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July 21, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Open window. It’s enough.

A friend. Window rolled down. Big sky.

Sometimes it’s enough.

No permissions granted. All rights reserved. copyrighted. P.Parker

Riding shotgun. Reading the wind. Best of all: getting to go along. (© By Molly’s pal, Patti)

Down roads past places like Buffalo Creek and Dennison Springs. Over by Keechi. Past Mt. Alba, Tennessee Colony, Grapeland, and Long Lake, to Palestine.

Things greener this year due to rain. Water noted in the Trinity River.

We ran without time.

July 4th and Supermoon – tributes, perhaps.

Well chosen. Well bestowed.

We lost two recently. One 88 yrs. One 102.

East Texas red dirt hill.copyrighted. no permissions granted. all rights reserved

See that East Texas red dirt hill ? Ruined many a white shoe. ©

The 88, a Marine by the time I was born, was a cousin. Well, not really, But he was.

He’s been “taken in” as was said then when people made sure their own family obligations were met, then reached out to help neighbors.

Back when there were conversations for adults and those appropriate for children, we were told our aunt, an elementary principal, discovered this boy and his siblings “in a poor situation” – “dirty, sleeping on the floor . With a mother unable to care for them.” He was takin’ in by my aunt and uncle.

Being childless, my aunt was sensitive that others would say she was “stealing another woman’s baby”, so she insisted the boy keep his given name – and that he remain close to his brother. As a small child, I always thought his given last name was simply his middle name – like people called out “Betty Sue” or “Lizbeth Anne”. Seem logical.

After my aunt died, my uncle told the boy that he’d always considered him his son, and would he mind if he officially adopted him and made it legal. My cousin – who was getting up in years himself – broke down in tears and said he’d always thought they never formally adopted him because he wasn’t good enough or something.

Goes to show it’s hard to know how things go. Anyway, we had a big party. But he was and always had been my cousin.

At his service, his mama was mentioned as hie “mother”, but my aunt and uncle were called his parents. That should have pleased everyone.

cow tank in pasture. all rights reserved. no permissions granted. copyrighted

Some still waters. Fish hiding on the bottom until “cool” of late afternoon.(Typical fenced pasture and cattle tank)©

The 102 year old – we thought he’d break the family record.

(102 is nothing out of the ordinary …but we made them stop driving when reaction times slowed…about 95)

A fractured hip may have slowed him down, but he remained clear-headed until a stroke. Even then the fog cleared quickly.

Out of the hospital, managing therapy well, and back playing Bingo, he made an announcement recently to his daughters.

He was “ready to go. “

Now that may not mean much to you, but when I was small and (great) Aunt Georgia saw her last childhood friend pass on, she decided one day she had done enough and told my dad she was “ready to go”. And by goodness, within 48 hours she laid her head down to sleep and that was it. Never underestimate.

So my remaining uncle decided.

And true to family tradition, he laid it all down and went on in his sleep.

The last of a great generation.

East Texas fenced pasture. No permissions granted. all rights reserved. copyrighted

Drowsy summer pasture. ©

Which is making my eldest cousin a bit nervous.

He’s now the patriarch of the family.

Unsettling to him as he was always more the dashing playboy type with the convertible than the source of wisdom and direction.

We’ve told him we’re expecting a good 20+ years out of him yet.

And we’re expecting parties of more the entertaining kind rather that the ones we’ve gathered for recently.

little road and gate. No permissions gratned. All rights reserved. Copyrighted

No way of knowing what’s down the road. (Anytime you decided to wander, just be sure to close the gate and don’t let the cows out.) ©

So we’ve run down this road before. 

For some reason it’s always looks both old and new.

Farms change hands, cows are different colors, but the pastures, the land, and the sky are constant.

Good lives well lived. Good roads there to travel.

A friend, an open window, and the clouds rolling by.

Sometimes it’s enough and all you need.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

no rights reserved. no permissions granted. copyright. farmhouse

One of the farmhouses along the way. Thought you might enjoy seeing a Bit of East Texas scenery ©








  1. Beth / Jul 21 2014 5:01 pm

    What beautiful tributes to two amazing people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2014 6:48 pm

      Summer is when we always gathered for summer garden feast, deer burgers, and watermelon. Somehow the timing was fitting.
      Being the youngest of my generation, I always knew how much these 4 poor dirt farm boys influenced education across Texas and the nation, but never realized to what extent. They grew up in a dogtrot farm house, picked cotton on whatever farm was hiring, walked barefooted to a one room school house, yet all ended up graduating with advanced degrees, 2 with PhDs. If you were in school between 1930’s-2,000 their work in education impacted how you were taught.
      My eldest uncle who died a few years ago at 102+ (the really really really bright one) sat on university boards even when he was 100 – they brought meetings to him.
      They all were active both mentally and physically up to the brief end. We should all be so lucky.
      Oh, naps. The smart one said naps were the secret to long life…and Aunt Georgia insisted a small glass of wine each night. Sounds smart to me. Thanks for traveling along


  2. Morgan / Jul 21 2014 6:17 pm

    OH to learn to be so happy and so satisfied with such simple things 🙂 This is what they are here to teach us. GREAT post 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2014 6:52 pm

      The “Boys” were moved from the dog trot house on the farm farm to “town” by their father who determined education was the route out of poverty – and farming was so hard. They all ended up as educators who impacted many many lives across this country. They did, however, return to farms -without running water and electricity for many years to get away from the stress of “city” life. Gardening, fishing, herding cattle. A foot in both world gave them a balance and understanding many today seem to lack. Have to be in awe of them. Thanks for traveling along


  3. Ally Bean / Jul 21 2014 6:35 pm

    I’d forgotten all about kids being “taken in.” It was a term where I grew up, too. Different times.

    I’m sorry for your loss. Your tribute was perfect. Thank you for sharing it here.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2014 6:55 pm

      They had a good run, lived through very difficult times, did good works, and were happy and content with things
      Now my oldest cousin worries he’s going to have to grow up…
      Thanks for riding along


  4. angelswhisper2011 / Jul 21 2014 6:56 pm

    What a beautiful tribute. It’s amazing how some people know that it’s time to go, Philmouse. Our deepest sympathy for your loss, but the beautiful memories will always be in your heart. Soft Pawkisses 🙂 Btw I think Molly has a good time in the car, doesn’t she 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2014 7:16 pm

      These 4 farm boys grew up and quietly did what was right and good – and so many school children across the country benefited. Big footsteps to follow, but clear path shown. Smiles from your message.(and Molly does love a good car ride!)


  5. roughseasinthemed / Jul 21 2014 7:42 pm

    I love your family history insights. A world apart. And these days I guess an age apart from when you grew up. My boys want to ride with Molly of course.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2014 10:42 pm

      It’s been interesting hearing all the family stories. I was the youngest born after WW II. THe 88 yr old’s kids were just younger than me.
      Dad, the youngest of his family, had to wash the horses and buggy each Sunday before church (mules were for farming). During the great depression, they left the farm and moved to Huntsville where his dad worked as a guard at the prison, they ran a boarding house “for respectable gentlemen only”(the big old white frame house is still there loaded with college kids) and the oldest boy (the absolutely brilliant one) went to college. Dad ran into Bonnie and Clyde one morning in the cafe on the square where they were eating breakfast. He was delivering papers and ran to tell authorities as the cafe owners were to terrified to do anything. (Contrary to myths and legend, the average local didn’t like those 2 and didn’t consider them Robin Hood-like at all) As an adult after the war Dad developed the Honors/advanced Physic curriculum for Houston School district. My brother worked with NASA and the space program, as did my husband.
      Certainly a huge jump into modern times from their beginnings. Lots of stories may drip out eventually.
      Snowy and Pippa are welcome to ride along – inside. We never put animals in the back of a pickup – too hot and too dangerous.Paw waves. And thanks for hopping aboard


  6. katecrimmins / Jul 21 2014 7:56 pm

    Wonderful tribute and I love the old family stories. I have a cousin who passed on about 4 or 5 years ago at 84. I never knew who her father was until this year. She was born out of wedlock, a dreadful scandal in those days. I finally got to hear the story from one of the elders because it wasn’t “children discussion.” I guess when you are in your 60s you are no longer considered “children.” Love how you bring out the warmth and caring in families.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2014 10:50 pm

      Despite the confusion and mysteries, perhaps it was better everything wasn’t explained to the kids. I am still trying to connect some dots – farm people seemed to absorb non-relatives and take care of neighbors as they got elderly, a spouse died, or when “something” happened to their kids (we were never allowed to ask what). It made for fun times as there was always someone to visit or check on – and the old folks were always thrilled to see and talk with little kids.
      Glad you are finally getting some family information, but, seriously, when do we get to leave the kiddie table? (giggles) Thanks for poking through the stories


  7. robstroud / Jul 21 2014 9:45 pm

    I love it when my girls get to ride shotgun!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2014 10:51 pm

      They are just so happy. Life lessons there. Enjoy the ride. Thanks for driving over to chat


  8. marthaschaefer / Jul 22 2014 1:05 am

    An epic journey for those who took it and those of us who get to ride along through your way with words. Well done, Phil. Thank you for the glimpse…as the worlds rush past in the wind…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2014 1:00 pm

      Their stories are quite epic. All of them traveled extensively: Russia, China, Middle East, Australia, Alaska, Europe – once they could afford to get outside the US. Up until that time it was big car trips across the US. What a run they had. Certainly lived life. Thanks for wandering along these roads


  9. jannatwrites / Jul 22 2014 2:56 am

    The story of your ‘cousin’ brought tears to my eyes. The compassion your aunt and uncle showed is life-changing. And the late-life adoption really got to my heart.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2014 1:04 pm

      We had a giant party. And for some reason it seemed like he finally firmly settled in to the mesh instead of being slightly loose. Does that make any sense? Well, that’s the way it seemed. Tied up with a bow and sealed forever. People’s stories will grab you, don’t they? Thanks for settin’ down to chat a while


  10. Jay E. / Jul 22 2014 3:22 am

    Simply elegant. Again, you have left me at a loss for words.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2014 1:08 pm

      And the road goes on forever – and the party never ends (Robert Earl Keen’s lyrics). Thanks for driving along these roads


  11. mybrightlife / Jul 22 2014 12:14 pm

    Just beautiful. Long may your playboy cousin rein in his new role!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 22 2014 1:10 pm

      We’ve told him the desert air where he is will preserve him for a long time.(and he can just smile wisely if someone asks him for advice). Thanks for rolling along this landscape


  12. EllaDee / Jul 24 2014 9:56 am

    Marvelous post. The photos got my attention … oh I crave space, and the company of a dog hanging out the car window, but the family stories and memories, and the comments had me nostalgic and hooked. There is nothing and no-one like your own People, and their histories assimilated into our beings make up a great deal of who we are. It’s funny, I sometimes encounter a “your not from ’round here” attitude from people, and I don’t have a problem with that because I know exactly who and where I’m from, ever if it is “there”.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 24 2014 2:34 pm

      That dog riding along picture really says a lot…like time to escape. Time to see/be real.
      Road goes on forever and the party never ends. Best to make use of what is.
      Glad you enjoyed the ride.Thanks for rolling along


  13. jmmcdowell / Jul 25 2014 12:44 am

    What a wonderful tribute to your cousin and uncle. And yes, be sure to have some family parties just for the heck of it. The one we had on my dad’s side earlier this summer was amazing. The laughter and relived memories on that one day probably added years to our lives. Go for it!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 25 2014 12:55 am

      It’ll be tough getting everyone together as we are spread from one end to the other now. I vote for CO or NM. Email certainly helps stay in touch though. Thanks for unpacking a comment for here


      • jmmcdowell / Jul 25 2014 1:01 am

        It is hard to coordinate. We converged in the Midwest where many folks still are, but both coasts were represented, too. Not everyone could make it, but most of us did and had a wonderful time. I hope you can find a way to do it.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 25 2014 1:04 am

          Perhaps a fall mountain retreat next year?Hmmm. Sounds like a possibility. Thanks for the encouragement


  14. shoreacres / Jul 27 2014 9:41 pm

    Such a lovely, touching post. And look at that tag — “humor.” That’s part of the wisdom passed down, too. If I envy anything these days, it’s people with families. We’re down to my aunt, four of us cousins, and their minimal children and grandchildren.My aunt is 87, which means we’re getting close to my one-year older cousin being at the top of the food chain. Oh, my.

    I love your reflection that “a foot in both worlds” was what helped to keep them balanced. All of us need to remember that.

    I was caught by Mt. Alba. There’s a husband and wife from Just Peachy Farms in Mt. Alba who are at the Satuday a.m. farmers’ market in Nassau Bay every weekend. I’m sitting here with a haul of peaches from this weekend. They email every Friday afternoon with a list of what’s available, and you can pre-order and pick up. I’ll let you know what’s on the list this week, if you’re interested.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 28 2014 1:40 pm

      Peaches are summer, aren’t they? We used to go to vegetable stands as they we called then along the highways/rural to and from one place or the other – for stuff we didn’t grow or didn’t make that year. Grocery stores just can’t compare – the heavy summer produce smell, the people….and peaches all fuzzy and rip ready to eat. Yum – hungry all the way home.
      You can see the change in occupations by the “stands” that exist and ones shuttered as the fields are used for something else. There used to be a huge “stand” on the way to San Antonio – it’s still there. We used to take orders and stop on the way back to pick up stuff for elderly relatives in Houston/Beaumont that wanted real food and couldn’t get out. I still prefer the small farmer stands – even if it means more stops. That’s part of the fun. Thanks for traveling along


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