A few days ago, Dalinda was watching t.v. and it was talking about the scariest movie of the year. It took me back to a time when we lived at 304 E. 4th St. this was back in the forties. It was an old wood frame house and there was ten of us in this two-bedroom house. We had a big wood heater set up in the living room and when it was really cold, we would all sleep on pallets on the floor around the wood stove.
My mom would make some hot chocolate and my mom, dad, and my grandfather would tell ghost stories. One my mom told was during a time when they were chopping cedar up around Junction. She said one morning she got up and had to go to the bathroom really bad she found a caliche pit and went down in it and was just starting to use the restroom when all of a sudden, she heard this loud rattling noise. She looked up and on the wall behind her and the walls on both side of her was rattlesnakes.
She started screaming and my grandmother came and got her out of the pit. Mom said that for a long time she could not go to the bathroom alone. My grandmother had to go with her. That was before I was born and maybe that is why to this day, I am terrified of snakes.
My dad was born in 1915 and my mom was born in 1919. Then there was the story my granddad would tell about a panther. During the war my granddad was the night watchman for the old Devils river rail road bridge.
They ended up giving him an old railroad boxcar and he put it on a piece of property he had on Viesca St. it is still there today although it has almost rotted away. Behind their property was all woods. There was a duck pond way back in the rear of the property. Later on, it was owned by a gentleman named Marion Hunnicutt. Growing up all my brothers and me would go out there hunting rabbits.
But going back to the story granddad said one day his son Fred Cross went out there hunting he said later on he went out the door and heard
a scream that sounded like a woman screaming. Granddad said he recognized the scream as a panther and grabbed his gun and took off in the woods hollering for his son. He saw his son running towards him with a turkey thrown across his back, about 20 feet behind his son was a panther closing fast. Granddad hollered drop the turkey and as soon as his son did the panther grabbed the turkey and was gone back into the brush.
My uncle Fred lived on that property until he passed away but he would never go out there hunting again. My brothers and I walked and hunted that property for years and I never seen anything bigger than a bobcat out there but I did not want to say anything about my granddad story.
The story that scared us most of all was the story my dad would tell us about what I called bigfoot, this happened at the Pecos canyon on highway 90 west. my dad said that when he was thirteen or fourteen his dad had two trucks and they would haul freight and almost any thing else. Now remind you this was before they built the bridge at the Pecos canyon.
In those days you had to drive down in to the canyon and hope you had a good enough truck to handle a load going up to get out of the canyon. They were going to Van Horn or Alpine I forget which but as they started down one of the trucks broke down, when they checked it out it was determined that they would have to come back to Del Rio for parts. They left my dad there to guard the load and for a while it was, he said very exciting walking around the canyon looking and listening for all of the sounds that could be heard.
As it started to get dark, he walked back to the truck to eat some of the basket lunch my grandmother had made for them to eat. All of a sudden, he got this horrible smell coming from somewhere behind the truck and then he heard a sound that he could only call terrifying. My dad got out of the truck but could not see anything but the sound and the smell was closer than before. All of a sudden, he felt the back of the truck go down on the frame of the truck. whatever it was had gotten in the back of the truck with the freight they were hauling. After a few minutes it jumped off of the truck and the springs popped, that’s what he said.
All the while the creature or animal was making this growling sound and giving out that smell of rotten meat. My dad said there was a blanket in the front seat with him and he grabbed it and got down in the floor board of the truck and covered up with the blanket, then the smell was so strong and the growl so bad that he started praying.
About that time, he heard a car honk its horn and the sound and smell was gone. My dad uncovered his head and the food basket was gone. When my grandfather stopped behind the truck, he asks my dad who was that or what was that ran off into the brush. My dad said he was to scared to answer. They looked around and found the basket torn to shreds. What was it? I have often wondered.
These were just a few of the stories us kids were told but I still remember them. I hope you have enjoyed this story of looking back and will share it with someone, remember be proud you live in my home town Del Rio Texas GOD BLESS. Special thanks to Victor Cirilo and the Val Verde County Library.