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Although orchids bloomed in the bogs, canebrake Page 32 rattlers and water moccasins curled or slid silently across the familiar paths, and the heavy stillness that rose like a wall around them was often shattered by the shriek of a wildcat's fallen prey or the womanlike scream of a panther.  A huge walnut tree scarred by lightning still stands on the grounds of the Hooks Cemetery, their earliest farm site, bearing witness to her ingenuity.  She stuck his toe back on with resin from a pine tree that was growing in her back yard.

On the other hand, my mother, who is much more of a stickler, both for facts and for decorum, assured me that all shirts were made longer in the nineteenth century and that her grandfather's shirttails were certainly long enough to satisfy manly modesty, whatever he wore beneath them.  The pants were carefully folded over his arm; his famous shirttail was insouciantly waving in the East Texas breeze.  It was his formal suit that was in the trunk, and the one in which pap had been photographed, probably at Ma's insistence.

When you've seen one Hooks, you may not have seen them all, but chances are that sooner or later you will.  The tales, however, go on.  He was my great­grandfather.  Whatever its urgency, that caravan was the harbinger of my East Texas heritage.  It was necessary for them to keep a constant lookout for Indians, as well as for white renegades who were apt to rob their more prosperous fellow travelers.  At the time, my great­grandparents had four children: Lum, who was nine; Day, who was six; Lucina, called "Cine," the only girl, who was four; and Buck, the baby, who was just a year old.

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A pride of kin by Unknown


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