IN THE past few days, Ye OLD Columnist (YOC) has had some interesting conversations with two Cross Timbers’ residents.
The first was with Perry Elliott, retired local banker. The talk with Perry did not relate to banking, but to athletics. One needs to know Perry was a fairly good athlete at Wylie High School – the one near Abilene not the other one near Garland.
YOC had a column in October on P.E. (Pete) Shotwell, who made a name as a football coach in Texas in the 1920s-1950s. Perry knew Shotwell, and the conversation brought up the names of two well-known football and basketball officials from Abilene. The individuals were W.D. (Shorty) Lawson and (Curly) Hays.
Neither Elliott nor I could recall Hays first name or his initials.
Lawson was a teacher-coach at Abilene High School (AHS) for many years. He also taught Driver Education. If one were to ask Lawson what he was teaching in Driver Ed, he would often reply in a humorous way, “Parking.”
Hays was a Farm and Ranch Representative for West Texas Utility Company with headquarters in Abilene.
Lawson and YOC were fellow teachers at AHS in the early 1950s. Lawson was a jovial individual and a dedicated teacher and coach. He taught at Abilene High for 41 years – 1945-1986.
A native of Tennessee, Lawson came to Abilene in the early 1940s to obtain a second bachelor’s degree. He had earlier graduated from David Lipscomb College in Nashville. During his early days in Abilene, he met his future wife, who was the daughter of Don Morris, then President of Abilene Christian College (ACC) (now University).
Lawson earned a master’s degree from ACC in 1964. He lived most of his adult life in Abilene. Just before his death in August of this year, he returned to his native Tennessee.
Hays, a graduate of Texas A&M University, is also deceased.
Hays and Lawson officiated many football and basketball games in the old Southwest Conference. They also called a number of games for Tarleton State University and Stephenville High School.
Thanks, Perry, for mentioning these two individuals, who had a major part in athletics in Texas.
The second interesting conversation came by phone from Bob Huddleston of DeLeon. He’s Joe Bob’s father.
The elder Huddleston advised me he knew Slim Willet, composer of the popular song in the 1950s, “Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes.” YOC had a column on Willet on October 19. Slim was born at Victor, which is about seven miles from DeLeon.
Huddleston had a story to tell me how Willet got the name for a song entitled, “Hadacol Corners.” This song was on the flip side of the “Stars” record.
Here’s the story – Hadacol Corners was a small town in West Texas, near Rankin in Upton County. In the early 1950s, Hadacol Corners residents applied for a post office. A name had to be supplied to post office officials. The local residents submitted, Hadacol Corners. Federal officials turned down the name, advising the residents to come up with another name. They sent in their second choice – Midkiff. It was approved.
If you research Midkiff in a Texas Almanac, you will find the community is located in the extreme northern part of Upton County. Huddleston said Slim got his idea for the song from the former name of the West Texas community.
Thanks, Bob, for an interesting story.
’TIL NEXT TIME – “Good nature is more agreeable in conversation than wit.” – Joseph Addison (1672-1719), English writer.