Twice Born A Vagabond
A Novel [Copr. 2008]
By D. DeWitt Thomas
Chapter Seven

HILL COUNTRY



There it is! The main gravel road. This is the place where I turn off to the ranch from the highway. It will lead us to the hunting cabin at the sheep ranch where rest of the band has already arrive and are waiting for me. The gravel road is long and winding for miles through pasture after pasture. The Texans have invented a unique device to keep their livestock from escaping through the gates by blocking the path with a grate, a series of ten or so stratigicly spaced pipes placed parallel across the road bed at eight inch intervals at the gates. If the gate is left open inadvertently, this prevents the animal from crossing out of fear of entrapment by catching a hoof in between the pipes. Necessity is the mother of invention I always say.
The sentence now for conviction for the possession of marijuana in Texas is 30 years to life but I think that if I were to leave one of the gates open it will result in capital punishment if anyone finds out so I turn onto the dust road and approach the first gate, stop, get out, open the gate, get back in, drive through, get out, close it, drive to the next one. I do this about twenty more times driving through the gate, getting out, closing the gate, getting back in, driving another half mile, so many times that I stop counting before I reach Stacy's sheep ranch.

What a nightmare. Finally, after too many gates, I see the hunting cabin up on a hill next to a spring. I am told the cabin was built of limestone by German colonialists in the early 1800's. I can see the front door of the cabin is open but no one is standing in the door jam. I pull around behind the cabin. Coming to a full stop, I begin to unload my gear of a few goodies that I purchased at the watering hole in Kerrville. I stocked the shelf with some canned goods, wholewheat flour, dry beans, salt, tea, and honey. I found some old stoneware bowls and quickly whipped a batch of jackcake batter. I love jackcakes and honey. The aroma of jackcakes covered in butter and honey filled the cool interior of the old rock cabin. I took my plate and sat under the mesquite bushes on the front porch in a rocking chair. Farther down the hill was another small log cabin bunkhouse used by hunters during hunting season. It stands vacant and that is where we will settle for our stay as we concentrate on writing and arranging the material for our new album Easter Everywhere. We will concern ourselves with the creative process of writing and arranging new material for the next couple of months. International Artists Production Co. sends a weekly check to each one of us for living expenses until we can get on the road and do some paying gigs or sell some records. They call this an advance on royalties. As long as I have jackcakes and honey, I'll be alright.

What you choose to do with your life is of no interest to me and infact is none of my business. It has no value in my scheme of things. I would rather spend time thinking about helping people to make productive contributions for the betterment of the species and I expect the same treatment in return. The flawed logic of greed is a cancer on mankind. I would be the last person on Earth to take advantage of another's vulnerabilities. I never rush to judgement. I keep an open mind and I take it one day at a time.

My shared oneness is an ecomomic transaction, a two-way street. Pride, love, hate, humility, validation, and recognition are emotional feelings which seek a balance. The journey to now here is like eating jackcakes.

I got a job as a sales person in the bookstore at the University to help pay the rent and buy groceries and life was good but after finishing his first year at college he began to loose interest in school. He started smoking pot. He was playing music more often around the San Antonio area in various bands. His school work suffered and his grades began to slip. Our country at this time was engaging in warfare with a people called the Cong who lived in a small land in Asia. I have never really been sure why it was necessary to attack this country call Viet Nam or the need to kill the Viet Cong but it was taking a high toll in human life. Rawley's good friend Charly asked us to go to Austin for the week-end to hear a band play called the Elevators who had just returned from California where a group of young people had formed a counter culture called hippies and were protesting the war. This story took place during a time of great social upheaval in America. Protests and unrest permeated the society from coast to coast and campus to campus throughout all shades of the human spectrum. Rawley decided to drop out of college and eventually became the drummer in that rock n' roll band called The Elevators.

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