One Eyes Sextet

Over the past year, I have posted several stories written by my Great Uncle, Lee Wallace. I believe this is one of his best!

One Eyes Sextet, By Lee Wallace

“Lee, I’ll give you a thousand years to guess who I overtuck ‘tween Grand Saline and Edgewood, Friday. I mean I’ll give you a thousand guesses. Don’t you ‘member that Eli Moss? That pidgin-toed feller with one eye out, that tangled-headed feller with unmatched jaws, that bowlegged chap, you used to go cotton-pickin with every fall?”

“Yes” I said, “very distinctly do I remember Eli.”
“Out into Ellis County every fall. Saddle up your old grass bellied fan tails, each of you with his fiddle in a flour sack hung to the horn of your saddles, and light out. Great days: Always a big dance the night before you left and a bigger one the night after you got back.” (Here I dragged him back on his subject.)

“Oh yes, Eli. He’s got a show, a good one at that. ‘Texas Museum’ he calls it, built like a wagon, cages on wheels; a one eyed nigger without salary for a driver, which adds to it. The go from place to place “Exhibiting”. The nigger drives, and Eli with a one-eyed dog hunts on first one side then tuther on the road. He’s got an old capped and balled rifle. He furnishes plenty of meat for them and the meat eating part of the show. Yes, and his two mules they just got one eye each. Says he got ‘em cheap for that. He’s got hawks, owls, and badgers and woofs, and snakes and spiders, and just one Vinegarroon, that bites you just one time and after that you just got seven minutes for prayer.

The day I over tuck him, I stayed all night with him and his show at Edgewood. After supper and the show, and we had talked, he got his fiddle, (same one he had when he was a boy) and jerked off a few paragraphs of them Van Zandt melodies. I then called for his specialty, “The Dying Cowboy”, the one he always sings while he plays. I joined in, the nigger joined in, the dog, too and the woofs and the rattle snakes and even the mules, and it shore nuff seemed to me like the doxology to a “Wild West” show.”

“He makes no charges, he says it’s like salvation free. His style is hung out: ‘If the show helps you, you may help the show. If you are going to give anything, wait ‘till you go out and then you’ll know what it’s all about’.”

“Great fellow, that Eli. You always said he’d amount to something. He makes money, too, ‘cause his nigger is slick, his mules and show-folks are fat, he’s got red topped boots, he’s got wire strings on his fiddle and shaves himself, and listen, Lee, for this is in confidence, he’s going to get married, and his coming wife has got two good eyes.”

Author’s note: Exactly true, this was and is strange, strange story especially as to a one-eyed aggregation of unfortunate creatures.

Now I’m adding another fact in line with the facts above recited. Alf Reed, the boy who told me this story and who was the best shot in Van Zandt County, at the time, had only one eye himself.

Blogger’s Note: Several times I remember my Mother talking about when she was a girl and her mentioning Alf Reed.