Monday, June 4, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane

They say, "You Can't Go Home Again," and I guess that you really can't but you can make the trip and let your memories do the rest.  The Rancher and I took that trip on Saturday.  I was from Ellis County and we needed to take a trip to see about some things on the land that my family still owns.  We have a drilling rig on some of that property and we were anxious to see how things were progressing.  It has been an exciting time for myself and my siblings.  My sister, whose land the rig is on, named the well Dolly Mae, in honor of our mother.  The land is is where she grew up.  

Not only did my Mother live on this farm in Ellis county but also my sister and I.  I don't remember that part of my live as we moved away when I was a toddler to another place that we visited on Saturday.  I have many fond memories of spending time with my widowed grandmother and my Uncle who lived with her.  Grandma, as we called her was a very active outdoor person and always had a large garden and an orchard.  I think all farms boasted a big garden and orchard in those days.  This farm is on a creek and I fondly remember following grandma around on our early morning treks working in the garden and gathering any windfall from the peach, or apple trees.  There was also an abundance of wild plums just north of the house that was made into wonderful jams and jellies.  When the fruit was really ripe and needed harvesting, my Uncle would get the ladder and we would harvest the baskets of fruit.  

After the passing of my Uncle, My mother inherited the farm.  No one lived on it and the orchards grew up in a wild entanglement of vines, cottonwoods, and cedars.  One cannot walk through them today.  The creek is overgrown with the same.  It is almost a bog and one has to be careful about crossing it.  It is a haven for wildlife, and we always enjoy our trips "home".  The old house is still standing as it the barn, chicken house, garage and woodshed.  My grandfather and Uncles built these buildings and they have been sturdy through the years.  It is a part of the place that I can still recognize.  

I recall walking with Grandma one morning and finding a small cedar in the pasture.  At this time, there were very few cedars in Ellis County except those in the shelter belts that were planted in the depression.  These trees grew and enticed the birds that fed on their seeds and planted them all over the red, sandy loam land and they flourished.  Grandma, at that time was excited to see a little cedar and declared that she would have my Uncle fence it to protect it from the cattle.  I wonder if she would do the same today.

After checking in at the drilling rig and finding out all of the latest Stats, The Rancher and I headed back to Arnett to have a drink and drive on Eastward to the community that my Dad grew up in.  It was here that we moved from the Creek.  This country is also grown up in a mass of  red eastern cedar trees and it has became a forest where they aren't controlled.  We drove by my grandparents homestead, and were saddened that the big red dutch barn was no  longer there.  It was burned when a prairie fire went through a year ago.  In a sense this was a good thing, as it burned a lot of the cedar trees and the grass can grow where it couldn't before.

We passed the corner where my Dad, his siblings and my older sister had attended the Harmon School.  That too is gone but I can remember Christmas programs and last day of school picnics that the whole family attended.  It was a one room school with two paths.  We then went south and headed for a place that is now owned by my cousin.  We were glad to have a 4 wheel drive pick-up as the road was washed out and not one that is traveled often.
This was my second home.

I wished that I had taken my camera and I forget that my phone can take pictures so I can't really show you how things are now.  I just wanted to remember how they were.  The only thing I could identify was the windmill and tanks and I know they aren't the same ones that were there 60+ years ago.  But is was near where the barn was.  There is nothing else left and it is overgrown with cedars, and tall grasses.  We could tell where the barn and lots had been because of the black soil in the sandy ground.  I reminisced about the few things I could remember.  Finding our favorite red cow dead in the shin-oak patch in the early spring, riding on my daddy's shoulders to check his crop in the field west of the house, the pen that held the old sow and her litter of pigs, walking the half mile up the road to visit our neighbor and get the mail.  I especially remember anxiously waiting for my sister to walk the mile and half home as she was my only play mate.  

My parents were poor, and it was a struggle living on a farm when you were renting it.  My parents eventually moved into Arnett and owned a rooming house (The Grand Hotel) and my dad went to work for the Highway Department.  I have recorded stories concerning this and still have a lot of tales to tell about the "Rascals on the Square".  It was a great time to be a kid.  No television, making your own entertainment and earning our own spending money.  Take your own trip down memory lane and remember the good times in your growing up years.  It was a great day!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

God is in Control

Today I am doing a blog about "Church".  I have thought about this for quite sometime but just didn't know quite how to go about it.  There has been so much controversy in churches lately that I have been quite concerned about it.  If you go to church, you will know what I am talking about.  If you don't go to church then this doesn't pertain to you and you can only guess what I am talking about.  

A church is not, what most people believe to be, the building where we worship. The people who gather in the building during a worship service is what makes up the body of the church.  We as Christians are to be the example to the rest of the world.  I am not saying that we are better because we go to church, but if we go and are born again believers we are to be on the same page with God.  This does not always happen and we make mistakes as all people do but we are to get on our knees and ask Gods forgiveness, pick ourselves and let our lights shine forth.  Our work should never be done when we are serving God.   

In these times there is so much conflict in churches that Satan is dancing in the aisles.  Not only do we get bent out of shape because someone picked the wrong carpet but we get upset with how the song service goes and what Pastor said in the pulpit.  When Paul went on his missionary journeys, planting churches, he instructed them to unite and be strong in the Lord.  We should heed to that same advice today.  

If I belong to a body of believers I am expected to be involved with them.  This doesn't mean that I can't do other things but if God has a plan for my church, I should support it, not make trouble about it.  I am seeing churches all over this area splitting because of this.  A church is only as strong as the people who serve in it.  If my church is a bible believing church, then I am for what goes on there.  I can't complain about something that I have not been a part of.  If my church is having a special event, I should be a part of it.  I shouldn't take a covered dish, leave and hope that someone else shows up for the party.  

In truth, this blog is for me.  I am lazy in the things that I do.  As I get older, it is sometimes easier to not do everything.  Oh, I want to do the fun things, but why do we have to do all of the work too.  Our church is very small, everyone has a job, and it mostly is working together.  If someone is gone, we miss them.  Even in a larger church it takes everyone to make the body complete.  It just doesn't seem right if you are not in your usual pew, sitting beside your friends, or if you get upset and quit singing in the choir.  Even if your don't have a solo, your voice is what helps make the song complete.  

I have to remember this and impress it......We do not go to church to please or serve anyone but God.  We are not to notice how everyone else is doing or not doing.  That is God's job.  Maybe Pastor had a lousy sermon today, but it touched a lot of lives because the alter was full at the invitation.  Maybe someone wore rumpled clothes and old shoes.  Maybe it is all they have and so what, they are in Gods house and He is looking at their heart not what they are wearing.  Can we do less?  Are we the ones in charge?  Maybe Pastor is  not pleasing us.  Maybe he is having a problem of his own.  There are so many ways that Satan gets into our churches today...and we allow it to happen.

I must not forget.....God is in control.  Sin is still sin, no mater what our society has tried to say and Jesus is still the only way to Heaven, and now that I have preached my sermon, I think I shall have a talk with God and go to bed.   

Monday, May 7, 2012

Car Shopping

Dear Friends, I am shopping for a different  means of transportation.  There is really nothing wrong with my 2003 Suburban but the Rancher thinks it is time for ME to have something new to drive.  He has bought 2  pickups (that is trucks to you city folks), 2 tractors and a worn out Isuzu since I have had anything new.  Anyhow, I have been looking around.  

I am appalled that what I want to have cost so much.  Only 10 years ago (well almost)  I bought my lovely 8 passenger gas guzzler for a fair amount of money.  The past week I have been looking at 5 passenger fuel efficient cars that cost  1 and a half times what my old car did. I don't know what to do. A new suburban gets right up there to buying a half of a house.  I do spend a lot of time in my auto but not enough to take up residence.

I love my old car.  It is my truck,  It is comfortable There are no dents in it.  The paint is good and dad gum it, the radio still works.  Americas love affair with SUV's is something that I can relate to.  I love to sit up where I can see what is coming down the road. Recently my mother-in-law was riding with me and she didn't realize there were so many things beyond the fence along the highway.  Her little car sits right down there on the ground and you can't see a thing.

The new vehicles are beautiful, They have on star, Sirius  radio, sun roofs, back up camera, heated seats, yadadadadadaaa.  You get the picture.  Oh but listen they all, and I do mean all of them, have BLACK carpet.  Maybe the entire interior is black.  Some have accent colors but Black is somewhere throughout.  It is the new thing in the American Auto industry.  Well, anyhow at the product that I am looking at.  I live on a ranch on a dirt road and have a car port.  When I opened one of the doors to a car on the lot, the footprints on the floor looked terrible on that black. I wonder if mud, muck and whatever else comes from the boots of a cattle person would look like on that floor.  I have always preferred brown.  That is not a choice.  You can have it on the seats but I am not really concerned about them.

Well, I am going to look at the big city in the Texas Panhandle later this week.  That is where I bought my Suburban so many years ago.  Maybe they will have something that I will just fall in love with.  It will have to be just perfect, Something with a classy color.  Not RED...Red, makes me drive too fast.  Well, at least I think the Highway Patrolmen notice you more if you are driving red.  I see red cars pulled over more than any other color.  One of my daughters had a red car and it always made her drive too fast too.  

If you see me in a month or two and I am still driving my old Suburban, that will be okay.  I am rather fond of it and it only has 176,000+ miles on it.  It is just getting broke in and I found out it is not worth a thing to anyone but me.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Thoughts

I was recently reading how to remember to spell things.  Little tricks that we learn to encourage our minds.  It reminded of sayings that we learned in grade school to help us remember how to spell geography and arithmetic.  To remember arithmetic we would simply say "A rich Irishman thought he might eat toads in cream". For Geography it was George Edwards old grandmother rode a pig home yesterday."  How in the world this came about, I do not know.  I was in the 5th grade and I am sure the teacher thought we would have more fun saying these little chants and remembering the 1st letter of each one rather than actually just learning the word.  I am sure she wasn't the only teacher to use this theory.  Today, arithmetic is simply MATH.  My grandchildren look at me in wonder  when I ask them about their arithmetic homework.  It sounded scary to me too. 

It has been HOT in the Panhandle.  It was over 100 degrees on three different days this week.  Today, it is 73.  A windy Sunday afternoon and a good day for the rancher to take a nap and rest.  He has been buying cattle, putting up hay and planting feed.  It is a busy time on the Ranch.  We still have calves to work.  Some of that is done but as we don't have cowboys around , The Rancher and Son do it when they can.  Times have changed.  When you get older, you find that you need to have  a slower pace if you are going to make it through the day.

Last year at this time I had mowed the yard....This year I can say that I have mowed the yard 5 times.  Love the moisture but it keeps me busy.  Now the yard on the Ranch isn't 200' X 150' like some of those in town.  It is a major project to mow this place.  We mow the area from fence to fence and what we can't get, we put up a hot fence and let the cattle eat.  We mow the ditches from the corner to a certain fence north of the house.  It is just something that I want done.  I hate snakes, and other predators that like to slither through the grass and disturb my otherwise welcoming homestead.  By the way,  I saw several snakes on the road this week.  They are finding their way about.  

I am not having a garden.  The Rancher says we will be traveling and that I do not have time for one.  Isn't he sweet.  I really like fresh garden though.  I put some tomato plants and peppers in some liquid feed tubs and they are doing great.  I had to laugh as I thought "If I have to, I can just take these with me in the camper."  Wrong!!! I can't even scoot those things around .  I might take a planter with some petunias in them but that is about all I can lift anymore.  I just a weakling not as strong as I once was. I really am reminded of that each Spring when yard work begins.  

We had a wonderful church service this morning.  We had a visitor.  It is so exciting when someone stops by.  You see, we are pretty isolated and hardly see any new faces.  The Rancher always prays for the little church on the hill to be filled on Sunday morning.  I remind him that God will be there and if WE are filled with His spirit, that will be amazing.  There are so few neighbors that don't go to church somewhere that we truly feel blessed when a new face joins us.  Isn't God wonderful?  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Country Livin' Remembering Dad

I am thinking of my Dad today.  He was an Engineer by profession  but his younger days were spent on his family ranch and he was a cowboy at heart.  He was also a "Cowboy Poet".  Looking through his writings, I found one that I did't remember having.  It was written the year before he passed away.  I loved reading it and it is written just how he talked and wrote it.

Country Livin'         By R.C. "Pat" Richard    March 4, 1997

It's quiet an' it's peaceful at out home
here in the country
and when the evenin' sunset's slowly
fadin' from the sky.
We can hear wild turkeys gobble from
their roost down in the Oak trees-
and watch the timid white tails
come to graze upon the Rye.

In the meadow Bobwhites callin' as
they covey up for nighttime
then the Lonesome Hooty owls begin to
sing their mournful tune-
and from out beyond the Ridge there comes
some mighty purty music-
From the "Local Coyote Trio" sayin'
howdy to the moon.

There's always somethin' doin' but there
ain't no need to hurry-
cause there ain't nobody worrin' 'bout
when it'e gettin done.
There's nothin' that I'm doin' that 
can't wait until tomorrow
so I work some, an' I loaf some, an'
 I take time out for fun.

Now town life is excitin' with its
hustle an' its bustle-
and the heaps of noisy people an'
a myriad of lights.
But there just ain't no comparin' it
to Livin' in the county
Where wild birds sing the live long day
an' coyotes sing all night.

So let me play my hand out in this
Quiet peaceful setting-
among the Lord's creations , Let me
Live and Let me die.
And when I ride that Last Long trail
just plant me 'neath the Oak trees
an' let me Rest forever underneath
God's clear blue sky.

I can just hear him saying all of this.  He loved living on "Retirement Ranch" and loved his cattle, horses and the wild life around him.  Mom probably would have enjoyed more time at the "town house" but she was happy wherever Dad was.  I miss them but they left so many happy memories.

Monday, April 16, 2012


 TORNADO ALLEY....  it is where I live.  It is in the heartland of the country and also includes a good part of the South.  I grew up having a great respect for storms and spent many nights in the storm shelter.  In my early years, there was a killer tornado that struck in our area at Woodward.  The storm happened on April 9,1947.  Ironically there was another storm 65 years later on April 15 that hit the same city.  This is the town that I visit, if I want to do shopping at WalMart, Dollar Tree, Braums, or Mcdonalds and other places not located in the smaller towns. It is the town where my daughter and her family live.  We have a host of friends there and extended family members that live there, it is our neighboring community. 

Tornado's are not particular where they touch down or what damage they do.  They come out of the clouds in the daytime and night.  Unfortunately this one came at night. The storms were set off in the afternoon of the day and I watched the storm chasers and trackers on TV from early afternoon until 3 A,M,  It was a long day.
I have a son-in-law that is a storm tracker.  He and grandson Elvis were a part of this chase.  They drove hundreds miles on their adventure.  They saw a lot of activity.  This is one of the storms that they watched form and dance across Oklahoma.  I would not want to be in the path of this.  This particular one was in open country and did not do much damage.  Well, I didn't intend for these pictures to be stacked on top of each other but being the technical brain  dummy  that I am, it just happened. Yea,  I got it changed.  

The storms of the day came into our state from the Texas Panhandle and worked across into Kansas.  I have heard it said that there were over 100 tornado's that day in Oklahoma and Kansas.   There were 6 lives lost and many injuries that are critical.  Our hearts and prayers go out to the families who have experienced this tragedy. May God give them comfort and healing.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fred and Cecil

Do you ever read or do something that triggers a memory?  Well, I had that experience while listening to a conversation concerning ladders.  Remember, I came from a tiny village where everyone knew everyone else's business.  I am sure that it wasn't always appreciated, but being the nosy caring people that we were, it just happened that way.  Some of our information came from the postmistress who saw everyone in town at least once a day and some of it came from the family who operated the central phone office.  Yes, we still had a switch board phone system in the town where I grew up and everyone had a phone with a crank on it to ring the operator.  

You could always call the phone office if you wanted to know the correct time, where the fire was or what was happening at the school.  I really don't know how they knew the correct time as that was the days before cell phones or computers and that is how I find out the correct time today.  I guess they just looked at their clock which was probably fairly accurate and gave that as the correct time.  As for the other things that went on, I am guessing that they just learned a lot with their job.  You know how Sarah was on the Andy Griffith Show, well I imagine most phone operators who lived in small towns were pretty much  the same.  

I have gotten off the subject a little bit haven't I?  Oh well, you needed to know all of this too, I am sure. I will tell you about Fred and Cecil.  Fred was a carpenter in the community.  I am not sure if he was a full timer or just knew more than the other guys, who were mostly farmers or worked at the institution in the neighboring town.  (The institution was for mental patients, and that is another story)  Anyhow, Cecil and his wife decided to build a new house in town.  Their larger two story farm house was all the way out in the country, across the highway. ( I never did know why they wanted a different house, unless it was to downsize.) 

Cecil, couldn't build this house alone as he was also a busy farmer and besides, he just needed help.  Cecil hired Fred to help him.  They were progressing quite well on the house when they got into an argument.  They were putting on the roof and Fred wasn't doing things the way Cecil thought things should be done.  

Fred says, "Cecil, this has to be done this way to give things better support." To this Cecil replied, "This is my house, and I am paying you to do things the way I want them done."  This discussion went on for sometime and could be heard around the neighborhood.    After a time, Cecil told Fred to just take his tools and go home.  Fred obliged and left.  

Later in the day, people noticed that Cecil was still up on the roof, and all alone.  It seems that when Fred left, he also took HIS ladder.  Cecil was too embarrassed to ask for help.  I guess he got some things done and I am sure when he didn't come home, his wife would have went looking for him.  

Fred did go back and help Cecil finish building his new home and I am sure that Cecil even listened to him for advise.