There was a distinct reminder
of winter's approach as September came to the ranch home of the Joneses.
That suggestion was felt in the early morning most of all. The round
wooden oak table was on one corner of the back porch. It was where the
family had their meals in the summer. The long table setting across the
length of the room was there for the hay crews and other times when more
space was needed for crowds. Already cool mornings were reminding the
family the cold blasting winds of winter were inevitable. They would soon
be moving to the interior of the house for their meals where an over sized
mahogany table of French provincial would serve them.
For Grandma, Grandpa,
Brothers, wives and children this was an exciting time rather than when
they might otherwise be dreading the sharp angry cutting winds of the
prairie planes. This was in the early years of the twentieth century. The
new cars they drove were the black Fords. A running board or a step was
built along the front and back door. The cars were open and did have
primitive heaters. However, if they wanted to travel in comfort as to
keeping warm they would soon be making plans to make their yearly trek to
"The Valley," Brownsville, Texas, where their winter home was located.
Having lost their first child
because they did not know American Indians were allergic to milk had given
them a new understanding as to what they had to do to allow the children
to survive. "Modern" times had taken the babies off the mother's milk and
this gave the child no natural immunities. As in the case of the Native
people who were unable to digest cows' milk, this too proved fatal for
their child. Through hard experience they learned goat milk was the
answer. If they were a site to behold while they carried Nanny on the
running board all the way to Brownsville no one of the family cared. They
were on their way to a kinder, warmer climate for the children and that
was the single goal.
Opening up their vacation home
was just a matter of cleaning, rehiring the people they had before, and
really settling into this totally different lifestyle. Grampa was an avid
fisherman and was in love with the ocean. Gramma enjoyed the Mexican woman
they hired who helped with the house.
The younger brother had an
interest in the culture and customs of the Mexican people. The older
brother and his wife were into the social life of the then small town.
They enjoyed too, the trips to Mexico. The experiences there were so
varied and different it was like a totally new world for them.
"Rosa!" Gramma enjoyed the
little Mexican woman. "Rosa!" "Come help me unload these jars I brought
from the ranch!"
The trailer they pulled she
had loaded with the fruit jars they emptied and used from last year's trip
there. "We need to get these jars up and when you go to the store, you
will need to pick up lids."
Gramma was never happier than
when she had a worthwhile project on going. Certainly the putting up of
plentiful food there in the Valley was the greatest of worthwhile
activities. Of all the things of necessity around the ranching community
fresh vegetables were of the premium. Everything one could imagine in the
way of fruits and vegetables was grown there in the rich grounds close to
the ocean. The high level of iodine in the food was essential for the
family since the inland area around their ranch home was most devoid of
this element. Goiter was common with these people at a time when great
trucking movement of produce was not available. The addition of fish and
seafood was also good for their health.
The friendships they made
there would touch into the lives of their children's children almost a
hundred years forward. The introduction of the rich Spanish culture
certainly was a gift to these people who had never been exposed to
something as different and many faceted. The Joneses always talked about
traveling being the best education and in this instance it was so.