|Lou - 7 years old - 1930|
One of my earliest memories of a Thanksgiving was at Grandpa and Grandma Davis’ ranch. We arrived on the day before Thanksgiving and everything was very exciting as families began arriving; it was great fun to greet them as they came in.
We could spot the cars as they came down the dirt road several minutes before they would arrive. Everyone looked forward to seeing the cousins, aunts and uncles. Many of them we had not seen since the previous Christmas or Thanksgiving.
After supper Grandpa would get out the cards and the men would play “High Five.” They would laugh and joke and rib one another about things in the past. I loved to watch them play, and once in a while they would need one more player at one of the tables and I would get to play.
During one game, Uncle Johnny was shuffling the cards and they scattered all over the table and some on the floor. He was laughing about it and said, “Man, I need a basket to corral all of these cards! Louis, run out and get me a basket.” I didn’t know what he meant – but I knew I wanted to help, so I ran out into the yard and got him a basket! For many years – if anyone dropped the cards, they would yell for me to go get them a basket.
Early Thanksgiving morning the women would be in Grandma’s huge kitchen getting both breakfast and preparing the dinner. The men and boys would be eating and then going outside where they were getting ready to go coyote hunting.
Uncle Johnny, who lived on the ranch, would be getting the two greyhounds ready and most of the men were getting their guns ready. They would be talking about previous years’ hunting experiences and comparing guns and ammunition.
Some of the men, mostly the ones who lived on or close to the Davis Ranch or those who lived on or near the Harriman Ranch in Fowler, had “coyote cars or pickups.” They took great pride in having these tuned up to get a quick start and to be able to go over rough prairie lands. They preferred vehicles in which they could stand in the back and shoot over the cab while the vehicle was going full speed. The coyote cars also had to be able to turn very sharply and double back whenever the coyote felt they were getting too close to him.
Can you imagine what it is like in the back of a pickup (with sideboards) when three or four men are all trying to remain standing, aiming their guns at the coyote when he decides to stop and go the other way? The driver jams on the brakes and cranks the steering wheel around to follow the coyote. Men have been known to be thrown out onto the prairie grass and cactus plants and then roll over and over trying to stop! Clark Harriman rolled out once and they spent hours picking the cactus out of him! For some reason the wives are very much against their husbands taking the family car coyote hunting!
By noon the hunters would return and the big Thanksgiving dinner would be ready. The tables would be set up all over the house for the meal. After the meal the dishes were taken to the kitchen and the card games would begin again.
What will your children and grandchildren remember about Thanksgiving holidays?