Ode to the Country Squire
ASHS Column for 2 16 06
Wallace and Mattie Reid have been
married since December 31, 1968,
which in itself is not an historic event
(of course, for them it was). Surely,
when they wed, the fact their combined
families swelled from five children each
to a total of ten children was considered
as one! As time went by, Wallace and
Mattie had two children together,
making an already crowded home more so.
Rick Pritchett, one of the oldest of the
twelve, dropped by my place the other
day and shared his story of growing up in
such a large household. He said it was
amazing that they all felt comfortable in
this real-life portrayal of "yours, mine,
and ours." Little sibling rivalry was
evident in all the years and Mattie’s
children consider Wallace their dad,
while Wallace’s kids all call Mattie mom.
Rick, who spent most of the years since he left home working in various states around the country, recently came home, he says, "to stay." 50 years of age now, and having had surgery related to heart problems, said he looks back on those days as ones of joy and happiness. He believes there was one problem that had to be overcome, though: transportation. Wallace and Mattie only had a four-door sedan, a Ford LTD, to carry around all those children.
Wallace and Mattie surprised the family one day when they left for a few hours and came back with what Rick said was the worst looking automobile he’d ever seen. A lime green station wagon was the vehicle of choice for the Reids. Rick said it was at least one football field long, with room for ten adults, and perhaps more children.
A few years ago, Rick was recalling the happy days of youth when he was inspired to write a poem. He calls it, "An Ode to the Country Squire."
In 1970 which was a long time ago,
The date I don’t really know,
Our family was big and blessed by the Lord,
Our family car was an LTD Ford.
But the car was too small,
And a decision was made,
So Pop said, "Well, mom,
I guess it’s time to trade."
So one day him and mom
Left town for a while,
Then they drove up in the yard
With a great big smile.
It was as long as a truck
With a big rack on top,
I thought to myself,
"What’s wrong with you, Pop?"
It was lime green all over,
With wood grain on both sides,
A 390 under the hood,
It was one ugly ride.
Not long after that,
When the time was right,
I asked a girl out
For the next Friday night.
I felt so good,
I went around braggin,
But I didn’t have a car,
So I asked Pop for the wagon.
He said, "OK, son,
But it ain’t a toy."
I knew real quick
It was his pride and joy.
When I went to pick her up
My heart kind of sank,
‘Cause I wondered how she’d feel
About riding in that tank.
Charlotte was Steve’s sister,
Who was a good friend of mine,
So I pulled up to the door,
Thinkin, "well I guess it’s time."
She took one look at me,
And then one at the car,
She said, "My, that’s some ride,
Are we going where PEOPLE are?"
So we rode around town that night,
And didn’t try to hide,
We soon began to see,
That this was one nice ride.
Richard and Robert laughed and snickered,
And said, "Man, that’s a boat,"
But I had the prettiest girl that night,
And, boy, that got their goat.
I drove around town,
With her by my side,
I knew that I was lucky
To have this great big ride.
Have I done his story justice?
Not by a long shot,
What happened in that car that night,
Was some kind of hot,
The sparks that flew between us
Was nothing less than fire,
The night I went on a date,
In the Ford Country Squire.
* * *
Thanks, Rick, for an inside look at your younger days.
Below is part of an article from the April 7, 1927 issue of the Evergreen Courant Headline:
"Alger-Sullivan Co. Give Flooring to Club House"
"Through the generosity and splendid cooperation of many good people throughout this county, as well as in other places, the Home Demonstration clubs of Conecuh County are soon to have a Club House where they can go for their general meetings and camps.
The latest and perhaps one of the largest donation to be made came last week, when the Alger-Sullivan Lumber company of Century, Florida, donated 3000 feet of flooring to be used in the house. This company has no direct interest in the project but has extensive holdings in the county…. according to the letter written by Mr. Edward A. Hauss, president of the company, to Miss Ella Hamilton, Home Agent, [Alger-Sullivan] is glad of an opportunity of helping in this unique project. The people of this county, who are so much interested in constructing this house, will be glad to hear of this donation and they will be grateful to the company for this splendid gift.
Work on the house is progressing reasonably well. At a working given Wednesday, March 30th, the logs to the body of the house were put up and a start made on the cover. More..."
* * *
As of this writing, the Society is pleased to have two fine ladies working part-time at the museums and park. Althea Bass and Dorothy Newton each spend about 20 hours a week at the museums and will be happy to show you around. You can still call one of these numbers to arrange a guided tour, though: Margaret Collier at 850-256-2029, me at 850-256-2661, or Jerry Fischer at 850-256-3980.
Don’t forget the Sale and Model As coming on April8th!!!