Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

November 11, 2012


Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 6:33 am



Jobs were hard to find in 1958, the year I was married.  I was classified “1A” by the Selective Service System, which meant that I was facing being drafted into the army.  No company wanted to hire me, only to have me leave within a year.  After spending three months in the Golden Triangle area of Beaumont, Orange, and Port Arthur without finding work, my new bride and I decided to move back home and await the inevitable “Greetings” letter from Uncle Sam.

Mr. Crowe, the managing engineer for the Texas Highway Department, took pity on me and gave me a job in their new office on Highway 96 north of town.  I suppose that since I had three years of college under my belt, he felt that I might possibly learn drafting.  So, he hired me at $325 per month and placed me under the tutelage of the senior draftsman, Terrance Price.

The general secretary of the office was a young lady named Patsy.  She was very efficient and reliable, and got along well with the all male crew.  She took all the ribbing and jokes from the guys in stride, with a good humor.

The head of the surveying crew, Jake, was one who loved practical jokes.  No one was immune from him, and never knew when he might strike.  Patsy fell into his sights one Friday afternoon in 1959.  It seems that the survey crew found the skull and horns of a steer, perhaps a longhorn, out in the woods.  They brought it back to the office prior to quitting time, but hid it from Patsy.

This skull was quite large, perhaps eighteen inches long, and thirty-six inches from one horn tip to the other.  Jake and an accomplice found some bailing wire and attached the skull to the back bumper of Patsy’s car.  Everyone waited around to see her reaction when she left work and found this monstrosity on her car.

Well, as we all know, the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go awry.  Patsy bounded out of the office and got into her car and sped away, never noticing the item wired to her back bumper.  We all watched her car until she turned left at the circle and was out of sight.  What a bummer – nothing happened, that is, until Monday morning.

It seems that Patsy had driven all over town Saturday and noticed some stares and funny looks from people, but paid no attention.  It was not until she was leaving for church Sunday morning that she found the skull and horns still attached to her bumper.

Monday morning she arrived at work a little early.  She retrieved the skull from her car trunk and took it over to Jake’s pickup and threw it inside the cab.  When she came inside the office, everyone was very quiet, pretending to work, awaiting her reaction.  She walked into her office, just like any other day, saying nothing.  That is, until Jake walked into the office.  He made a comment about finding a skull and horns in his vehicle, wondering where it came from.

Then, Patsy, the patsy, struck.  She ran out of her office holding an umbrella with which she proceeded to jab and strike Jake all over his head and shoulders. “Don’t you dare do anything like that to me again”, she yelled as she swung the umbrella like a baseball bat.  Mr. Crowe, the manager, walked in about that time and put a stop to the assault.  Then, everyone started laughing and things settled down.  Jake apologized, Patsy apologized, and things were back to normal.  I always felt that deep down within her soul, Patsy enjoyed the attention.

So much for the steer skull caper. Other pranks were waiting to be played on people, and they were.  However, I do not recall that Patsy was ever again the patsy.  Apparently she made her point.

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