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Monday, May 30, 2016


Sit Right Down !!
You might ask which town and the answer is; “The town you live in!”

I can say that without any fear of censure. I might go back a few centuries for some background info to a time when a man let a barber named Delilah give him a G.I. cut where there was nothing left but the roots.

There are several things to note about his trim and to start; he was trusting the wrong barber with his power infused locks.

This began way back, when in disobedience to his parents he fell in love with a Philistine woman from Timnah, whom he decided to marry.  On his way to ask for her hand in marriage, Samson was attacked by a lion.  The Spirit of GOD came upon him and he quickly dispatched that big cat.

The problem with this was he misinterpreted this event. He thought it was an example of his anointing and his righteousness when it really was a; “Stop don’t do it moment.” 

A series of this type of warning was ignored by Samson which finally led to his haircut and the loss of his power.  When he yielded to a continual life of disobedience his destruction was assured.

Delilah was used by the enemies of Samson as a tool to bring him down and the enemy of your soul will use whatever or whoever to do the same to you, man or woman.

Understand there is a barber chair waiting for you and there is no waiting.

Both the pew and the pulpit are constantly being called to disobey the Christian calling like the siren of old called the seamen to destruction.

Once heeded the trip downward will be a fast one.

Are you being tempted by a barber who wants to cut your spiritual hair?

Yielding to their tempting will cause you to lose your standing and power with GOD all the while you are enjoying “Your sin for a season.”

Samson thought he could violate the vow of the Nazarite but he was self-deceived by the lust he allowed to rule over him.

Every Christian who comes to GOD and dedicates himself to God is taking a vow not unlike the vow of the Nazarite.  A closer look at what the vow includes is much of what is expected of the “born again one” today.  

Know this there is a bad barber shop where you live with an empty chair waiting for the “want-a-be” disobedient.

Let me pose this question to you; knowing you are subject to temptation how close are you to being seated in the barber’s chair?

It is absolutely essential to avoid the hair cut for it will destroy your testimony and ministry and do despite to the cause of Christ.

Remember Samson’s folly in thinking he could get away with ignoring what he knew was the right way to go.

Wrong engenders evil, and evil bears bitter fruit.  Say it again “Evil bears bitter fruit.”

North of Austin - Chapter 17

Vince was Happy with his New Wife
Chapter seventeen

When I arrived I greeted the kids and Abby. The first words out of her mouth was; “Was it him”. I tried to change the subject by saying, “Aren’t you glad to see me?”

She said; “yes but was it him”?

I walked over to the sink and started to wash up and refresh myself. My attempt to ignore her wasn’t going to work so I went into the parlor and sat down with her right beside me.

I began by telling her about the trip to the Hacienda and meeting the patron.

“Was that him?” she asked?

I said, “No that wasn’t him.”

I told her, “I met a young woman who had two light skinned children and could tell there was another one on the way. Then I met the man she was married to.”

Before she had the opportunity to say; “Was it him?”  I said, “Yes it was him.”

She said, “I have to go tell mama,” and she started out the door saying, “Watch the kids.”

I hustled over and grabbed her by the arm and told her to sit down.  She started to protest as I stopped her.

“You haven’t had time to think this through all you want to do is stir up some trouble and cause as much harm as you can. First of all you don’t know the circumstances surrounding all that happened.”

She said, “Well! What else do I need to know?”

I said, “You need to be aware that he has had a serious head injury that caused him to lose his memory. He doesn’t remember anything about this place and the people here. Not your mother, not you, not me or anyone else. I thought if he saw me he might snap out of it but everything is a blank.

He is perfectly happy as he is with his new family. All you could do is cause him pain and disrupt his life. Then there is your mother. She has moved on and is married to Len. They are happy together and the news you want to give her will tear them apart.

The saying “let sleeping dogs lie” certainly applies in this case. No one knows why I went to Mexico; they think I went to pay the remainder owed for the cattle (which I did).

I have had several days to think this over and I can’t bring myself to ruin the happiness they have found. I could have lied to you but between you and me there can be no deceit. We need to leave things as they are and move on knowing Vince is well and as happy as he has ever been.

The same can be said of your mother. She is happy as she has ever been with her new man and all of her friends around her. I can’t spoil her happiness by trying to trying to put her together with a man who doesn’t know her.”

Having heard everything I said Abby sat down and was speechless. She finally spoke and said I never knew what he must have gone through. Do you think we can keep this a secret? I said yes I think so. No one knows except you and me and there is no reason for anyone to go to Mexico who knows Vince.  Even if they did see him he looks so different now they wouldn’t recognize him.”

Abby said, “I hate it because the kids won’t get to know their grandpa and he them.”

I said, “I suppose they will have to settle for my Pa.

As it turned out Vince was never heard from again and Abby and I never brought the subject up again except once.

Abby’s mother, Sally always called her husband grandpa Len when our children came over to her house and they picked up on that. He was grandpa Len to them which was okay with me. 

Since I had a back log of work to catch up on my days at the office were long and Abby and I didn’t have much time to talk.

After church on Sunday and dinner was over Abby sent the boys out to play and said she had time to think more on her Pa’s situation and she thought maybe she should tell Sally about how things stood.

That didn’t set too well with me for we had agreed to leave things as they were.

I laid out the reasons once again but she was still wavering. She attached some guilt to keeping a secret from her mother.

Len and Sally rode up in the buckboard they used for their shopping and I didn’t want Abby talking to her mother while being in her present state but there wasn’t anything I could do about it for they were already in the parlor.

Sally was over excited as she was gushing about her news. Len was somewhat relaxed about the whole situation which was unusual for him. Sally couldn’t hold it in any longer she blurted it out; “I’m going to have a baby.” 

Upon hearing that; the room went silent. For the next half hour there were statements and questions like; “Are you sure, how did this happen, when is it due and so on.”

Len just sat quietly, red faced as if he had done something wrong. We found it uncomfortable to look at each other at that moment. After the excitement died down, our boys came in and wanted to know what the noise was all about. After I explained to them about them getting a new uncle or aunt they asked some of the same questions as Abby had.

Finally satisfied they went back to playing. Then the noise exploded once again. Abby shared a secret with her mother she had kept from me because of what had being going on with Vince.

She was also pregnant. She realized it was true while I had been gone but the news about Vince put that on the back of the stove for the present.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of rehashing the two revelations and I never knew being pregnant could make women so happy.

Seems the most important thing about this circumstance was they were going to be the talk of the women’s circle for the next year or so. Len and I managed to talk about some legal aspects of some cases litigated back east and how they might affect issues here in our county. I cut a ham and fried up some slices of it.

I also put on a pot of grits and some greens for our supper. Sally’s news overshadowed the fact Abby was with child again and this time it had better be a girl or else. I asked her or else what?
She answered right back saying or else you can start sleeping alone.
To Be Continued

Monday, May 23, 2016

North of Austin Chapter 16

Chapter sixteen

It was three years later when Pa and I sent Ben down to Mexico to buy some cattle.  We had a large contract to fill and we were a thousand head short. We wanted to drive the cattle from Mexico to our range and then feed them out for about six-eight weeks. That would give them time to fatten up and their new brands time to heal.

Ben finally got home with the herd and had brought several Vaqueros’ with him. He kept them here until we had branded the new herd and then paid them off.

In the meantime Ben said he thought he had seen Vince at the ranch where he had bought the cattle. There was a man who spoke both English and Mexican fluently. He said he couldn’t be a hundred percent sure but he sure looked and sounded like him.
I questioned Ben for some time and he said the man drove a hard bargain and we were a few hundred dollars short of the amount the man wanted.  He let me have the cattle with the promise I would return with the money very soon.

Ben went on to say this man was married to a very pretty young Mexican girl and had two babies with her.

I had to ask Ben once more, “How sure are you it is Vince?”  He replied, “as sure as I can be without really knowing.”  

I got him to promise he wouldn’t ever tell anyone what he had told me because it could be a big problem for a lot of people if was true.

I knew Ben to be pretty sharp and he wouldn’t be easily fooled so I decided to go and see for myself.

I told Abby where I was going but not why. I contacted Long Hair and asked if he wanted to go with me and he declined.  He said he just got him a new young wife and wanted to spend a lot of time with her.  I guess I couldn’t blame him for I would have wanted to do the same.

I took a couple of hands who had family south of the border and the Vaqueros’ who came with Ben and we headed south.  We took the chuck wagon they had brought with the cattle to return it to the Mexican rancher.

Six days later we arrived at Grande El Rancho a few miles below the border. We were greeted by the owner and were given the royal treatment. They quickly decided to have a fiesta on the spot. The Vaqueros’ were glad to be back with their families and they introduced me to their family members. They said their names so fast I couldn’t remember hardly any of them but no matter. 

On the evening the owner of the hacienda brought out his grandchildren.  I noticed a couple of them were a little whiter than the others even though they were sun tanned.  Their mother was a very pretty young woman in her twenties. A short time later her husband appeared and to my surprised it was Abby’s father.

I recognized him by a scar he had on his neck. He had been cut by a defendant he had found guilty and the scar stood out like no other I have seen.  He wore Mexican garb with sideburns and a mustache yet it was him.

I could understand the Mexican language very well but only spoke English around Mexicans.  I wanted to know what they were saying without them knowing I knew what they were saying.  The two hands that came down with me were at their family’s home and were to meet me in a week.

During this time I wanted to find out who Vince had become and how all this came about.  As it turned out he was attacked on the way to the town where he was to hold court.  Apparently it was one of the defendants or plaintiffs depending on how you look at it who wasn’t sure of his position and had attacked him leaving him for dead.

When he came to - - he couldn’t remember anything about who he was or where he was from. Some of the Mexicans from this hacienda found him and brought him there. He physically got well but he still couldn’t remember anything about his past.  Since he spoke Mexican fluently he had no trouble fitting in.

He became attracted to one of the Patron’s daughters and married her. He now has two children and she is pregnant again. All in all it seemed to me to be an okay arraignment. What was to be gained by trying to upset the life he now enjoyed?

Having made that decision I headed home as I wondered how to handle things when I arrived home and what to tell Abby.

Monday, May 16, 2016

NORTH OF AUSTIN - Chapter 15

 Chapter fifteen

Abby’s father was named Vincent, called VIN or Vince by his friends. I called him Vince most of the time unless the kids were around, and then I called him grandpa.

He received a request from a town about seventy miles south of us to come and rule on a dispute between two of the largest ranchers in that part of the country.

The judge who normally handled those issues had recently died and there wasn’t anyone to take his place. People didn’t trust the local attorneys to be acting judge for they could be bought rather cheaply.

Vince said he would like to get away for a couple of weeks so he wrote them and said he would officiate the case.

It was dry country he would have to traverse in order to get there so he loaded up as much water as his horse could carry and left about four in the morning. He figured he could make it by dark that evening if he kept moving and didn’t stop to eat along the way.

Two weeks passed and we still hadn’t heard from him.

The stage ran once a week through the town he was going to; so I asked the stage driver to check on Vince and see if he made it alright.  The shotgun rider said he heard that they were still waiting for him to get there for the ranchers were heating up about their disagreement.

Upon hearing that I hesitated to tell Abby and her mother what I heard but finally decided I better tell them.

They both went wild and wanted a posse to head out and find him. It was the next day before I got them settled down and only then by telling them I would go out and see if I could find him.

Abby threw a few things together and shoved me out the door with her last words being; “go get Long Hair the Indian.”  Long Hair was the best tracker in these parts so I did what she asked.  I thought I can track about as well, but there was no sense arguing with her in her present state.

I couldn’t really argue with her concern for that is a difficult part of the country as well as a dangerous part to travel through.

I decided to take a pack horse and enough food and water for three horses and Long Hair and me.  Also a couple of repeating rifles made me feel a bit better.

We left in the afternoon and made about thirty miles to where Long Hair knew where there was a small spring. Only a very few had ever seen that small spring for it popped up in some rocks and disappeared just as fast.  We watered our stock and gave them some grain, ate some beans we had brought with us; after which we bedded down for the night.

The next morning we were up early and cooked some fat back and some skillet bread.   We cooked enough bread and fat back for something to eat for dinner at mid-day.

I always thought I was a good tracker but Long Hair could see things I couldn’t.  After two weeks the trail had gone cold as far as I was concern but Long Hair kept finding a mark here and there.

Vince had his horse shod just before he left on his trip which helped distinguish his horse from others who may have been on the same trail.

About ten in the morning Long Hair said more men had joined Vince on the trail. After trailing the men for a half hour he said there were four of them. Then he stopped short and said; “men fight one hurt.”

He determined that the hurt one was left injured and the others rode off in another direction. We searched in vain for three hours when Long Hair said; “big storm come, must go.”

I had been watching some black clouds forming over the mountains to the south and thought we might get some much needed rain in a few hours.

Long Hair was insistent we head home very fast. The rain was pouring in the mountains and would soon cause the rivers to rise suddenly. We had to cross a dry Wadi that would not be passable in short order as the waters flowed down from the mountains - - so we set off at a gallop.

For the next five hours we would run at a gallop and then walk the horses trying to out run the storm. We shared what water we had with the horses and had dumped all the goods on the pack horse including the packing gear so he could keep up. Finally I took off his bridle and just let him run free behind us for my arm was tired from leading him.

We almost made it home late that night before the rains came. It poured for a week and flooded the farms along the river.

For sure the crops were going to be late getting in this year. All the livestock were moved to higher ground where they stayed for three weeks.  As the waters receded they finally worked their way down from the hills.

Long Hair said trail lost now. No can find, rain wash away.

He then told me he had found wagon tracks about a mile away from where the men had fought and there were foot prints and some blood drops as he walked along. Then he said there were several footprints around the wagon and then it drove off.

After thinking about this information we concluded that the man who was injured had been able to wander off to where the people in the wagon picked him up and drove off with him.

Long Hair hadn’t had time to tell me about his find because we were trying to out run the storm.  Besides we couldn’t have followed the tracks due to the rain.

I related to Abby and her mother what we found and they asked many questions I couldn’t answer. The best I could do was; he no doubt was hurt. How much I couldn’t say. He was probably with the people who drove the wagon and hopefully they helped him.

Not far from where they may have picked him up or buried him there was a cross road where they could have went in several directions. The rain washed out the entire trail so we didn’t have any clues as to where the wagon went. We hoped he was well and would someday find his way home.

The next few months were difficult to bear for all concerned. They wanted me to fill the position as judge but I refused. I needed to have time for my business as well as running my law office.

There was a new jurist appointed and I was pleased with the selection. He was in his forties and had a good grasp of the law as practiced in our part of the country.

We had him over for dinner quite often and as it so happened Abby’s mother was invited also. She was still in her forties and had a lively step.

I asked Abby why she usually showed up when the judge was over (as if I didn’t know) and she tried to convince me it was just a happenstance. They would spend a lot of time together on the front porch on those evenings and did a lot of laughing and giggling. One morning I had to go out to the ranch and I was up before daylight.

As I went by Abby’s mom’s place I saw the judge’s buggy on the side of the house. I rode out behind some trees in a gully and waited. Shortly just as the sun began to show behind the hills he came out and quickly hitched up his horse to his rig. She came out in her gown and waved goodbye as he left. He whipped his horse to a gallop and was away in a cloud of dust.

I took care of my business at the ranch and made it home for dinner at noon.

Abby said she was going to ask the judge to come for dinner. I told her not to bother for they were far enough along for her to have him over to her place.
She looked at me with the look of a heifer when she comes to a new fence.


Monday, May 9, 2016

North of Austin Chapter 14

Pa Didn't Take to Anyone Messing With His Dog
Chapter fourteen

Once again things returned to normal and we got on with living.

I thought back over the years and wondered why there was so much violence in this part of the country. You would think that because this area had been settled for many years there wouldn’t be as much bloodshed, but that wasn’t the way it was.

It was up to the land owners to defend themselves and once stirred up they don’t stop until issues are completely settled.  While disputes among the land owners were few there were other things that caused unrest.  One thing is the owner’s children.  As the kids grow up there was the pressure to assert themselves. Much of the time it was an argument over one of the girls in the area or one of the “for rent” gals in town.

Then there are the problems that originate from outsiders coming in and causing problems like rustling stock or taking advantage of the hands when they imbibe too much on a Saturday night.  But as I say, things are pretty much back to normal for now.

The next big event in my life was the birth of our second child.  To Abby’s disappointment it was another boy.  She told me since it was a boy I would have to name him.  I felt that put me in a hard place for if she didn’t like the name then I would be the culprit for doing so.  I decided his name would be Samuel.  So we now had two prophets in our family or at least two namesakes.

Right off we could see Sammie had many qualities of his mother. Daniel was going to be like his grandpa, handsome with a slightly rugged look, but Sammie was going to be more genteel appearing.  I told Daniel he was going to have to look out for his brother and not let boys rough him up too much.

Abby was the prettiest woman in the whole of our county not that looks mattered to me.  It was who she was inside that mostly pleased me.  One of my favorite things is watching first Daniel and now Sammie nurse.  If I’m not mistaken I see the first signs of her breasts losing a little of their perkiness. I suppose this is just normal for it’s what child bearing does to a woman.

Some of the women I know with several kids have sagged almost to their waist. I hope Abby never sags like that, naw she never will.

Abby’s father finally gave in and accepted a judgeship. The legal community had been after him for quite a while because most of the judges from back east were either drunks or dishonest.  I told him it would be politics for him next to which he smiled and said “Maybe so.”

He turned the law office over to me which required me to find some more help. Franklin my youngest brother had come to me and said he didn’t think he was going to make it as a farmer.  He wondered if I would take him on as a clerk or something.  June his wife wasn’t happy living out in the sticks and she figured that she would be getting pregnant any day now and wanted to be in town when the baby was born.

Pa had given him a good farm and I told him he better go tell Pa his decision to return the farm to him so he could get someone to work it. He did as I told him and came to work for me. I could see right away Franklin was better suited for the city life than in the country.

Pa came into town for some supplies and his old dog came with him as usual. Although the dog was having trouble keeping up due to his age; Pa hated to make him stay at home so he went everywhere with Pa.

While Pa was in the store some ruffian hauled off and kicked Pa’s dog and broke some of his ribs.  Pa heard the dog yelping and came out to see his dog in pain.  He picked the dog up and took him to a doctor that worked on people as well as animals. The doc wrapped the dog’s chest and told Pa to keep him quiet. Pa said the dog stayed either under the house or by the fireplace so he would be alright.

Pa asked the people who saw what happened and they told him the man went out of his way to kick the dog and then rode out of town at a gallop.

Pa told the hands with him to take the goods to the home place, care for the dog and he would be back in a few days. After getting some food he lit out in the direction taken by the man.

I asked Pa if he wanted me to go with him and he said no he would take care of it.

It was about seven days before Pa got back home and everyone was relieved to see him.  Some had wanted to try to go find him but Ma said absolutely not for Pa would be very angry if they thought he wasn’t able to tend to business.

The dog was still sore but got up and went over to Pa and welcomed him home. Abner came over from where he lived with Jeanie Ann and asked if everything was taken care of and Pa said, "Yes it got done."

By that we all knew the man had met a bitter end.


Monday, May 2, 2016

NORTH OF AUSTIN - Chapter Thirteen

An Honest Judge
Chapter thirteen

Why is it when you think you have everything under control something else pops up?

I received notice that Jeanie Ann was being sued by someone from back east. They claimed they were the rightful heirs to the property we just won in the court case against the man who molested Jeanie Ann.

The next day three people and their battery of lawyers showed up and a few days later we found ourselves in court for a preliminary hearing.

Abby’s dad read over the suit and said this is a bogus attempt to take the property from Jeanie Ann.  Go and tell Abner not to do anything for he will just get into trouble if he takes matters in his own hands. When he said that an image of a sinkhole I knew of came into my mind with several new inhabitants.

I did as I was told and Abner finally agreed not to do anything for now.  From the way he looked and talked I knew these people would never live to enjoy any of their ill-gotten goods should they prevail in the suit.

Three days later Abby’s father said I just received a wire from the detective agency I hired to completely check out these people and we are ready to go.

The rest of the afternoon we spent laying out our strategy.

The opposing legal teams spent the morning setting forth their legal position and then turned it over to us. Abner and half of his hands were sitting in the front with their weapons with them.

I thought no matter what the ruling was these people had already lost. If they win they are dead and if they lose they may get away with their lives. It was up to me to start the defense so I started by asking many questions about who the people were and where did they live.

In the first ten minutes they told fifteen lies and then I reminded them the penalty for lying under oath. Then I asked if they wanted to change any of their answers and they looked at each other and become very nervous.

I asked the judge to excuse the one I was questioning and called the private detective to the stand. I got by his qualifications and him being licensed by the state where he was living. I asked him if the people who were suing were telling the truth in their testimony and he said no they were lying. He then took out his notes and went down a list he had copied.

The judge asked him a few questions about his testimony and then he called all three of the plaintiffs to stand before him and asked if they lied when I asked my questions and they said yes and then the whole story came out.

As it happened another attorney in our town had followed the proceedings and how Jeanie Ann had come to own the disputed property. He then contacted the eastern attorney’s and they set the whole thing up. They got some actors to pretend to be heirs and now their plot had fallen apart.

We had filed a countersuit and the judge said he would hear that as soon as he passed judgment.  The three plaintiffs received fifteen years and a large fine. The legal team were given one year and lost their license to practice law plus a fine of twenty five thousand dollars.

The judge said that he ruled for us on the countersuit and set the settlement at fifty thousand dollars. That was more than the plaintiffs and their lawyers could pay so the judge made them pay what they had and gave us a judgment on the rest.

They kept shouting that this wasn’t the way it was done in their jurisdiction but the judge gaveled them down. He then said to the attorneys I want the name of the attorney who concocted this whole fraudulent scheme.

At first the lead attorney hesitated but when the judge threatened a contempt charge against them with more time in jail he gave him the man’s name. The Judge told the bailiff to see to it the lawyer was arrested and brought before him. 

The bailiff wasted no time in looking for the lawyer but he was nowhere to be seen. A week later still no lawyer in fact he was never found. Most believe he took a cattle train as far as it went and then he took a passenger train on to the west.
The judge saw to it that the lawyer's license was revoked but he said if he went to the northwest he will probably end up as a judge.