Postcard from Grandma’s house

Family legend has it that Martha Caroline Kinchen, pictured here in about 1910 with granddaughters Martha and baby Louise, once outsmarted a panther.

She was out in the woods, a good distance from her house, when the giant cat caught her scent and came after her. “Obviously,” says my mom, “she couldn’t outrun it, so she began to walk away, tearing off pieces of her dress as she walked. The panther stopped to smell each piece and she was able to get to her house unharmed.”

Martha Caroline may look severe, but Granny always described her grandmother as the kindest and most patient of women.

I attribute the scowl to a photograph-averse gene all her female progeny seem to have inherited. That or a sublimated Puritanism; MC’s paternal ancestors founded Northampton and Springfield, Massachussetts.

Gratuitous cultural link: Nowadays people argue about what kind of big cats really existed in Texas.


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