Texas Bob Travels

Life in the Glass Mountains of Texas

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Merry, Merry Christmas

I must tell you about our first Christmas in this wonderful world. The days, the nights, the months and the years were all the same. They were happy and glorious events like living in a fairy world. The men were very busy with the stock. There was little time for town going. Mother kept Scott and me in very close for fear of illness, since the weather was bitter. To my last day on this earth I will recall vividly the terrible night cap and long flannel gown I was forced to don each night. I still get an itching sensation when my memory races back to the long woolen underwear I was required to endure through the day until far into the spring. It was in vogue then to wear underwear, shoes, and heavy clothing until it was warm enough to leave them off for the rest of the season. May I insert here that we had not the slightest cold the blessed winter? But back to my Christmas tale

One morning, soon after breakfast, I was informed that "Old Jessie, my favorite pet bantam was missing. I was helped into heavy clothes and told to look in the hired man's tent, which was not in use at this time. The thought of Jessie's being lost in a snow drift so absorbed my mind that I raced wildly into the tent and was halfway across it before I lifted my eyes above floor level. I was searching the floor and corners for dear, half-frozen Jessie. You cannot sense the feeling I experienced when I came face to face with a real for sure Christmas tree. I was not of this world for the next few seconds. No one had mentioned Christmas to me and I had no idea that this was Christmas morning. Poor Jessie was forgotten and even my speech was forgotten. All I could do was run. Scott must have thought I had lost my mind for by the time I reached the house, I was talking in the unknown tongue. Never did two children have such a wonderful Christmas. If all the joys I have had at Christmas since, could be recaptured, they would not surpass this one special Christmas.

Soon after the excitement of Christmas passed a mystery shrouded the barnyard. A chicken disappeared every night. This was very serious for Jessie slept with the other chickens, and besides, we had no chickens to spare. Father [5] took action and set a trap for the trespasser. He was rewarded by catching a large fox the first night. He reset the trap and caught another, then another and another for seven consecutive nights. I am sure this sounds like a bear story but the secret of the catch was that the trail came off the mountain at this point. The fox were coming to the tank for water as well as chickens. Many other fox, wolves, wild cats, and panthers were caught during the winter. The panthers were caught mostly by the dogs. The men often took time out for a hunt, which was sport as well as good business. The wild animals caught many goats, sheep, lambs, kids, small calves and colts. The Lobo wolves were especially bad.

One morning Daddy went, by hack, to take supplies to a goat camp down a rough canyon about five miles from the ranch. He was soon attracted by the barking of my pet dog a short distance away. He urged his horses to a fast trot and finally got within seeing range. He was just in time to see a large Lobo wolf spring upon my dog. The dog was quick enough to get out with his life and most of his body in one piece. Time was an excellent mender and took care of the split in his winter coat. Father and the dog followed the wolves, for there were two of them, about seven miles up in the mountains. After getting close enough to shoot, he, found that his gun had been emptied of all but one shell. The men later went back and tried to pick up the trail but were unsuccessful. The wolves traveled in packs. There was an old trail leading from Mexico through our ranch which proved to be a through highway for various conniving beasts.

Footnotes:

[5] James Arthur Witcher b. 1872 d. 1961


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