The 10th of August 1907 – Armadillo, Texas

(found by a rusted stake in an old railroad bed)

Dear Ma,

Of course it’s tough out here, but that’s exactly why I came.

I remember Grampy had the expression “like squeezing blood from a stone,” and he always made it sound like a bad thing. I always took it as a challenge. Getting the most from the least and fighting with blood and guts to get the little you can.

That’s life.

At least, that’s life out here.

There’s dust everywhere, Ma. It gets in your eyes and in your hair and in the cracks between your fingers. It gets there, and it won’t ever come out in the bath. Of course, not that you could draw a bath anyway. The water here’s scarce as kindness was back home.

And it always seems to be so hot, unbelievably hot sometimes.

But you squeeze the stone and hope that blood might, somehow, come out.

There’s an old man in a bowler cap who totters around from ranch to ranch. He carries a funny-looking stick, with a fork in it. He claims he can use his stick to find water.

Can you believe that?

He goes from ranch to ranch, one dried up bed of nothing to the next, practically begging for a few dollars so he can have the chance to maybe get you a little water out of the ground.

I’ve seen him do it. A genuine, God-given miracle!

It gives some of us hope, I think. I heard some of the ranch-hands talking about it at dinner one night. They believed all of a sudden. That even though life could be harder than baked clay, well, it could be worth it.

Blood from a stone. Water out from the desert.

All you have to do is keep squeezing.




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