These two children came across the road to the orphanage to watch the kids run races. They had such pretty little faces, just as all the children there do. I noticed all through the day people stopped and looked through the hedge from the road. When we said hello or Merry Christmas, Happy New Year or whatever, they were always ready to visit with these ‘strange looking white people’. I might have been the oldest person they had ever seen, lots of people asked me my age. I only saw two people while I was there with gray hair. This road or little street was more like an alley but there was a lot of activity on it. Pretty nice houses were on the other side. Almost everyone has a garden, that red dirt must be rich and fertile. Their top soil goes down forever, we saw a place that had been dug out like we would dig a calache pit, and the red dirt was all the way down and on the bottom was green stuff growing. There was a shower almost every afternoon even though it was the ‘dry season’. No one can appreciate the green countryside more than we do. Once in a while we are blessed with it and we are thankful.
I would like to show you a blog from 4 years ago. I like to go back and remember that remarkable trip to Kenya. There is a group from the College Hills Baptist Church in San Angelo who are on their way to Kenya and should be landing in Nairobi shortly. It made me think of this blog and wanted to repeat it. I wonder where all these children are now.
The first day we were at Children’s Rescue Centre at Miali Saba in Kenya, the kids went out to play after Bible Study. There was a soccer game going on and the rest of the kids were playing games. With everyone in a circle, the one who was ‘it’ wove in and out around the others and whoever they stopped by had to get in the middle and do a dance while the others chanted a song. It ended with a big wiggle, bend down, pull grass and throw it, then a kick. It was a real dance with real steps. Pretty soon I was in the middle and did the best I could. They laughed but were nice about it. (Lisa and Benton were good at this!) Then they got in a circle and beat on the ground and sang while someone danced in the center. Afterwards Paul told me I needed to buy them a real drum.The next day Elizabeth and I shopped all over town looking for one. Everyone told us the Coffee Shop had some but they were closed. Then someone suggested the book store. As we passed by, Elizabeth saw two drums in the window. How exciting! They were big around and covered in goat skin, really nice ones. I chose one and asked the man how much~1,000 shillings, or only about $10.
What a surprise, I would have thought at least $30 each. Anyway we bought both of them, then found some large wooden spoons to use for drum sticks. The next day we took them to the orphanage and two of the older boys started playing them, not just bang bang bang but like real tribal drums. When everyone got in the circle to dance and sing, the ‘head drummer’ beat his drum, the other boy held his hand on the head of his drum to mute it and played another beat. It was wonderful.
We noticed when they went to eat their dinner, they put the drums away in the store room so they were going to take good care of them.
When we went out there on New Years, there was a parade coming down the little road beside the orphanage and this group from town had drums, they were colorful and were celebrating another ‘year of life’. You could hear the drums from a distance. Something special about drums since the beginning of time~
In the summer of 1952, I was in Port Aransas, Texas (on the Gulf of Mexico) with my parents and two sisters. The monkey belonged to Daddy, some friends gave it to him as a prank. Junior was sweet but then he had another side~he could bite! (no one got bit that time though). Everyone was fishing from the pier, Mother and Daddy fished for Tarpon and we fished for supper.That day I was in charge of Junior. I put on an old swim suit and shower cap and spent the day entertaining everyone, Junior could draw a crowd. He was wearing his swimming trunks but he took them off after they got wet, or should I say, he wet them~ Every day he would get in the water with us and run on the beach trying to beat the waves. He was curious about everything, he picked up every shell he found and worked on it to see if anything was inside. Several weeks after we came back home, a big brown envelope came in the mail. A photographer from the San Antonio Express newspaper had snapped the picture and they ran it in their magazine. Someone recognized me and Junior and sent it to us. What a fun time to remember. A few years later, Junior went to live at the Zoo in San Antonio. Don’t get a monkey, get a sweet puppy instead.
One day when the boys were little and we lived on the farm over on Will Davis Road we were on our way to town when we saw a big rattle snake in the road. We stopped and I found a rock while Daddy watched to be sure the it didn’t get away. He hit it but only stunned it, it was slithering around and rattling. Then Mr. Belk drove up in his big butane truck and got out to help. He said he could spray it with butane and it would freeze like a block of ice. He got his big hose off the truck, turned on valve and sprayed. He said, “if you get these snakes froze solid, you can hit them with a stick and they will break into a hundred pieces.” By then, Longino and Goya had driven up.The kids were standing there with me watching. Well OK, it’s Show Time! Mr. Belk hit the snake with the nozzle on the hose but nothing happened. “Guess we need another blast!” So this time he gave it a big thorough sousing until it turned pure white, frozen through and through, solid as a rock. He hit it with the nozzle again~ and again~ and it didn’t break into a hundred pieces, or even two pieces. “Well doggies”. Then he decided to just set it on fire instead. He stuck a match and WHOOP! The barrow ditch was on fire in both directions, all the way to T.P.’s gate and back nearly to town. Goya grabbed little Paul up and ran down the road, Dan was running neck in neck with her. I was just running. (so much for my theory that a mother will try and save her babies first). Mr. Belk jumped in his truck and shot off down the road to get it away from the flames, dragging the dripping hose behind him. In a few minutes I heard the fire whistle blowing and the fire truck was there a hurry. Half the town came out to see what happened. Back then, when there was a fire, everyone showed up. it was like a social event, something to talk about at the coffee shop for the next week. I always liked Mr. Belk, he was a nice man. I don’t think any of us ever forgot this day.
Of all the trees I have grown, the peach and apricots are my favorite. These three little trees are from some seeds I saved last August and planted three weeks ago. They are growing fast and are over 10 inches tall, I will re-pot them into three gallon size buckets in a few weeks and grow them in the sun room until Spring. Sprouting seeds is addictive, you get fast results and it is fun watching a miracle of nature. I gave away over 20 peach and apricot trees last year and the friends who took them will be having fruit in three years or so. Tomorrow I will give you a favorite cobbler recipe of mine, it is easy and delicious, you don’t even have to get out your rolling pin~
Dogs are a huge part of our family. Several came from the pound, one we found on the road, two were Give Away’s. Early one morning I was reading the paper and saw the ad, ‘Free Shih Tzu to a good home only’ . I waited until 6:00 to call, but I wanted to be the first on the list. Thomas Mallow answered the phone. I told him I wanted that puppy, that we had recently lost Spook who lived to be almost 19 years old and we needed a new baby. He asked a lot of questions and said they would hold her until I could get to San Angelo at 10:00 to be interviewed. When I rang their doorbell, I heard barking and when I was inside, there was this precious little black and white dog, all happy to see me.( I also noticed a beautiful little baby boy in a jumper seat on the floor.) So the story unfolded, Pamela and Thomas got Marsha when she was a few weeks old and she had been their only baby. Then 18 months later, Blake was born. Marsha did not like him, he was taking her place in her mama’s lap. She would just look at him and growl, they knew that wasn’t going to work so decided they had to find another home for her. They chose us. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Coming home she rode in Dan’s lap and that was the beginning of great times for us. Pamela and Thomas saw Marci several times after that and she still growled when she saw Blake. We have kept in touch and I get pictures of Blake often, he is a big fine handsome 13 year old boy now. Marci was one of our most wonderful gifts ever! She is an old girl now, she has been with us for a long time. Thank you again a hundred times sweet friends!
In l963, I painted this picture from a snapshot my good friend Helen McAngus gave me of her daughter Lisa and nephew Willie. Their horse was Sally~ This picture was one of the most enjoyable to paint that I can ever remember. I knew these kids well, they had fun growing up in the country, there was always something to do. About six years ago, I had a letter from Helen’s granddaughter Shannon, telling me she had the painting now and how much it meant to have something from her mom’s childhood. Since then I have written her notes about Lisa and Willie growing up. Shannon has a beautiful little daughter named Morlee who looks a lot like Lisa. This picture has been on Face Book but I wanted to put it in my blog, it has come full circle for me, fun from 1963 and on up until today. I love this story, I loved those kids~
Meet Bob, he is big, he is gentle, he is beautiful, he is a Texas Longhorn Steer. Their horns can extend up to seven feet. They were highly prized in the old days for their ability to survive on the open range with little care. Many people who keep them now days do so for their historical value and just the pride of ownership. Longhorns are important to Texans just as the bluebonnets are. They deocrate the pastures but especially the state parks and the Hill Country. People are fascinated by them. Schools name their teams for them, the University of Texas has always had one (Bevo) as their mascot. They are a great subject for Texas artists. Longhorns are our connection to the Old American West. If you ever have the chance to stand beside one, you will be overwhelmed by it’s size, they are enormous. If you want to own one, you will need a good fence!
If you are cooking for company, an easy meal is Barbecue Chicken. I buy the 10 lb. bags of chicken hind-quarters, the best buy in the market. It cost anywhere from $3.90 to $6.90 for the whole thing. What other meat offers you so much for the money~I use hind-quarters for my tamales, pasta dishes, dumplings etc. and they are my favorite pieces to fry. This is where I get my chicken broth, when I boil chicken. (breast meat is good for some dishes, but tends to be dry and tough) This barbecue dinner is simple and easy. I serve it with rice, a vegetable and salad. Anytime I can find good cantaloupe I have that too, it makes any meal a summer time treat, even in the dead of winter.
This group of men were showing off their trophy mule deer from a successful hunt on the ranch in Culberson County. The picture was taken in 1946 by H. H. Wells of the San Angelo Standard Times.
This ranch up in the Delaware Mountains has been in the family for almost a hundred years and enjoyed by family and friends for all that time. It is one of the prettiest places in Texas and has a rim with a grand view of Guadeloupe Peak and another of the valley where you can see for a hundred miles. I like this picture, the men were all dressed nicely, back in that time if they went to town, they dressed up. They were truly Texas gentlemen. You notice the neat shoes and the high-heeled boots. (Good hats and good boots). I remember Uncle Will always wore a tie, even when he and Aunt Lummie were just dropping in for a visit. My nephew Earl Calhoun sent me this picture and I am thankful for this little bit of history to add to my blog.
I liked painting guns and I liked carving guns. Here are some of the miniatures I whittled to go with my little stuff. They made interesting pictures, the same as with boots and hats.
The Flintlock became one of the most common weapons used in the American colonies. Since it was lightweight and extremely accurate, it developed into the most popular American rifle of its day.
The six shooter was a revolver with six chambers that held bullets and was known as a cowboy gun or a shootin’ iron. The history of the gun is interesting reading.
The boys posed for me when I was painting a lot of cowboy pictures. My boy and his friend Matt were always good to let me use them as my subjects. There is an old barn on the place at Hulldale, a good background for all kinds of western scenes. Here is one of them holding a Winchester 30.30 rifle, and of course had a pistol in his holster. They did some target practice out there, it is several miles from neighbors so the perfect place. They usually found a rattle snake around the barn so the guns were put to good use. I liked painting the guns, boots, and cowboy hats. I liked to add a little humor to the paintings, this one had wasp nests on the studs. They are a fact of life around barns and out buildings. If disturbed, they can sting the daylights out of you, ‘you gotta run fast’.
Christmas was yesterday but I though it would be fun to tell about my Christmas 4 years ago in Kitale Kenya. It is one I like to remember most of all, making a nice kitchen for the Rescue Center Orphanage.
A project for two of us going on the trip was to build a kitchen for the orphanage. Just simple shelving and Rubbermaid tubs with screw on lids to store the Ugali flour and sugar. Naomi was the house mother who took care of everything from cooking to watching and loving the twenty kids. The first day we were there, I looked at her ‘kitchen’ (a shed off to the side) and there was a big fire with two 4 gallon size pots, boiling something for dinner. Those two utensils and a large butcher knife (with no handle) was all I saw. The kids ate out of disposable plates which she washed and they used every day. I asked Charles Masinde, who ran the orphanage to make a list of things they needed for the kitchen. His wife wrote up a long list and the next day we went into Kitale to Transmat, something like Wal Mart Super Store but bigger. I told him we only wanted heavy duty pots and first quality things, the same things I would want in my own kitchen.
An hour later, we had baskets filled with stainless steel pots, mixing bowls, butcher knives, paring knives, a chief’s knife, cutting board, large serving spoons, ladles, cheese grater, huge tea kettle, then stainless steel spoons and forks, nice unbreakable cream colored dinner plates and matching rimmed soup bowls and mugs. We went to the plastic ware department and bought dish pans, tubs, laundry baskets, and the buckets with screw on lids for the staples.
I had seen Naomi sweeping the area where the kids ate and studied, using a straw switch thing with no handle so I bought a broom. I was so happy with this purchase, no woman could manage without a real broom. The last thing I got were the sacks of Ugali flour, sugar and loaves of bread. I had told Charles I could only spend 20,000 shillings and the total bill came to just over that or $264. (the price of one kitchen appliance back home). This was one of those good days I will always remember. A real kitchen shower for Naomi. We never got the shelves built but that is something the men from the church can do later. Paul had another project in mind.
He hired electricians in town to come and put electricity in the orphanage, he told them to put light in every room and in the dinning/study hall and when they were finished he wanted to just flip a switch and have it all light up. It happened! I like to remember this Christmas time from 4 years ago.