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June 18, 1996

By Peggy McCracken

Big city lights

no pull for hick

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Talking to my St. Louis, Mo. daughter last week, I made some remark
about what I would tell her ex-husband in a certain situation. "That
would just confirm what he already thinks - that we're all a bunch of
hicks," she said.

Well, so what? We are a bunch of hicks, and I am proud of it. You don't
see much about Flomot on the news. You can't get much farther away from
civilization than my home town. But Quitaque does make the news, and the
farmhand's shack I was born in is closer to Quitaque than Flomot, anyway.

Last week I received a press release from the Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department about a trail ride they sponsored for 13 inner-city kids from
Austin and Goliad. The horseback ride started at South Plains, between
Lubbock and Amarillo, descended the caprock on the Caprock Canyon State
Park Trailway to Quitaque and then on into the beautiful red-canyon
country "where buffalo still roam and remanants of the Old West lingers."

Buffalo soldiers, cowboys and other trailhands presented natural and
cultural educational programs, as well as campfire programs to impart
outdoors skills and help the kids understand the contributions to Texas
history of Native Americans, Buffalo Soldiers, Mexican vaqueros and
pioneer women.

I envy them the trip through that beautiful, beautiful country. They
camped the first night near the old Clarity railroad tunnel, a national
landmark. But I was there before them. That tunnel is on or near the
Merrell ranch, where we went in the summer for the annual family
reunion. We waded in Quitaque Creek, played hide-and-seek in the brush,
picked wild plums and generally had fun. While those were special
outings, our every-day existence was little different on farmland at the
foot of the caprock.

Sure we got bored. Walking up and down a cotton row with a hoe for 10
hours a day under a blazing sun is no picnic. Dragging a ducking sack
full of cotton to the trailer, weighing it and hauling it up into the
trailer is no picnic, either. But being able to run out into the pasture
and sulk when my feeling were hurt, chase butterflies, pound an
occasional snake and swim in the horse trough offset those minor

Yes, I'm a hick, thank God. Would that everyone had the privilege I did
to grow up in the country where men are men and women are women and kids
create their own fun.

"Praise the Lord from the mountains and all hills, fruit
trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and
flying birds..." Psalm 148:7,9-10, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose
column appears each Tuesday.
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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