Saturday, April 27, 2013

Running Away To Alaska

One of my favorite stories that my grandfather use to tell me was that when I was about 4 years old he came upon me walking down the road heading away from our ranch/farm in Central Texas dragging a small suitcase.  He asked me "Where ya going boy?"

 I answered "I'm running away to Alaska, going to strike gold and then come back and tell everyone Nanny, Nanny, Boo, Boo!"
He stopped and watched me walk ahead. Then he pulled up beside me again and told me "Ya know... I don't think your going to get there before dark."

He told me, I stopped and thought for a second and then asked him, "Granddaddy, Can you give me a ride back home?"

Years later, I actually did make it to Alaska while in the Navy. I did pan for gold and I did stand up,  face what I figured at the time would be about where my home in Central Texas would be, put my thumbs in my ears, wiggleed my fingers  and hollered as loud as I could  "Nanny, Nanny, Boo, Boo".

 And I left there if nothing else "feeling" a little bit richer.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bull Nettles, Cows, Horses and Memories...

The man walked up as I took a photo of the old sagging wooden house that sat along a back road in Central Louisiana. I asked for permission to take some shots and his answer was "Have at it! Shoot away, it's not much left to look at. 

As I continued to take my shots we struck up a conversation. He would explain what each building had been over its life on the ranch and farm that I learned he had grown up on. We compared what it had been like for him in this small parcel of land in Allen Parish and the ranch and farm that I had grown up in Travis County.

The  more we talked, this old country boy from Central Texas and that old country boy from Central Louisiana we figured out real quick that we shared some common interest. Bull Nettles, Cattle, Horses, a respect for family values and Memorys.  Where I had traveled the world, he had hardly left the Parrish. Still the same, over the next few minutes we learned we actually had a lot in common, becaused we had both been "Raised Country".

 We talked about how to get rid of Bull Nettles since that was what he was in the process of doing when he saw me stopping alongside his ranch.  I shared with him my storys of digging down to their root and throwing a handful of rock salt to rid my Dad's land of them. He replied that he didn't knew of that remedy and would have to try it out. He shared his opinon that they stung so bad and there was no stopping it no matter how much scratching and rubbing you did to try and ease the pain.

 Then he grinned while he looked around to see if anyone was listening even though we both knew where there wasn't a soul within a mile and asked "Ya know, they say there is only one way to stop it from stinging don't ya?" And with a smile I answered "Yea and a couple of times I was almost stupid enough to try it!"

We talked of working cattle by horseback not like they do today with the motorized four-wheelers or motorcycles.  Then the subject went to horses after I noticed a beautiful paint and a roan off in a distance and how much we had both enjoyed riding but those days had long past for both of us. 

We talked about how things and people had changed since we had been kids and how courtesy, honesty and family values didn't seem to mean a whole lot to people and how it has gotten to the point that ya just didn't know who you could trust nowadays.  We both got quiet and just stood and listened to the country for a minute. Then, he broke the silence with  "Ya see that window on the right of that old house over there? I acknowledge that I did and he stood looking at it for a minute without saying anything. Then he added "I was born in that room, Now, I guess I'm just hanging around to see which one of us is going to fall  over first."

I shook his hand and thanked for his time. His answer was "Hell, time is all I've got left."  I corrected him telling him that time is not as important as the memorys he carried within himself.  He smiled, turned and walked away, and I returned to my car to continue on down the country road.