I drove down to Texas to help Bill’s Ma recuperate after surgery, but she rested after breakfast, which gave me time to bump along with Pa on Bill’s Ranger through the back woods. The crisp wind in my face, I saw deer’s white tails disappear into the pine trees, and a dozen tiny swallows, scared out of the bushes, fan across the road. Around the bend a coyote streaked across the road in front of us. A mighty fine morning, as Pa said, even if the ground was a bit muddy from the recent rain.
We went to check the wild hog traps, and, although Pa hadn’t caught one in months, sure enough, there it was, an almost grown pig stomping ‘cause he just lost his freedom. He didn’t know he’d soon be losing more than his freedom for destroying Pa’s nice smooth pasture. We drove back home where Pa got his rifle and I got my camera. I’m not squeamish, haven’t been since learning to skin chickens on daddy’s farm as a girl, but I looked the other way before the gun went off.
Pa chained the hog to the Ranger and drug the animal over the soft ground about half a mile to the barn. “They’re always bigger ‘n they look,” Pa said. This nearly 150 pound beast looked big enough to me. Ma, her arm in a sling, came out to see the corpse before Pa strung it up for skinning and butchering. An old boar might have got dumped in a ditch, but this young one would be good eating. That’s how it is in East Texas.
Back at the house, I cooked chicken soup for Ma, 75 years old, Pa the hog butcher, 87, and Aunt Peggy somewhere up there. Aunt Peggy sat for hours doing word search puzzles. Wish I could be as content. During the older folks’ naptime, I took the Ranger over to the cabin Pa built from pine wood cut on his saw mill. A hawk swooped down from the clouds and landed on a nearby pine limb. I sat on the porch swing and then put flowers on the “settee” I bought so Bill and I could have coffee outside sometime. I’m trying to figure out how to decorate the place with a distressed look, but then, it might not need much more distressing. It looks fine to me.
I hurried back to help with supper. We went to bed early, but Pa’s polka music played until late in the night. Since I had to wake up at 5:30 for Ma to show me how to make sour dough biscuits for breakfast, I decided to stick around for nap time the next day. Just hope Ma doesn’t get well too soon ‘cause then I’ll have to go back to Oklahoma. Don’t tell Bill I said life in Texas is good.