Me and My Old Truck

I scheduled a fishing trip with a couple of my amigos, and it was agreed that it was my time to drive. I informed the Boss Lady of the arrangement and she commented it was good because taking other people around was the ONLY time I ever really cleaned up and out Old Whitey.
In retrospect, like most things she is not wrong. I always taught in my real estate marketing classes, as well as practiced in my own long ranch sales career that people don’t mind their own dirt but don’t like other folk’s messes.
In doing that “clean up and out” project I got to thinking me and my truck are a lot alike. I never did like change too much and so pretty much bought the same “make up” of truck for over 40 years. Same design, with a few improvements as they came along, same color, same most everything.
The current one has been “kept around” longer than the others because there is now much less time with “my bucket in the bucket seats” due to retirement. In truck years I guess we are about the same age. WELL past our prime, neither are nearly attractive nor powerful as when we were newer. Scarred up with a good many bumps and bruises adorning our carriages, both internal and external.
But we both “start up” MOST days and can still rumble on down the road. Maybe a little slower and with more maintenance than in times past. We have pulled some pretty heavy loads with livestock or farm equipment in or on a trailer behind us. And gotten into some pretty “hairy” drives in deep sand and mud or on a few rocky slopes.
But we made it out most of the time without incident and the few times we did not make it, not a lot of serious help or repair were needed.
And I reckon we BOTH could be replaced, but I don’t think it would be worth the time, trouble, and cost to trade either of us in just yet!
Yep, me and that old truck sure do seem to have several things in common!

Heifer Hunting

With the start of a new school year, it is a bit more complicated to arrange trips down into La Brasada with my Grand Kids. The 3rd Grade and Kindergartener girls have scholastic duties that outrank our country runaways. The nearly 3 year one is not quite so restricted with his weekday obligations.
Our daughter said she was taking the kids down on Saturday to feed the gentle heifers we have on the place before they go back to their “real home” next week. On Friday I left a bag of cubes and some corn out there so they could feed the livestock and wildlife. Much to my dismay we had obligations that precluded me enjoying the weekend event with them.
I asked Jesscia to report back to us after their adventure and it seemed like in a fairly short period of time, we received a video call from our Home Place. As luck would have it the cattle were around the Water Trough by our Pens not far from the front gate. So “the hunt” was not too hard. There was a great debate on who saw the animals first between the two oldest. The youngest seemed happy to be yelling into the phone “Look Mimi, Look Poppi, it’s the “Hifers”!
After a quick count we agreed there was one missing. Our nearly 6 year old said it was because she was mad at her Friends. The older one was afraid she got lost or was hurt. The youngest seemed to have no concern about the absence. That, in a nutshell, tells you where those 3 are in this phase of personality and life development.
There was a significant debate on where to put out the corn and who got to carry the Big Old Coffee Can that is our official deer corn holder when feeding by hand. I wisely decided to let their Mom sort that out without my interference in such an important negotiation.
On a “just today” level, I am hopeful they had a real good time. But on a longer- term point of view, involvement with those activities has a different perspective for me. It is my fervent desire for those precious little ones to develop a deep- seated love and connection with that place and the animals who roam around on it. That way heifer hunting and other similar activities can continue, Lord Willing, for another generation or more.
Seems like 5 generations is just a good “getting started” goal for our involvement out there on our little piece of red dirt and creek bottom country.

Straddling both sides of the fence

I heard a person recently refer to their opinion as being “ambivalent” on a certain topic related to current events. The statement reminded me of a term not heard nearly as often as it was a few decades ago. Straddling The Fence means about the same thing to many of us old timers. Just not sure which “side” to be on.
I can truthfully say that term brings back a very vivid Tale from La Brasada for me. I was between 8 &10 years of age and had helped my Grand Dad build a new fence that summer along the county road boundary of a small pasture he leased that joined our Home Place. I ultimately bought those acres, and it has been included in our operations for many years.
School had just started and dove season was beginning. That tract of land had and still has some big old Bull Mesquite trees and Live Oaks along a drainage that runs through it and continues to flow across the county road, ultimately joining into San Miguel Creek.
Charlie Rosenauer and I went “sneaking” along that creek bottom in hopes of seeing some doves sitting in those big trees. He was never one to “waste shells” on flying doves. That aspect of dove hunting was left to his family and guests out in the fields or by the Big Stock Tank. I don’t recall if he harvested any birds or not, but we finally came to the road where that new barbed wire fence was stretched tight.
I was gingerly trying to get between those wires, hoping to not get cut with those razor spikes, still shiny and sharp. With one foot on each side, I looked down to discover a BIG Rattler coiled up right there under that fence. I cannot tell you which side I ended up on, but I do recall “yelling loud and moving fast”! Grand Dad sent Mr. Rattler into the Great Beyond courtesy of a 12 gauge with # 7 ½ shot. Fired from about 15 feet away there was a pretty big and bloody mess left to confirm the story.
After a quick check that there were no fang bites or other permanent injuries, we walked back along that red sandy road up to the Farm House which had been built in 1866. Grand Dad relayed the events to Granny who had 2 questions and 1 statement. Are you hurt? No Ma’am. Did you tear your clothes anywhere? No Ma’am. Good. Now take better care to watch where you are going and STOP straddling them fences!
Good practical words still all these years later.

Where did that come from?

I am not too sure that all who are reading this rambling will relate to the content. But I feel pretty sure a good number of you will. And just FYI, if you don’t already comprehend the experience, hold on to your hat…it’s coming to many of the rest of you. And just maybe faster than you want it to arrive!
I find myself routinely “stumbling” across things that seem significantly “out of place”. Or maybe discovering something that has no business being where it’s found.
There were times in the past when I could put the blame on my children, and more recently on my 3 young grandchildren. But truth be told, I find stuff way too often in the “wrong place” when no person, save yours truly, could be the culprit. Now I guess I could blame Aliens or Ghosts, but in my rational moments, few and far between as they sometimes can be, I think it is has to do with my “Some Timers” stage of life.
My reactions upon these finds run quite a gambit. From happiness to know where a certain lost item is found, to bewilderment of how it got there. And then there is those moments of frustration at having no ideas the steps that lead to the placement in that spot.
But the thought just occurred to me. Why not just accept that it is part of the aging process and enjoy having the opportunity to live long enough to experience this stage. Seems like the best solution.
But on second thought…I wonder where THAT idea came from????

Location

A few years ago, we moved to New Braunfels “Up The Hill”, as the locals call it, from Landa Park. For a while I mourned the “loss” of the acres we had in Spring Branch with the wide variety of wildlife that came around most every morning and evening.
But gradually I have come to appreciate the benefits of our decision and agree now it was a wise choice. That realization was further cemented today when I drove through the 122 acres of pretty close to heaven, where the Comal Springs, Comal Lake, and the Comal River all come together.
It is such a beautiful piece of land with HUGE oaks and green grass. The “resident deer herd” are much gentler than some of the cow dogs I have known down in La Brasada. And while it can get sure enough crowded on weekends and holidays, the place is a real sanctuary in the early morning hours with more wildlife than people around.
That reminder got me to thinking that it is pretty easy to be at peace in such a location. But I have known some very contented individuals in spots far less wonderful than that. When I was upset about something as a child, My Granny, Della Fischer Rosenauer, would tell me “You have two choices in life. Either change your outlook or your stomping grounds”.
I did not much understand or enjoy that admonition in those days, but sure see the wisdom now. During my years in Higher Education at the different institutions where I worked, many former military people came my way as an Advisor and Professor. Some lived in a number of places that were FAR less wonderful than Landa Park. Yet they still could talk about the great people they met, and the fine things they were exposed to during their tours of duty.
It got me to remembering about another saying that was often used in my “circle” of friends and family when growing up. “It is the strong and wise person that can learn how to bloom wherever they find themselves planted”.
I reckon in my backwoods way of looking at life, even in today’s time of severe drought, I am fortunate to have a little piece of La Brasada that I can wander around over and find some joy, if only I look for it in the proper way. And also get to be around Landa Park when desired.
Not too sure if that is wisdom sneaking into this old brain, or just an admission of the obvious. But whatever the source, it seems to be the correct way to look at life from the location I am standing.

Gun Trading

I recently wrote a Tale about a Cattle Trading trip with my Grand Dad Rosenauer when I was a young boy. Because some days you can say Good Morning to me at Sunrise and I am stuck for an answer till Noon, it caught me by surprise when this Tale came to mind while right in the middle of writing the first one.
So, I figured I better put it to paper right quick before it “melted away” into that dark empty crevice called My Brain, to be lost forever. I mentioned how my Grand Dad would “meander around” a while before coming up with an amount to buy or sell something.
My Dad was the exact opposite most of the time. He had enough of the livestock business growing up in La Brasada, and never owned a cow or horse in his life as an adult. But besides his family and hunting, he sure did love to “mess with guns”.
My Dad would tinker and work with a gun and reload for it, until it shot as good as the rifle possibly could. Then he would lose interest in it and go to the next one. My Momma said it was a good thing he did not have the same attitude about his Wife and Kids!
As an adult I came to realize Dad had about 6 or 8 “gun nuts buddies” (his words not mine) who shared this passion. I don’t think they ever made much money on their many trades, but they sure did “swap” a lot of guns around.
Please keep in mind that was a VERY different point in time and all those men know each other very well. I guess a few “outside sales” did occur every once in a while. But mostly they simply traded among themselves.
I distinctly remember one time Dad had a sweet rifle that fit me, and I shot it really well. I told him not to sell it, and about the 3rd or 4th time it came back into his gun cabinet I asked how much he wanted for that gun. He told me and I wrote him a check for it on the spot. I clearly and somewhat strongly said it was now mine. But he could keep and use it. Just don’t ever sell it again. I believe he shot that gun for 11 more years before sending it “Home” with me. And I used it till the barrel wore slap dab out!
My Dad’s negotiating techniques were somewhat limited in style and format. His words were almost the same:
“I dont’ have to seel this gun and don’t owe no money on it. My family is gonna eat whether it sells or not. So, pay me $XXX or let’s forget about trading and talk about something else.”
As a reasonably successful marketing teacher, speaker, writer, and sales practitioner, I was always trying to point out other strategies or options to them. Grand Dad would “wander around in the desert” with his approach and Dad was a “take it or leave it” kind of a guy.
Far be it from me to question the integrity or character of these two significant role models for me and others. But is sure does seem like having a few more “sales tools in your selling portfolio” was a good thing. But then what does an old backwoods south Texas Aggie Doc know about much anyway? After all I am still trying to come up with a prompt response to Good Morning!

Where I am vs. Where am I

Have you ever noticed how a change in the order of just one word can make all the difference?
Many times in my life I have asked Where Am I? Lost in a big city or in the thick brush of La Brasada. Awakened from a disturbing dream or in the storm of a personal crisis. A feeling of anxiety and fear can come tumbling down. A lack of balance and stability. Off course and uncertain.
But when I think or say Where I Am, that most often reflects a feeling of awareness and understanding. And often a feeling of comfort and contentment.
And that is what this gift from me to you this day is about.
An acknowledgment that our “fit” together brings me much joy and security.
In fact, of the many blessings that have come my way, so many more than could ever be counted, knowing you and understanding that I belong with you in my life is one of the very best I have known.
So today, I want you to know that at it relates to my contentment in Life’s Journey…Where I Am with You is where I want to be.