72 TRUE STORIES OF OLD
a drop in the bucket as a warrior compared to Mrs. Burkhart
conducting her private war against the boys. There were some
nice fishing holes inside the enclosure and there were lots of
nice mustang and winter grapes along the banks of the bayou.
These tempted the boys, but by the time they were getting their
first fish out of the water or reaching for the grapes Mrs. Burkhart
would loom up armed with bricks and bones and open fire
on the intruder or intruders. I don't think she ever caught a
boy so I can't say what she would have done had she taken a
prisoner. The boys never gave her a chance to show her hand
in that way, for on the arrival of the first piece of brick or
bone a hasty retreat was beaten.
About the nearest she ever came to capturing a prisoner was
in the case of Dick Fuller. It was "popgun time" and chinaberries
were in great demand. Near the Prairie side of the
block there was a large chinaberry tree that extended over into
the street. One day Dick got up in this tree, gathered a number
of bunches of berries and began picking them into his hat.
He wanted to get a hatful so as to have a big supply. He became
so absorbed in his work that he forgot all about Mrs.
Burkhart and she crept up under him without his knowing anything
about her warlike intentions. Dick was sitting on a limb
with his feet resting on another and was very comfortable and
well content. While he was sitting there he began to feel the
waist-band of his trousers tighten mysteriously and on attempting
to move found he could not do so. He looked down and was
horrified to see, directly under him, Mrs. Burkhart, who had
made him a prisoner in a novel way. She had taken a long
pole she used to prop up her clothes line with. This had two
nails driven in the end of it. She had reached up and succeeded
in entangling those nails in the seat of Dick's trousers. When
she saw that Dick had discovered her she threw aside all disguise
and went at the entangling work in real earnest. Dick
tugged and squirmed and Mrs. Burkhart twisted and twisted.
It was terribly humiliating to be captured by a woman and captured
by the seat of his pants, too, but Dick's mind was not
on the disgrace, humiliation or anything of that kind, but was
on how to make his escape. Dick pulled and pulled and Mrs. B.
twisted and twisted, trying to secure an indestructible hold, so
between the two they managed to overdo the thing and, the seat
of the pants being human (if I can say such a thing about the
seat of pants), gave way and Dick was free.
When she saw that her tail-hold had broken she grew desperate
and made strenuous efforts to punch him out of the tree
with the pole. He saw only one avenue of escape. He rushed
out as far as could on the limb and made a dive into the street.
He did not ask her for the part of his wardrobe she flaunted at
the end of the pole in his face, but turned tail and fled. He
managed to save his hat, but lost all his berries, of course.
Now, looking back after all these years, I am inclined to
believe that Mrs. Burkhart actually enjoyed having the boys in-
Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/. Accessed September 20, 2014.