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Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Peggy McCracken

Squarely Pegged

By Peggy McCracken

Burr machine bites
big brother Walter

Walter was the kind of big brother every child should have. He was a skinny little runt, but in my eyes, he walked tall and could outrun, outfight and out-chin anybody.

We all grew up in the cotton patch, but Walter got jobs with neighboring farmers during the summer, even before he graduated from high school. Then he went to work at Putt Gilbert’s gin in the fall, and was ginner at the age of 19. Here is one of his escapades, in his own words.

“The burr machine: 1949

”One day a cotton separator got choked up and threw a belt. When something got choked up you left the gin running and took a 36-inch Stilson wrench to turn the augers and get it un-choked.

“To get to the separator you went up a short ladder to a platform, then climbed on the burr machine and on up to the separator. I grabbed the 36-inch Stilson and started up. When I stepped on the burr machine the lid wasn't fastened down and it went sailing. My right leg along with the wrench went in the burr machine.

“Inside was an auger, a spiral conveyer which had steel prongs about six inches long, a big drum saw, etc With the wrench getting hit by all the above it was making the damdest racket you ever heard and of course was hitting my foot and leg. Just in the second or two that I had to think about it I thought there was no way to get out without at least losing my foot.

“If I could have some way made a trade, my leg for my life, I would have made the deal. Anyway my left leg was on the outside of the machine and I flipped backwards and my leg came out.

“I remember standing there looking down at my foot and the brogan shoe was pretty well chewed up but my foot was still there. I was surely the happiest kid in the world at that time, and I remember my exacts words were, ‘Well the SOB is still on, ain't it.’

“Putt took me to the doctor at Matador. It had cracked my big toe and beat the toenail off. I was off work a few days and when I went back they put me to ginning.

“Putt and Lem (Brock) sold the gin to a guy named Maurice Goodwin in 1950. I think he lived around Spur. He hired me to be the ginner and I got Wesley Cagle and Buddy Riddle to help me overhaul the gin prior to boll pulling time. Can't remember who all I hired to work there during the fall but know some were in their forties or so. Often wondered how they felt about taking orders from me, as I was only 19. Never had a problem though. Uncle Sam called right after that season, so that ended my ginning career.” If you like reading Flomot stories, you may want to check out more of Walter’s memoirs on our sister’s web site: . Click on son-of-a-gunn to find Walt’s memoirs, and then locate Mitch to read a humorous sidebar to the accident story.

“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence…”Proverbs 8:12, NIV

EDITOR’S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is Enterprise business manager. Contact her at

Your Views

Community thanked for help during evacuation

To The Editor:

I would like to take a minute to let your community know how much we (my family) there were myself, my husband, my son Jerry and his wife, Linda, his daughter, Mandy and her husband, Robbie and another daughter, Lourie and her son and daughter, we spent a week in Pecos - Robert (Bob) and Penny French opened their home to us - they were so gracious. The people of Pecos were all so nice and helpful to us during Hurricane Rita evacuation.

Frances Florez of Ma Wilson’s donuts, donated those delicious Texas-sized donuts on two mornings.

The ladies at the library helped us file a FEMA Report, the Professional Pharmacy was so helpful in getting our medication. We enjoyed a visit to the park and zoo with the children as well as the museum and a trip to Fort Davis. There is so much to do in Pecos the time went by so very fast. We are back in Jasper now, we still have no electricity and only one gas station has gas and we are busy cleaning the debris from our yard and getting the two trees that fell on the house off and making the usual repair. We have about 40 trees to clear away - however we were very blessed that no one was injured - we will be back to normal soon - thank you, Pecos for your hospitality.

The Tilley’s from Jasper

Visitors concerned about the ceremony

To The Editor:

My husband and I were recently in Pecos to attend a memorial service. While we were there, we went to the Fairview Cemetery on Eddy Street. We were shocked to see the deplorable condition of the cemetery.

We have been gone from Pecos for 15 years and return to see family that still lives there. The cemetery has never looked this bad. Thankfully, our family takes good care of our plots.

This is definitely an eyesore for the community. It also indicates lack of pride and concern for the community by civic leaders. When we lived in Pecos, the city had workers that tried to keep the area presentable. I understand now, the city leaders are bickering over who is responsible for the cemetery. I can’t believe the city would have been maintaining it for years if it was not the city’s responsibility. Someone who needs to take charge of this project.

If the solution is a city wide work day at the cemetery, fine, let me know and I will be there to help, but something must be done. It is so disrespectful to the people buried there. Barbara Smith
Houston, Tx.

Parent voices opinion on Thanksgiving school lunch

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to voice my opinion on this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner at Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD. I am well aware we have a new food service director and along with the new comes changes, but come on….How can you do away with a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner that some children may not otherwise have?

My jaw about hit the ground when I heard a turkey sandwich/pot pie was on the menu, and a cinnamon roll!! No pumpkin pie???? I know this mean isn’t intended for the parents and grandparents, but my concern is mainly about the children who are less fortunate.

I was told Mr. Villalobos that he is changing everything up because they have way too much food left over and never know how many to prepare for? Well Hello, Isn’t that why you have to buy tickets in advance? So they know how many to prepare for? I am a proud graduate of Pecos High School and now a mother of three who attend this school district and I can never remember a year when we didn’t have Turkey and Dressing.

I was always exciting having mom and dad come eat with you at school that day. And my kids are looking forward to me eating with them. I know in recent years, Helen Miller did an OUTSTANDING job preparing for the big Turkey Day!!! I realize rules have to be set, but why not enforce the four guests per child and still have the turkey dinner. These children are served enough sandwiches as it is. Hopefully, this will raise a few eyebrows and changes can be made before that day arrives. CHRISTY MARTINEZ

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