The end of my time in the Sabine River bottom

The end of my time in the Sabine River bottom

For me, it began when I was very young, somewhere around the age of twelve. For those that have read my column for several years you have read the stories about my crazy uncles and my dad and how I followed them into the woods in search of fish and game. How we seined fish and bait from the old oxbow lakes in the Sabine River bottoms. How we ran trot lines and set hooks in the sloughs and creeks and the river as well. As I grew up the river became a large part of my life. In the fall and winter, we hunted the seasons. Squirrel season came first then deer, wood duck and hogs. My uncle Silas and uncle Henry taught me how to trap bobcat, coon, otter, and fox. In those early years I learned how to feed cattle, chicken, and hogs. I learned how to milk a cow, make clabber, churn butter, and pasteurize milk. I helped tend a garden both in Belgrade Texas and at my home in Beaumont. We raised purple hull peas, sweet and field corn, okra, tomatoes, onions, turnip and mustard greens, and new potatoes. Every year I would help my uncle Silas bale and haul hay and stack the many square bales in the barn to feed the cows through the winter. I followed him and my cousin James Ray (sixteen years my senior) through the woods, catching, cutting, and ear marking hogs and rounding up his cows. At that time all of Newton County was open range and many of the people in the woods had animals on that range. It was a special time to grow up in Southeast Texas. In those days we all still had strong ties to the land. Most of my uncles left the farm for jobs in the cities provided by the second world war and never returned to life in the country but their desire to one day return to part of that way of life never abated. At times I would hear them talk about how they didn’t like the big city life but they knew that the jobs there would provide for their families and give them opportunities that the family farm never could. However, they returned home and did so often until My grandmother Emma passed away, in her late seventies. Even then, a few of the brothers still came often and the others just on special days. Growing families have a way of taking all of our efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

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