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Life on Tate Street

September 27, 2009 Story Time No Comments

Dog Tate StreetOur family was so happy living in the little wood-frame house on Tate Street in Camden, Arkansas in the mid-fifties.

We had everything….a coop full of chickens, a grand old apple tree. some ducks and some rabbits and our trusty mixed-breed dog Ginger….Ginger was a fabulous dog…she went with us everywhere…when she was a puppy, David and I would dress her up in Paul`s baby clothes and cart her around in a little red wagon to “show her off” to our neighbors…soon she became a full-sized dog and looked like a light colored lab…no more “free” rides for her….we hooked her up to the wagon and she carted Paul around and we “showed him off” to our neighbors…she was VERY protective of David and me (which proved to be her downfall)…one day our Sunday School teacher came to the house for a visit…..Ginger took ONE look at her and decided SHE was the ENEMY….the poor woman barely got out of the car when Ginger “set in” on her…Ginger chased our teacher around and around her car with David and me chasing after her yelling and screaming for her to stop…the DOG outlasted the teacher…Ginger “treed” her against her car and then sat down…she never understood why we did not give her “kudos” for her GREAT feat OR why she got “shipped off” to a farm….dad took us to see her now and then…she was quite happy in her new home…she could chase anything she wanted and never got in trouble….she was always glad to see us and proved it by bounding up to us and knocking David and me down to the ground and “licking us to death”.

I said we had “everything” when we moved….one of the VERY best things we had was a HUGE sweet gum tree…..now, sweet gum balls make GREAT weapons…..directly behind our house lived the Sloans….Wayne (who was the same age as me), Karen (who was David`s age) and Nancy Gail (close to Paul`s age)…at least once a week we would have “gum-ball wars”…IT WAS…. the Sloanes VS the Shepherds…when it was time for a war, we would climb the sweet gum tree and collect our weapons in brown paper bags…there came a time when Paul and Nancy Gail wanted to be included…we had NO time OR regard for them …after all they were “horning in” on our parade….they were too little to climb the tree…all THEY could do was to collect dried-up brown balls….and NONE of us wanted them on OUR teams…so they formed their own team…definitely a mistake…. we “squared off” a few feet from each other…and the battle began….it was a ferocious onslaught….green gum-balls thrown at a fast speed CAN inflict DAMAGE…it was not long before Paul got WHOPPED on his head….it caused a huge welt and a few bloody marks….he went running toward the house screaming…our dad was in the front yard working in his rock garden…he came running to the back yard to see what was going on…we quickly hid our “weapons”…to NO avail…dad “sized up” the situation…we thought we were going to be “banned” from gum-ball wars forever….that would have been a great tragedy….this is what my dad said, “Sloanes are Sloanes and Shepherds are Shepherds and I expect you to stick together” (we knew exactly what THAT meant)….we had to take Paul on our side and Wayne and Karen had to take Nancy Gail on their side…he also added that Paul and Nancy Gail were the “official WAR timers”…..from now on (until they could climb the tree) they would stand 10 feet from us and count down….3…2…1…WAR!!!….AND Paul and Nancy Gail would be the referees….they would say who won…..all I can say is that it was not long until Paul and Nancy Gail could climb the tree…we saw to that right away…..when I said we had everything….that included a dad that understood…he let us be KIDS.

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