This is a brief story about my family. Tidbits of some of our travels through life that we have taken and the love, joy and sorrow we have shared.
My papa, Charles Wesley Cox, was born on November 13, 1932, and grew up in Moore, Oklahoma. Papa played on several radio shows. Back then, country stars did not bring with them their own band. Therefore, when they (Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins, Minnie Pearl, etc.) would come to Oklahoma City Music Hall (Civic Center), the band Papa played in would back them up. One day while Papa was playing steel guitar on Merle Lindsey's Radio Show at Elmwood Dance Hall, on South Shields in Oklahoma City, he met my granny, Jo Ann Hughey. Granny was taking her nephew to perform on that show. Charlie was playing steel guitar that particular day because the regular steel player was away. (God worked out the details perfectly, knowing Papa couldn't on his own). Papa asked Granny if she would like to go to the State Fair; she agreed as long as Papa would take her to see the animals.
Granny said that Papa was a fanatic about his teeth being clean, and while at the fair they would have to go hunt a bathroom so that Papa could brush his teeth. She said that he always carried with him toothpaste and a toothbrush, and that he would brush his teeth after every meal. (Hey, that's probably who I inherited that phobia from.)
Papa was the romantic type. On Valentine's Day, of course, he proposed to Granny while they were taking out the trash at Granny's sister's house. How's that for romantic! They were married in that beautiful rock house with the pond on 23rd Street in Harrah, Oklahoma.
Papa and Granny enjoyed each other and also enjoyed playing pranks on their dearest of relatives and friends. For instance, they would go out bullfrog hunting, and then take the bullfrogs in paper sacks up to their friends' house at midnight for them to open up! Another time they worked for an entire month perfecting the apartment of Granny's soon-to-be-wed brother, only to come back, while the honeymooners were away, to completely redesign the apartment: move the kitchen to the bedroom, move the living room to the dining room, etc., take the labels off all of the canned goods, put rice in anything that had pockets or holes, and wired bells under their mattress. Papa and Granny enjoyed music and horses together.
Then, they had a girl whom they were going to name Dana Lee or Dana Lea (depending on the gender), but the name did not fit this one. So my mom, Charla Ann, went without a name for five days, until they could find a name that would fit her. She inherited Papa's musical talent, but that would not be discovered for many, many years later. Until then, she deeply engrossed herself in play-to the point that she would not come into the house for a potty break, even when her diaper would be full and drooping down around her knees!
Finally, the real Dana came along, my mom's sister, Dana Jo. She overflowed with musical talent and at a very young age-an awesome drummer. She played with Papa for years; they thoroughly enjoyed that time together. Like many of us, Dana was a procrastinator even at the age of three. One day after frustrating her mother, three-year old Dana put her little hands onto her hips and said to Granny, "I didn't promise you a rose garden!" That was precious! Another precious moment was when Dana was learning how to use the "potty." She was so steadfast about going that she fell steadfastly asleep!
My mom and aunt were very creative. Actually, it was mostly Dana with the creative juices, my mom just joined in. I have been told that there was a picture in the living room of their great-grandpa and grandma Cox sitting together. Well, Dana and Charla dressed up to look like them in the picture. Then they would charge a penny for Papa and Granny to come into the living room to watch them perform.
I was told those girls would play everything from Barbies, to army men, to dress up, to grocery story, to cowboys. Yes, cowboys! They would wake up around 5 AM (yes, this is true, although even to this day, I haven't seen either of them wake up that early) go out to the back pasture on horseback and "cook up" a whopping ole breakfast (burnt bacon, eggs, and black, gritty coffee) on a large, flat sandstone. Granny would have been killed if she had tried to serve them such a breakfast. But those girls thought they were geniuses. Although they were creative and enjoyed their adventures together, they would get into some trouble and be sent to their separate rooms.
But, did this stop them from communicating with each other - no! They would go into their closets (which backed up to each other), cut through a small hole and send notes back and forth to each other. Some of those notes, I heard, fell through the walls and never reached the other's hand. Too bad the house has burned since then, I would love to get my hands on those notes.
Finally, one more little story about these two. Papa was a sales manager for Macklenburg Duncan Company in Oklahoma City; therefore, he traveled a lot. One time, Granny went with Papa, and Aunt Chloe stayed with the girls. Dana hooked Sugar Lump (her Shetland pony) to an old wheelchair, because they were going to play horse-n-buggy. Well, King (the German shepherd, which was almost as big as the pony) began chasing the pony-drawn wheelchair around the driveway until they hit the trash cans and came tumbling over. To this day, my mom says that she can still hear Aunt Chloe's laughter.
Now, I should tell you how I got here. My mom was playing the bass guitar at my grandparents' country and western dance club, Charlie's Palace. My father was hanging from the rafters of this log cabin establishment setting up the lights for a local television show. They became best of friends and soon married! The best part was that they had me and my brother, Chad.
Hard times have come for awhile: divorce, remarriage, etc. I now have another brother, Gregory Michael Bundy, who has recently turned seven. Oh, by the way, I am almost 16 years old, and am the tall, skinny girl my papa has always wanted. He and I share Tuesday nights together every week. He comforts me and makes me laugh. He is always there for me, and for our family. I hope that God brings me a husband like my Papa; that would be just grand.
(written November 1999)
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