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Moon shines bright over Wilson County
Rainy Days and Starry NightsJune 4, 2014 | 3,562 views | Post a comment
When my grandparents, Earl and Lavonia Goode, lived in Wilson County, they had some good neighbors. One of them was Paul Svoboda. He was just like one of the Goode family. He was around a lot. Clare was the baby of the Goode family and she adored Paul. He was like a big brother. He was also like a brother to the other Goode girls in the family who were all older.
It was during the mid-1930s. Paul was just a young man, and lived at the Goode farm for a while, helping with the farm chores and the harvesting. They lived out in the Camp Ranch community then, and by then my mother, Bertie Lee, was married to my daddy, Lawrence, and they had me and my two sisters and a brother. We lived down the road from my grandparents. Paul was a good friend to my mother and daddy also. He was a kind man. I can vaguely remember him.
When Clare was sick, or woke in the night with scary dreams, Paul was the only person who could calm her down and get her back to sleep. One night Clare woke and was crying for a long time. Finally one of the older girls went to get Paul and he put Clare up on his shoulders and began to walk her outside under the stars. She loved to ride on his shoulders, and that always seemed to quiet her. That night, the family went outside with Paul, who walked around the yard with the crying child, hoping something would quiet her. The moon came up over the oak trees in the east, and shone brightly as it rose higher in the night sky. The moon enthralled Clare and she began to quiet down. But then she began to cry again, “I want the moon! Gimme the moon!” Paul tried to explain to the child, “I can’t get the moon. It is too big and too far away!” But Clare kept on bawling, “I want it. I want the moon!” as she reached out her hands toward the sky, reaching for the moon. Finally, Paul said, “Child, I can get you anything you want, but I can’t get the moon!” Ever since that time, my aunt Clare has been reaching for the moon. She is 83 years old, and she hasn’t given up!
When the Goode family moved over to the Fairview community before moving to San Antonio, they had some good times. All the girls were musically inclined. Grandma played the piano and the guitar and sang, and Grandpa played the fiddle. As the girls got older, they learned to sing and play guitars and the piano.
One hot summer night, the family gathered on the front porch as her sister Ellen sang “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” Every time they sang that song, Clare cried, the tears running down her cheeks. For some reason she thought it was the saddest song she ever heard. That night Ellen played the guitar and sang the old sad song, and Clare leaned her head against the weathered old boards of the porch, thinking about how lonesome and blue that man was, waiting for his girl to come home. But also maybe she was still that tiny girl reaching for the moon?
While the singing was going on, the family was making homemade ice cream. H.E. and Johnny, her two older brothers, were taking turns cranking the handle of the old wooden ice cream maker. As the ice cream sat for a while and hardened, they saw two figures walking down the road. Somehow the two Connally brothers, Wayne and Merrill, who lived down the road, must have gotten wind of the ice cream making! Or maybe they heard the singing. Grandma sent Sallie back into the house to get two more bowls and spoons.
Later on, Ellen got out her guitar again and she and Sallie and Fay sang some more old folk songs. They all sat laughing and eating their ice cream, the crickets and tree frogs chirping in the hot summer night, as the girls harmonized on their favorites, “Dear Old Daddy of Mine,” “Red River Valley,” “Silver Threads Among the Gold,” and the really sad one, “Barbara Allen,” which made everyone cry!
Finally midnight came, and with the younger kids lying asleep on the porch on an old quilt, the Connally boys left to go home, and the Goode family gathered up their young ones and went back into the house, which had begun to cool now, with the night breezes blowing. The moon was high in the sky now, and the stars were dim in the moonlight. The sad songs still echoed their mournful words as the cows lowed in the pens down by the barn, but Clare was sound asleep as her daddy lifted her up from the porch, as she dreamed about sad songs, ice cream melting on her tongue and the moon out of reach in the sky.
Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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