The Eccentric Howard Clan: A Town's Comical Ordeal

Feb 15


Beth McCain

Beth McCain

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In a small town where everyone knows your name, the Howard family became legendary for their antics and the community's attempts to cope with their presence. This is the tale of Old Blue, his petite wife Willie, their eight children, and the humorous challenges they brought to their neighbors and the local church.


The Infamous Old Blue and His Brood

Bluford Howard,The Eccentric Howard Clan: A Town's Comical Ordeal Articles better known as Old Blue, was a towering figure at 6'5", with a frame so large that his eight children could all fit inside his denim overalls simultaneously. His wife, Willie, was a stark contrast, tiny and seemingly fragile, yet she managed to bring eight children into the world. Old Blue was a character known throughout the town not for his work ethic, which was non-existent, but for his regular attendance at the Church of the First Born. However, his reasons for going to church diverged from the spiritual pursuits of his fellow townsfolk.

While most attended church for soulful reflection and redemption, Old Blue saw it as a source of free meals and clothing. He never held a job and instead relied on the generosity of the congregation, often arriving unannounced at dinner time with his family and even his dog in tow. The Howard children, named after various flowers and plants by Willie, were a handful themselves. The girls, Daisy, Dahlia, Violet, Fern, and Magnolia, were known for their mischief, particularly the twins, Daisy and Dahlia, who had a penchant for giving Indian Burns to the Gonzales boys.

The Howard boys, Colt, Moe, and Weed, named by Old Blue, were notorious for their unruly behavior, from dipping girls' pigtails in inkwells to hiding rotten cheese in the minister's desk. Moe, the most resourceful of the trio, once picked the minister's car lock with a quill, leaving the minister both impressed and concerned for the boy's future.

The Town's Tolerance Tested

The community initially saw helping the Howard family as a charitable act, but the disruptive behavior of the children, especially during church services, tested their patience. The boys would bathe in the baptismal tank, run naked down the aisles, and even brought a goat into the church, singing "Bringing in the Sheaves." The congregation was on the brink of losing their composure, but it wasn't the minister who finally took a stand against the Howards—it was Great Grandma.

Great Grandma, embarrassed by her nephew's behavior, had a system with her daughter and niece to avoid the Howard family's impromptu visits. They would leave their homes when they knew Old Blue was coming, as little Moe could pick any lock. On one occasion, while Aunt Tylene hid in her room, the Howard dog ate her apple pie, and the children waited on the couch for food.

Great Grandma's Stand

One day, as Old Blue's dilapidated truck approached Great Grandma's home, she had had enough. She confronted the family, refusing to feed or clean up after them and demanding they learn some manners. In a heated exchange, Great Grandma called out Old Blue's laziness and even his political affiliation, declaring that neither he nor his children were welcome at church or her home.

Following this confrontation, Old Blue, Willie, and their children left town. The last anyone heard of them was from Stubby Parker, who mentioned that Old Blue was considering joining the Latter Day Saints for their better food lockers, as the Baptists expected contributions to the potluck.

The Legacy of the Howard Family

The Howard family's departure marked the end of an era for the town. Their story remains a humorous anecdote of community, tolerance, and the limits of both. It's a reminder that every town has its characters, and while they may test our patience, they also leave behind tales that become the fabric of local lore.

The Howards' story is not just a comical narrative; it reflects the social dynamics of small-town America, where the line between helping one's neighbor and enabling their behavior is often blurred. It's a tale that resonates with anyone who has experienced the complexities of community life and the colorful individuals who make it memorable.