Thursday, December 17, 2009

Life in the Dark Ages, Part II

Long ago I told a story about a cow, as I remembered my grandmother telling it. ("Life in the Dark Ages.") I used the names "Bert and Ethel" for the relatives in the story, but as I found out this evening while going through a hard drive full of genealogical information scanned by my father, their names were Viola and Clyde...

This is a funny little story about the pursuit of simple entertainment on a quiet evening "out" during the earlier days in St. Johns:

Frequently my Mother and Dad (Viola Forrest and Clyde Charles Overson, Sr.) would go to the movies, as it (the movie) changed about once a week here. The old movie-house used to be down from the Whiting's Motel. There were no street lights then, and you know how very black it gets at night; so they would leave before dark and it was after dark before they came home. On the walk home they had to pass Uncle Henry's house (Henry Christian Overson). His corral was right next to the sidewalk. (This was not unusual, because all of us who lived in town kept our milk cows and our horses with us, and our farms were out beyond the town of course). And I wouldn't say all the time, but frequently, Uncle Henry's cows would bed-down right there on the sidewalk.

This night, Mother and Dad were walking home as usual from the movie, when all of the sudden, Mom fell flat over this cow of Uncle Henry's! Before she even knew what had happened, the poor cow was getting up and she found herself sitting in the street. I suppose it was a rather rude awakening for the cow... what would you do if a big woman fell on top of you? Well, Mother wasn't hurt, although I am sure her feelings were, and her pride. It must have frightened her, too.

To my knowledge, no one ever complained to Uncle Henry about how his cows were all out in the street like that. It was a way of life, that was just the way it was. Uncle Henry's cows were always out on the sidewalk and we knew it.

Phelps, Arla May Overson. "A Collection of Early Memories," July 29, 1986, St. Johns, Arizona, p 1.

Photo of the cow's eye from

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