Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Texas Tuesday: Coon & Annie Mae

When my family moved from Houston one of the first people we met was Miss Annie at our local Church of Christ.

My daddy never attended church (he worked 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and pretty much still does), but my mother took us kids every time the doors were open. Until I was about 16 years old, church and religion was a big deal to me. Now I curse anything that has to do with religion and am very resentful - not sure why....

Miss Annie was a little round woman with a heart of gold. Her husband, Coon, was a very tall man with an immense presence. He didn't attend church and cursed preachers. These two were extra grandparents to me; I knew them for over 30 years.

On of the stories Coon often told was of visiting preachers during his childhood. A preacher passing through town and, knowing his mother was hospitable, would stop at his house and stay for what Coon said was 2 weeks or more.

Coon would be told to go fetch a cow. Being his honery self, his momma would have to whip him to make him run barefoot through the woods to find a cow to slaughter in order to rightly feed the preacher. He'd sprinkle the story with tales of bleeding feet, scratched up face and plenty of cursing thrown in for good measure. "Dem sumbitch preachers ain't good for nutin but a free meal and a place to stay."

Miss Annie would be appalled and embarrassed when he would begin to tell these sorts of stories. "Arthur Massey," she'd say - for that was his real name.

Everyone called him "Coon" since he was a boy nicknamed that by his daddy. Reason being cause his daddy said he whistled like a coon (black person). (Don't hold this against me - I didn't name him and I ain't makin this up).

Each week the Masseys would come to our home to play dominos with my parents. Many tales were told and much ado would ensue. Coon would always be the center of attention. Edged on by my dad, he would commence to telling another story to rile Miss Annie and my mother.

One thing I will never forget: every single time he ever laid down a two, he would say. "T-U, two." Spelling out the T and U.

He loved to hunt and had a catfish pond with huge catfish that us kids would feed. He was know to kill a dog that wouldn't hunt or was gun-shy. Funny ole Texas boy thataway. They had a little dog, whose name has since escaped me, that would climb trees to fetch a squirrel.

Miss Annie could cook - man, talk about a feast! She'd cook all day long - bake 3 or 4 cakes and pies and fry up chicken, squirrel, rabbit, catfish. Add to this at least 10 side dishes. I would always try the wild game stuff but have never liked it - BUT you couldn't tell Miss Annie "no." One would leave their house full as a tick - it's a wonder I was able to keep my girlish figure!

They lived in a house that Coon built himself, before he asked Miss Annie to marry him. It was a great little white farmhouse house with wooden walls and floors but no insulation. She drove some beat up old car and he had an old truck that smoked like a chimney. They had an old box spring leaned against the side of the house that served as a TV antenna!

Now you'd think these folks were just poor ole Texans but NO! Coon was the first oil millionaire in the county. Every kid and grandkid they had was given land and a house - and that was alot of kids and grandkids! But, Coon would not spend a dime on anything else but the kids - "weren't no need."

We lost Coon back in 1993 and Miss Annie followed him this Christmas Eve. There will NEVER be another set of wonderful people like this and I'm sorry for those of you who did not get to enjoy them. Ole Texans are hard to come by! (me: crying as I write this)


Hammer said...

They sound like decent folks.

I'm with Coon, I cuss preachers every chance I get.

Skittles said...

What a nice story.. and a surprise ending!!!

Sarge Charlie said...

Wow, i love the story, I came here from Curbside View and am a happy boy that I did... Your story sound like fiction but I so hope it is true, come on by now, we can be the best of friends....

I am linking your site

The old sarge

Jake said...

Coon was just pulling folks' chain. It was a rooster that he was to chase down, not a cow.

One of a Baptist's favorite meals are fried chicken

NoMas said...

Sarge: True story and more!

Jake: Yeah, I am so certain that Coon could embellish a tale - but, due to his adamancy, half of it HAD to be true.

NoMas said...

Skittles: thamk you