A whimsical look at life growing up in the small town of Waldron, Arkansas in the 1960s and 1970s, plus occasional observations from the present. Want to start at the very beginning? Click HERE.





Monday, July 26, 2010

Edgar Floyd and Streeter

Edgar Floyd and his wife Sophie lived just a few houses up the lane from our house. Edgar and Sophie were nice people; Sophie was possibly the meekest human being I have ever met. Edgar was more outgoing and loved to talk to folks. I guess they, like my grandmother and other old folks I knew, lived completely off their Social Security checks. Edgar did supplement his income a bit by mowing lawns.

Edgar did not have a tooth in his head, but legend has it that he could eat an apple down to the core by just gumming it. Never saw that happen, but who am I to doubt a legend? After a few successful years of mowing yards, Edgar was able to put together enough cash to buy a brand new Sears riding lawn mower. And it was a good one, probably top of the line. It had to be, because it was not only Edgar's lawn mower but also his sole means of transportation. You see, Edgar did not have a driver's license, but you could go anyplace you needed to go in Waldron via lawn mower; it just took a little longer to get there.

Edgar was a familiar sight to most Waldron residents, tooling around on his Sears lawn mower. On one of his visits to town, Edgar came across an abandoned dog, running around on Main Street and putting his life in danger from the traffic. Well, Edgar rescued the dog, brought him home on his riding lawn mower, and named him Streeter, because that's where he was from - the streets.

Edgar and Streeter soon became inseparable. They went everywhere together, and since Edgar went everywhere on his Sears riding mower, that meant Streeter went along too. But not tagging behind. Streeter sat on the seat in front of Edgar, his paws on the wheel, with what appeared unmistakably to be a doggie smile across his face. At some point, Edgar taught Streeter to bark whenever he pulled on his ear, which served as a rudimentary horn for this curious mode of transportation. It was a popular legend around town that Streeter had been trained to carry a dime into Robert Davis' grocery store and drop it on the counter, to be replaced by a bottle of Dr. Pepper which he dutifully carried out to Edgar. Again, never saw it happen, but who am I to doubt?

The Edgar/Streeter combination soon became quite well-known around Waldron. Everyone was Edgar's friend and Edgar always heartily returned the waves that he and Streeter encountered on their trips into town. If Edgar had a lawn to mow, Streeter would lie comfortably in the shade until the job was finished.

I never knew how Edgar managed to save up enough for such a good lawn mower, and I was completely surprised when, in about 1970, he managed to buy a car. It was a fairly late model (probably about a 1965) Ford Fairlane. But the purchase of the car required Edgar to take and pass his driver's test. He got a book from the local revenue office and set about to conquer the written test. I don't think he was worried much about the driving part of the test, after all, he had a lot of experience driving. One evening when I was walking home from my after school job at B & B Drug, I passed Edgar's house and he hollered at me to come over to the porch where he was sitting. He had his driver's manual out, and was studying the part where you have to recognize a warning sign just by the shape of the sign. He handed me the book, so that he could show me what the various shaped signs meant. Jabbing his finger at a rectangular-shaped outline, he said, "Now that one there, that's Naar Bridge." Yep, Edgar, you're right...Narrow Bridge.

Well, Edgar passed his driver's test, and made a good driver, and pretty much left his lawn mower behind. Streeter became a front seat passenger.

If you like stories with happy endings, you'd better stop here. Edgar began to have some neurological problems soon after getting his car. About that same time, the city of Waldron decided to try to get control of some of the abandoned animals roaming around town, and so they hired a dogcatcher. One afternoon, when the dogcatcher was seen in our part of town, Edgar felt the need to hide Streeter, and thought the trunk of his car would be a good place. I think he forgot about Streeter, and by the time he remembered he was in there, it was too late. The heat had killed Streeter. Edgar was heartbroken. I don't think Edgar was ever the same after that, his problems only worsened. I don't remember what year he died, but Edgar Floyd was a true Waldron Original.

4 comments:

  1. Great memories of Edgar and Sophie Floyd! I can see Edgar and Streeter on that mower now. Such a colorful guy!

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  2. Oh no! He killed Streeter?! That's a sad, sad story!!

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  3. Oh goodness, I haven't thought about Edgar, Sophie and Streeter for years!! I remember Edgar and Streeter passing by our house (with Streeter driving of course) heading toward town - both with ear to ear grins! I also remember walking home from Buddy Gray's store with my mother and stopping to visit with Sophie - she always seemed to have a never ending supply of Old Moon Pies! She told me that they were Edgar's favorite.
    Thanks for bringing back the memories.....Those were good times weren't they?

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