Memories from Anne Hunter (my grandmother's maiden name) Showalter's childhood visits to her Grandmother and Granddaddy Fincher's home and other Texas relatives' homes.

Since before I can remember my family Holmes Showalter (father), Winona Fincher (mother), older brother Russell, younger brother, Scott and I would travel from the East coast, where we lived, to Albany, Texas to visit our grandparents [Pickens Steele Fincher and Nannette Hunter Fincher] and other relatives of my mother's every other summer. The alternate year we would visit our father's relatives who lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I remember the long and hot trips across country for these long awaited visits. It took at least three days to make the journey during the late 1940s to the late 1950s.

Memory # 1: There is a photo in Nannie's Album that has a photograph of the outside of my grandparent's home, including the porch with lattice work, that shows where the following event took place.

Their porch had lattice work going from the floor of the porch to the ceiling. One evening several of us were sitting on the porch and all of a sudden my Uncle Mike jumped up from where he was seated near my granddaddy. One of them pulled a rattlesnake out of the flowery vines growing up the lattice work with a rake or hoe and chopped it's head off. (To make the story more wild west Texas, maybe I should say that one of them pulled out a shotgun and shot it in the head once they pulled it out of the vines!) I do not remember how many rattles the snake had, but I think there were at least five and was several feet long.

Memory # 2: Another memory is going to the barn with Granddaddy, and watching him milk a cow. At one point he unexpectedly squirted milk from the udder into my mouth. The warmth of the milk was a shock, having been used to cold milk, but then I remember a warm feeling coming over me and liking it.

Memory # 3: I remember being in the kitchen with Grandmother while she made dough for biscuits. I remember lots of flour on a board with her short little humped figure rolling out the dough and cutting the biscuits with a biscuit tin. As I have become older, I think that her humped back must have been the results of osteoporosis.

Memory # 4: One summer, probably in the 1950's during the several year drought, I remember my mother finally persuading my grandaddy to remove his grimy overalls so that she could wash them in the wringer washing machine located on the back porch. I can still remember them being flattened as they went through the wringer to squeeze out the excess water. Once this was done, I was asked by my mother to go into the backyard and hang them on the clothes line to dry with wooden clothespins. Because of the drought, the ground was hardened with no growth and long cracks in the ground. Just as I lifted the overalls up to pin them to the clothes line, I dropped them in the dirt. I can remember feeling so bad because I was old enough to understand that water was scarce and that they would have to be washed again, using more water.

Memory #5: Sleeping on a pallet on the wooden floors at my grandparents' house. I do not remember being uncomfortable nor complaining about it.

Memory # 6: Being taken to the tank (pond) on the land to swim Being taken in a pickup truck to a mesa, climbing up, and being asked by Uncle Mike and Granddaddy to look at the beauty to be seen for miles. At first I did not understand/see the beauty, having been used to seeing lots of trees and greenery and flowers on the East coast landscapes. But, I soon saw the beauty of all the earth colors that one could see for miles around, the cactus, the tumbleweed, the many colors of the earth, the jackrabbits, etc.

Memories from the camping trips on the Brazos River:

Men going out in the early morning to shoot squirrel and frogs so that we could have fried squirrel and frog legs for breakfast.

Swimming in the Brazos River and floating down it. The beauty of the many pecan trees along the banks of the river.