Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dominoes and the Thornton Family

Yesterday, my nephew told his Facebook friends that he was going to be teaching his wife how to play dominoes.  That kind of caught my attention because the subject of dominoes came up recently at a Thornton family funeral and brought back a flood of memories. My first cousin once removed Ruth Thornton Hilliard had died. I was chatting with her son Joe. He asked how my brothers who couldn't attend the funeral were. I was filling him in. Then he brought up a memory about my brother Jim. It seems that Joe and Jim were in the same Scout troop. When they drew names at Christmas one year, Jim drew Joe's name. Jim got Joe a set of dominoes. When Joe told me this, I immediately knew the significance of this. You see my grandfather Tom and Joe's grandfather Woodie were brothers. The two of them along with Rubel Moss and Kirby Whitaker played dominoes just about daily. They played down at Sam Moon's store in Becker, but they also played at one another's homes. I can remember going to Pappaw's house on many occasions where I'd see the four of them playing. When I was sharing with my brother Jim later, he remembered them playing at the store more than I did. That was probably because I was a girl and got left with Grandmother more often. I learned to play by watching them. They always played double twelves, but I was elated when I got a pair of colored double nines one year. I still have them. I was grown before I learned other domino games like chicken foot. It was always the pure game when you were at Pappaw's house.

Dominoes also brought back another memory. It was a memory of Sidney Duncan, a crippled man who lived in Baldwyn, Mississippi. My brother Jim pastored a church on the outskirts of Baldwyn in a community called Pratts for several years. They often did things with the group from the church in Baldwyn of which Sidney was a member. I can remember us picking up Sidney to go to area-wide church meetings. I also remember going with my sister-in-law to visit Sidney at his business, a domino parlor. As I recall, his domino parlor was beside the railroad in Baldwyn. We never stayed long. Although I doubt there was gambling  and it was really more of a place people could just join a game, it wasn't a place little girls got to stay. I am sure that I sometimes wanted to stay to play, but it was okay, because I knew there'd be a game in the Thornton family at some point!

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