Cowboys ready for the ranch.
Gin visits the farm 1954

Things had smoothed out and were going very well at my Telephone job and things were much less stressful. We were spending more weekends in San Antonio and at the ranch. My greatest joy was going out to the ranch with my two boys. The boys and I would go out almost every weekend that we could and spend Saturday and Sunday out there enjoying the open air, the hard work and the peaceful solitude.

Words cannot explain the joy and peace I would get by going to the farm. Being outdoors and working with the cattle and the crops filled up an empty place. It was a simpler life and one that gave me a lot of satisfaction. After a week of hectic negotiations and problem solving I could go out there and work or plow and enjoy the serene feeling of release from all stress.

We had a hill at the back of the place, and sometimes I would go up there and just sit and enjoy the view. It was beautiful and serene and I loved living close to nature.  Several times as I sat quietly, I would see a deer grazing or an armadillo rooting along. Red birds, mockingbirds and blue jays would always be flitting around, each singing their special song.

Proud Dad with his boys, 1954
The boys loved to ride with me on the tractor

Once, as I sat real still, I felt like someone was watching me. I slowly looked all around and finally I looked up. There, lying on a limb of the red oak tree, was a civet cat, with his long tail hanging down. They are scarce and nocturnal, so it was the first time I had ever seen one. He and I watched each other for some time and when I finally moved he disappeared so fast, I had to wonder if he had been there at all.

One day,  I took the boys with me when I was harrowing. In the photo, you can see the harrow in the background.  The harrow was a series of disks that cut up the soil and pulverized the dirt to prepare it for seeding. When the boys were riding with me I made them stand on either side of me slightly to my rear. As we were going round and round the field, Tom kept chattering until I told him to be quiet for a while.

Tom-with hat.
Chip and Tom on the back of the grain drill.

Later, when I was making a turn I checked the boys. I looked into Tom’s little dirty tear stained face and exclaimed, “What in the world is the matter?” He pointed to his empty head with no hat. As we went on around the next time there it was. It had blown off and since I had told him to be quiet he had said nothing.  That really shows the personality and character of that little guy. The hat had been sliced to pieces under the harrow blades. I stopped for the day, cleaned the boys up and immediately went in to the farm store and let Tom pick up a new hat. He had a big smile on his face with his new hat, but I really felt so bad about telling him to be quiet.