The Burnett’s evidently have the gas (not oil) rights beneath Booger Holler in Arkansas. But for sure – they came from this part of Arkansas to Oklahoma -- and fairly recently in history. Why they have the gas rights and nothing else is a mystery to me, though why not is the obvious answer. I’m sure the truth is just as confusing, it always is.
Before Arkansas, they may, or may not, have been in Tennessee – like I said earlier, we have no history except that which we make – place falls before the altar of personality.
Some of the family have been to the Castle Burnett in Scotland – and though it’s easy to imagine Burnett’s in charge of people, it’s hard to see them putting up with it for too long. When the English attacked, we probably fought on their side, because if our motto isn’t “fuck ‘em,” it ought to be one of the salty variations that spring from well of it.
I don’t remember much about our Arkansas relatives, just nuggets:
I have an Aunt Vone and not many other people do.
I have an Uncle Cory, and when I was a teenager my parents threatened to leave me with him for the summer. He offered to pay me to work on his farm, “A dollar a day and free haircuts.” (This was not an attractive offer in the late 60”s).
Atkins Arkansas is the “Pickle Capitol of the World.”
My Uncle Hobart might have been the biggest man I’ve ever met – scary big when you are five.
I don’t know how the Burnet’s got to Tulsa, but I do know they circled around it a bit first. Towns like Okmulgee, Vinita, Pawhuska and Inola come to mind from family rumbles over the years. They moved a lot, and at each house they moved to, (or chicken shack in at least one case,) grandfather Burnett salted with oil a forty-foot area around it to kill every living thing. I guess he worried about fires, or hated yard work.
They came for the oil boom – bigger than big back then. Then some stuff happened, and then I was born. The end.
As I write this I realize I don’t know enough about these people to make it up. My grandmother had five kids – Jim, Bill, Esta Lee, Randall and Linda – in that order. I know that my mom started the great depression and that the family needed Linda like, “they needed a hole in the head.” I know that Grandpa spent the early depression flat on his broken back, and that he made my grandmother cry – a lot. That’s not much of a tale to tell – I think I’ll pick the story up later when I’m in it.