|Rufus Edgar Combs
of Surry Co., NC
In the meantime, children had been coming along. Janell was born in 1916, Jay in 1918, and Joyce in 1920, and Paul in 1922, and Frank in 1925.’I think it was in the summer of 1920, in September, that I got the fidgets and wanted to take a vacation. So I loaded up Ruth, Janell, and Jay in the sidecar, and Ruth took Joyce on her lap and we headed out to Colorado Springs and Pike’s Peak. That was quite a load. I remember the first night out in Colorado someplace, some of them little towns, and they were having a fair going on there. We finally found a room in an old boarded up roomin’ house. It was so hot, we did get no sleep hardly, an’ the kids was a’bawlin’. Everything was pretty rough, but we were young so we could stand it, I guess. The next morning we got up and went to Rocky Ford, and they there havin’ Watermelon Days there. We were guests of the town and we had all the watermelon we wanted to eat an’ cantaloupes, and entertainment, I think.
We stayed there all that day and then went on to Colorado Springs the next day. When we getting’ pretty close to the Springs, we were close to peach orchards, we talked a lot and bought a lot of peaches, and ate a lot of peaches. Then took some with us, and we got us a pretty nice room in a roomin’ house an’ we’s comfortable and seeing the sights around there and then we took out to the top of Pike’s Peak. We got over there and rode to the top. We was just passin’ cars, one right after two, and we was congratulating ourselves that the motorcycle was better than cars. The high altitude and the car radiators hadn’t anticipated high altitudes, and the cars were boiling all the water out of them. They would have to carry water, ones that were forewarned carried water with them. They would go a’ways, pour water in ‘em, and then go a’ways, and pour more water in ‘em. They’d get to the top. The ones that weren’t forewarned, and they didn’t have any water, they would get up so high, and blow all the water out of the radiator, and turn around and coast back down.
We’s riding high, just passin’ one car after two. An’ we got passed timber line, climbing the switchbacks, and the cars about even with us, and we got some higher and some of the cars began to pass us. Our motorcycle got to where it wouldn’t pull yore hat off hardly. I got up to about three switchbacks from the top and it wouldn’t pull us any more. I got off an’ pushed and it carried Ruth and the kids all right, but it wouldn’t carry me. I got about another switchback and it wouldn’tdo that no more. I pulled off to one side and had valve covers off and thought my tappets were screwed together tight opened the valves and I didn’t have no compression a’tall. Pretty soon when a big bus that made a business a’haulin’ folks from Colorado Springs to the top of Pike’s Peak and back. He stopped and kinder laughed at me and said, “There’s nothin’ wrong with your little motorcycle, it will work as good as it ever did when it gets back down to the timberline. It can’t run in high altitude. Jest put your wife and kids on the bus here and I’ll take them up, and it will prob’bly pull you up.”
It did pull me up and the kids all got altitude sick, and they were throwing up. They had a nurse up there in them days, people that couldn’t stand high altitudes. They was helpin’ Ruth with the kids an’ I was lookin’ to see what was the matter with that motorcycle. And the bus driver came along and said, “Leave that motorcycle along, it will run all right when ya get back down to the timber line.” I kinda took him at his word ‘n’ the kids were getting’ so sick, they were turrible sick, ‘n’ we didn’t stay up there but just a little while. I looked off a little bit, then we loaded ‘em up and started back down. Of course, we didn’t have to have any compression going downhill, coastin’ along fine to the timberline. We stopped and looked around a little while, and went on down. When we got down to the lower altitude, the ol’ motorcycle was as good as it ever was. So that was quite an experience. We took some peaches along with us, ate some peaches on the way up there, and the kids blamed the sickness on the peaches. They wouldn’t eat peaches for quite awhile. They thought that is what made them sick. It was the altitude, not the peaches, but they throwed the peaches out. They thought that was what was the matter with them.
And it wasn’t but about a year or two when they figured out the altitude business on the motorcycle and made high and low compression motors. They had a plate that we could put under the cylinder in low altitudes, if we had a good motorcycle. If we wanted to go to the mountains, we took the plate out, an’ we would have a high compression motor and it’d go all right.
I was in the know in those days when they discovered you didn’t have no compression in high altitudes. That was a motorcycle experience that I wouldn’t have the guts today to start out on trip like that with three kids, and didn’t have no cover in case of rain. We got out about by Syracuse and a thunder cloud had its head of us, and then we ran into this sticky old gunk (?) and it got under the fenders and the wheels wouldn’t turn. I would have to get the screwdriver and work and work and dig that out from the fenders and go a’ways and do it again. Finally we got to some people’s house, and they kept us for awhile and dried off, and rested awhile. Then we went on the rest of the way. We didn’t have any more bad weather. It would be quite a trip on a motorcycle now’a’days with a wife and three kids.
They began to improve roads and improve cars, so the cars became pretty fierce competition. Motorcycle sales was slowin’ down, but our other businesses was picking up. We had the Willard batteries, Bosch magnetos, making of radios, making of automotive electrical supplies, we’s goin’ pretty good as soon as thedepression was over there in 1921 and 1922.
In the meantime, I think, in 1922, we had the big Arkansas flood. I got up one morning, we was living at 1001 Park Street, where Joyce was born. They kept telling me the river was going to come up and to move. The river was comin’ up, an’ it was all through the papers and the radio and everything. I didn’t believe it. I said there ain’t enough whirls (?) in the whole west to get that river up to my house. I lived about a mile from the river. So one evening I went off on the Rock Island bridge there an’ they said it was comin’ into town at a certain time. I was plumb on the west side of town. So I walked over to this Rock Island railroad bridge, an’ watched it come down. It come down just about a bank full, and about 6 to 8 feet deep, jest a rollin’ over and over an there was cows and pigs and sheep and all kind of planks and furniture jest rollin’ along in front of that, goin’ about 8 to 10 miles as hour. Nasty lookin’ sight. Just a bank full, and I said, “I tol’ ya so. Ain’t enough water in the whole west to make this Arkansas spread out like that.” I went back, went home and went to sleep.
Next mornin’, about 2 o’clock, I heard the frogs a‘hollerin’. I got up and turned on the lights and went out on the porch, and water was comin’ into my yard. I waited a little while and pretty soon the water was comin’ up to my steps. I was up off the ground about three steps. I decided it was time to move, so I got a hustle on. I moved the kids and Ruth down to the motorcycle shop in the new building, Kepple built for us, and moved them upstairs. It was a two-story building and we used the upstairs for storage. It had a toilet an’ a lavatory. We brought some bedding, and bedded the kids down. The kids all had the measles. The next morning I went out to see how the house was comin’. The water was lappin’ up on the porch and lacked about 3 inches comin’ into the house. It was plumb up to the windows of my neighbor east of me. They was in an awful mess. But that is as high as it got in our house. Just lappin’ up to the floor. Snakes and frogs, every kind of thing on our porch, spiders and bugs, come up on our porch to get out of the flood. It didn’t get any higher. In a few days it went down. We raised a garden in those days to help our livin’, and we never seen a garden in all our lives as we had after that flood. It soaked down the ground and left about 2 inches of silt on our garden. Everything we’d plant just did wonderfully fine an’ that helped out a lot.
That first day they were riding up and down our street in boats, here and there rescuin’ people that needed it, and doin’ whatever they could. You would look from our house out on the sand hills and it jest looked like an ocean of water. Never did anymore say the water couldn’t do that.
Soon after we got into the store we are in now, the river got even bigger than it was then. I expect it was four to six feet higher. It just buried it clear to the floor of the store that time. Many of our neighbors across the street from us was flooded out. The businesses over there, including the Coca Cola, was badly flooded. So I escaped two times by two or three inches. For which I was thankful for.
As we prospered along, we kept getting better living quarters. We moved from the place on Second Avenue, we lived in the same place (Ed. note: house) as the shop for several years, and we moved on out east to West Trail street in a shabby neighborhood and shabby house. Then I bought the house on Park Street, 1001 Park, where Joyce was born. That was a pretty good little four room house, and we were kinda comin’ up in the world with our business. That’s where we were in 1922. Not too long after that I wanted a bigger place, I wanted to get kinder on the edge of town. I wanted a cow and chickens and a small garden. So I bought some lots on Montcrief estate just west of 14th street now. That was all good ranchin’ there. They laid off some lots there on the south side of the railroad and I bought about 3 ½ acres out there. I built a big basement, and aimin’ to live in the basement so I could accumulate some money to build a house on it. So we built a big basement there, west of 14th street, just south of where Sante Fe Trail street comes in there. We lived there for a number of years and we were comfortable, but we never did get enough money to build a house. We had the plans drawed up, blue prints made, and was already to build us a nice comfortable home when the depression hit in the latter part of 1929. That knocked all that out.
In the meantime, we went up on 3rd Ave and bought us a nice house there on, I believe, 1503rd. It’s still there. It was shingle covered at that time, nice lawn, facing west on the east side of 3rd. Wasn’t long until the depression come along an knocked us out of that, and back to the dugout. An’ that is the end of that story.
I believe I got up to the end of 1922. An’ was recoverin’ from the 1921 and 1922 depression, and went on a side trip, to explain some of my motorcycle experiences.
Things started off getting better and better in 1922, and we had a good line of products edging over into the full line of auto supplies. We couldn’t buy a many items that we wanted and needed because the factories wouldn’t sell anybody unless you were genuine wholesalers carrying big stocks and buying in quantities and we wasn’t big enough yet. We was sailing along pretty good and we had a pretty full line of auto electric parts and was edging a little bit in on the full load of supplies. We was getting’ a line here and there but not maximum discounts. Then the fever was startin’ in them days about branchin’ out. And a motor supply house in Wichita was branchin’ out in Chickasha, Oklahoma, I believe it was. It was doin’ real big business. They had another one or two that was turning in a lot of merchandise. I had heard about it, read about it. I was approached by a motor supply company to consider joinin’ up with them. So I went down and investigated, and the first thing they did was to pull a bottle on me, and offer me a glass of whiskey. The big manager of it, he offered me a drink, and took one himself. I tol’ him I was a teetotaler. He put the bottle up, and that kinda put me on my guard. I did a little investigating and found out he was a drunkard and several of his salesmen were pretty heavy drinkers. I said I don’t want to tie up with something like that.
Johnson brothers was a big auto supply at that time, so I went over and kinda looked over their outfit. I found out they was good moral Swedes, three brothers of them, and all church men and all pretty decent. They had a pretty big outfit. I mentioned to them about joinin’ up, an’ they jest “pulled a cork right under". They was rarin’ to branch out. I wanted to know what kind of deal they would give me. I was seekin’ these kind of hookups so I would have buyin’ power, so I could buy cheap and sell high. The wholesale business in them days sold you’d get about 1/4 cent discount on most all kind of auto parts, and some supplies was as high as 60% - 66% discount. I couldn’t buy ‘em direct from the factory so I wanted this hookup so I ‘d have buyin’ power. They proposed to buy 51% of my store and give me all their buyin’ power. And immediately put the store on a full wholesale business. So we figured around, and I asked my counselors, ol’ P. H. M. that started the First National Bank, he was one of my advisors, and I went to talk to him about it. They had offered me $200 a month to run my own store. That was a lot more than I had been taking out. I had been just taking out what I needed to eat and sleep on. I didn’t have a salary. Mr. Young said, “Take it, you can save half of that. You can live on half of it, save half of it, and pretty soon you will have some capital of your own.” He was the president of the First National Bank, and he advised me to take it so I did.
We began to figure out, and in the meantime I had incorporated and had a board of directors, including the Weigel brothers, Joe and Ray, a big help to me. I had Mr. Hart, the old building and loan man, I had built up a pretty good board of advisors an’ pretty good financial men. So we ran that way in 1923, 1924 and 1925, I think. Part of ’25. We were doing real good, anyhow, they all agreed to going over with the Johnsons, so we made the deal, and I was made the Vice-President and manager of the store there in Dodge. We changed the name to Combs-Johnson Brothers. Then I was in the full wholesale business. Boy, our sales jumped up like a house a’fire. Then in 1928, I believe it was, we made 51% net profit. We was makin’ money. We was drawin’ fairly good salaries an’ we was makin’ very lovely money. Everything was peaceable and lovely. I was attending sales meeting at Wichita learning all the ropes of the wholesale business. Visiting factories back East, talkin’ to ‘em and buyin’ stuff from the factories. Learning all the ropes of the big wholesale distributing house. I was getting along with my partners fine. About that time, why, I was stocking every model that they made. They had been making different models and different powers. First, they only had one kind of motorcycle, and that was all there was to it. They had different equipment for it. They had only one size motor. In the years they made smaller motors, smaller motor bikes, and improved the bike business. I was stocking every model that they had. I think we had 10 or 11 on the floor, and they decided to come out with new models and new supplies, and they were $50 a piece. Which was about my profit on one.
They sent their sales manager and a bunch of high blooded blah-blahs out there to renew my contract. We had to renew our contract every year. So they sent the big boys out there and tol’ me to reduce the price and come out with fancy new improved model. I could sure go to town on it. I said, “What are you going to do about the motorcycles I got on the floor, are you going to protect me or what?" No, you are just going to have to take a loss on them an’ make it up on these new models. They said, we cain’t stand to refund all our dealers with cut prices, so you will just have to take that yourself.
I was getting’ a little cocky in the business world myself. I said, you just take your contract and go someplace else with it. I don’t want it no more. Boy, they fussed around and got on a high horse and they’d go across the street. They’d get a new agent and drum me out of business. They just had a duck fit. I said, “Nope. You can just have your contract, I don’t want it.” Well, they went out an’ got another guy, but I don’t think he ever sold three motorcycles. It changed hands a time or two, and finally dried up altogether. I don’t think there has ever been a success for a Harley dealer in Dodge City since then. They said if Combs don’t want it, I don’t either.
So I worked those old models off the best I could. We discontinued the motorcycle in 1925 and I haven’t rode one since. So that kinder tells my motorcycle sales experience, extended over eleven years, if I can remember just right, where I had the Harley agency until the time I quit. It did teach me some lessons and made me some money while I had it. I had some wonderfully good times while I was ridin’ it, racing with the boys, an’ goin’ on some trips, haulin’ girls around, haulin’ my wife and kids around. We had lotsa fun with them and made money with ‘em, and it was about the highlights of my age and experience. So I had a good introduction to business world. I made a lot of friends in Dodge City, I had all the financial backing I needed. I could buy all the things I needed to sell at extremely low prices that the wholesaler has. All together it was a mighty satisfactory eleven years of my lifetime.
My motorcycle fever was completely cured. I never wanted to ride one again and never have. I still admire them and understand the young fellers that want to ride them. My two grandsons have just recently bought them bikes. Arthur Dillon, who is the captain in the artillery, bought him one not too long ago, and he rides all over southern Texas with it. He drove out in big ranch country, the wild and woolies, and rides all over the prairies with it, and just havin’ a good time. He has a car also, but he has a good time with the motorcycle. I don’t think he‘s decided on getting married yet. He is going into eleven years into medical profession. He wants to be a missionary and a medical M. D. in Canada. He has until next March to get out of the army. I think he ‘s fever is still going and may go up some yet.
A few weeks ago, my grandson, Norman Lenz, bought him a second hand motor bike, made in Japan, and was riding the pasture and some trails and keeping it pretty well off the roads. He has a car also, but gets a kick out of riding motorcycle in the backwoods. I think his fever will go higher before it goes lower. When he grows and gets up to the age when he begins likes the girls purty good, he’d better get the motorcycle fever pretty good and get it over with or the motorcycle fever will get you and get your girl, and first thing you know you’ll be married. Some girls still like to ride motor bikes. They like to go places, and some of ‘em got mixed up with the law because they got mixed up with the hippies and the wild lads. But nothin’ against the motorcycle, it was just the crowd they got in. I still admire the young bloods that like to git all them horses between their legs and go down the road even at 100 mph now a’days. They are dangerous if you don’t learn to ride them gradually and learn all the tricks. What they really amount to is three heavy gyroscopes between your legs, hooked up to about 15 horses. An’ they take off with a twist of the wrist at very high speeds. Not much danger of them fallin’ because of these three gyroscopes I speak of, the front wheel and the back wheel, spinning at a high rate of speed, makes the gyroscope and the flywheel makes the third one. They kinda ease them down when you start to spill. The only time you get bad hurt is a head on collision, a car, a truck, a tree, or a fence, or something like that. You hardly ever get hurt very bad in a spill, but in hittin’ some object.
I’ve been thinking a little bit see if I can’t go back an’ hash over some of my experiences in riding a motorcycle way back when I first started until I finished.
There are some episodes that might be amusin’ or interestin’ to ya, and I have quite a bit more tape here. I’ll try to think of some of those things and hash over some of them. Well, I washed my face in cold water and got over my grogginess an’ I’ll continue my story.
I think I will tell you about the beautiful blonde. There was a girl, while I was workin’ at Wellsford as a railroad agent. She was a beautiful blonde. I think about 21 years old. I was casually acquainted with her and wanted to date her. She had a career for herself figured out, she wanted to be a nurse. She just plainly told me she wouldn’t have any boyfriends or sweethearts but that she appreciated me and my offer and would like to be just a good friend of mine. I wasn’t interested in marryin’ at that time. I hadn’t finished my railroad career, and I was loose and just wanted to pass the time. So we talked things over and agreed to be brother and sister. I could come, visit and talk and we could go places together, go to parties, church. Instead of being on a sweetheart level, we was just brothers and sisters. She called me Buzz, she had some brothers she called them Buzz so and so, and she called me Buzz. I called her Sister. She was a beautiful blonde, I have a picture of her someplace. So we’d go together once in awhile on that basis.
So one nice Sunday afternoon, it was pretty hot, in August sometime, I lived right there in town and asked her if she wanted to go for a ride. She sure would, she could get out of that hot house. So she got ready, put on some nice clothes, and we went off down east of town. We got about a mile east of town. Everythin’ was goin’ purty good. The sun was shining purty bright, and people were watchin’ us, of course, kiddin’ us, of course, I took off east of town on this mile stretch. I was going at a purty good rate of speed, we was goin’ about 35 or 40 mph. Just as we cross the section line, we was goin’ east and the railroad running north and south. Just as we a’cross that, up come a little thunder shower about 15 minutes before that, and just come a downpour, nowhere else. The motorcycle started fishtailin’ and squirmin’, this away, that away and the other way. I swallowed my tongue a time or two trying to hold it straight up. There had been a lake there one time, I ‘spect it woulda covered 4 or 5 acres. The farmers had built up the road higher than the lake so it would be higher than the lake, so there wouldn’t be water on the road there on the section line. It had been packed down purty good. But this old motorcycle kept fishtailin’ an’ squirmin’ until finally jetted us over to the ditch they had built up there and headed right for it. I laid the motorcycle over sideways and skidded it down. That was one of the tricks of motorcycle tricks I learned. You can do it even on dry land.
Meantime it was going towards this ditch at a 45 degree angle, went down flat. This girl was sittin’ on the gas tank, sideways, you know. She and the motorcycle and me went down in this ditch. She went in headfirst. It was just ol’ slimy, muddy ditch. Thin mud. I didn’t quite go under so I yanked her out, an’ I couldn’t even see her eyes. Her pretty blonde hair was just daubbed in mud and her face, looked like a half inch deep in mud. I dragged her out and dragged the motorcycle out, an’ I washed her face where I could get clean water. I washed and washed and washed until she could see out purty good. She was laughin’. She took it purty good. We got back on the motorcycle and went another way into town, and sneaked into her house an’ she got on some dry clean clothes and we went out of town another way. But somebody seen us and it got out on us. They accused me of trying to drown her. I ‘spect there are some old timers there yet that remember me tryin’ to drown my best girl in a mud hole. Anyhow she was a good sport. Later she learned to be a nurse an’ took care of me when I had my arm broke. I went in to Hutchinson hospital an’ the first thing I heard was, “Hello there, Buzz, what in the world are you doin’ in here? What’s the matter? It was the same the girl. This was a year before I had discovered that Ruth had grown up and got to be a young lady. So there was no conflict there.
It was about this time, I hadn’t yet got a Harley Davidson. It was a low grade motorcycle I was ridin’ then. I got a sidecar and put on my motorcycle. This side car frame came to a V shape, a real sharp point, out in front. One side run around to the wheel, and the other side next to the motorcycle to put the bed on. An’ I got so I could ride in the sidecar and control the motorcycle. That was considered quite a stunt, you know and I just learned it. I was showin’ off one Sunday evening, and a whole lot of people sittin’ around the ice cream stand and soft drinks, and kids an’ all gathered around on Sunday afternoon. I went out west of town, and got in the sidecar, controlling the motorcycle from the sidecar, and I was ridin’ through town an’ came by them at a purty good speed. Everyone got up and gawked, looked at the stunt I was pullin’ and I was sorta enjoyin’ the popularity I was enjoyin’. So I got out of town a little ways and turned around to see if they was still watchin’ me. An’ when I looked back, I let the motorcycle veer over to the right an’ it ran the sidecar wheel down in the ditch. The sidecar frames stuck in the road where the road was graded up. It went way up in the air. While the sidecar was going up, I was thinkin’ about what I was going to do because I thought the sidecar back was going to hit me right in the back. It went way up and over, and I came down in the ditch on my hands and knees. I kept thinking it was going to hit me in the back. I think I broke all speed records for crawling on my hands and knees getting out from under that. About that time it bumped the ground about where my feet was, turned a complete somersault and landed on its wheels and started back to town. In the meantime, I went down the road on my hands and knees, got up, and started back to town. I had a foot race back towards town to catch up with it. Finally caught it, got in it, and went back to town the other way, feelin’ like a fool. I can shut my eyes and still see that thing comin’ right over at me as I was goin’ down.
Well, the Scripture says, “Everything works together for good for those that love the Lord.” I love the Lord, and I guess all these happenings happened to me for good.
And that brings up the story of the winter of 1917, 1918. That was when the World War was at its highest, and it was the worst winter western Kansas ever had. I think it snowed up late in the fall, and snowed up ‘til late April. Snow drifts everywhere. It got so that they didn’t pretend to plow the streets. They didn’t have no way to shovel them except for shovels and wheelbarrows. They hadn’t yet got modern road machinery. Some of the streets were completely blocked they kept a few of them open, the two main traffic ways was open. An’ I had that “Sudden Service” they called it, I spoke of it before. So I had all that I could do, and worked lots of nights until midnight and after. People got so that they would tolerate me running over their yards and lawns. I would take out, somebody would want some groceries here or there and I ‘d go up on the sidewalk, through yards, down allies, back of houses,any way to get to where my destination was. I’d deliver them stuff that they needed badly and they couldn’t hardly get to town an’ nobody else could get to ‘em. They had a mule and a cart wagon, two mule cart, to deliver groceries but there were lots of places they couldn’t go. They couldn’t get through those drifts. I could go around them so I had quite a popular service there that winter before the Armistice.
I gained a lot of popularity, a lot of people got to know me personally. Because I took them groceries, or packages or medicine they had to have. A lots of times they had to call me out of bed at night to go get them some medicine. There was a lot of flu then, a lot of colds, and doctors couldn’t go. They would have to walk or go horseback. So I got a lot of popularity then that winter and so did my motorcycle, and that helped in my business in later years. I think it was one of my big boosts ‘cuz I could go. I remember that I got so I didn’t mind the cold a bit. I’d go out in zero weather and the motorcycle being air cooled it didn’t need any water or antifreeze. We didn’t have any antifreeze in them days. An’ cars couldn’t run, what there was of ‘em. So I got a lot of popularity and came through the war years in pretty good shape. So I think this is about enough foolishness.
I enjoyed your visit last August. I think we got on familiar terms with one another, and I enjoyed you very much. I think there is only about 83 ½ years difference in our ages. It was quite something for us to get together and visit and I enjoyed it very much. I have intended to get this tape out much earlier than I have, but finally, I am about to get it closed up.
I think my next chapter will be about business days. That covered a number of years. I’m not sure how long it will take to narrate that but I will just possibly just hit the highlights because that extended from 1916 -1925 (Ed. note: The motorcycle business) then I was in a purty big size business until I turned it over to my children a few years ago. That covered quite a number of years, I’m not able to figger it out, but will next time. I hear you are looking for a new sister. I am looking forward to that time, too, for a Christmas present and hear about the prospects for some more girls. You have to have some girls to grow up with so you learn how to behave yourself an’ to keep them from runnin’ over ya, an’ takin’ all your playthings away from ya and so forth. I’m jest lookin’ forward to hearin’ about what your little sister looks like an’ what my other great-granddaughter looks like.
So all in all, I think this is the end of this story. I don’t know, I can’t see how much tape I have left on this cass-ette. That is what I don’t like about ‘em, cain’t tell whether the tape is run out. That is why I like the reel type, the open type for my particular use. So I will say bye-bye for right now. I think this tape has a little time left, and you can use it to catalog it, or organize it, or whatever you wish to do. I think James spoke something about held a copy. I promised James I would put out some information of my folks, my ancestry, my folks’ folks back of me, but I haven’t had the energy or whatever it takes to do it yet.
Getting kind of feeble, don’t get around too good, cain’t see to read a’tall, cain’t see when the cassette is running so I just have to ramble, stop, back up, hear how far I got, and start over. So I’ll just say bye for now. Lookin’ forward to a big Thanksgiving time. Wish all my kin folks could be here, but mostly busy and so forth. I do have a promise that my sister will be up from Louisiana, my sister, May. An’ Ralph Ensminger and family, who I stayed with quite a bit, and who has been very generous to me. Ralph’s been the best hand to take care of me in my feebleness and blindness, so I’m lookin’ forward to them. They have one boy and two girls. Lookin’ forward to Thanksgiving, planning to eat together. We counted up the other day. I think Arthur Dillon is comin’ up from the Army Camp in Texas. Joyce’s girls will be home. I think there are eighteen or nineteen of us promised and maybe some other folks comin’ in, too. We hope so.
So I will just say, Bye, Bye, and see what I can think of later.
Love an’ prayers.
 Janell Louraine Combs, born 19 September 1916.
 Jay Everett Combs, born 2 January 1918.
 Joyce Elaine Combs, born 23 February 1920.
 Paul Melvin Combs, born 22 November 1923.
 Edgar Frank Combs, born 22 October 1925.
 Howard Arthur Dillon, Jr. , son of Howard Arthur and Joyce Elaine (Combs) Dillon.
 Norman E. Lenz, son of Marvin and Norma Jean (Combs) Lenz