Living The Abundant
Life At 1528 West Johnson Street
A few weeks ago I was flying from Pensacola to San
Diego on a mission for one of my consulting clients. The plane was
an Air Tran 737 out of Atlanta to San Diego. Upon settling into my
seat I noticed that there was a terminal connection for ear phones.
I thought, “ I wonder what the movie is ?”. I pulled out the current
Air Tran magazine from the seat back pocket in front of me and
started looking for the movie schedule. To my initial chagrin …
there was no movie schedule only an XM Radio schedule. My
disappointment was short-lived because I found channel 164, Old
Classic Radio. I settled back for the four hour flight and listened
to times long past for me as I once again heard and recognized the
voices of Fibber McGee & Molly, Jack Benny, Dennis Day, Red Skelton,
Abbot & Costello and Amos & Andy. “My childhood was an abundant
life.”, I mused.
As my thoughts drifted back over my childhood and the pleasure I
derived from listening to the radio; a particular memory came to
mind which I will share with you now.
It was a Saturday, about the middle of August, in the year following
my completion of the 7th Grade at Layne School. The family had moved
back to the little house at 1528 West Johnson at the end of school.
We had lived in the house previously for about three years before
moving as the result of my father declaring the house too small to
skin a cat in (the odyssey covering about a year is subject matter
for another story or two). That summer was a particularly boring and
long summer; as I was at the awkward age of being too old to play
all day and too young to work. I was eagerly looking forward to
returning to Central Ward and starting the 8th Grade in September.
It was one of those hot and humid dog days of late summer and all my
brother Johnny, Ole Sandy (the dog) and I wanted was to find some
place cool and stay there. As the little rotating fan clattered back
and forth blowing a welcome breeze on me, then Sandy and Johnny; I
got the idea to go swimming at Burns Run. After a few minutes of
pleading my mother agreed and said she would take us in the late
afternoon about five o’clock.
When 5 o’clock finally rolled around; Johnny, Sandy and I piled in
the 1947 Blue Plymouth (the newest car the family had ever owned to
that point). Ole Sandy took his usual position sprawled out on the
rear package shelf. Exiling Johnny to the back seat; I took shotgun
in the front. As the car headed east down the hill to Maurice Avenue
our heads, Johnny’s, Sandy’s and mine were full of anticipation of
getting into the cool water (Sandy was an avid swimmer).
We turned north on Maurice and headed out to where it joined Highway
75, then made another left and headed for Burns Run on the Oklahoma
end of the Denison Dam.
About half way across the dam we noticed huge black clouds moving in
rapidly. By the time we neared the end of the dam those clouds had
opened up with a lightening bolt and loud clap of thunder followed
by rain coming down in a solid sheet. With the wind blowing, the
poor visibility and the thunder and lightening; Johnny’s and my
knuckles turned white gripping the backseat and dashboard as my
mother slowed the car and began looking for a place to pull off the
road to wait the storm out. Ole Sandy was already in his place on
the floorboard where he had made a diving jump from the package
shelf on the first lightening bold and clap of thunder.
Mother finally pulled off in the parking lot of Patti’s Tavern
(mother called it beer joint) in Cartwright, Oklahoma. We waited for
about thirty minutes for the rain to slack up before continuing east
to Colbert and turning south on highway 69 to head back home to
Denison. It was evident that there would be no swimming this day, as
the storm had ushered in a cool front, which; after the hot weather
we had been in all day, seemed uncomfortably cold and damp.
Johnny and I had gloomy looks on our faces as Mother drove back to
Denison and our house on Johnson street. Seeing our disappointment;
she cheerfully said, “When we get back to the house, I will make us
some hamburgers and French fries for supper. This brought a smile to
our faces because Mother could make a great hamburger; fresh ground
beef from B&B Grocery, Mrs. Baird’s bread, mustard, mayonnaise,
lettuce, tomato and a big slice of onion. Upon pulling into the
driveway; we all piled out of the car and ran toward the house as
the rain was still coming down pretty hard. Once in the house;
Mother set about right away to frying the hamburgers and making the
After what seemed an eternity; Mother brought our hamburgers, fries
and drinks (hot Maxwell House coffee for me and milk for Johnny).
Johnny and I sat down cross-legged in front of our little radio in
the living room as Mother turned it on. Just coming on was “The
Adventures of Tarzan”.
As I sat there conscious of the steady patter of rain outside and
listening to the voices of Tarzan, Jane, Boy and Cheeta while
sipping my Maxwell House and savoring every bite of my hamburger and
fries … a warm peaceful feeling came over me that I have always
remembered. It is the feeling you get when you realize you are
living an abundant life when you have a dry place to live, good food
to eat and are with people that love you. All it takes for me to get
there is to hear one of those old radio programs.
You know what … right after Tarzan Gunsmoke came on ! God is good
all the time !
April 16, 2008
PS I have XM Radio in the truck !
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