Sunday, September 17, 2017

They Called Him the Streak

I come from an agricultural family.  Not many of us live out on the farm any more but at one time I had relatives scattered all over Delta County, Texas.  Delta County is the nest to smallest Texas county as far as acreage goes.  Triangular in shape, it's borders are made up of the south and and north branches of the Sulphur River on the north and south and by HWY 904 to the west, aka County Line Road.  The events of this story took place on FM 1532 which starts on 904 and goes pretty much straight east toward Cooper.  I confess that I had to look up these road numbers as no one ever uses them.  Instead we would identify a road or location by a nearby landmark or by the names of people or tiny settlements of maybe a couple of houses and a church or store that were located along the road.

There are very few straight roads in the area of northeast Texas where I grew up but 904 and 1532 are exceptions as is FM 64 which will come into play later.  My aunt and uncle lived about 3 miles or so east of 904 on 1532.  By the 80s when this all took place, there was only one other occupied house in their vicinity.  By then, my uncle had a day job as most farmers did and continue to do.  He had a long commute so my aunt was at home alone a lot of the time.  She has rheumatoid arthritis and a tendency to gain weight so a daily walk was part of her routine.  Their house was up on a hill in the middle of cultivated land with no trees for cover.  You could see a long way from it.  Looking to the east, you could see an old banister bridge down the hill.  It was to this bridge that she liked to walk.  She usually carried a rolled up newspaper to swat at flies or anything else that needed swatting.

One day as she was getting fairly close to the bridge, a car passed by her.  She didn't recognize the care but thought nothing of it.  The care went just over the hill, turned around and passed her again.  She thought that was odd but there are at least 3 roads that head east off of 904.  Maybe the driver had taken the wrong one.  I don't know if she heard the car turn around again and stop behind her but she heard the footsteps of the driver as he ran toward her.  Turning she was faced with a young man heading toward her at full speed wearing nothing but a pair of tennis shoes.  Without thinking, she ran at him swinging her rolled up newspaper.   Not expecting to be confronted in that way, he ran back to his car, jumped in and took off.

About the time he was out of sight, may dad happened to drive up. Seeing my aunt standing in the middle of the road visibly upset, he stopped.  Upon hearing what had happened, he told her to get in and they took off in hot pursuit.  Dad was driving that old farm truck for all it was worth.  It had probably never moved that fast in its entire existence. The tool box attached to the bed next to the cab contained all manner of implements of destruction and construction which must have been rattling around something awful.

Before long they had the Volkswagen Golf in their sights.  When the driver wouldn't stop, Dad rammed him a couple of times until he ended up in a ditch.  Opening the toolbox, Dad grabbed his hammer before approaching the Golf and dragging the driver out.  Keep in mind that said driver had had no chance to clothe himself and my dad didn't give him one.  They made him get in the back of the truck just like he was while begging not to be hit with the hammer.  Then they proceeded to drive him to the local cop shop in the county seat of Cooper.

I never heard what became of the guy my family called the Streaker but I'm pretty sure he didn't show his face or his short comings in Delta County, Texas after that.  I'm also glad that my aunt was able to scare him by charging at him with nothing but a rolled up newspaper.  You really shouldn't mess with members of my family.  Once they open a can of Texas whoop ass you are screwed.

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