By now, you’ve heard of the fires in the Texas Panhandle that took the lives of three young men and one young woman. I’ve been watching and reading every story out of the panhandle, as this is where I was born and raised. The cemetery where one of the young cowboys was laid to rest, yesterday, is where four generations of my family is buried.
My heart broke seeing the devastation that was left behind. All the cattle, horses, and wildlife that weren’t able to outrun this fire was a shocking sight to see on the tv, I am hundreds of miles away in NC, but my heart was in Texas with the people that lost generations of cattle bloodlines, that had been carefully bred, to be the best of the best.
It takes a tough, strong person to go into the ranching life. It’s not quite as romanticized in real life, as it is in the movies, especially in the high plains. Sometimes it feels like it’s been weeks that you haven’t had a break from the strong winds that seem to constantly blow across the Texas plains. There’s nothing to break the winds that blow through there, just like there was nothing to stop this fire.
As you drive across the panhandle, and see all the windmills, a lot of folks don’t know why there are so many windmills, but those were put there to bring water up from deep in the earth, and fill water troughs at the base of those windmills for their livestock to drink. Ranchers have been using wind power to water their livestock for generations. As of today, there are 80,000 windmills in Texas that are still used to water livestock. And, a lot of children in the panhandle, figured out early on, that on a hot day, it’s hard to beat a quick dip in the water trough! lol. Me, included.
My eyes filled with tears as I saw people from all over the US donating hay to be taken to the Panhandle, the Facebook posts of people saying they had 180 round bales if anyone had trucks, come and get them and take them to the ranchers, then shortly after that post, would be one saying, I have a truck, I’ll take them to the Panhandle for you. This happened time after time, along with stories of strength and hope. One company in California sent a truck filled with Vetericyn, a wound and skin care product to Texas and allowed ranchers to come and fill up buckets full of the much needed medication, at no cost.
Gray county Texas is my home, and I know the people there. They are tough, they are strong, and they will blaze through this. Many woke up the day after the fire and went to access the damage, old homesteads built by their great-great-great-great grandfather, that have stood for years, now gone. Barns-gone, hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment-gone. Yet, they get to work immediately and begin re-building, and before you know it, they will be up and running again. I love these people. They are hard working, down to earth people, and will come back stronger than ever.
I want to say thank you, to everyone that sent hay, supplies, medication and other things to those areas. No, I’m not there right now, life took me to the east coast, but my heart is there with my fellow Texans.