yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee
People of Action - 1969

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).  Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of the late Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.

Mr. and Mrs. Hobert Goff

Parsons Couple Makes 5,000-Trip

PARSONS, Tenn. - An interest in wide open spaces, the desire to travel and a doctor's advice were the reason for a recent 5,000 mile trip made by Mr. and Mrs. Hobart Goff of Parsons, Tenn.

"My wife, Gladys, was having some respiratory trouble and her doctor advised a change to a dry climate," Goff explains.

With baggage loaded into their car, the couple took off for a western trip that carried them through Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Old Mexico. "All of the driving was left to my husband," Mrs. Goff said. The 70 year old buoyant man has the drive of a person half his age.

"Our first stop was in Lake Charles, La.," Goff said. Here we spent four exciting days with Gus and Alene Adkins. They carried us to Avery Island, 200 miles southeast of Lake Charles to see the salt mines. We also visited Evangeline Country and viewed Evangeline's grave which is located under a big Louisiana tree.

From Lake Charles we hopped over to Corpus Christi, Tex. and spent a week with Phil and Ruth Barker. We went on sightseeing trips to Padre Island, the King Ranch and over to Brownsville, Tex. "The large fields of vegetables grown between Corpus Christi and Brownsville was very unusual," Mrs. Goff explained as well as the Brahma cattle on the King Ranch. Another exciting thing was the huge ocean liners docked at Corpus Christi.

We left Corpus Christi and traveled south of the border down into Mexico.

Our Spanish speaking neighbors used all of their salesmanship as we entered their curio shops stocked with leather goods, Spanish hats, bags and dresses. One interesting feature was the strings of scarlet chili drying against adobe walls in Old Mexico.

A trip to San Antonio brought back historical features of the "Alamo". "The old fort was a bit disappointing," Goff commented. "I thought it would be much larger."

A night's rest at Del Rio, located on the Bio Grand was all it took to snap back for the trip which took the couple to Van Horn, Tex.; Lordsburg, N.M. and on to Tucson, Ariz.

"I was never as surprised as when we reached the dessert," the stocky grey haired man smiled and said. An ordinary man like me thought a desert was a waste land. We found it inhabited with numerous animals, birds, reptiles, insects, wild mammals and plant life.

Among the breath taking scenery are the cactuses which range from the tiny button cactus to the 10 ton Saguaro cactus. "I found a paradise of what I thought was a desolate counttry." Goff explained.

The southwest today is a land of contrast. Atom scientist from new ultra modern Las Alamos pass Indians pueblos where potters use methods of a thousand years old. Traveling by car one passes burros laden with wood for cooking fires.

Huge irrigation systems water millions of acres of cotton, citrus, alfalfa, peach, corn, wheat and other crops. Here is a sun-warmed land of modern cities and wide open ranges, of forested mountains and cactus studded deserts, of rich farms and rocky mesas where gold, coal, lead, pumice and copper are mined and where prospectors search for still hidden uranium.

"The best farm land I saw," Goff said, "was in the Oasis Desert north of Tucson." Here crops are irrigated and the land is surrounded by big trees which form a wind break. The land is very rich and produces an abundance with the aid of irrigation.

The Goffs spent three weeks in Tucson, where the temperature ranged from 70 to 83 degrees by day and 35 to 45 degrees at night. There was no dew or frost and the humidity was quite low.

"We toured the surrounding area during our three weeks stay," Goff pointed out. Green Valley which is 100 miles from Tucson, was quite interesting. In the big canyon trees of the same species as grown in Tennessee are growing and the scenery is breath taking.

Another interesting thing was the museums which contained scientific, historical collections and educational displays as well as wild life. In a museum near Tucson we viewed 1200 species of cactus, Jack Rabbits, numerous species of birds, reptiles, insects and mammals. Every type of grass that grows in the desert was on display here.

"You can't drive through a country like the west and get anything out of it if you don't study it and live with it," Goff explained. Not only did he observe the west he also made a study of it with the aid of books of the Southwest.

"I didn't get in a hurry on our way out," he smiled and said. We averaged around 300 miles a day before we stopped for the night but I got in a hurry on our way home. Mrs. Goff said, "he nearly drove the wheels off the car to get home."

Oustanding on their return trip was Carlsbad Cavern located in Southwestern New Mexico. "Its the 8th wonder of the world to me," Goff said. We walked down four miles of underground paths into the vaulted rooms formed by collapse of rock after slow solutions and decorated with limestone dripping. The rooms were each named. One was called- the "King's Palace". We ate lunch 899 feet down and continued our guided tour.

In summer the cavern is inhabited with 231 bats per square foot. The temperature remains at a 58 degree the year round. Late in the evening in summer the bats file out he mouth of the cave.

The Gaffs returned home via Fort Worth and Dallas, Tex.; Little Rock, Ark.; Memphis and Jackson. 'I didn't have any car trouble during the whole trip," Goff said, "and the only thing I had to put into my car was gas."

The retired car dealer, land owner and livestock raiser spends a lot of his time on his farm where he tends to his cattle and hogs and his wife takes advantage of the large blue lake nearby as she enjoys the splash and tug of a big bass biting the hook.

The Goffs reside in their modern brick home on Decaturville highway. They have three sons, James Goff and Billy Goff of Parsons and Jack Goff of Memphis.

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