just a thought

I answered the phone this morning to the sound of laughter.  My friend Laquita’s giggles were a delight to hear for I always know that they precede a new story, or a West Texas funny.  Growing up West Texas you often become leary of making friends with other women for there always seemed to be an agenda of some kind.  When I moved to Central Texas I was drawn to this friend for no real reason.  I often asked my daughter why does this woman call, why does she come by the shop just to chat?  Quita and I were instant friends.  Quita grew up outside of Midland in a small town called Greenwood, I grew up in a little town called Slaton just outside of Lubbock.  Both of us ended up in Central Texas taking care of our parents.  She soon taught me that West Texas girls have to stick together down here or we would go absolutely stir crazy!!

Her giggles this morning were like always the predecessor to a good story about some other West Texas woman living down here.  Before I moved down here, I thought all Texas women were just that Texan.  Well, that is true to a point but there is just something a little different about those of us that grew up out west.  We are just a little more salty than most, a little more outspoken, and a little bit tougher around the edges.  I don’t know if it is from growing up in the blowing dirt, the wildness of the area, the heritage that we carry or if it is just that we are a different breed all together.

I have a book that tells of the first time the Santa Fe Railroad sent people to the Texas Plains to survey for the railroad.  The man went back and told his boss that “that country isn’t fit for anything but wild animals and wild Indians.”   But the railroad build it’s hub in Slaton, Texas and a town was born.  I love to listen to the old stories of all the growing pains that it went through and all the colorful people that have blessed it since.  The colorful women that have scratched and punched and even shot to keep it alive.  The women that took on roles that were unheard of or unladylike, that kept her alive.

West Texas women seem to have a knack about being incredibly head strong and quite capable of doing things on their own.  I know of women ranchers, of madams, of business owners, of bootleggers all that were fine upstanding women.  I also know of sinister women that were not above shooting a man for the slightest discretion.   These were all the women that influenced the West Texas woman’s life and in some strange twist of fate, they live on in us.

 

I took this picture the other day just outside of Post, the sun was setting and the smoke from the fires in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona created the colors.  Even though they were not near where I was the smell was still laden in the air.  Filling your nostrils with the heavy aroma of fire.  The thunder clouds were building to the south and the darkness was enveloping the Caprock.  Lightening in the distance promised I would find a raindrop or two.  As I climbed into the back of the pick up to cover the cookstove I was hauling back with me, I felt the first drops of the much needed rain fall.  What an incredible mixture of smells that wafted through the air…..rain on one horizon, smoke on the other, and somewhere in between was the smell of hot, dry earth in much need of a drink.  The gentle breeze blowing around me, the night closing in, and being in West Texas made me want to just sit there on the side of the road, on the side of my pick-up bed and let the end of the day engulf me.  To take all the stress, all the hurt and anger and blow it away on a Texas breeze…….

 

 

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3

The big truck rumbled along in the dark morning again but Wacie’s train of thought was lost after all the work.  She liked it that way really.  The hard work covered all the thoughts and brought her out feeling like she had accomplished something.  Wacie thought as she climbed out of the truck to start the feed flowing, it is amazing how it is the hard work that keeps me sane.

She parked the big truck back in the barn filled again for tomorrow morning.  She gathered the eggs and fed the chickens.  This was one of her favorite chores of all.  She had raised most of these chicks for hatchlings and they were her pets, her friends.  She spent probably too much time feeding and gathering but this was Wacie’s time to vent.  “It is going to be another busy day guys.  Make sure you lay me lots of eggs today so I can add to the egg kitty, “she talked softly to them as the clucked around her denim clad ankles.  She reached down and gently scratched the big white rooster on the neck.  He crowed with pride and it made her smile.  She entered the little room just off the main coop to check her setter.  “Hi Momma.  How are you and the babies doing?” she cooed at the big red hen snuggled in the setting nest.  As she gently put her hand into the nest her heart soared.  Momma hen moved off the nest to reveal the new hatchlings.  The soft cheep, cheep, cheep of the new chicks was like a song in Wacie’s heart.  There were ten babies all soft and yellow.  Wacie picked up the hen, petting her gently as she did.  Again she reached into her pocket and pulled her special hen out a prize.  As the hen ate the cut up bits of apple out of Wacie’s hand it seemed that all was right with the world.

One chore left this morning and then she could go fix breakfast for Daddy.  As she milked the two cows she talked to them with the same kind heartedness that she had talked to the rest of the animals.  She finished up by rubbing both bags with balm and thanked them for the fresh milk.  She poured the milk into the stainless container and set it beside the fresh eggs.  She washed down the buckets and put them away for the evening milk.  She always snickered at the two because they were the gentlest of creatures.  She had insisted that they keep the two Jersey’s for milk and the last hired hand had to deal with that sudden kick every morning.  Since Wacie had started milking the two neither of them had even offered to kick.

Everything in the house, the eggs washed and candled, the cream skimmed and it and the milk in the refrigerator it was time to start breakfast.  “Daddy!  Are you ready for breakfast?” Wacie sang up the big staircase.   She started the bacon frying in the cast iron skillet while she stirred together homemade biscuits.  Breakfast cooking she reached for her coffee cup and filled it to the brim.  The hot aromatic brew filled her with warmth and delight.   Wacie clicked things off her mental list of morning chores as she stood waiting to turn the bacon.  As breakfast finished cooking and the plates were set at the table, Daddy came slowly, carefully down the stairs.  “Good Morning Sugar.  Something sure smells good.” he said in a soft, kind voice.  “Good morning, Daddy.” Wacie beamed as she kissed him good morning on the cheek.  

My Hero!

Strong as steal, but soft as a cotton ball my hero always.  I have watched him succeed in so many things, I have watched him struggle but always with love and passion.  I have watched him work hard to provide for us and worry for those that were not around.  I watched how he cared for others and learned from his lead.  Daddy you are my Hero now and always.  I love you so very much!!

reinforcements…..

This week has been a week of reinforcements.  Three things in particular have been reinforced.  The first thing is that appearances are just that.  Things are not always as they appear and people are not always what they seem.  One side of my family has always been into outward appearances.  It is something that was at the foundation of their upbringing.  Does it make them bad, no.  It just makes them happy to have a facade that the outside world sees.  I repossessed a house this week, the outside looks awesome.  They had planted trees, done landscaping, painted, put on a new roof.  The inside was trashed.  Made me think about the people that I know.  Some of them seem to live perfect lives, they have the perfect bodies, they are all about how they look to the rest of the world.  These same people have the worst personalities, they have more mental issues and have no true beliefs and most of them are fair weather friends.  Then I have friends that struggle like I do with life, love, and doing the right thing.  They are often not the prettiest person in the crowd, they don’t always have on make-up or wear the name brand clothes, they don’t always drive new cars or live in the 100,000 dollar homes.  But they have faith, they have character, they have stamina.  These people have trust and would stand there beside me through thick and thin.  Facade.

The second thing that has been reinforced is prayer and the power of.  Please if you happen to come across me in your prayers, pray that I have happiness, that I have courage, that I have my tongue tied in a knot or even that I trip over a rock to prevent me from walking into traffic.  Pray that there is a thicket of thorns around me to protect me from evil or that the storms of life lead me down the appropriate path, pray that I am healthy.  But please quit praying that I have strength.  I learned many years ago that when you pray for strength  God will show you just how strong you already are.  I am strong, I promise.  I really don’t need it proven any more than it already is.  So please if I cross your mind at prayer time….pray for rain.

The third and final thing that I was shown this week is that there are some places in this world no matter how much you love some of the people there are just not home.  That even though the people that you love there are the greatest and the most awesome people in the world that there are a whole bunch of people that just aren’t worth the time and trouble to deal with.  And that those that you love and even some that aren’t so great feel the same way about the same place.  But it goes on being that place because it takes too much energy to fight the masses.

So even though it was a rough week, it still had some really awesome moments and lots of learning going on.

good writers…..

Good writers have two things in common:  they prefer to be understood than admired; and they do not write for knowing and over-acute readers.

-Friedrich Nietzshe

 

I think this applies to all writers….better to be understood than to be famous.

2

Wacie looked up at the loft in the barn; the hay was stacked neatly there.   Climbing the latter, she was thankful that she had parked the one ton flatbed truck in the barn last night.  Wiggling her fingers into the pigskin gloves, she picked up the first bale of hay and tossed it down onto the flatbed below.  She repeated this process for ten more times before stopping to breathe.   Perspiration dripped down her face and she began to unlayer.  Her jacket and toboggan taken off, she began again.  Ten more bales over the edge and the button down now lay with the other clothes.  Years of office work had turned muscles soft and this hard work taxed her very being.  She went to bed early at night tired and sore in places that she never knew existed.  Down the loft ladder to start the truck, as the truck was warming up she climbed on the back of the flatbed to straighten the bales.  She opened the feeder and smiled.  Wacie had filled the feeder the night before when she parked the truck in the barn.  Still smiling to herself, she climbed into the cab and put the old flatbed into gear.  The motor roared to life and the truck lumbered forward into the starlit morning.  In the quiet solitude of the cab, Wacie’s thoughts wandered back down life’s roads.  Her thoughts drifted off through the stars like a meteor across the night sky.  A huge thud brought her back to the here and now.

She put the big truck in park to get out and see what had caused the abrupt stop in her thoughts and her forward motion.   The front tire was not only flat but buried in a big hole in the pasture.  “NO!  No, not today!!  Not in the dark out here by myself with the truck loaded!” the whisper broke the chill of the air.  Wacie open the door to the truck and sat on the edge of the floor board.  Her heart racing as fast as her mind, tears began to stream down her face.  She began to wipe at them with her gloves, trying to force them to stop.  She knew that the only thing that was going to stop them was to either let them take over or to get up and get busy.  The cattle were beginning to converge on the truck for they knew it was time for breakfast.  Wacie climbing on the flatbed pulled the dikes from her hip pocket and began to unload the hay.  Throwing it as far from the truck as she could to keep the cattle at bay, Wacie was already tired and the hard work only made the tears sting her eyes.     She tried to wipe away the stinging tears with her shirt sleeve.  After all the hay was unloaded she opened the glove box and got out the flash light for a better look at the tire situation.  She knew the jack wasn’t going to fit under the truck with it in the whole.  She climbed back into the cab, started the truck and put her foot firmly on the gas.  She put the truck in reverse and gunned the engine for all it was worth.  Slowly, the big truck began to move.  She gave it more gas as it did and in just a few minutes she was out of the whole.