I guess I have not been driving around northwest Arkansas enough lately. I went to the Ozark Country Music Opry one Saturday night at the Benton County Fairgrounds near XNA and I could not believe the sea of houses and apartments that have mushroomed up out west of Bentonville, Ark. There is very little farmland left out there.
I tried to recall going to Vaughn years ago but even that has evaporated. A very nice man that held the mortgage on the place I owned lived there half a century ago and we went each year to pay him at his farmhouse on New Years Day. We would have dinner and watch the Rose Bowl parade on TV. When we finally refinanced the ranch at the bank in Springdale, Ark., he told them, “those boys never missed a payment to me on that old mountain place and I figured if they had a big place it would be the King Ranch by now.”
My main purpose that afternoon was to attend the Ozark Opry. The week before I met Don Clark, but come to find out I’d known Don for years. His grandfather Fred McCoulough and I had ran cattle together for years. Everyone in Springdale or Madison County knew Fred. For several years he had a café at Nob Hill where all the feed haulers and fieldmen stopped. One day Fred was spouting off that he had a Shetland pony kid-broke for sale for $25. He came by the table where I was eating and I gave him the money.
“What’s this for?” he asked.
“The pony you’re selling,” I replied.
“Ah, I was only joking.”
I stood up and asked the lunch crowd if they thought he was joking? They said no. Fred said, “Alright, when you want him?”
“Christmas Eve.”
“Why then?”
“Because you are going to deliver him to my nephews over in Madison County.”
He kind of snorted and agreed. So we loaded Spot up and he took him over there. The young boys were outside siting on the front stoop. Fred unloaded the pony, lead him up in the yard, asked them their names and said Santa Claus sent him that pony.
That was one part of my dealings with Fred. He and his lovely wife, Erpy, were the salt of the earth. They got caught with a lot of rough calves one fall when the market was down and Fred didn’t have any pasture. We got them, held them until they grew out and made a fair split on the deal. Fred about cried when I gave him his check.
His grandson and I laughed about how Fred once had a cab company in Springdale for years and sold Mountain Dew. Folks all knew about it. In fact, Fred told me when he was 16 they sent him to either Huntsville or Kingston to give out pints of whiskey for votes. I never doubted he did that. Once he went over to Muskogee and got caught and they sent him to jail. He found out they fed the federal prisoners better than the county ones and made them put him over there.
Next issue I’ll tell you more about the Ozark Opry.
May the Good Lord bless and keep you and the USA until the next time, Dusty Richards.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here