"James Noble Haile"

Part XVI

Little Jim had been going with Nora Peterson and they decided that this springtime of 1916 was a good time to get married.  "Kate and Bernard Lynch went with Jim and Nora and they met the preacher in the road close to the family cemetery where Maw and the little sister were buried," Alma recalls.  "They got married while they were still sitting in the buggy, then they moved into the little house in the bois d'arc trees that was Mrs. Lizzie's house when she married Paw.  Paw had moved the little house to the ranch after he and Mrs. Lizzie got married."
James Travis Haile (Little Jim) and Nora had two children.  J.T., born June 28, 1919 and Buddie (Linear) born April 7, 1925.
It was hot and Cubbie had just gotten back from the mailbox up by Ollie's farm and he had a letter from the Carsons in Oklahoma.  "Lola and Carl and their kids are coming to see us," Mollie told her dad as he came home for dinner this August day in 1916.  "They will be here the day after tomorrow."
It was about 11 o'clock in the morning when Carl and Lola and their children Oran 11, Clyde 10, Aubrey 7, Thurman 6, Raymond 3 and Evelyn 1 1/2 came driving up to the ranch house.  They were in a brand new 1916 model Chevrolet that had "Carl F. Carson" written in gold lettering on the driver's side.
Lola got out of the car and ran and hugged Mollie and Ella and Cubbie and David and her dad.  Carl and the boys and Evelyn got out and it was a joyous time as everybody shook hands and hugged each other.  Little Jim and his new wife Nora came from the little house in the bois d'arc trees and joined the celebration.
Dinner was a big thing as they all gathered around a long table piled high with fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh canned garden vegetables, hot biscuits and cornbread.  All this feast was topped off with fresh peach cobbler.
"Mother was so happy to be back home," Oran recalls, "she just laughed and joked with her folks and seemed to be in heaven.  That night after supper there was more talking and happy times and soon it was time for bed.  All the men and boys slept on the front porch on pallets and the womenfolk slept inside the house."
"Grandpa woke us up the next morning before daylight," Oran recalls.  "He was pumping water into some 5 gallon buckets filled with wheat that were sitting around the well.  He soaked the wheat and fed it to his hogs the next morning after it had soaked overnight.  Just north of the house by the barns, Grandpa had several large corrals made of long poles stacked on top of each other then tied to larger poles set into the ground.  Then on the north side of the barn was another corral where he kept old Mungo, his paint stallion.  He was really a beautiful horse and Grandpa rode him a lot when he worked his cattle and went to town or went wolf hunting," Oran recalls.
"Grandpa had 10 or 12 wolf hounds that he kept a round the place all the time.  Sometimes, as these hounds ran under the barbed wire fence after a wolf, they would hang their tails on a barbed wire and split the skin all the way to the tip of the tail.  Then he would have one of his boys hold the hound with his tail on a block of wood while he chopped it off with an ax," Oran remembers.  "They had lots of fun chasing those wolves.  Sometimes Grandpa, his boys, the hired hands and maybe some neighbors would all get in on the chase."
"We stayed about a month all together, I guess," Oran recalls.  "We went to Uncle Ollie and Aunt Dora's, to Aunt Suc and Uncle Wyley's, Uncle Babe and Aunt Alma's, then back to Grandpa's house.  Mother just had such a wonderful time visiting her sisters and brothers.  It seemed to really make her feel like a girl again."
"Uncle Cub taught me how to ride while we were there," Oran says.  "I was about 11 years old and he was 14.  He saddled a gentle horse for me, and one for himself and we just rode everywhere.  I am surprised that Daddy let me ride cause he was always so careful with us kids to keep us from getting hurt.  We also went to see Aunt Ada and Uncle Fred and their girls, we just had such a wonderful time visiting all the aunts and uncles and all our cousins."
"Grandpa had several hundred goats," Thurman recalls.  "While we were there he took me with him as he took grub and supplies to his Mexican herders that stayed with the goats day and night.  I just couldn't get over it.  There were goats everywhere you looked.  Another thing that impressed me was all the paint horses that he had.  I was only 6 years old but I can still remember all the beautiful paints and some of them had glass eyes too."
"Uncle Ollie had a nice black paint colt out of one of his mares and old Mungo," Oran remembers.  "Daddy gave him $50 for the little stallion while we were there and Uncle Ollie then shipped the colt to Oklahoma the following February in 1917, after he was weaned.  We kept that paint stallion for many years and bred many mares to him there in Oklahoma.  Old Paint also pulled the Carson kids to school in a two wheeled cart for at least 10 years."
"We were beginning to run short of meat because there were so many of us eating," Oran says.  "Grandpa sent Jim and Cubbie down to the goat pasture and they brought back two nice fat goats.  They hung them up by their back legs and the little goats cried like little babies and it sorta hurt me.  Then they cut their throats and let them bleed.  The girls and mother cooked that goat meat in big long bread pans in the oven of the kitchen stove.  I can still remember Grandpa at the head of that long wooden table and all the rest of us on benches at the sides of the table."  "I wasn't there but I know they didn't say grace," Alma recalls, "cause we just never did do it.  Paw never did say grace at the table as long as I can remember and he quit going to church right after Maw died and he never did go much anymore."
"They served that meat to us while it was still sizzling and boy, was it ever good," Oran says.
"Grandpa had a real heavy mustache," Clyde recalls.  "I can remember seeing him take a drink of coffee, then he would have to sorta wring the coffee out of his mustache so he could go on with his eating," Clyde laughs.
"Tractors were beginning to be used along about that time," Oran recalls.  "While we were there, Grandpa went to Petty's General Merchandise store in Hico and bought two Little Bull tractors.  The Bull with the Pull, the advertising went.  He drove them out to the ranch while we were there.  They were made up in sort of a triangle shape.  They had one big traction wheel, and then opposite that was a smaller balance wheel and then out in front was one steering wheel.  I imagine he probably paid about $400 each for them, but he really never got much use out of them cause nobody knew how to start them and keep them running.  They hadn't learned much about motors," Oran says.
Carl Carson's new Chevrolet was really taking the eye of all the Hailes.  Everybody had taken a ride in it and talked about how nice it would be to own something like it especially with your own name printed on it in goal.  "Carl told everybody it was Lola's car," Alma recalls, and Paw said if it's Lola's car how come your name is on it?"
"One day we all went to a baptizing down at one of the creeks," Oran recalls, "and we were riding in the new Chevy and others were riding in buggies.  Dud was riding his favorite horse along beside the car.  Well, a rabbit jumped up and uncle Dud ran the rabbit down on his horse and I was sure impressed.  I really wanted to learn to ride like that."
"That night Dad left the keys on the Chevy and of course the next morning the car wouldn't start," Oran recalls.  "Grandpa had to pull the car to Hico with a team to get the battery charged.  It was really embarrassing for Dad but he sure learned not to leave the keys on any more," Oran laughs.
Everything good has to come to an end.  It was time for the Carsons to leave Texas and go back to Oklahoma.  Lola was very sad but she realized it was the end of a wonderful visit with her folks.  The Carsons had heard some talk about Jim Haile's financial position and what they had heard was not very encouraging.  The realized it would not be long before something had to be done about the overdue mortgages on the Haile land.  Everybody said their last good-byes and the Carsons left for their home in Oklahoma.
Little Jim was anxious to try out one of the new tractors.  "Take it and the plow down to the river and start breaking up some river bottom land," Paw said.  "Nobody knew much about tractors in those days," Alma recalls, "but Little Jim was wanting to try driving one.  He was doing real good and soon found out that the tractor would guide itself if you got that front wheel started down the furrow.  The problem was that weeds would get tangled up under the plow and he would have to stop the tractor and dig and pull them out.  Well, Jim would get off the tractor with it going and go ahead of it and get the weeds out of the way then he would run around and hop back on the tractor.  One time as he was doing this he got his feet tangled up in the weeds and fell down in the furrow and the tractor just kept right on coming toward him.  He just barely got out of the way in time and the tractor missed him only by inches," Alma says, "and needless to say, he didn't try that anymore."
The 1916 cotton and corn crops were fair and Jim Haile's calf crop was pretty good and he made a payment on the mortgage at the bank.  However, the payment wasn't enough to even pay off the second mortgage but the bank agreed to let the mortgage ride for another year because the bank had a lien on most of Jim Haile's land and it was more than enough to cover the amount of the mortgage.  Jim also had a payroll to meet because he had several extra ranch hands working almost all year so keeping the ranch going, buying groceries and supplies and paying the ranch hands really kept him hustling.  The fact that he had such a large mortgage on his land was beginning to be constantly on the mind of Jim Haile.  "Paw had a health problem too," Alma recalls.  "He had vertigo and sometimes he would get so dizzy he would fall down.  But if he could get hold of something and be still a minute the dizziness would soon pass."
"Paw was wanting to marry again," Alma recalls, "and he would have been already married if he could have found a woman that would have him."
The spring of 1917 was promising.  Jim, Little Jim, Cubbie and the extra hands had wheat, oats, cotton and corn planted and up.  The two Little Bull tractors had been some help with the farming but they did give quite a lot of trouble.  When they wouldn't start, Jim would have to get a mechanic to come out from Hico and this all took time and money.
Mollie's garden was really going to be a good one.  The new calves, colts and baby goats were gaining in number every day.  Jim was kept very busy going from pasture to pasture checking on all his stock and over-seeing all the ranch operations.  The baby chickens, turkeys and ducks were hatching and Mollie and Ella were having to watch them very closely to keep the warf rats away from them.  The new pigs were already beginning to look like smoked hams, sausage, tender loin and speckled gravy, but all this would have to wait until fall.  The girls were milking about a dozen cows, letting the cream rise and skimming it off to churn into butter and feeding the skimmed milk to the hogs along with what had accumulated in the slop bucket.  Jim also ordered another barrel of that good East Texas ribbon cane syrup.