Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Splinter and the Tilt O Whirl

Now I know you’re going to ask what a splinter has to do with a Tilt O Whirl. As I near the three-quarter of a century mark, things from my younger days often pop into my head from something that happens or something someone says. The pain from the shot I got last week made me think of an incident from the summer I was either twelve or thirteen.

It was either the first or second year I was in the saddle club, and a group rented a school bus and went up to Sidney, Iowa to the annual rodeo. There was a carnival on the rodeo grounds also. Now my favorite carnival rides have always been the Tilt O Whirl and the Scrambler, and I wanted to ride the Tilt O Whirl. My mother wouldn’t let me ride alone, and no one would ride with me. Like a typical twelve or thirteen-year-old, I was pouting.

A group of us went over to the corral where they kept the bucking horses. I immediately climbed on the wood fence and ran a HUGE splinter under the fingernail of my left index finger. By huge, that thing was almost 1/4” long and close to 1/8” wide. AND IT HURT!

Of course, no one had a needle to try to get it out. So Dave Hull – who was in his mid-twenties and on whom I had a gigantic crush – pulled out his pocket knife, ran the blade through the fire of his cigarette lighter and prepared to remove the splinter.

His fiancé, Jean Ann, handed me a coin purse and told me to bite down on it. It was one of those plastic coin purses that was clear on one side and black on the other. I bit.

Dave cautioned me to hold my hand still. I mean, his pocket knife wasn’t sharp enough to cut my finger off, but it could have caused some damage if it slipped.

When the splinter was finally gone, I took the coin purse out of my mouth. I had bitten down on it all right – I hadn’t quite bitten a piece off, but there were holes through both layers of plastic.


When it was all over, Dave took me for a ride on the Tilt O Whirl since I had been so brave and not cried.

  • * * *

I only remember one other thing about that trip. Johnny Treadway was sitting in the middle of the back seat of the bus and had those long legs of his stretched up the isle of the bus.


 Image may contain: snow and outdoor

I know the picture isn’t from 1961 – but we didn’t have cameras like we do now.


Sometimes something someone says will trigger an ancient memory. That is what happened last week and I decided to write it down. Someday my kids may enjoy some of these memories.

  • * * *

I was eighteen and newly married. Got married in June and my parents divorced in early December.

My mother had moved to Kansas City and my husband and I lived in a mobile home court halfway between Riverside and Parkville – just north of Kansas City.

Now my home town was Trenton, Missouri which is approximately on hundred miles northeast of Kansas City, and my husband’s parents lived in Macon, Missouri which is about one hundred, fifty miles northeast of Kansas City, but more east than north. The first leg to get to either one is north on I-35 to Cameron. Then a little farther north to Trenton, but turn east to Macon at Cameron.

Christmas that year was on Monday, and my husband and I were going to Macon to spend it with his parents.

My mother was going to Trenton to be with my grandmother.

Friday morning, they forecast snow, but not much.

When Mother left Kansas City about 2 o’clock Friday afternoon it was snowing lightly.

Saturday morning, my husband and I headed for Macon. We got about twenty-five miles on I-35 to where 69 Highway goes to Excelsior Springs and were met by the Highway Patrol who told us we couldn’t go any farther on I-35 because there were about two hundred cars and trucks (including semis) in drifts between there and Cameron.

I never gave a thought to my mother. After all, she left early Friday afternoon.

We took another route to Macon and spent Saturday night, Sunday, and Christmas morning not even thinking about the snow storm.

Now this was before everyone had a cell phone and could call whenever and wherever they were. You also had to pay to call long distance.

In the middle of the afternoon Monday, I got a call from a strange man. He told me he was an OTR truck driver and my mother knew he was coming through Macon and wanted him to call and tell me she was okay. They had just spent three days with about sixty other people in a small tavern just outside of Cameron.

  • * * *

Mother’s story

Like I said, mother left Kansas City about two o’clock Friday in a light snow. She was driving a 1960 Ford Galaxy. Nice heavy car. She stopped at Liberty for gas and there was a car full of teenaged boys. One was an old boyfriend of mine who told his companions, “I’m going to ride with Mrs. Crawford so she won’t be by herself in the snow.”

They got just past the Excelsior Springs junction, and were stopped. I’m not sure if they got stuck in a drift, or if the car stalled. A couple stopped and picked them up and they continued toward Cameron.

About three miles before Cameron, their car also got stalled. They made it to this little tavern. (I was never sure exactly where the tavern was, but I think there was a junction or intersection or something.)

The tavern owner had gone into Cameron for supplies leaving his pregnant wife and nine-month-old baby when all of these people sought shelter.

The only food in the place was the shrimp the tavern served every Friday night. Of course, they had plenty of alcohol.

One of the semis was carrying oranges from Florida, and the driver broke the seal on the trailer and they had oranges.

In addition to the tavern owners’ baby, there were two more babies in diapers. Twins who were traveling with their father to meet up with their mother for Christmas. Of course, this was before disposable diapers. Mother said they had diapers draped all over the place drying.

  • * * *

The thing that made me most upset:

My mother and I wore the same size clothes. She had borrowed a dress from me. It was a turquoise wool and was one of my favorites. Needless to say, it was completely ruined.

New Year

Let’s see if I can be more active on here this year.