The Sheriff of McCurtain County, Oklahoma

There were a few Lawmen in my family.  A great uncle, Tom Houston, was a Texas Ranger.  He was among the posse that arrested Frank James.  My Uncle Billy’s son, Eric, was a detective in Ennis,Texas.  My grandaughter, Kimberly, is night Deputy-in-charge of the Brazos County Jail.  There has been a few who were ‘Persons of Interest’ for a few lawmen over the years, but the one I remember was my Uncle Richard Jones, husband of Aunt Myrtle Jones, in Idabel, Oklahoma.  Uncle Richard was Sheriff of McCurtain County for over 30-years.  He was a legend around those parts. His bravery was the subject of many conversations for years. I knew him as a tall, whiskered man of few words who obviously loved his family.  It was on his farm/ranch that I and my cousins spent many summers from the time I was ten to teens.  He owned just over 60-acres about ten miles outside of Idabel on which he boarded horses and had a huge field of potatos.  He had a wrangler named Carl who would ‘break’ horses. Carl showed us how to ‘gig’ huge carp with pitchforks in the sloughs around the farm. We thought Carl was super, especially as we sat on the top rail of the corral fence watching him ‘break’ a pony.  One of Uncle Richard’s horses was named Salem.  He was so tame and gentle, we could ride him bareback. Many a night we would take turns riding around the corral in the cool moonlight.  It was on the Jones Ranch that I experienced a bath in a horse trough (only at night when we had some degree of privacy. Interestingly enough my cousins who shared the summer with me, were born in January or February, just two years apart.  It was one summer night as we were sitting on their screened-in porch, that my cousin Dickie went in to a hall closet and returned with a pearl-handled, silver-plated Colt revolver.  The pearl-handle was inlaid with “Sheriff Richar Jones” in gold.  I had never held a firearm before and this one impressed me.  I thought about all the ‘movie’ heros of the day and the Lone Ranger was the only one I could think about with a silver pistol with pearl handles. The only difference was that Uncle Richard’s gun wasn’t loaded and there were no silver bullets.  When he discovered Dickie’s act, Uncle Richard was not tender in response.  He proceeded to give us a stern lecture about the danger of firearms.  I was required to ‘carry’ when working in Plant Security at Lone Star Steel in the late fifties and owned a rifle for a time, but I do not own a fire arm today.   I sold my rifle after my first ‘deer hunt’ when while looking through a scope, I got a close look into the soft eyes of a deer and proceeded to follow a small herd as they fed.  When I was picked up by my host and askd if I had ‘seen’ anything, I told him of my experience.  He couldn’t get me back to my car fast enough.  I love to fish and have gone dove hunting, but over the years I’ve lost interest.  I am not against firearms at all, but Uncle Richard’s advice has remained with me, all these years and I am totally comfortable with my decision.  For many years, I was embarrassed by the deer-hunting fiasco, but today, I find it rather humerous, donchaknow.

Father, thank you for the freedom to make our own decisions and thank you for providing wisdom necessary to determine what we should do to please you.  AMEN

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