The Moving East Texas Watermelon Heist of 1945


The Dumbest Thing I Ever Did – submitted by Jack Strong

Editor’s Note:  This is a tall tale that my Uncle Jack shared recently at his 81st birthday party, ostensibly in the form of a family confession; however, his sly grin betrayed a clear lack of any genuine contrition. ;). 
In 1945, his big brother, my dad, was involved in WWII. Jack, however, was still a restless 15 year old boy back home who managed to get into some fairly harmless mischief, as country boys that age are prone to do.
After these childhood shenanigans, Uncle Jack went on to serve as a distinguished state senator, and he was also quite successful in his law practice and many business ventures.

Probably the dumbest thing that we ever did had to do with watermelons. We liked watermelons, as most boys did, but we didn’t like hot watermelons – we liked cold watermelons.

Watercolor of Melon in Field

There was a particular farmer who lived about three miles out of Carthage, Texas.  He was just next to the road there, and had what we believed to be the best watermelon patch in all of Panola County.  We found a place in the fence that was easy to get across, and we would just go get two watermelons.  We got two, not because we would eat them both, but because the man at the ice house had a deal that if we would bring him two hot ones he’d give us one cold one.

One night we went out there, and we had a flashlight so we could try to locate the two best watermelons. We were very careful – seriously – to not damage any of the vines or any of his crop.  We might have been thieves, but we were considerate thieves.

One watermelon in this patch has been poisoned!

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Bigfoot & The Dumb Bull


By Dean Jones, Carthage, TX

In memory of Stubby “Bobo” Jones, 07/11/95 – 02/10/10

When I was about 10 years old, I learned what a “dumb bull” was. This learning experience was courtesy of my grandfather. When one hears the words “dumb bull” all kinds of images pass through one’s mind. Images of a crazy cow or a brainless runaway bull passed through mine when I first heard the term.

Dumb Bull

Dumb Bull

Actually, a “dumb bull” is not a living creature at all. It is a simple device that works without electricity or electronics. It is a crude “sound effects” generator. The sound a dumb bull creates is almost guaranteed to stampede cattle, cure constipation in youngsters,

increase sales of ammunition in rural areas, as well as cause the switchboard of your local 911 operator to light up on a boring night in a small town! In short, a dumb bull is a practical joker device that will scare the living daylights out of anything that hears it. Dumb bulls were popular in the “good old days” of our grandparents in rural areas. Dumb bulls are also mentioned in The Foxfire Books.