This is sure to be a lengthy post but I do it for my family. My sisters and Mom visit my blog at times and they were unable to make the trip to see the places where Dad grew up.
My Dad grew up as a kid mostly in San Saba, Texas. Times were hard but he said that he really never knew it at the time. There was always food on the table and to a young boy that's what counts. He was the next to the youngest of six children. His dad was quite a bit older than his mom.
I never met my Grandpa he passed away when my Dad was 10 years old. I have pictures of him and of all the kids my Dad looks the most like him. He worked several jobs, he was a pumper in the oilfield, he laid bricks for a road that still exist in Breckenridge, Texas. We have driven across those bricks many times going to visit my Grandma when she was still living. We drove across them on this trip and Dad told me about his dad laying those bricks. Makes you feel good that a part of what he did with his hands is still around.
Dad told me of when he was a young boy not too long before his Dad passed away. It was during a cold winter and their house caught fire. Everyone got out but dad only had what he had on...his long underwear and he was able to grab his shoes. His Dad made it out but without his shoes and his feet froze.
My Grandma was a hard worker, too. She helped to run a gas station...she pumped the gas. One time Bonnie and Clyde came by to buy gas she said they treated her very nice and paid for the gas. Bonnie had a machine gun lying across her lap...Grandma was asked if she was scared and she said she wasn't....I would have been!
She also worked in a nursing home and later on in a sewing factory.
There is quite a funny story of Grandma and Grandpa. My Grandpa was about 40 years old when he asked my Grandma to marry him. She was about 20 years old at the time. She left a note for her Moma and Pa saying....Dear Moma and Papa I have went to meet Mr. Doyle to marry him. Bye Bye now....Love Nodra The piece of paper she wrote this on was framed and hung in her home for as long as I can remember.
Now for the pictures....
Down by the old mill stream in San Saba, Texas. They have restored some of the pieces. My Dad said that as a young kid, him and several boys once took gasoline and poured on the water and set it afire.
This is the old jail. I asked Dad if he had ever been in there and he said all the school kids use to tour it. Perhaps it was in hopes of keeping them on the right side of the law.
Pecan Grove Baptist Church is where Dad attended with his family as a child. Daddy and his brother Desmond "Des" worked for the pastor of the church plowing and planting his fields. I believe Des was about 10 years older than Dad. They lived in a shack outside of the pastor's house. They could have eggs from the hens that the pastor's wife had but Daddy said Des was always in a hurry to get to work or get to bed. They always ate oatmeal....Dad won't eat oatmeal to this day unless it's oatmeal cookies which is his favorite cookie!
As we drove along the road we seen lots of deer in the fields and crossing the road. Dad told of stories of growing up with his friends and neighbors. He pointed out places and things that happened.
Harmony Ridge Cemetary is built upon a rock hill. Dad and Des once helped to dig a grave there. He said it took 2 days with the help of others. He still wonders to this day why anyone would start a cemetary on a rock hill. It took picks and shovels and lots of muscle to get the work done.
Dad and his younger brother "Bill" along with some friends spent many a day swimming here. Under the large rock was a little air pocket where you could come up and catch a breath of air. They also would swing out on the rope. I'm sure over the years the rope had to be replaced. The land was owned by the Reisen family and then was donated to be used as a park.
We left San Saba saturday morning...while we were there we did see my Aunt Evelyn dad's sister in law. She was married to Des but he passed away 3 years ago. We went to visit them so long ago when I was just a kid...some of my best memories were visiting them on the ranch and riding a horse and playing in the hay barns with my cousins. We also stopped by my cousin Cindy's home for a very quick visit!
We arrived Saturday around noon at my dad's youngest brother and wife's house. Dad and Uncle Bill always have lots of stories to share and they also try to outdo each other on everything to this day!
It wasn't long before they had the trotlines set out and we headed down to one of the ponds to try and catch some bait. Bill always says Dad is resting while he is working and you'll notice in most of the pictures Dad is taking a lil' rest.
This is the river behind Bill's house. He pumps water out of it to irrigate the pecan trees in the front of his home.
Dad goes up the hill on the steps that Bill and Sandy made of logs.
Dad found this live oak tree not too far from where I was fishing and called for me to come look. Up in the tree was a prickly pear cactus growing in the branches of the tree. My Grandma use to make prickly pear preserves. Bet it was a sticky task!
Back at Bill and Sandy's we took a look at their garden. Sandy does most of the gardening and sells some of her produce to the locals.
This is some of the okra that they have growing. It is called "Fat Okra" and is very tender. We each brought home some to cook as well as some dried pods for seeds. I hope to plant some next summer.
Bill and Sandy also have a pecan orchard of about 300 trees in front of their home. They harvest the pecans and sell them and also work for other folks tending their orchards.
They built their home some 20 years ago and have lots of rock work on the inside. It is done in the rustic cabin style.
Dad slept out here. They have a screened in back porch. Our grandma use to have one when we went to visit. I just love screened in porches!
We left Tues morning bright and early and started making our way back home. We stopped at Dad's older brother's house and visited with my Uncle Don and Aunt Nancy. We had a wonderful home cooked dinner and homemade pecan pie. It was so good to be able to have a few hours to visit with them.
There are more stories but it will have to wait until another day. It was a trip that I will always treasure and feel sad that my sisters didn't have the chance to see and hear all the memories that my daddy treasures to this day!