We Did Not Make it on Our Own

 It was many years ago and I was on a flight from Lubbock to somewhere when, bored with the drone of the jet engines at 36,000 ft altitude, I picked up one of those airline magazines and began flipping through the pages. Seeing an article on the relationship between age and relative thought patterns in various age groups, I began to read with some skepticism at the accuracy of this research. For example, with the passing of years people began to reflect more on what is really important in their lives as well as who, if anyone, was an influence in those formative years of a younger age.

 

I would guess that this in flight reading occurred over 20 years ago and now, with the aid of a couple or more decades for the maturation process to change my mind, I am going to admit my error in thinking that the research results may have proven inconclusive.

 

It would be correct to say that my life has been one filled with adventure, excitement and not just a few accolades. Because of such a fulfilling life some have suggested that I am blessed while others exclaim that I am lucky, and I will say that without a doubt I have to agree with both.

 

When life is going good and obstacles are few, it is very easy to think that inherent incentive and talent have alone carried us to our personal goals. Few will deny entertaining those occasional thoughts of grand achievement. But age has influenced my thinking, in more ways than one, and I find myself quietly thanking those who have given me opportunities or influenced my own personal philosophy that paved the way for the wonderful life that has blessed me for over five decades. Most of these people have already gone to cut a trail for those of us still trudging up the summitless mountain called life, but some are still here, available for us to convey in person, how they have made a difference.

 

My sons Hunter (l) and Pate (r) who taught me that I could love far beyond what I thought possible.

My sons Hunter (l) and Pate (r) who taught me that I could love far beyond what I thought possible. Tin type photo by Robb Kendrick, National Geographic

 

 

 

I would like to devote this page to all of those who have opened the doors of opportunity in my life. Although this written offering falls woefully short of space to name them all, I hope that everyone who has made a difference knows that, like the countless young men and women who have sacrificed for the cause of freedom in all of the wars, I have not forgotten.

 

My wife Sylinda, who proved that a perfect mate does exist.

My wife Sylinda, who proved that a perfect mate does exist.

 

 

 

Mom with her fat dog Tippy. A woman reared in the tough times of the depression and whose stories of such years have given me a better perspective of the life I enjoy.

Mom with her "little boy" Tippy. A woman reared in the tough times of the depression and whose stories of such years have given me a better perspective of the life I enjoy.

 

 

My Dad, who instilled in my brother, sister and I a work ethic and an appreciation for the simple life he and Mom provided for us out on the old League ranch.

My Dad, who instilled in my brother, sister and I a work ethic and an appreciation for the simple life he and Mom provided for us out on the old League ranch.

 

 

 

My brother, Rick, also a partner in crime when we were kids on the ranch, roping chickens, branding pigs and just generally getting into a daily bind. I cannot imagine my youthful life without his being there.
My brother, Rick, also a partner in crime when we were kids on the ranch, roping chickens, branding pigs and just generally getting into a daily bind. I cannot imagine my youthful life without his being there. And my sister, Patty, who only recently proved to so many that if you really want an education it can be achieved despite daunting odds…working full time and attending school at night. Kudos for her graduating from the University of Maryland at age 59!!
John Graves, iconic Texas author who shares my philosophy about our Texas and what the future holds. Truly a man of the "Greatest Generation".
John Graves, friend and iconic Texas author who shares my philosophy about our Texas and what the future holds. Truly a man of the “Greatest Generation”.
Bob
Bob Moorhouse, a fellow Benjamin product and former manager of the Pitchfork ranch who, in 1974, gave me a chance to live the rugged but dream life of a professional predator hunter by allowing me to move into an abandoned line camp on the Pitchfork and trap the coyotes and bobcats that flourished there.
The late Ruth House, whose stories of a younger Texas peaked my interest for those years before my time.

The late Ruth House, whose stories of a younger Texas peaked my interest in those years before my time.

The late Mr. O.L. Patterson, perhaps one of the wisest and common sensical people I have ever known.

The late Mr. O.L. Patterson, perhaps one of the wisest and common sensical people I have ever known.

Knut Mjolhus, center, a friend and fellow adventurer whose superior piloting skills with both fixed wing and choppers has taken me into and out of some of the meanest country Texas has to offer. Without his help my photo files would be much thinner. David Baxter, right, former editor of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine who believed in my photographic skills 31 years ago and gave me a chance.

Knut Mjolhus, center, a friend and fellow adventurer whose superior piloting skills with both fixed wing and choppers has taken me into and out of some of the meanest country Texas has to offer. Without his help my photo files would be much thinner. David Baxter, right, former editor of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine who believed in my photographic skills 31 years ago and gave me a chance.

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Of the six gentlemen above only one, Louis Liles (bottom center), still survives. These old timers represent a Texas of long past, when both men and women knew a much tougher life than most of us know today. When I think that I am being challenged I regain my perspective in thinking of Joe Barton (bottom right), and his stories of WWII, a young 20 year old  in the cockpit of a P 51 Mustang escorting B 17 bombers over Germany.
And others who touched my life at an early age are, from top and L to R, is the late Homer T. Melton, Texas Ranger, Butch McCanlis, local business owner and old friend, Mickey Driver, rancher and friend and Jack Idol, ranch manager.
To all of the wonderful people mentioned above and the  hundreds of others not listed but who helped shape my life and career, I am forever indebted.  
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Published in: on April 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm  Comments (11)  

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Amen brother! Amen!
    Regards,
    Mark

  2. Oh Wymie! I love this post!! and all the pics! and look at your hot wife! 🙂 love Sylinda!! And what’s awesome is that EVERYONE you just spoke of and many many more people feel the same way about you!!! and I do too!! take care!

  3. Wyman,

    A perfect blog entry. To many people refuse to recognize the good fortune that others have given them. I have had a couple.

    A baseball coach outside of school who chewed my butt when I got poor grades. “Dummies don’t play on my team” he exclaimed. My grades got better. He gave his time to me and deserved better from me.

    And a neighbor down the street who was a school teacher and fueled my interest in geology while I would do landscaping at this house. That interest carried into the career I have now which has given my family a very fortunate life.

    And when we have these realizations it is just as important to try to help and influence others with our perspective and experiences.

    It’s a pleasure to know you.
    Michael

  4. I appreciate your kind words Michael. I had a couple of profs at Tech
    who really inspired me and I try to do the same for my classes.

    Wyman

  5. Thank you Wyman, for such kind words about Dad. Yep, he was wise and we all still miss him greatly. Never a day goes by, that I don’t think of something to ask him and miss his advice or answer. Love the pics of the “other old timers” as well. We have lost a great generation of folks and have very few left.

  6. Glad you liked the blog and thanks for the kind words…

    Wyman

  7. Wyman,

    Beautiful portraits and thoughts. I wish I would have known about your blog earlier…

  8. Patrick, Glad you enjoyed the blog! Stay tuned as I try to write one about every month or so, depending on my mood!!

    Wyman

  9. Wyman,

    I ran across this blog post and the photo of my granddad. The picture brings back a flood of memories. He was truly one of the greatest men I have ever know and I appreciate that others feel the same. I live my life trying to follow the foot prints he made and I know I will never be the man he was. His humor and common sense are deeply missed.

  10. Orel,
    I regarded your granddad highly and I truly loved him. I once took the opportunity to tell him what a wonderful and wise man that he was. He laughed it off but I know he appreciated it. Thanks for your thoughts!

    Wyman

  11. Wyman,
    So fun to find you here and see how your photography has grown! I used to work at Natural Selection.

    This morning I woke up to an amazing TX thunderstorm, as i was putting my daughter on the bus I was telling the bus driver how much I love the storms down here and was relating a story you told me of sitting on the roof of your house watching the storm come across the desert (she didn’t think she’d like to do that). I really had no clue that storms could be so different here than other parts of the world. I would still love to see that. We’ve lived in TX for 9 years next month, sometimes i feel like I’m in a different country. When I looked at your pictures it was hard to imagine you live in the same TX i do. Yours is prettier 🙂 My husband works at NASA so we live over here in Clear Lake (some optimistic Texans named this brown water Clear lake!)
    I just wanted to say Hi. My memories of NSSP always are with a smile when i think of your phone calls – and how you were never able to disquise that Texas drawl!

    Meg


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