Fun on the Fourth

Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy

The Audie Murphy and the Cotton Industry, totally entwined in history.

Antiques and memorabilia at the Audie Murphy/Cotton Museum create lasting memories for visitors. It’s worth the drive, an hour east of Dallas on Highway 30. “What,” you say, “is Audie Murphy doing in a Cotton Museum?” Hunt County, Texas is famous for two things: Audie Murphy and cotton.

Audie: the Hero

Audie lived his life in the fast lane. Born in 1925 in Kingston, near Greenville, he entered the Army ten days after his eighteenth birthday. One of twelve children, he marched off to war with love in his heart for his family and his country.

He served in Sicily, Italy, and France, facing the Germans and stunning his superiors with his expertise and bravery. He returned to Hunt County before his twentieth birthday with thirty-three military awards, including the Medal of Honor. News services picked up the story to honor him.

Audie: the Actor

Audie’s face became well-known throughout the U.S. A handsome guy, articulate and feisty in interviews, actor James Cagney invited him to visit Hollywood. When Audie published his autobiography, the movie industry chose his story for film. He talked his way into the starring role. Much to everyone’s delight, he became as famous for his acting ability as his military acumen. Unfortunately, like many actors and sports stars, he died young and poor. His investments failed and he gambled too much. He died on a foggy, misty night in an airplane accident near Roanoke, Virginia in 1971 at age 46.

A selected list Audie Murphy movies in the gift shop:

To Hell & Back

Cimarron Kid

Cast a Long Shadow

Apache Rifles

Drums Across the River

Cotton and Antique Displays

Beautifying

Hairdresser Agony

The Audie Murphy/Cotton Museum equals fun. Take the grandkids. Let Grandma share her experience with a permanent hair wave using the funny machine that looks like it could electrocute anyone coming near it: she will laugh until her stomach aches, watching the grandkids’ faces.

The cotton displays provide insight into the process of picking and baling the cotton. An enormous wooden cotton gin exhibits the intricacies of the ordeal of making cotton. You will find more insight about Hunt County as the museum supports the entire area.

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday and closed most holidays, but it will be open on Tuesday, the Fourth of July. A young family can spend an hour or two rambling through the museum, trying to explain how someone used to pick cotton to make a shirt. Senior citizens may saunter slower to reminisce longer than the youngsters.

The scenery refreshes urban cowboys, vets, and families. Horses lean over the fence and an old cabin and restored old home rest in the pristine setting.

Beige horse

Check the website for more detailed directions and tickets. I guarantee you will love the place, especially if you are an antique with young ones in the party.

Fly-Over in Farmersville: Audie Murphy Day

Audie Murphy Day in Small Town Texas

Audie Murphy

They will remember Audie Murphy

When “the loved one” said he wanted to attend Audie Murphy Day in Farmersville, I questioned his wisdom. Why would he want to go to a small town to honor a World War II veteran? What attracted him to the event? He mentioned a “fly-over” at 10:00 a.m. on June 27.

History

Audie Murphy remains a significant hero. I read, with interest, about his life and accomplishments.  Recognized  as the “…most decorated U.S. combat soldier of World War II. Among his 33 awards and decorations was the Medal of Honor, the highest military award for bravery that can be given to any individual in the United States of America, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.” Born in 1925 he joined the military at age 17 by lying about his age. He advanced through perseverance and bravery. After the war he struggled before becoming an actor, poet, speaker and proficient poker player.

Audie suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome before the term became popular. He spoke to groups about his war-related issues to bring awareness to the public. He owned his own airplane, dying in flight at age 45 on a blustery day over Roanoke, Virginia.

The Fly-Over and Parade

Sopwith Camel

Possible Sopwith Camel

The three planes in the fly-over failed to buzz the crowd, creating less than adequate photos to share.  I think the double-decker winged plane was a Sopwith Camel. The planes caused as much excitement as fireworks.

Children and adults distributed flags to wave. People shouted greetings to each other. The parade lasted almost 45 minutes. Veterans rode in old military vehicles, on hay wagons and tractors. Allis Chalmers and John Deere puttered along the path. Motorcyclists, kids, a noisy marching band and high-strutting horses converged in the town center.

Motorcycles in Farmersville

Motorcycle pride.

The mixture or kids, adults and aged Vets offered a cross-section of people enjoying the parade.

A short program to honor all the Veterans was held in the open-air Onion Shed near the center of town.  The Audie Murphy Club from Fort Hood attended the program.

Small Town Texas

Farmersville is a quaint town of less than 3400 people, per a 2011 report. With several antique stores, gift shops and other retail shops, I take out-of-town visitors for a birds-eye view of one of my favorite, small towns.   On recent visits to Farmersville I found tempting treasures to bring home with me. On this trip I discovered a beautiful paperweight.

We ate at Charlie’s Old-Fashioned Burgers on Route 78 across from the high school. I ruined my attempt to eat healthy with a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, while others munched their hamburgers, all cooked to perfection.

I liked the gray one!

I liked the gray one!

If you missed Audie Murphy Day, think about visiting Farmersville on the 4th of July. “Farmers and Fleas Market” takes place the first Saturday of each month in the Onion Shed. If you want to enjoy a Texas small town, bring your grocery bags and a little money to spend for fresh vegetables and flea market finds.

With all the discussion about flags flaunting hatred, the Audie Murphy event showed how to honor our heroes with dignity and joy. Let’s hear it for our country’s Veterans!  Let’s thank the people who worked diligently to plan this cool event for a hot Saturday. And let me order two slices of tomato for a healthier lunch on my next exploration to small town Texas.

This article is dedicated to my favorite Viet Nam Vet, whose memories linger of the smells and shells of a war with many controversies. May your 4th of July bring fun to you and your family as we celebrate our freedom.