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  • Writer's pictureDiana McDaniel Hampo

The "Incident" on Whittington

My dad, I Granger McDaniel, was a scrawny little boy during the Great Depression in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In the early thirties he was seven or eight years old and had several jobs. One job was selling and delivering magazines on his bike.

The family home was on Whittington, right next to the Showman's Club. One morning his mother told him to go out and collect some money so she could buy groceries for dinner.

Dad jumped on his bike with empty saddle bags behind the seat and headed down Whittington Avenue to collect. The second house he stopped at was one he dreaded. A fat widow lady lived there and she kept a big mean goose in her front yard. Dad didn't want to collect from her but she owed him 90 cents and he had to have that money. So he took a deep breath, jumped the fence and ran to the front door with the goose barking and honking and trying to bite him.

He pounded on the door and the fat widow lady answered.

"Mrs. Jones, I need to collect the 90 cents you owe me, please."

'Irven McDaniel, I don't plan on paying you today. Come back next week."

"Please Mrs. Jones, my mom told me I had to collect today. She said I needed to make everyone pay up no matter what."

"Irven McDaniel you are being rude and impudent, how dare you talk to me that way

I'm gonna tell your father and he better whop you!"

And she slammed the door in his face.

My dad always had a hot temper, even as a little boy. He started to step off the porch and that goose came after him again honking and hissing. Dad always said that goose was gonna push him too far and that was the day. He grabbed the goose by the neck and twisted with everything he had and when the goose went limp he stuffed it in his saddle bag and peddled home.

Dad always said walking into the kitchen with that dead goose was one of his proudest moments. And dinner that night was fine.

I love to walk my dog in Whittington Park. Some afternoons, when the sun is setting, I'll see a skinny little kid in a flannel shirt ride past on his bike, with his chest all puffed out and a great big grin..

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