Hello To All:

It has been a quiet week out here.  Well, there is a current plague of grasshoppers .  They are about ½” long and they come a thousand to the square foot.  A person can hardly walk across the yard with them jumping up in your face.

Runnels County has lost another long time resident.  I doubt if many ever met him.  Tom was born in Winters January 8, 1940 and passed on June 1, 2020 at the age of 80.  When he was very young, his family moved to Pecos, Texas.  He was 8 years old and that put him in the second grade, with me.

We have been friends ever since.  His mother , Irene Turk was a high school English teacher and Bill, his father, had a commercial chicken operation. We played marbles out on the school yard or baseball.  We played football from 7th to 12th grade.  Tom was on our basketball team that went to state.  We would cruse up and down the “main drag” for hours.  We had many mutual friends.  After high school Tom attended Texas Tech first and then North Texas in Denton.  The college life just didn’t fit Tom and from there on he lived a rather adventurous life for  a boy from a farm in Winters.  First he worked in the West Texas oil fields for different seismograph crews.  Then somehow he got a job as cook on a tugboat on the Mississippi. Then he progressed to First Mate and then Captain.  From there he went to Peru and was captain on tug boat  and traveled up and down the Amazon for 2 ½ years.  After that he had a Captain’s position on an oil tanker for Gulf Oil in Nigeria.  He worked at that position until he retired.  He came back to West Texas and bought himself a Toyota pickup with a camper on top.  The part that came up over the cab was the bed.  Hard to visualize that, Tom was well over 6’. He traveled the United States until he had enough and came back to Runnels County.

His mother had left him a little piece of land that he “squatted” on.  It was out of Winters going West, to a farm to market road, to a dirt road, cross a wooden bridge and drive about half way beside a cotton field.  In the middle of the cotton field there was sort of a trail through to a running creek.  You had to ford the creek and climb a fair incline to the top.  Then follow  barbwire fence to the first gate.  Open the gate and follow the creek up a ways.  There Tom parked his Toyota/home and that was it. No one just accidentally drove by and stopped to visit. He made a cover of some kind over the camper to cut the heat some.  His camper did not have air-conditioning or running water but somehow he convinced the county that he was going to build there and they ran electricity out to his place. That powered a small freezer and a hot plate so he was okay. He had no bathroom.  I found out by accident that Tom was back and how to find him. I drove over the first chance I got.  We rehashed old times and had several good visits.  I got the idea that Tom was just dropping out of society and enjoyed the solitude.  I kept my visits limited and didn’t invade his space.  I received notice of his passing on Monday and that the funeral was to be Thursday.  Sort of quick and not many were notified.  I was the only one from Pecos days. The rest were cousins and nieces and nephews.  No matter, that is the way Tom wanted it.  Don’t make a big fuss about it.  I had a moment to myself to say my personal goodbye to Tom.  I told him that he had been a good and faithful friend and I appreciated him.  We will meet again later.

So it goes in our quiet little corner of Coleman County.

Talpa Bob

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