Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Meaning of Murdy Fox

My grandmother's step-father was a sawmill worker named Sam. It sounds like in a lot of ways Sam was about what you would think a sawmill worker would be like, but in a lot of ways he defied the stereotype as well. The most interesting people have a way of doing that, you know. Sam was part Cherokee and was born in Oklahoma when it was still Indian territory! This same guy lived to see man walk on the moon...and he understood the profound significance of that! He was a humble man who could be as big of a blow-hard as anybody. The story about Murdy's name is really about Sam, and it has been one of my favorite stories my grandmother has to tell.

Murdy Fox was an old spinster who was a family friend of Sam and my great-grandmother. One afternoon Sam was sent to pick Murdy up and bring her over to the house for dinner. You need to know something about Murdy at this point, she was legally blind and her vision was limited to recognizing different shades of light and vague shapes. I'm not sure why Sam was the one sent to pick her up because, apparently driving was not his strong suit.

On the way back to the house Sam began focusing on trying to change the radio station instead of driving. At one point the road hung a left but Sam didn't and the car pulled a Dukes of Hazzard into a cotton field where some sharecroppers were working. Sam started fighting the wheel and cussing like a sawmill worker while the sharecroppers started running and Murdy kept asking what was going on. Finally Sam managed to wrestle the car back onto the road and they made their way home.

When the story was told back at the house, Sam proclaimed, "it's a good thing I'm such a good driver or me and Murdy could have died!" Sam was an interesting dude...and Murdy is immortalized by a hound dog.

No comments: