Wild turkeys often visit Buddy Mills’ pasture at his home in Basinger.
are buried. Nearby were the graves of Will’um and his wife,
Punk. Through my reporting, I would learn that nearly all of
the Cow Creek folks of my parents’ and Tommy and Jo Ann’s
generation were deceased.
The large headstone for Buddy’s parents has a cowboy hat
on one side for Junior and a nurse’s cap on the other side for
Betty, who was the ranch cook during her days at Cow Creek.
I remember Junior, who was one of the lead cowboys at Cow
Creek, and Betty as being deeply religious.
At the gravestone, Buddy talks about how his mom earned
her licensed practical nurse degree after leaving Cow Creek.
She initially worked at Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee
but found her work as a nurse at the Okeechobee County Jail
far more rewarding. “I can’t tell you the number of people
who were in jail who told me they turned their lives around
because of my mother,” Buddy says.
Buddy Mills at the graves
of his parents, Cow Creek
cowboy Junior Mills, and
his mother, ranch cook
Betty Mills, or ‘Miss Betty.’
They are buried in the