July 22, 2013

Amanuensis Monday ~ The Stories That Should Be Told, Part 7

The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
Oliver Goldsmith Ballard.  Everybody called him Old Man Ballard.  Of course, I don't remember him.  He died before I was born.  I heard a lot about Mr. Ballard.  He had a lot of children.  The old Ballard house is still standing.  It is standing right in front of the Methodist Church.

Big Emmett Chisum was always a prankster and he pulled a couple of tricks on Old Man Ballard. 

On one occasion, Big Emmett dressed up like a woman, got on the train down at Foules.  Foules used to be named Copeland.  He went down there and caught the train dressed up like an old woman.  He had a suitcase loaded with brick bats that weighed about 150-200 pounds.  He got off the train at the depot in Sicily Island.  

Old Man Ballard used to have a little taxi service with buggies and wagons back in those days.  He'd meet the train and passengers and take the passengers different places.  Old Man Ballard met this "lady" when she got off the train and ran up to take her bag.

Big Emmett said that man had a struggle!  Old Man Ballard weighed about 150 pounds and he finally got that bag off the train and got it up in the buggy.  Big Emmett ran off before Old Man Ballard could discover who he was.

Another trick Big Emmett played ....he knew that Old Man Ballard was scared of storms and particularly scared of lightening.  Big Emmett said the old man used to sit out on the front porch of his house and sleep in the evenings.  

One day Big Emmett got him a piece of mirror.  You know how you can the reflect the sunlight in a mirror?  Make a spot with it?  I've done it when I was a kid.  Big Emmett got that and got him a big ole wash pan or tub with a stick.  He got it all set.

Old Man Ballard was sitting in that rocking chair asleep and Big Emmett hit that wash pan.  Bang!  Just as the old man jarred and woke up, Big Emmett flashed that light in his eyes.  Old Man Ballard fell out of the rocking chair.  He thought the lightening had struck him!

I'd guess that happened about 1910 or earlier.  Big Emmett later courted Old Man Ballard's daughter, Miss Laura and married her a few years after.  Old Man Ballard became Big Emmett's father-in-law.  

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

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