Harold and Catherine were some of the first people that moved in at Smithwick Mills, the subdivision my dad had built from our old home place. They had spent most, if not all of their long married life in Houston. With the crime and meanness going on, they felt Smithwick calling. They became very good friends to my parents.
In the later part of the 1970s Kenny and I had contracted some work up on Mormon Mill Road, in Marble Falls, installing water and wastewater lines for a development that Mike O’Connor was building. It required a lot of blasting in order to excavate through all that hard rock. There was a portion of the work that came off the side of the very steep hill just back behind where Chick-fil-A is now.
Harold, Catherine and my folks were eating at the Truck Stop Cafe one day. Catherine was one of those old gals that when she talked the walls vibrated. Her voice was a strange shrill whine and she was always brusque. I guess you could say she didn’t have a quite mode.
While they were eating we set off a shot, and the windows of the restaurant shook from the concussive force of the air movement. Her being from Houston, had never experienced anything like that. “What was that” in her loud tone. Cec or Harold told her it was us blasting up on the hill. With a full crowd in there eating lunch, she let out “Oh My Gawd Cecil, I hope those two boys of yours don’t end up killing somebody up there on that hill”.
Everybody from around the area were used to an occasional dynamite shot back in those days. It was as if no one was even aware what was going on, except for her pronouncement.
Sometime later Harold was telling Kenny and me about it, just shaking his head at the cluelessness of his wife. Then he went on to tell us the following story.
One night he heard a burglar when they were still living in Houston. He thought maybe someone was breaking into his shop building on the next lot over from their house. They had been having a lot of problems with thieves. He hurriedly put some pants and shoes on and got his rifle that he kept handy for such an occasion. Then eased out the front door. He could hear the noise of the burglars as he got completely on the backside of the house.
Just at that moment he heard the shrillness of Catherine’s voice say “Harold, you know that gun doesn’t have any bullets in it, don’t you”?
With that the burglars made a break for it and Harold high tailed it back in the house to take cover.
That may be the final straw that caused them to sell out and move to Smithwick.