This will be in the fourth book one day, “Notes About Me: Stories About Growing Up And Kin”.
Besides the magical Roach place I hold so dear there were other places out from Valley View where mom’s family gathered and worked. In no particular order they were the Leach Place, Duck Creek, and the Hundred Acres. All of these pieces of land were farmed by TR. Each of them had some special things about them or some unique thing that made times there fun.
Unlike the Roach & Leach places, plus the Hundred Acres, TR leased Duck Creek. I have a faint memory of him sometimes having a few head of cattle there but mostly it was an empty pasture southwest of Valley View. Empty except when we went dove and quail hunting there. The hunting was a group affair and sometimes some of the Turner side of the family was nearby too like the Calhoun’s – Uncle Billy Mac and my cousins Butch and Brad. Outside of walking the quail with Dad’s birddog Lady or sitting by a fence line waiting for the doves at sunset, sometimes getting splattered with birdshot pellets from someone’s shot from afar, the sharpest thing I recall was when I accidentally shot a bobcat there.
Dad and I were walking by a little seasonal branch which was mostly dry on one cold winter day and suddenly something jumped out of the branch and I reacted out of reflex and blasted it with my .20 gauge shotgun. It was a bobcat and I shot it dead. We should have went home then if we wanted it stuffed since when we returned home to Denton it was stiff as a board. It could not be stuffed but it scared my sister’s cat Witchiepoo to death when I held it up in front of her. In my mind Duck Creek is synonymous with shooting that bobcat even now, that memory is crystal clear and etched into my mind even after forty years or more have gone by.
The Hundred Acres did not create a dramatic memory like that bobcat did but had quieter things about it to recall. That place was once owned by TR’s mom and dad and he bought it later when he was grown. That piece of land, which sits by I-35 south of Valley view and maybe a mile north of the Denton County Line was a big wheat field. The rectangular plot was flat and was perfect for a combine to swim though when the sea of wheat was tall and brown. However, the northeast corner of the land, not far from the road that went up the hill to the Roach place, was reserved for a small plot of corn. Many times we roasted and ate that corn down at the picnic grounds on the Roach place when it was dark and the combining was done for the day. When I drive by it heading north on I-35 I can gaze across it now, even with the south end of it now covered by some workshops, businesses, and sheds, and picture a another time when I was little out in the wheat or its stubble with my family and watching my Dad or TR driving the combine on a hot summer day
Finally, the Leach place was something altogether different. It had a wheat field like the Roach Place or the Hundred Acres did, but it had its own unique features too. Besides the wheat it had a pasture, which connected to the Roach place, & small barn, two stock tanks (ponds to you Yankees) which had fish which we caught, a small gorge that had fossils in the gravel of its sides, and TR’s beehives too. And another pasture where my Dad and I went “wolf calling” – I’ll write about that later since you might not know what that is.
Speaking of the bees, we certainly enjoyed eating the honey or the combs. Many of our beloved Aunt Sissie’s (my mom’s sister Mildred, may she rest in peace, on whose birthday I was born) biscuits got covered with it and butter in those days. And we fried up the fish we sometimes caught from the two tanks which the bees were by. Once upon a time I had a box with aquatic fossils pulled from the little gorge down the hill from the tanks. I have no idea now if they were trilobites or who knows what type of long dead sea creatures they were but just having them made the place more special to me.
As you can see all of the TR’s “places” were, like people, unique with their own charms. In the current age when most folks are set in cookie cutter urban areas surrounded by endless concrete and choked by constant crowds, few of us have had the chance to be graced by such things People might be more relaxed if they could be around a pasture with only the sound of the wind or the birds in the ears or sit by a pond catching some fish with fossils by their feet on a pretty day with wispy cirrus clouds forever streaming above their heads just as time streams by us all in the end.