External Photo Clues:
Doonbox is the name. The dame sitting next to me is my driver Mary Alice Wallace. She named me Doonbox. I named her Wally. I met Wally and her Pa when I was just a little pup in the summer of 1921. That’s been going on 77 years ago now… 11 years to you humans. Wally’s Pa said they didn’t have enough money to feed me when Wally brought me home, but she talked him into it. Pa could never say no to Wally. So I got to stay. Times were pretty tough back then in Oklahoma. Pa farmed and did the best he could to keep food in my bowl, but things started looking up for us in the fall of 1923.
Oil rigs sprung up out of the ground like corn stalks in Cromwell, and a whole bunch of thirsty men followed. That’s when I got an idea about cooking and smuggling whiskey to all those thirsty workers, and the painted ladies that followed them to town. I knew we could make more money cooking moonshine than selling Pa’s corn crop for well … corn. Pa cooks the stuff for me, locks it away for a bit so it’s aged just right, fills up them Mason jars, then Wally drives me around our route. Seriously? Who would suspect a little dog of smuggling shine?
I hear tell, that famous human Will Rogers once said, “Oklahomans will vote dry as long as they can stagger to the polls.” Well that was dang true in Cromwell for a year or so. Even though it was against the law, there were saloons and brothels all over Cromwell, which in those days got the nickname “the wickedest city in the world.” There was plenty of bootlegging business to go around. After I was through delivering to my regular customers, Wally would drive me through the mud over to where the boys were living in tents. I would sell them a dip of whiskey straight out of the barrel. Once in a while, someone would get a little rough with Wally. Don’t let the soft fur and cute little face fool you. Mess with me, my shine, or my driver, and I’ll bite a piece outta your ass. I’m still picking pieces of a couple of them boys outta my teeth.
The sheriff of Seminole County came to town and tried to get rid of all the pretty painted ladies. He raided their places, arrested them, and then proceeded to line them up in the street. I swear he handcuffed and chained them all together, and marched them all the way to the jail in Wewoka. That dang jail was 15 miles away! They were back the very next day. Speaking of the ladies… I got me some lady friends too. Last count I am papa to 67 pups… and still counting!
There was another lawman around in those days. His name was Wiley Lynn, and he was federal prohibition officer. A more crooked and crazy man you couldn’t find. The man was a kibble short of a dog bowl if you know what I mean. But he looked the other way when me and Wally did our delivering, as long as Pa paid him the looking away price.
Things went on that way for a spell, until the Bible thumpers stuck their noses in. Some of the towns folk were tired of the goings on, so they hired Bill Tilghman to clean it up. Tilghman was a former Deputy US Marshal that took down the Doolin Dalton Gang in the 1890’s. Tilghman arrested me and Wally one night. He locked her up in the jail and dang near shot me when I tried to bite his ass. When I showed up back at home that night without Wally, Pa knew there was something up. Pa went to town and found out from some of the boys that Wally’d been arrested. Pa went to Lynn, slipped him some cash, and Wally was outta jail that very same night.
Lynn and Tilghman were always on different sides of the fence. Tilghman would make an arrest, and Lynn would come behind him and set the prisoner free. It all come to a head on Halloween night in 1924. I was sitting across the street from Murphy’s Café, waiting on Wally. She had gone in the general store to buy some sugar. Lynn pulled up with a car load of painted ladies and they were all drunker than a skunk. When Lynn stumbled out of the car, his gun went off. Tilghman and his deputy came running out of the café, grabbed Lynn and wrestled the gun away. But Lynn drew another pistol and shot Tilghman twice right in the gut. Lynn took off and left Tilghman dying in the street.
Some witness didn’t show up at the trial, so Lynn got off Scott free pleading self defense. I always wondered why they didn’t ask me to testify. I saw Lynn murder Tilghman that night, in cold blood.
About a month after the shooting, Cromwell burned to the ground. Every saloon and brothel was set on fire. Everyone suspected it was lawmen friends of Tilghman that did it, but nobody was ever arrested. That was the end of Cromwell and the end of my bootlegging days.
We stayed around Cromwell for the last seven years, but Pa lost his farm to the bank. Me, Pa and Wally are packing up and moving on. Maybe there’s room for an old bootleggin’ dog in California.
About The Author:
Marlene Wynn has worked at the Oklahoma House of Representatives for 24 years, and has two wonderful dogs at home.
Authoring For The Imaginary Family Project:
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About The Imaginary Family Project:
The 2011 Imaginary Family Project is a year-long collective art endeavor coordinated by occasional amateur artist Quentin Bomgardner and co-sponsored by The Red Dirt Chronicles. This project is based around “lost” vintage photographs, which have been acquired at flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, and eBay – heirloom collections, with no heir. Every week a different author will “find” one photograph by creating an imagined history around one of its subjects. At the end of the year, the collection will be compiled and presented as a group.