jch 1948

Life was simpler back in 1948. All I had to do was walk the corral fences, hunt arrowheads, trap quail and swim in the stock tank while others worried and worked. That was before the drought of the '50s decimated ranchers in Texas and changed my life from idyllic to something close to desperate.

They say adversity builds strength and character. Perhaps that is true but it isn't any fun and can make a man hard in the heart. Thankfully, my parents didn't let that happen to me or my siblings. We learned to simply get up every morning and do the absolute best we could with what we had while keeping faith in God, family and friends. That works for me today as well as it did during all the intervening years.

jch 2011

The trip from then to now has been a long, wonderful, strange journey filled with every imaginable emotion. Those emotions are dangerous. They are just feelings without attachment to reality. They count for nothing in the big scheme of life and lead only to frustration, bitterness, resentment, failure and insanity.

Somehow, my parents and grandparents taught me that what I think, feel, intend or want don't make any difference at all in this world. The only thing that matters is what I say and do. I think that attitude is the secret to staying sane in an insane world.

The years have added gray hair, glasses and a furrowed brow but the kid still lives in there somewhere.

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