Usually, when I write a story for you, I write about living overseas because most of my life has been spent overseas. However, I have lived in America, and there are a lot of interesting things happening in America too. Today, I have decided to tell you about something that happened when I had just turned 18, graduated from high school, and my parents moved us out to the middle of the country in southeastern Oklahoma. The closest town to where we lived was one that people in Oklahoma call “blink or you miss it” because it was so small. We lived 15 miles out in the country on a red dirt road from that town. There were woods everywhere. In the “blink or you miss it” town, there were two churches that were larger than the population of the town, a Methodist church and a church of Christ, and half way to our house on the dirt road, there was a community church, and if you go to a community church in Oklahoma, they are Pentecostal. The school was so small it was all in one building from kindergarten to high school. The people in that area are very conservative thinking. There are lots of cowboys, and there was even one Indian woman who lived in the “blink if you miss it” town that did trick riding in rodeos. The churches banded together to make the town a a dry town. “A dry town” means that there was no liquor sold in town. The people did it on purpose. They banded together and stopped anyone from opening any business where liquor would be sold. They didn’t want it in their town. They enjoyed their conservative life style. They all spoke with a drawl which means that they elongated their vowels. They were not all completely unsophisticated, but they were cowboys. They didn’t care about the latest styles. There were no bell bottoms or shoes with big heels out there, but blue jeans, cowboy hats, and cowboy boots.
It was the nineteen seventies. I had just graduated from high school and was planning on going to college in the fall. My older sister wasn’t home, but joined us eventually that summer. My dad and my uncle had gone into business together. My uncle bought the property across the road from us and pulled in a trailer to live in. Down the road and around the bend, our nearest neighbor was about a mile away. They had horses like most of the people in that area. Down the road and around the bend the other direction, there was a water falls. Everything around us was woods except the field the neighbors had for their horses to graze. Behind our house in the woods, my dad had built a huge pond because there was no city water and he had tried to dig a well unsuccessfully. We got our water from the pond. The chemist said it was clean, but it was tinted reddish brown like the soil. We didn’t want to drink it, so we used to go to an underground spring in the middle of no where to bring fresh, clean drinking water that my mother knew about because her dad had built it when he worked for the WPA during the Great Depression. If you go through the woods behind our house, eventually, you would come to the Waynescott place. The Waynescotts had a large group of boys. They lived in a place without running water, so got water from a well outside and used an outhouse. They had lots of livestock the boys took care of. Those boys were always riding horses and donkeys. If the woods behind our house began shaking and there was lots of noise, we knew the Waynescott boys were coming for a visit on their donkeys and horses. They were quite a rowdy group! They all wore old cowboy hats, blue jeans, and beaten up cowboy boots.
Our nearest neighbors had a group of girls who were all cowgirls, and they had come to visit. My older sister hadn’t come yet, but the neighbors were wanting to invite me to come ride horses at their house. I had never ridden a horse except when we went camping once and got horses from a stables. I didn’t have a very good experience because I had trouble controlling my horse, and it went into the river and wouldn’t come out. I was slightly scared to ride a horse after that, but the neighbors insisted that I should come, and they would put me on their gentlest horse. I finally agreed.
I went down there, and they taught me to saddle a horse. They taught me to ride. They taught me a lot! I even got to the point of going out into the field, catching the horse, bringing it back, and saddling it myself to ride. I began with the gentlest horse, and then graduated to one more challenging, and eventually was riding the most spirited, challenging one they had. I walked, I ran, and I jumped on the horses. I even learned to ride bare back. I spent my summer riding horses as much as I could and thoroughly enjoyed myself. When my older sister came, she wanted to do it too. She and I would go get the horses and take long rides out on the dirt road toward the water falls. We went past the water falls and almost went the whole 15 miles to the main road the opposite direction from the “blink if you miss it” town. The 15 miles the other direction on the dirt road took us past the Waynescott house and over the Boggy Creek. There were almost no houses out there, and at the end of the road, there was a paved road with a gas station. We hardly ever went the whole 15 miles, but my sister and I rode and rode and rode those horses up that direction and back almost everyday.
On one of those trips, a man came out of the woods where he had a house to talk to us. There were two of them. When they came out to talk, we were polite and stopped to talk. They seemed very friendly. My sister and I were 18 and 19 years old. We weren’t very old at all, and adults usually don’t bother with young people that much, and it bothered my parents that these men kept coming out to talk to us when they saw us ride by. They wondered what these guys were up to. The men may have been in their late thirties or early forties. It seemed every time we went by these guy’s house, they came out to talk to us.
One day, my uncle who lived across the street and had gone into business with my dad and my dad were out in the woods walking. All of us enjoyed the woods and were always taking walks in the woods. My uncle and my dad were down by these guy’s house that had been coming out and talking to my sister and I as we rode by on our horses. My uncle looked down at the plants under his feet, and he spotted a marijuana plant. He commented on it to my dad, and my dad took a look and confirmed that it was marijuana. They had both been in the military overseas and seen it when they were overseas. They thought it looked like it had been planted on purpose. Someone was cultivating it. They kept walking, and pretty soon, they came to those two guy’s house who had been talking to my sister and I, and in the yard, there was a green house, and in the green house, there was marijuana growing at several different stages. It dawned on them why those guys were always stopping my sister and I wanting to talk to us. We were 18 and 19 years old, and they saw us as potential customers. My dad and uncle didn’t like what they found at all!
They were too scared to call the cops, but they knew they needed to do something about it. They weren’t quite sure what to do. They discussed it with my mom and my aunt. My grandmother had a brother who was a cop in a bigger town in southeastern Oklahoma. The plan came for them to call her, and then she could call her brother, and he could send someone to check it out.
When the police from the larger town came to check it out, they caught the younger of the two men with a hose watering the plants. They arrested him on the spot and confiscated all the marijuana. They put him in jail, but since he had been arrested, and the other guy wasn’t there, they figured when the other guy came home and figured out what had happened, he would be long gone. They only got one of the guys.
After that, the guy that was in jail died of a drug overdose. The cops said that the two men had been part of a larger drug syndicate, and they were sure someone in the syndicate got to the guy in jail and overdosed him so the case wouldn’t go to trial, and the guy wouldn’t talk. When it happened, my dad and uncle realized that if anyone knew they were involved, they were in trouble. My dad bought a gun. He showed it to my brothers and sisters and I so we would know it was in the house, but we were not to touch it. I was actually the second oldest of five kids. It was the first time we had a gun in the house even though my dad was career military. My dad was scared to death the other guy who got away or someone in the syndicate would show up at our house. He placed the hand gun in a corner cabinet in the kitchen. It was scary to know there was a gun in the house. We were supposed to be wary of anyone who came up into the yard after that. Thankfully, no one every showed up. They probably never have figured out who turned them him.
The police from the larger town brought a marijuana plant and took it to the “blink and you’ll miss it town.” They put it in the front window the drug store for everyone to see. They wanted everyone out there to know what it looked like so they could turn anyone in who was cultivating it. The people were interested and all went to see the plant. They all wanted to protect the conservative life style of that place. They circulated pictures of the marijuana plant for everyone to see. They were keeping liquor and drugs out of their town. The gas station came up for sale once and they learned the man who planned on buying it was planning on selling beer, so several of the people of the town put their money together and bought the gas station so they guy couldn’t bring beer to sell to their town. Eventually, someone bought the gas station and put beer in, and eventually, someone else was caught growing marijuana, but the people remained staunch at trying to protect the innocence of their town.