There’s No Place Like Home?

For some of us, this is really true. I always felt like I should be glued to my hometown, even though I probably will never get to move back to Gainesville. Some folks are more lucky. Lee’s dad was able to buy back a good portion of the farm where he grew up, and got to spend his final days looking out the window at his beloved cattle.

The view Lee’s dad had from his bedroom window.

Lee now owns that farm, but he didn’t grow up there and has sooo many allergies to that part of Texas. But, Lee’s nephew, Chris, inherited the attachment to this land and is now its caretaker, along with his wife and my friend, Kathleen. Chris will never leave this land. For him, there’s no place like home, for certain.

This immense pecan tree is what shaded Lee’s dad’s old trailer (now long gone). Beneath it you see the fig tree that has provided the family with figs for years. I got three cuttings.

We don’t get down there very often (due to the allergies and it being hard on Lee), but yesterday, we took a chance to take a break and drove down to scenic DeWitt County, Texas to visit The Old Farm.

Downtown Yorktown. The pizza place is gone, new boutiques closed, etc.

On the way down, it became clear that small towns in Texas do a lot better when there is oil money. We passed town after town with new businesses, restaurants, and homes. However, Yorktown didn’t seem to get the memo, and all the new businesses that came in when the wells were being dug seem gone now. It looks like there may be another wave coming, so I hope they do some good with the money. There has to be something good coming from the Eagle Ford Shale, right?

I always liked this view.

One good thing that came out of the oil was that they paved Cottonpatch Road. Wow! It used to be even worse than County Road 140, where we live, but now you can drive down it like fancy city people. At least they repaired what all the huge trucks made worse.

Aunt Di has a collection of angels and geese. Near the front are many, many owls.

We had a nice visit with Lee’s sister-in-law, Kathleen, and her kids, plus an early dinner at our favorite, Aunt Di’s Kountry Kitchen. We realized we’d been eating there since right after it opened in 2004 (I showed up in 2006).

Four of the dogs. The little one is Kathleen’s daughter’s fancy puppy with blue eyes.

The most fun part to both me and Kathleen was looking at all her animals and telling them how cute they are. I always feel better when I see they have more dogs than we do.

One of my other photos even showed Daisy’s tongue as she licked June.

I’m also envious of her tame cattle. Look at Daisy and June just loving each other! I love petting them. June descends from Tiny, the old Brahma bull Lee’s dad had for years, and her twin brother, Johnny (as in Cash) is now the baby daddy of the upcoming group. Daisy is about to pop, and others are coming along, which is good, because there was a year or two recently when the cattle all had e coli and no babies made it (thanks, oil field).

We’re not shy.

It was a fun time of playing with tail-less kittens, numerous dumped dogs, and checking on the goats and horses. Oh yes, we also talked to the people.

Proof we have fun together

Chris was still coming home from the oil fiends in New Mexico, so we missed him yesterday. No problem, they’re coming HERE today so we can show off our ranch, the office, the future office for Kathleen and Lee’s business, and maybe if I’m lucky, think about chicken coop logistics with us.

I’ve probably shared this before, but it’s everyone’s favorite photo of Ernest, Sr. He loved to take naps with his beloved black cows.

Anyway, whenever I visit Yorktown and the farm, I have so many memories of Lee’s dad and all his stories about life when he was young. He really was observant of nature, and we had great times looking at birds, identifying plants (he hated sunflowers), and marveling at how things have changed. I’m so glad I got to know him.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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