Here we go.
A life begins with a breath.
A journey begins with a step.
The ebb and flow in the tide of these memories begins with a word.
Weeds, rattlesnakes, and sandstorms were an underlying part of our regular days and nights. But Home was always the harbor from which we launched in the morning and where we anchored at night.
There were a couple of homes before or vague in my memory. The first about which I have the clearest recollections is the shepherd's tent. Our extended family bought 600 sheep. They came by train from San Angelo, Texas to the depot in Eldorado, Oklahoma. I'm not sure how they arrived at the sheep range. Daddy was the designated shepherd. Papa, Uncle Lawton and Uncle Dillon, (maybe others) all helped set up the tent and a hog wire fence corral for the flock. Most of what I remember deals with the layout inside the tent. Looking in from the front the iron bedstead and mattress were on the right side in the back corner. The cook stove was about midway on the left wall. The stovepipe bent down behind the stove to a trench dug under the tent wall and was covered with dirt. That kept the heat from burning the fabric of the tent. A tall post had been set on the outside beside the trench. The pipe turned up alongside the post and was tied to it with bailing wire. The stove pipe extended far enough above the ridge of the tent so the wind would carry away the smoke. The table and chairs may have been at the foot of the bed on the right side of the entrance. I was eighteen months old. Mother and I were fair weather folks. During the bad snows, Daddy was there by himself. Mother Shumaker and Grand Daddy were my maternal grand parents. During the storms we stayed with them. It might have been 8 or 10 miles (possibly less) between their house and the sheep range.
Up the road about a quarter mile west of Shumakers was a two room house we lived in for a while. Both sets of my grand parents were on established farms with a house of 5 or 6 rooms. My parents had grown up in those places a few miles apart. They attended the same country school and the same country Church. So for me a home was a certain thing. A mother and a father were always there. Their work was in or near by the house. It was a place of residing: a house, a barn, or a tent. It provided the sense of stability. That was where the family gathered for meals and sharing life: games, storytelling, serious talk, discuss the weekly schedule, fun and laughter, to read the Bible and pray, then sleep. Home was not only shelter from wind, rain and snow, from evil and bad, but it was a place of warm spiritual connection with others. It was a place of confession and confidence. It was a place of learning: responsibility, respect, work, art, skill, honor, truth, trust, assistance, support, reliability, dependability, faith, faithfulness, prayer, worship. I'm not sure, but I think that home has been and is most probably the central pillar, foundation of who I am becoming.