The Sam B. McNatt family has played an important
in our lives. I cannot recall when we first met, but Ella and
I were both on the Shidler High School faculty in 1948.
She was teaching English and dramatics and I was the
science teacher. Together we sponsored the Pep Club and
her oldest daughter, Jimmie, age 3, was club mascot.
Sam was employed by Kewanee Oil Company and Bill was
with Skelly Oil Company so the men also had much in
common and we became close friends.
Their second child was a girl whom they named Sammie.
We were frequent guests in their home for dinner and Bill
enjoyed feeding her. There was only one problem: you never
knew when she had enough until she spewed the last bite
all over the person feeding her.
Our families usually sat together in church. One Sunday
morning Sammie was sitting by Bill. The day before, he
had mashed his thumb and it was discolored and throb-
bing. For a time Sammie held his hand and lovingly stroked
that thumb. Then without warning, she squeezed it hard.
Bill said he nearly disrupted the sermon, but did manage
to control himself.
Ella had a beautiful voice and I had asked her to sing when
I was installed as Worthy Matron of the Shidler Chapter of
the Order of the Eastern Star. However, she had to cancel
her appearance because of the arrival of our namesake,
Billie Elaine McNatt just a few days prior to my installa-
The adult McNatts were always a part of our group that
went to Grand Lake for holiday weekends. On one occa-
sion when the time came for the men to take up the trot
lines in preparation for leaving, one rock used to anchor
the line in the lake had sunk into the mud. After Sam had
made several attempts to raise it, Bill said,'Sam, don't
bother with it - just cut the line." To which Sam replied,
"I'11 lift the rock or sink the boat!"
From that time on whenever any of us faces a difficult
situation, someone always says, "I'll lift the rock or sink
Eventually our work took us in different directions, but
we have kept in touch and are grateful for all the ways
their friendship has enriched our lives.
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