In our trip to Austin and to the Santa Fe Ranch near San Manuel-Linn, Texas I was constantly amazed how Rebecca would be a little girl one moment and then a woman the next. She had a few temper tantrums while there and most of my friends thought that they were most interesting. Their smiles would provoke further tantrums. With the tantrums out of the way Rebecca would then be her charming best, be that the charming little girl or the sophisticated woman. In these pictures here you might observe those very qualities, the little girl and the woman.
The gentleman with Rebecca on the left is a Texas State Trooper, Officer White, who kindly volunteered to pose with Rebecca by the painting of Davy Crockett (painted by Texas artist William Huddle in the 19th century) in the lovely Texas State Capitol. It seems that the Federal folks back in Washington found out Texas was building a capitol that was going to resemble the one in DC they emphatically instructed that the stage capitol should not be taller. Texans were not about to be intimidated so they built the cupola just a tad lower put placed a statue on top that made it higher (288 versus 320 feet) than the one in Washington, D.C.
The other two (of the three) photos I took with my iPhone in Mike East’s Santa Fe Ranch on the evening (Thursday, July 29) before we left. Rebecca had gone swimming and since she had not washed her hair, it had become beautifully curly. Rebecca says that as soon as she is of age she is going to (alas!) have her hair straightened.
The last picture (my favourite of the lot) I took the next day, before we left at the nearby ever so slight hill (there are no hills in the Santa Fe Ranch). There is a solitary grave there (to the left of Rebecca in the photograph). It is of Mike East’s father Tom Timmons East who was married to Mike’s mother, Mrs. Evelyn Kuenstler. The ranch is now owned by Mike, Alice G.K.K. East and Lica [pronounced LISA] Elena East. They are fourth generation descendants of pioneer Texas cattleman and steamboater Captain Richard King (1824–1885) and Henrietta M. Chamberlain King(1833–1925).
Rebecca threw some tantrums when I told her that I did not want her to wear her blue floppy hat (my wife Rosemary’s) but the straw hat (also Rosemary’s). She relented and wore it but complained and told me to hurry with my picture as chiggers were biting her ankles. Only the night before, when I had taken the other two pictures we had sat down on a swinging bench under a Garry oak. In the flat brush of South West, Texas only mesquites and Garry oaks manage to survive the extreme heat and drought. But unlike the Garry oaks we may be familiar with in Victoria, B.C. the ones in the Santa Fe Ranch are short and squat. They provide that much needed shade. As Rebecca and I sat under the tree, gently swinging and listening to the birds, the insects about 15 javalinas (wild boar) came to eat the corn that the Easts spread outside their front garden fence. The corn attracts the javalinas, wild turkey, deer and even the cattle that graze outside. Why the corn? Mike answered, “We like to see the animals when we can.”
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.