The pictures on Robert Duncan’s website are just beautiful. Those are my “happy places” and life-time dreams. That’s what I’ve always pictured as the “perfect” way of life. They almost show the skin-cracked hands of the folks…to me the symbol of what’s hard and yet good about farming – self-denial and tenacity, faithfulness, hard work. Folks now want to “be farmers,” but few know about the sacrifice – cold early mornings and late nights, weather heartbreak and such. One lady I talked to who was a nurse said she and her husband had bought a farm. She was a city girl turned farm wife, and said with rather large eyes and somber expression, “Country life is surprisingly hard, and there’s no vacation.”
I have traveled HWY 287 between Denver and Dallas many times with my daddy’s aunt when she was off from school during summer breaks, but mostly the rides were from our farm to church, school or grocery shopping nearby my hometown of Clarendon, Texas.
The highway itself was built with gravel taken from one of my daddy’s farms near a place called Hedley. He originally bought what was known as “the old Mann place” so he could run Galloway cattle there, but with trespassers always leaving the gates open when they came to shoot quail, he had a hard time keeping his cattle contained. Neighbors would call and say, “Your cows are out again.” Or they would call to complain that our bull had knocked down one of their chicken pens.