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Main Street, Sayre, Oklahoma, 1919.

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Virgina (mother), Georgia Ruth (sister), George Samuel Jarvis, 1925. Daddy was smoking his usual cigar. After his marriage, he quit chewing tobacco and changed to smoking cigars. About 1935 he stopped using tobacco altogether, much to mother's satisfaction.


“Bulldog-Badger Fight”

This story was related to me by my mother.

“A few years ago, your father was reminded of the early day pranks pulled by some of the old-timers around here. This story was told to Daddy by a salesman from back East who was staying at the Sayre Hotel for a weekend. He was reminiscing about his very first visit to Sayre a number of years before. He repeated over and over, “It beat anything I ever heard of before or since.”

Apparently, in the middle of the main street a bulldog and badger were about to be matched. The salesman said people began walking out of stores and cafes and joining the ones already on the street and talking loudly, some even waving bills and betting with any takers. One bettor, putting money on the bulldog claimed that this species was bred to fight. Another fellow accepted his bet, claiming that there wasn’t any dog that could hold his own with a badger.

The salesman said that he and some other non-Sayreites (a couple of men he recognized as having been in the hotel lobby) joined the crowd as it moved toward the wagon yard. When he arrived at the wagon yard he saw the vicious-looking bulldog on a leash; a few yards away was a good-sized box with a rope protruding from the solid door.

One of the promoters announced it was time to start and called for someone to pull the rope to release the badger—he wanted a volunteer to do the job. The salesman said he himself would have offered to pull the rope as he was anxious to see the show, had not the other young man volunteered.

After some ceremony the young man took hold of the end of the rope, likely thinking of the instructions to get the door open in a hurry so both animals would have an equal start, and gave the rope a jerk. To his astonishment, a foul-smelling spray splashed over him and some of the other eager spectators. The “badger” turned out to be a large pot filled with human waste with plenty of urine. It was a bedroom chamber pot — many families living outside town still used such a pot during the night and emptied it the next morning in the outside privy. (The city of Sayre, with a population of about 2,000, was proud to have a sewage system so most homes enjoyed indoor plumbing.)

The spectators, immediately recognizing the chamber pot, laughed loudly at the dubious joke pulled on the stranger. The salesman went back home to tell about his first day in Sayre and the new “sport” that he had witnessed.

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