Things continued to run smoothly, and on September 27, 1955 we were blessed with a little girl, Susan Elizabeth, weighing in at 7lb 13 oz. Charlotte was in San Antonio with her mother when she called me in Uvalde. She said she was at the hospital and I had better hurry if I was going to get there before the baby arrived. I did not even go home to lock up the house. I jumped in my car, and set a new record for covering the 90 miles to San Antonio. Fortunately, I arrived before Susan did. I made it in about an hour which was pretty good for 90 miles. Susan and her mom were fine. We had just purchased a new 1955 Chevrolet Station Wagon. One reason we had bought it was this was the first model year that had in-dash air conditioning. I brought Charlotte and Susan home to Uvalde with me. I had been using it all week in anticipation of Susan’s arrival and had a mattress in the back.
In 1955 I was the incoming President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and each Christmas we decorated a very large Christmas tree on the square in Uvalde. Chip was very impressed when I put on a pair of telephone climbing hooks and proceeded to climb the tree. It was actually a very large telephone pole that we used for the center of a big Christmas tree. We were putting the limbs and lights on the tree and I think Tom was more interested in the pretty lights than what Dad was doing. Chip, however, was very impressed I guess because he still mentions it from time to time.
In fact, it may have given him ideas. Chip has always loved to bug his mother and tease her. When he was about five she was calling him to supper one evening and could not find him. He had climbed up into the top of a big sycamore tree by the front porch and was trying to hide behind a big limb. He did not make a sound and Charlotte became frantic looking for him. She went to the back of the house, and he climbed down and ran into the house and was waiting for her when she came in.
Our house in Uvalde was a pier and beam house as opposed to a concrete slab. It was built on concrete piers that had beams set on them and then the floor would be attached to the beams. There was usually “crawl space” under such a house. One time we began to notice a distinctly skunk smell in the house. After a day or two it became unbearable so Charlotte told me I had to do something. I opened the trap door in the closet floor and hung down under the house with my flashlight. Sure enough, about 20 feet from the trap door I could see a skunk that had died under there. There was nothing to do but go after it.
I got my old clothes on and dropped down under the house. They had not done a very good job of leveling the lot and the area where the skunk was had only about 12 to 18 inches between the ground and the beam above it. I snaked my way over towards the skunk and about 3 feet from the skunk it was so tight, I had to hold my head sideways to struggle towards the skunk. I reached out for the skunk, and when I did its tail snapped up! Oh me! I just froze. I was looking at that skunk and not moving a muscle and its black beady eyes were looking back at me. I don’t know how long I lay there, afraid to move and get shot in the face with Skunk perfume but it seemed forever. Charlotte was calling, “are you alright?” I could not answer and she did not know what my problem was. After a long time I chanced moving very slowly back to the scuttle hole and climbed out. We waited about an hour checking every once in a while with the flashlight. The skunk never moved again, and we decided it must have been rigor mortis setting in that caused the tail to move. I finally went back under there and dragged the skunk out and disposed of it. It took about two weeks for the house to lose the skunk smell.
Photo of telephone pole found here.
Photo of crawl space found here.