Whew! A few moments without a fire to put out. I gotta figure out a way to arrange my emergencies if I'm gonna be a successful blogger.
A couple of days ago as I checked cows on the north unit I paused to watch as a transporter loaded up with crude from one of the wells on the ranch. As the oil flowed into the truck it occurred to me that I'm a fortunate son.
|As the pump jack nods up and down a transporter fills with crude oil.|
Well, yeah, kinda-sorta. But not 'zactly.
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no oil-baron's son.
When the oil came in here in the Panhandle -- just after the war -- there was a predictable boom. The first producing well was on the EJE, and over the years there have been as many as six of them pumping. But..., it ain't millionaire oil. It's hardscrabble oil. Profitable, but not that profitable. All together in a good year the income is enough to pay the land taxes with enough left over to make a dent in the income tax it generates.
Not great, but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
And that's actually a perfect state of affairs. I suspect that millionaire money would kill me deader than a hammer.
I'm doubly fortunate there.
Doubly fortunate with the oil, I'm infinitely fortunate in all else. I did not do one single thing to deserve my good fortune.
On February 20 I fixed fence in shirtsleeves in the morning.
It was a beautiful out; temps in the mid-40's, sunshine, almost no wind. A perfect morning to catch up with a chore that had been evading me since the fall.
The job was to add a fourth wire to an internal fence line at the home place. The fence runs north and south and is a mile long. It divides former farm ground (planted back to grass in 1985 or so) from native prairie.
In one of my first experiences with fixin' fence, my grandpa Wilbur and I rebuilt this particular fence back in about 1970. We left a few still-stout posts in place as well as two of the wires. Those posts and wires were original to the place and built by my great-grandfather Evert in about 1900. They're still there, which is kinda neat.
|Dad and Great Grandpa Evert in front of the old shop, just before the war.|
|Great Grandma Maude, age 80, in her prairie flower garden, EJE Ranch, 1958.|
|My future grandparents, Wilbur and Helen, with three sisters-in-law, just before the war.|
|Grandpa, me, and my first hoss, ol' Futureglue.|
|Same outing as above, Wilbur on the left with Bob Sandridge, Clifford Olson and brother Dorance Evertson. The depression was ending and war was looming and these young fellows had the world by the ass.|
|Mom and Dad and four (of six) kids. Summer picnic early 1960's.|
A few thoughts on the song.
I was born to wave the flag. I'm Red, White and Blue.
Compared to many, I was born with a silver pitchfork in my hand. When the taxman comes to the door, I pay up.
One day a lot of years ago, as I was poised to leave the navy, I had a conversation with the Command Master Chief. He urged me to stay in, and introduced me to the real American perspective on giving back. I argued that I'd done enough, and that it was someone else's turn. "Let those flag-burners have a shot," I said.
"It ain't about them," he said, "It's about you."
He also opined that I'd not, in fact, done enough.
When you ask 'em how much should we give...
Sorry, Fogerty, the answer's always been, and will always be,
More, more, more.