is to do things nice for other people. I have tried to do that and each time I am able to do it, I think of that night in Jayton, Texas.

    God Bless Texas.

    © Mary Mathias, April 2, 2011 guest column

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    This page last modified: April 2, 2011