Father always knew where to find friend

From the editor’s desk

Several months ago, I asked readers to share family stories. Several did, and I’ll try to pass them along before the end of the year.
This one is from Peggie Callaway of Melrose.
She wrote about a friend of her father’s who accompanied her family when they moved to California from Clovis in the early 1940s.
“Daddy was not one to make many lasting friends,” she wrote. “There was one in particular that I will always remember. He was a good friend to everyone even though he was quiet and distant.
“He wore khaki shirts and pants that looked to be made for a man three sizes bigger. He wore a felt hat that was the style then. He pulled it so low he had to tilt his head back to see. He smoked a pipe that smelled so very sweet. I never knew his name, or if I did, time and other memories have wiped it away. I know when I see pictures of Bing Crosby, I remember our friend.”
Callaway said her family lived in a California grape orchard for a while.
“We were just coming to the end of a government-ordered sugar ration,” she wrote. “I know this child was sugar hungry. Living in a grape orchard was like heaven. Evidently, our friend thought so too. We all ate our fill, but this little man and me ate more than our share. It didn’t bother me, but he broke out in sugar boils. They were so bad the doctor told him if he could not leave the grapes alone he would have to move.”
Their friend had to move.
Callaway said her parents “continued their gypsy ways,” living along the West Coast for several years before returning to New Mexico in 1949.
She remembers pulling a “home-made trailer house” with everything the family owned on the return trip, when her Dad made a stop at small gas station near Clines Corners.
Sitting out front, she wrote, “was a man with a hat pulled so low over his eyes he had to tilt his head back to see. He wore a khaki shirt with matching pants three sizes too big … His pipe emitted the sweetest smell.
“We never knew how Daddy knew where our little friend was, but we spent the next four hours exchanging stories.
“As Daddy pulled us back onto the road home, there were tears falling.”

From the Editor’s Desk is a weekly memo to CNJ readers. David Stevens can be reached at 763-6991, extension 310, or by e-mail:
david_stevens@link.freedom.com