Crawdads and Roses

Mom's Roses
Mom’s Roses

My parent’s house was on the south side of Fort Worth, Texas, a city of about almost 800,000 today, but back in 1969, when I was 13, it was about half that. Point was, Fort Worth didn’t seem like a big city then; the neighbors we had were friendly and their kids wandered the small streets without fear. Not so much today.

I remember mom telling me that they bought the small L-shaped ranch-style house because of its location right next to Kellis park, which touched the west side of the house. “You kids needed space to play.” The small back yard was chain-link fenced. The front had split-rail fencing that was covered in mounds of climbing roses. A long concrete driveway ran up the front of the house ending in the attached two car garage. The driveway was framed on the left by the same split-rail fencing sunk in a flowerbed, with the same sprawling rose bushes. My mother loved roses. My dad didn’t want anyone using the driveway or front yard as a bicycle ramp into the park so the rose fence was beautiful and to my practical, retired air force master-sergeant father, served a good purpose. Secretly, I believe he loved the roses as much as mom.

The house was big enough for three kids, but not spacious. Four bedrooms, one used to be a den at the front of the house; a large living room with a white brick fireplace and a large kitchen on the back with a door that connected to the garage. My brother had a basketball goal mounted on a pole just at the corner of the garage and practiced incessantly when he wasn’t hitting tennis balls against the garage doors.

It was true that the best feature about that house for us the was the park. My sister was three years older and my brother nine years younger than me, and we all loved the park for different reasons. It had a ramshackle tennis court and playground equipment (swings, teeter-totters) and a city swimming pool! We all learned to swim there, in chlorine-laced water that brought us home disinfected, pruney and red-eyed in the summer.

The park had another attraction, a sort of combo creek and city rainwater drainage system. Now being a country girl from Jacksboro, Texas, my mother told us that there were probably crawdads in the creek and told us how to catch them. We would steal bacon fat from the refrigerator and armed with a safety-pin and string, would regularly yank the ONE lone crawdad that we managed to find under the rocks at the edge of the creek. He was a big sucker with ancient blue claws that could pinch a blood blister anywhere he latched on to.  That poor crawdad got hauled out of the creek over and over while we laughed and watched him furiously try to seek his revenge before we tossed him back in.  There were even a few spotted sun perch and tons of minnows in the creek that my small brown terrier Ginger would try to catch; blowing bubbles through her nose while in hot pursuit of a fishy snack. The back yard had a sand box built primarily for my brother Billy. Many a fort and imaginary off-road track were built in that sand box, while he wasn’t burying our dogs up to there noses in the cool sand. The dogs loved it during the hot Texas summers.

We also waded through the pond by the child-sized concrete drainage pipe to get golf balls out of the water for my father. He would pay us for all we dredged up. I actually think it was ransom to get us out of the house for a while. My father did not play golf. It makes me shudder now to think of it, but I regularly used to crawl through the drainage pipe under the Trail Lake intersection to the other side of the park. It was a time in childhood where you know nothing bad could ever happen and you would be home by dark for supper.

Great memories live in that house. My parents are dead now and my brother, but the house is still there. I have only driven by the outside one time. Hopefully the family that lives there has children who laugh as much as we did there.  And I hope the grandchildren of that poor crawdad are still putting up a good fight.

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Drive Time

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I was thankful today for Delmar Day.  I remember he was in charge of Human Resources when I was hired. He knew I lived in Weatherford and told me during my interview, “You’ll have the sun at your back when you drive to work and the sun at your back when you drive home.” I also remember something else about Delmar. He never forgot your name once he met you. What a gift. It made me feel pretty special when he called me by name whenever I saw him.

Bones and Blades

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I was driving in to my teaching job last week when I came upon a dinosaur bone. Well not a real dinosaur bone, but to me it was as startling as unexpectedly having the ribcage of a brontosaurus appear on the road in front of you. It was a single blade of an industrial wind turbine making it’s way through the morning traffic in Mineral Wells, Texas. It was the scale of the thing that was almost frightening. I had never been that close to a wind turbine blade before, although I had a vague knowledge that there are multitudes of wind farms in West Texas. It was huge and an eerie bone-white. Sleek and almost unearthly in that pedestrian setting, being accompanied by trucks before and after with flashing lights as if to say, pay attention, this thing may get away from us.

windrader-474574_1920So how big was it? According to the NationalWindWatch  the blades of a G.E. 1.5 megawatt model are 116 feet long and have the vertical wind sweep of just under an acre. An acre.  My Brontosaurus comes in a sad second place with an estimated length of only 75 feet total from nose to tail.

The Quiet Time

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For a moment the earth’s breath is soft,
Warm on my cheek, scented with apple wood and hay.

Grass tops touch nodding heads together in autumn prayer.

Ash Leaves

Vanishing moments of gold whisper soft, brown feathers open. Sunning

 

 

The quiet time flows across the valley.

Blood red weeps against the gold and green of fall.

The Valley

Feeding Routine

 

This soft October day was about our feeding routine. How is it that the animals always seem to eat before we do? Guess that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

First Poco anticipates the arrival of his hay……

Expectation

Finally….

Finally

Then, the girls, Perdita and Holly…..

 

Feeding the girls

Express FeedThen K.J. and Ferdinand the cat……

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K.J. gets his feed first while Ferdinand assists.

Finally Indy gets his munchies…….

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It’s been a great day and a gorgeous sunset is accented by a moonflower display….

Moonflower sky

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October

I look forward to the migration of the butterflies through Texas towards Mexico each year. There always seems to be one day when clouds of butterflies descend on the sunflower-like flowers that consume our front pasture. I compete with the photobombing donkey Poco to get some shots of this beauty every year.

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Poco stops to smell the flowers.