Posted in excerpt, humor, nonfiction on December 9, 2017


Who do you think of when you think of a banker? Perhaps you think of the bankers trying to foreclose on Kevin Costner’s farm in Field of Dreams? Bankers are usually portrayed as jerks who are trying to foreclose on widows and orphans. I have been a banker for nearly forty years and I want to show you some different sides to one banker – me.

I come from a family of story tellers, from my father’s mother’s family, the Gillhams. When a Gillham told a story at the campfire, you could feel the heat of the sun beating down and hear the calling of an owl just as if you were there.

The stories in this book are half from banking and half from my hunting, my dogs, and my childhood. Some of the stories are humorous, some are serious, and some are a little of both. As you read, you will hopefully share my puzzlement as I listen to a loan request, feel the pounding of a buck’s hooves on the dirt as it gallops toward me, and hear my father’s whistle. If you do, I have accomplished my goal in writing this book.


Lessons from Hog Wallow Flats

In 1980, I was living back in my hometown of Atoka. I had moved there after working in banking for a couple of years. I was working for my hometown bank which ended up being a pain but that is a story for another day.

During that time, I met Mark who had moved to Atoka while I was in college. Mark was an electrician who was making good money doing electrical work on new home construction. He was married to a nice lady and they had two children. Mark liked to hunt and fish so we became friends.

Mark walked into the bank one day and sat down to talk to me. “Ken, I did it,” he said, “I bought my own place to hunt.” Unknown to me, Mark had been looking for a place to buy in Atoka. I was surprised to hear that he had purchased some land. I asked him to tell me about the place.

He said it was one hundred and sixty acres about eight miles east of Atoka. He said the place was part timber and had a really nice pond on the property and that he got a terrific deal on the price. He added that there was quite a bit of deer sign on the property and that he was looking forward to hunting deer there.

Since I grew up in Atoka and hunted all over the county, I was curious where his place was located. I asked him to tell me how to get to the property.

He described the route to the property and I knew instantly the property he had purchased – Hog Wallow Flats. Locals called it Hog Waller Flats and I had hunted the property many times. It was called Hog Wallow Flats because there were some mud holes on the property that hogs liked to wallow in (I know  –  too obvious an answer to why it was named that!)

I was troubled at this information and Mark could tell by the look on my face. He asked me why I was frowning. I was unsure at first how to tell him.

First, I need to tell you a little history. When I grew up, there were certain properties that most locals hunted that were considered open to everyone. I know that may seem strange today but that was how it was when I grew up. My family hunted deer on property near Daisy that was owned by the Hunt family in Dallas. We did not have permission but we hunted anyway. There were a number of people that hunted the area at that time and no one apparently gave it much thought.

Hog Wallow Flats was another place that most locals hunted. I had hunted there, my father had hunted there and his father had hunted there. It was considered open land. One of the reasons was because it was located at the end of a county road with no fences or gates indicating borders or ownership.

I told Mark that numerous people had hunted Hog Wallow Flats for years and that it might be difficult to stop them from coming on the property. Mark looked at me with disbelief and said it was his property now and that he was going to put a gate on the property and keep everyone out. As logical as this sounded, I knew that it might be extremely difficult to keep people off this property.

Mark fenced and gated his 160 acres. People cut his fence and hunted anyway. Mark rebuilt the fence and strengthened the gate. They tore down the gate. He rebuilt and they tore down.

This went on for about a year. It seemed that every time Mark went to the property, someone had trespassed and I thought Mark was going to kill someone if he caught them there. Finally, he hired someone to watch the property on a part time basis. That seemed to help for a while.

One day Mark was driving down the dirt road on his property and discovered that he had two flat tires. Someone had placed nails all along his road. It took weeks for him to search and get all the nails out of the road.

Then, it seemed to calm down a little. He was not seeing cut fences or broken gates. He decided to build a small cabin on the pond, just a place to spend the night with his family on a weekend. Three months after the cabin was completed; someone burned it to the ground.

I moved to Texas just before that happened in 1982. I do not know whether Mark kept the property, sold it, or exactly what happened. I know he did not go to jail so he must not have killed someone over the trespass issues.

However, I do think there are lessons to be learned from Hog Wallow Flats.

Lesson 1: Check with knowledgeable local sources when purchasing property. If Mark would have asked me or other local sources, we could have told him what he was about to get himself into – a real mess. He could have chosen to purchase the property but he would have been forewarned. There was a reason the price on the property was “terrific”, everyone and his dog hunted there.

During this time, Mark kept saying to me that people should respect his rights and that they should stay off his property. Of course, he was absolutely correct. I make no excuses for the people who trespassed and tore up his fences and gates.

I am probably a pragmatist but I found myself telling Mark that that was just the way things were. People do not always do what they “should” do. People had been hunting this property for years and did not respect his property rights enough to quit going on his property without a battle. I am not saying he should have just accepted the trespassing but expecting people to do the right thing can drive you insane. Lesson 2: people do not always do the right thing.

About the Author

Ken Mixon was raised in Atoka, Oklahoma and graduated from Atoka High School in 1974. He attended Oklahoma Baptist University and graduated in 1977 with a degree in business administration. He has an extensive career in banking that began in 1977 as an auditor with First National Bank in Oklahoma City. From there he worked at a variety of different banks and concluded when he became President and CEO of City National Bank in Corsicana Texas, where he remains today.

Ken is a member of First Baptist Church in Richardson and is very proud to be a Rotary member in Corsicana. One of his biggest passions is being involved in selecting the high school senior to receive the Corsicana Rotary Scholarship each year. Ken is a big fan of the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Cowboys, and Oklahoma Sooners. He enjoys hunting and fishing and being with family and friends.

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