Playing Tricks on the Family and Various Events of Toes, Cars, and Switches

Billy Goat

Billy Goat

My dad often told me the story about a goat and his Aunt Margaret. I can still hear him chuckle as he visualized the story he was telling me. The Lane family owned a mean billy goat that butted anyone who turned their back on it. When my father was ten years old he was in the barn and saw his Aunt Margaret walking in the barn yard. Aunt Margaret was very stout and couldn’t run very fast. Dad let the goat out of its stall, and climbing up to the loft watched the goat chase his aunt around the yard.

Halloween was a time for tricks rather than treats. Come Halloween night, dad turned over outhouses or put buggies on the top of barns. Whether his brother or sisters joined in I don’t know, but these are time-worn tricks that children through the decades have pulled to amuse themselves.

The Lane family were Methodists but also attended outdoor revivals. One time dad and his brother Vernon took the goat to a revival and let it loose in the tent. The preacher ran out of the tent and chaos reigned. Dad got into a lot of trouble for that one.

The family was strictly disciplined but my grandfather, William, never touched the kids. Dad’s sisters fought and yelled a lot but never hit each other. My grandmother, Ruberta, used a switch on the children when things got out of hand. My mother did the same with my brothers and me. Most of the time we were threatened with the switch, but I know one thing, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a switch.

When dad was five he cut his toe on a broken bottle. His toe was cut almost in half. During those days you rarely went to a doctor. Instead, his mother made a mixture of turpentine and coal ashes and used this to put his toe back in place. Several times over the years he showed me the thin dark line running around his big toe.

The family’s first car was a used Baby Overland. It had a canvas top that could be pulled down and snapped on when it rained. As their cars wore out they would replace them with other used cars. The family later owned an Essex and a Dodge.

Probably one of the most exciting things from dad’s childhood was seeing a meteorite that lit up the night sky and landed close to the family farm. The next day everyone from the surrounding area went to see the meteorite that was almost completely buried by the impact.

Fact or fiction, these are great stories and but a few memories of a lifetime. Like most genealogists I wish I had taken the time to glean more stories or listen more closely to the stories that were told.