1977 was a particularly tumultuous year for me. Susie and Bruce were married on the back lawn of the ranch house in June. It was a beautiful day and everything looked fresh and green. We had a rainstorm the morning of the wedding and Charlotte started clearing out the garage just in case. I was putting the white folding chairs up in the backyard and I told them, “Just keep on putting them up because it is not going to rain this afternoon”. Fortunately, I was right for once. The pasture from the house down to the lake was like a golf course. I had put about ten tons of fertilizer on it about a month before the wedding. We had mowed those ten acres just before the wedding and it did look like a well-kept lawn. The long back porch was lush with baskets of flowering impatiens and Boston ferns on every post. People told us for years following that it was the most beautiful wedding they’d ever attended.

That was the very happy part of my year. My mother had come up from San Antonio for the wedding and to be there for Susie. She had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma in February and the doctors estimated that she had six months to live. We took her home in our RV so she could rest while we made the five-hour trip down there. I think she just hung on for Susie’s wedding because when we took her back home to San Antonio she slept most of the way. A month later on July 24, 1977 she passed away.

A month after that a teen driving too fast ran over Sebastian and he was killed. Maurice, who worked for us in the nursery, loved Sebastian and he felt the same way about her. He would go up to the corner and wait for her every morning. When she met him he would trot in front of her car down the road, into our gate and right up to the building where she parked her car. My neighbor said that a teen was driving a car that was the same color as Maurice’s car and I’m sure he thought it was her. I buried him up on the hill at the back of the ranch. Those were the sad parts of the year for me.