Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

From Whence I Come….

First of all, the photo at the bottom of January 4th’s entry has the obvious reference to the rainbow to the lower left side of the image.  But, everything in the photo is a reflection of God.  Everything there is either a creation of Him or a creation of man, who was granted his knowledge by God.  Because I am a serious, amateur photographer, I like to tell people that I get to see God every day.  It may be a natural wonder such as plants and birds, or it might be nothing more than the shine of a beautiful woman’s hair, or the glint of anticipation in the eyes of a child.  I thank Him regularly for the blessing I have of having the right perspectives.


While I was raised in the Oklahoma Panhandle, I had the misfortune(?) of being born in Amarillo, Texas.  Way back in May of 1946, mother had gone to Amarillo to do some shopping and for some reason I decided it was time to see daylight.  (According to 53Merc on RV Dreams and other forums, I have “dual citizenship” because of my impatience.)  Oh, by the way, if you are a Texan, I’m pretty sure it is in the Oklahoma state Constitution that we have to pick on you.

In the Oklahoma Panhandle, it is pretty treeless and the contour of the land is very gently rolling hills.  (I’ll show a Winter picture at the end to let you see how far one can see out there.)  I was raised in the small town of Keyes, which is in the eastern part of the furthest west county in the Panhandle, which is Cimarron County.  Living out there, one has to learn to tolerate wind, because it is a pretty common thing.  In the Winter, we always say that the only thing between us and the North Pole is a 4-wire barbed wire fence, and three strands of that are broken.

While there isn’t much “touristy” in that part of the Panhandle other than the Black Mesa area in the northwestern part of Cimarron County, I can say that the people are some of the friendliest that I have ever known.  I know of one man that used to keep a 5-gallon can of gasoline by his mailbox out by the road.  He told me once that he would rather people use that five gallons of gas than siphon the gas out of his vehicles.

When I was growing up, the area’s industry was primarily agriculture, except for a compressor plant for what was then Colorado Interstate Gas Company.  Later, when I was around 14, the government built a Helium Plant just east of Keyes.  Even though that plant was the newest and the most efficient of several Helium plants, it was the one that was closed down instead of older, less efficient plants.  We always claimed that it was closed because the government big-wigs didn’t want to drive that far for inspection trips.  We were 125 miles from the nearest commercial airport and there was another plant less than 50 miles from the airport.  (Lets not get onto “government” yet.)

Naturally, since most jobs were agriculture that was what most of the jobs were that were available.  I had good fortune because my grandfather went west to Cimarron County in the early 1900’s sometime and homesteaded on 160 acres.  So, while I was a “townie”, my early jobs were in agriculture, driving old tractors that ran on Propane and had no cabs.  Talk about dirty and occasionally cold work.  Grandpa farmed about 6 quarter-sections of land and had a half-section (320 acres) of grassland, so we did farming and some ranching.

Grandpa was a firm believer in doing things right.  When we built temporary electric fences around land to put cattle into, he always used old railroad ties for his corner posts.  They are heavy somewhat rectangular posts that were at least 6 feet long.  Most other people used posts that were round and only about 4 inches thick and about 5 feet long.  Needless the say, the ties weren’t particularly easy to handle, but even though Grandpa was somewhat small in stature, he had no problems with those ties.  Mostly because he had the sense to lift them correctly.

To this day, I have a belief that if you are going to do something, do it right the first time so you don’t have to take time later to do the job again.  I think I got that philosophy from Grandpa.  So, I guess maybe I got some of his pioneer spirit.  If so, I’m proud to have that spirit, leading me to grasp for the spirit of adventure and travel.  (However, the adventure part has gotten more mild over the years.)

Sentinel of the Prairie  -  Windmill in a Panhandle Winter

Winter Windmill

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