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The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.

Cousins, Dexter Ribs Make Trip Back Home Fun

Posted Friday, October 14, 2011, at 10:46 AM

Never had a "kissin' cousin," but my kin folk gals were pretty.

As for a "cussin' cousin," that'd be me, after I won a "cussin' contest' in second grade at Canalou School of advanced thinking and higher ciphering.

Didn't know what those biggo bad words meant, but I knew the words.

Dexter is where I have the most cousins congregated, starting with Tommy Burris, now retired from the local hospital there.

Cousins Brenda Gail Leathers and Danetta Smith also reside in Dexter. Their brother Paul is deceased. Brenda has a well-known pawn shop in downtown Dexter.

We always share famous "Dexter Ribs" when I'm in the Bootheel on book-publishing business.

There's a lot of farm-related tragedies on both sides of our family, starting in 1947 when cousin Benny Prichard died when a John Deere overturned on him at Trailback. He's buried at small Baptist church cemetery near "the curve" betweem Essex and Dexter.

On Momma's side of the family, we lost cousin Leroy Stockton in the 1950s when he was struck in the chest by a bar on the back of a land-leveling machine being pulled by Uncle Corbit Stockton, of Catron, who didn't know his son was any where around.

I suffered a "broken back" when falling off a farm tractor as a teen-aged boy. That injury has pained me all my adult life.

On the lighter side of life's ledger, Cousin Dowell "Pow Pow" Whittle of Rombauer got his nickname from emulating the sounds of a John Deere while playiing in the dirt as a little boy.

He's the son of (the late) Harlan Whittle, brother to my deceased father, Hubert Whittle. Aunt Doris Burris Whittle still resides on Rombauer Road. Her father helped build Highway 25 that runs through Dexter.

It was my cousins in Dexter and Uncle Harlan who shared a few years ago our Choctaw lineage...a fact kept secret to my generation due to the fact someone well-connected politically could still take land away from Native Americans in the early part of last century.

"Your Grandma Mallie Whittle (buried at Ash Hill Cemetery) was full-blood Choctaw," Uncle Harlan verified shortly before he died in 2008.

On mother's side of the ledger, I have cousins Sandra Reed Tibbs who resides at the Colony near Morehouse and Robert Terry Reed of Texas, plus cousins Levon and Harvey Stockton of Kentucky and Parma respectively.

We're not a large family, plus we've scattered down through the decades. But the modern-day internet has helped bring us back closer. Cousins Jimmy Prichard and Danetta Smith have researched a lot of our family tree.

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Retired recently as world-traveled newspaperman, career made possible by late Superintendent of Schools Robert L. Rasche, about to have Bootheel life book published by SEMO State University. Loved farm life, but knew at five years old, didn't want to be a "cotton picker" when I grew up.
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