My maternal grandfather, Frederick Melton (F.M.) Strother, was the kind of man who had numerous stories swirling around him for most of his life. He lived his long life to the full extent, and people either loved him or hated him for the most part. Some of the stories about him I can't really repeat on a PG-13 blog, but I still occasionally hear new tales about him.
This past weekend we were down in Shelby County, Alabama for the Stinson family reunion. My grandmother, F.M's wife, was a Stinson and I met a lot of older cousins I've never really gotten to talk to much before. One of the distant cousins I met was originally a Carden whose mother grew up in Westover before she moved away in the 1930's. She related the following story to me.
Sometime in the mid-50's, she and her mother were riding the Trailways bus down to Westover to visit her grandmother who lived on Sewell Hill. As the bus was entering The Narrows, which is a long, extremely curvy section of what is now Old Highway 280, a convertible with four men pulled up alongside the bus.
The men were obviously drunk, and they were all wearing Shriner's hats. One was waving a pistol and actually climbed onto the running board that went down the side of the bus. The driver had ordered everyone down on the floor, and actually opened the door of the bus. The man stuck his arm through the door, and the driver quickly shut it again, slamming it on the man's arm. The man then fell off the bus, and the driver sped up and left the men behind.
About 10 miles later they pulled up to Strother's Trading Post in Westover, which is the store my Maw-maw and Granddaddy ran. Her grandparents didn't have a phone and they were all shook up, so she said F.M. agreed to drive them the short distance up to the house.
The house was typical of that time and had a circular driveway that ran behind the house and around the well in the backyard. When they got there, my cousin's grandmother tried to offer F.M. some money, but he refused. They started arguing about it a little and the grandmother went back into the house while F.M. got back into his car. When he saw her coming out of the house waving some bills around, he cranked up the car and started heading down the driveway around the back of the house. The grandmother cut across by the well and threw the money in the open window of his back seat while he was driving past. She said F.M. was laughing the entire time.