In the 50’s we had a terrible drought. It lasted for seven years, and put a lot of ranchers and farmers out of business. All of the water wells around me had gone dry, but my well went all the way down into the Edwards Aquifer, and I had water. I went around to my neighbors, and told them to come to my well if they needed water. Sometimes you would see two or three pickups with 55 gallon barrels in the back up by my well. There were no rural water systems so they were getting water not only for their animals but for household use as well.
“Hi Charlie, get out and rest yourself. I need a little supervision here.”
Charlie got out and sat on the tail gate of my pickup cutting himself a fresh chew of tobacco.
I asked him, “Where did you get that Cadillac?”
“I done bought it. I always wanted me a big Cadillac so I went in to the store and told them I wanted the biggest Cadillac they had.”
Pause a moment to imagine that scene. Charlie walks in to the dealer in his oil soaked, dirty, old hat, plaid shirt with the elbow out, and run-over dirty boots. What did the salesman think? Well, they showed Charlie a big red four door. Charlie took it and they probably fainted when he paid for it with a roll of $100 bills that he dug out of his pocket with a rubber band around them. Cadillac’s sold for $2700 to $4900 in 1950.
About that time in my rumination, I saw something moving in the back seat of Charlie’s Cadillac.
Me: “Whatcha got in the back seat Charlie?”
Charlie: “Them’s sheeps”.
Me: “What are you doing with ‘sheeps’ in the back seat of your new Cadillac?”
Charlie: “Takin’ ‘em to the vet.”
Me: “Oh, I see.”
Charlie had been coming over to get water at my well for a while. Country people are real proud, and I mean that in the good sense of the word. They will give you anything you need, and never expect anything in return, but they hate to ask for anything. Charlie was shuffling around, and seemed to be at a loss for words. He turned aside and spit out some tobacco juice, took a breath and said;
“I want to thank you for the water”
I replied, “Charlie you are most welcome, and you know my gate is unlocked, you come over and get all the water you want anytime you need it.”
Charlie stood their a little while longer and then said, “George, you are a good neighbor.”“
“Thank you Charlie, I’m proud to be your neighbor.”
“I got to git. Adios.”
“Adios, Charlie, take care.”
With that Charlie left driving down my lane toward the highway in his new Cadillac with a bunch of “sheeps” in the back seat.
Photo of 1955 Cadillac sedan found here.
Photo of sheep found here.