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and bare; with cattle almost starving upon grass, withered
and scorched and dry as straw; with corn spindling and
struggling and jaundiced; with cotton not yet sprouted or
not even planted in the hard, unyielding clods; with spring
gardens and flower-beds almost as sere as the last days of
summer; with farmers, stockmen, merchants, bankers, manu-
facturers, and railroaders still nervous from last year's panic,
counting accrued and accruing losses in all the exaggeration
of the business blues why, it was welcome as manna and
about as desperately needed.

And beautiful beyond any other beauty of nature or art at
their best literally beautiful, the dream of the poet and the
rhapsody of the painter materialized in a shower of- silver
and perfume, visible and sensible to the sight and smell, and
the rainbow and the pot of gold at the end of it really and
truly.

It started a little after five o'clock in the midst of a blus-
tering, dust-choking gale from the southeast. A few big
spluttering drops fell and sprinkled the sidewalks and roads.
Ladies who were driving whipped up a little, but the men



i68 WRITERS AND WRITINGS OF TEXAS

only looked skyward wistfully, doubtingly, and went on
about their business they had been bluffed too often to take
the clouds seriously.

It spluttered on.

The women folk laid on the whip harder, loose animals
sniffed the moisture and broke for shelter, and the doubting
Thomases began to take notice and look hopeful.

A great blanketing cloud with a white fringe was spread-
ing over from the northwest and a darker one crept nar-
rowly along the southern horizon. The wind held steady
and the drops fell thicker; the dust was laid and the water
trickled from the roofs into the drain spouts.

Then it rained sure enough wet rain and the people
almost forgot to close the doors and put down the windows.
They stood and watched, smiling and rejoicing, holding their
breath and praying that the wind would not shift to the fatal
northwest, which had blighted every prospect for six months.

But it kept on rakiing, and the wise men who had been so
skeptical began to say, "I told you so."

In the very midst of it the sun shone with such whiteness
and softness as never before fell on gladdened eyes. People
looked right into it without blinking. The clouds had lifted
in the west as they banked in the east; they had met over-
head and poured down their treasure, until it ran in the
ditches.

It was a slanting, glistening shower of pearls; a rustling,
rattling rush of silver beads on threads of invisible wire
shaken in the sun. It fairly danced and sang like a living
thing of spangles and fresh odors.

Two farmers with a wagon load of hogs drove along the
road slowly, lazily, actually reveling in the money-making
wetness.

"If the sun shines through the rain, it will rain again to-
morrow." There was added zest in the hope of the old
weather proverb, and a double rainbow gave the promise
greater impress. It spanned the whole eastern sky with its
ancient glory.



JESSE EDWARD GRINSTEAD 169

And still the rain fell, now lighter, now heavier, but un-
failingly, and the thunder rolled profoundly and assuring-
ly not savagely and crackingly, but so evenly and harmon-
iously that even the women smiled and were not afraid.

It was a sweet and melodious hour.

Supper got cold on the table, the rain was more edifying
than the victuals.

As soon as it closed the children were out wading in the
puddles and squashing mud through their toes. The thrifty
gardener hastened to set sweet peppers and egg plants and
to look around for poles to stick the running beans.

And then for a benediction and blessing on it all, just as
the sun set, the clouds banked in the west and north, and the
gold of a dying day poured through a crevice and spattered
all the sky with a flaming yellow and red on the molten white
of the heavenly canvas which the Master Painter deigns
now and then to exhibit to the wondering eye of the chil-
dren of men.

Today the plows will be running. There will be crops
hereabouts.



JESSE EDWARD GRINSTEAD

Mr. Grinstead was born in Kentucky in 1866. Two
years later the family moved to Missouri. When four-
teen years of age, he went with his father's family to
the Chickasaw Nation in the Indian Territory. Work-
ing on the farm and the ranch in the daytime and
studying at night, he acquired sufficient education to
become a printer, a reporter, and finally the editor and
owner of a newspaper.

In 1899 he moved to Kerrville, Texas, where he still
resides. He was subsequently elected mayor of the



170 WRITERS AND WRITINGS OF TEXAS

town, and, in 1906 was sent to the State Legislature
where he was soon honored with the title, "Poet-
Laureate of the Legislature." He originated the bill
for a State sanitarium for tuberculosis, which bill
eventually became a law. This, he considers the great
service of his life, because it was directly a great
movement in the cause of humanity.

A student of nature, a lover of the great out-doors,
this writer is an essayist upon matters of human inter-
est, and a poet of the people. He owns and publishes
the Kerrville Mountain Sun and finds time to write a
little verse, and occasionally a story, that, as he says,

Makes people laugh to wield the ground fallow,

And weep to water the seeds
That fall on the heart, the ground that we hallow

And grow into glorious deeds.

FISHIN' ON THE GUADALUPE.

I'm a-fishin' on the Guadalupe, a cool an' shady spot,
With cotton line an' rusty hook an' sinker made of shot.

The black bass are bitin' an' the banks are full of flowers,
Nature's music's softly hummin' in a thousan' sylvan bowers.

I'm a-smokin' an' a-dreamin' of the days of long ago,
When life was glad an' pleasant, an' th' wan't no grief nor
woe.

Ain't no past, ain't no future, ain't no nothin' but the breeze,
A-whisperin' an' a-sighin' through the wavin' cypress trees.

A mockin' bird's a-singin' in an oak across the way,
The crimson gold of sunset marks the closin' of a day



JESSE EDWARD GRINSTEAD 171

That's been happy, mighty happy, plum full of laughin' joy,
That took me back to childhood, to the days when 1's a
boy;

To times when Nature called me and I didn't know her voice,
But with hook an' line went fishin', a matter of sweet choice.

This day has been so pleasant, been so kinder sweet an' sad,
Yet I couldn't feel no sorrow, 'cause I've been so awful glad

To be a boy again, a-nshin', brimful of joy an' life,
An' to have this day for treasure, through years of toil and
strife.

When I get back to the city, with its crowd an' busy thrall,
I'm goin' to keep this picture hangin' on sweet mem'ry's wall ;

An' when troubles, like an army, through my tired brain shall

troop,
I'll remember this day's pleasure, "Fishin' on the Guada-

lupe !"

OCTOBER.

(Written in reply to a Northern poet who had written of
"October in the 'Hill Country' of Texas.")

Listen, Singer of the Northland,

Hear a word from Southern stream;

As it glistens in the silver
Of October's sunset gleam.

Once there was a day of sadness,
When no Northern mock-bird sung;

When the Southern thrush was silent,
And a nation's heart was wrung.

But that day is gone, forgotten,

And the gap, at first so wide,
Has been healing, slowly healing,

Constant as the ocean's tide.



172 WRITERS AND WRITINGS OF TEXAS

No October e'er was wasted
That produced one gentle thought;

Fair October you have left ug,
But one pleasure you have brought.

One sweet singer of the Northland,

As he praised your nut-brown hair,
Touched the heart of Southern songsters,

Good-bye, crimson Goddess fair!

i

You have gone like countless others,

Red and gold leaves in your lap;
But the North and South are brothers,

Shaking hands across the gap.

THE WHISTLE OF THE "BOB WHITE."

When I was a little boy I tried through many summers to
imitate the whistle of the "Bob White," to no avail. I have
known several fellows in my life who could give a very fair
imitation of the bird, but it doesn't make a fellow sit up and
take notice to hear the whistle when he is looking for it.
The time when it sounds good and puts your very soul on
the wideawake, is when you are walking along the road just
before sundown, meditating upon the profound problems of
life. Everything is still, night is drawing near. All at
once, the "Bob White," sitting on the old rail fence, just the
other side of a wild grape-vine from you, will whistle in
his clear notes and set your heart throbbing and bring back
a string of memories that had slept for years.

To most people the whistle of the "Bob White" is simply
a whistle and always sounds the same ; but in point of fact,
the "Bob White" whistles with his feelings, with' his soul,
just as men and women sing. Sometimes his whistle is the
blithe, hopeful song of early morning, when a glorious day
is before us, and again it is the tender sigh of a tired mother,
after a day of care and the little troubles of life.



JESSE EDWARD GRINSTEAD 173

A few days ago, I was out on a country road just before
sunset I was walking along, discussing in my mind the
opinions of learned men upon certain technical and scientific
things. The picture I was contemplating was dull and un-
interesting, but of a sudden a "Bob White" whistled on a
fence near me, and his mate answered in plaintive tone from
out in the wheat field, as if she were telling her lord that it
was late and time for him to come home and help her cud-
dle her little ones to sleep.

Immediately the dull prospect passed away, and before my
mental vision opened a grand picture as large as memory it-
self. I saw great fields of waving, golden grain. Here was
a field of shocks where the wheat had been cut. There was
a large block of gold with a margin of brown stubble and
scattered bundles around it where the harvesters had been at
work. Two little boys were walking along the "turnin' row,"
each carrying a tin bucket on his arm, going toward the old
red farmhouse, where they could hear the cows lowing and
the little calves plaintively bleating a request for their be-
lated evening meal. The peace of God's own love rests over
the scene, and a "Bob White," sitting on the old orchard
fence, whistles to his mate in tender tones as if reassuring
her that it will not rain tonight, because the sun is peeping
like a bright and fiery eye from beneath the threatening
cloud in the west, and "Bob White" seems saying to his
mate, as we humble country folks were wont to say, "It
won't rain tonight, because the sun is settin' clear."

As the two little lads walked along the dusty way, the
smaller one stopped and began to cry. His brother set down
his bucket, and examining into the trouble, found that he
had stepped on a "bull nettle" that had been lying in the sun
and had gotten dry and hard. He picked the "stickers" out
of the little fellow's foot the best he could, and the two lit-
tle lads took up their buckets and started homeward, leaving
two round rings in the dust of the "turnin' row," where the
buckets had been and a lot of bare foot tracks around them.
As they went on their way the little boy lagged behind and



174 WRITERS AND WRITINGS OF TEXAS

limped on account of the nettles that his brother couldn't find
in his dirty brown feet. They came to the orchard fence,
and when the larger one had peered into the "rag-weeds"
for possible snakes, climbed over the old rail fence and dis-
appeared among the spreading apple-trees.

When my picture boys had disappeared, I stood there in
the road, pondering the last glimpse of the little boy's tear-
stained face, and saying to myself, "Where have I seen that
picture before? Where was it?"

The bird whistled again, and behold the picture came again.
The little boys had disappeared in the orchard, and as I
stood by the roadside in the gloaming I heard footsteps, and,
looking up, saw the hale old farmer with his shoulders
slightly bent and iron-grey hair, and one of the "harvest
hands" walking toward the house and discussing the proba-
ble yield of a certain block of grain, each carrying a water
jug in his hand. As they drew near me the farmer said:

"I thought I saw the boys come along the road a little
while ago."

"Yas, sir," said a negro boy, who was walking along be-
hind with a sickle on his shoulder, "dey did come along
hyar, I seed 'em when dey dome de fence right dar by dat
little ellum bush. Spec' dey took a nigh cut froo de orchurn
'count er de big snake track 'tween hyar an' de bawn, whar
Marse Billy drag dat ole reel chain 'crost de 'turnin' row/
and the negro's white teeth and eye-balls glowed in the twi-
light.

Again the scene changed, and the farmer and his men
passed on toward the barn, but still I stood and wondered
where I had seen those things before.

Hearing heavy foot-falls, I looked again and beheld two
great draught horses coming down the road. The chains
were rattling and the horses were taking occasional bites
from bunches of grain that grew by the way. Upon one of
the animals a youth was riding. He appeared to be in deep
study, and was saying to himself, "I am not afraid to work.
I don't mind the dirt and the grease about the reaper. I



JESSE EDWARD GRINSTEAD i?5

don't flinch like a girl when the nettles stick me in binding
the grain with my hands, but I just don't want to be a
farmer. Something tells me that there is other work for
me to do." Thus he soliloquized as he passed me and fol-
lowed the others toward the farmhouse in the twilight.

Then I knew, ah, yes, I knew where I had seen that pic-
ture before, and as I pursued my way on in the early twi-
light, I pondered it. Every man in the world can't be a
farmer, but if every man in our great nation could hear the
"Bob White" whistle, and could see the harvest fields at
sunset; if we all could have the thrilling note of that bird
to awaken our hearts until we saw the tear-stained faces of
our little brothers, while picking the nettles from their feet;
saw the bended form of father as he wended homeward after
a day of toil for his loved ones; saw the faithful hired man
and the grinning, single-minded negro boy that followed
him homeward as the shadows fell; saw brother pass in the
gloaming, as he rode old Charley to the lot. If all, everyone,
the banker in his counting house, the merchant in his store,
the statesman in his councils, the lawyer at the bar and the
preacher in the pulpit,' could see those scenes again and hear
"The Whistle of the Bob White," even once a year, the
world would be far better. There would be more patriots
and fewer politicians; more honesty and less practice for
lawyers; more smiles and laughter and less sorrow; more
love and tenderness and less hate and malice.

If I had the promise of only one prayer that might be an-
swered, it should be, "Oh, God, show the men of our nation
the harvest fields at sunset, and let them hear 'The Whistle
of the Bob White;' so the curtain of time will roll back and
permit them to see sweet scenes that will soften their hearts
and make their souls fallow ground for receiving seeds of
good !"

LET'S GO A-FISHIN'

Did you ever notice that when a fellow wants to go a- fish-
ing, when he gets a real bad case of "fishin' fever," akmg



176 WRITERS AND WRITINGS OF TEXAS

about the time the martins come and try to run the blue birds
out of their "nestes," he always wants to right at once?
There are a lot of fellows that can't go fishing as they used
to when they were boys, but I am mighty glad that you and
I can go just like we used to a long time ago.

I have, since childhood, had a very kindly feeling toward
Izaak Walton. Ike must have been, besides a pretty good
fisherman, a pretty fair average man. Besides conducting
his business affairs, he found time to write several books,
and to do an awful lot of fishing. All the books he ever
wrote were about fishing, and the beautiful things he saw in
the woodland, while he was following his favorite pastime.
I don't think Walton ever fished with a Bristol steel rod and
an eight-dollar reel. What he has written upon the subject
reads like he was one who fished for pleasure, and not for
the purpose of getting tangled up in a thousand feet of silk
line, and, incidentally, making remarks that he would not
like to see in print. But we don't want to go fishing by
Walton's rule, or anybody's else. You come on with me and
I'll take you to the fishing place that will make you feel
awful good for a little while, and sorry when the time comes
to go home.

"You get the grubbin' hoe, and we'll go out by the old
sorghum mill and get a lot of worms. There is plenty of
them there for I got fine ones there before the rain and I
know there is more now. That's the idea. Now put them in
that old oyster can, put in some fresh wet dirt, and push the
top in."

"Kinder hook you got?"

"Got two. One of 'em's good as new. Other 'n's rusted,
but it'll hold a powerful big fish."

"Unhuh! Kinde cork?"

"Got two corks. One ain't much 'count, but the other'n's
a good 'un, got it out'n maw's camphire bottle."

"What's them?"

"Sinkers. Got two bullets out'n paw's pouch and beat
'em flat with a monkey-wrench on a wagin tire."



JESSE EDWARD GRINSTEAD 177

"All right, Jim. I gotter outfit about like that, only one er
my corks was painted, but the paint is all off'n it now.
Grampaw gave me that biggest line. Betcher we don't ketch
no fish it won't pull out. Ain't it fine to get to go fishin'?"
"Betcher boots. Pap's on the jury, and when he left this
mawnin' he told me I could go fishin' when I got the taters
hoed. I got done a good while ago, cause the lower end of
the patch wasn't weedy, an' then I only hoed one side of
some of the rows."

This conversation took place between me and one of my
boyhood friends while we were preparing to start on just
such a fishing trip as any real live boy, or man either, for
that matter, would enjoy. Jim was a fat boy, loyal to a fault,
but usually braver before a battle than while it was in
progress, as most of us are. He was intensely human, and
a born fisherman. In our early games I had played soldier,
and in my exploits with an old cavalry sabre that my father
had broken the point off of and used for a corn knife, had
won Jim's admiration, and he ever afterwards called me
"Sojer."

"All right, Jeems, we're off. Where do you want to go?"

"Don't make nary bit of difference to me, Sojer. I'm

ready to go to the Mississippi and fish for shovel-billed cat."

"Very well, here we go for the big hole when Long

Branch runs into Turtle Crick."

"Good sakes, Sojer, that's more'n three mile."

"Yep, I know it. But you're twelve and I'm most leben."

So off we started, our pockets sticking out with corks, a

piece of lead and a string for first aid in case of nose-bleed,

and all the odds and ends of junk that boy can crowd into

his trousers pockets, especially boys that go fishin'. We pass

the old cabin where Uncle Steve, that made baskets, used to

live. For a time we talk very boldly of the valiant things

we would do in -case of emergency, and surmise wisely upon

the matter of whether or not the fish will bite. Now we

have turned the corner of the woods can can't see home

any more. Here we enter the tall timber. Right over yon-



178 WRITERS AND WRITINGS OF TEXAS

der is where the broken-legged horse died. Don't yon re-
member the day that you and sister and me found it, and
how we all went to the branch and got water in our hats,
and even sister tried to carry water in her old bonnet and
cried because it all leaked out We did carry water in our
hats and watered the poor horse. That old persimmon tree
over there is where the bald hornet's nest was. Here is
where we strike Long Branch, and Jim, old, fat Jim, who was
so valiant at the start, says:

"Say, Sojer, the last time I fished here I ketche,d some
powerful nice 'pearch' out'n that hole over there by the big
sycamore."

"Shucks, Jim, we don't wanter stop here. Nothin' less'n a
whale will satisfy me on this trip."

On we go, down Long Branch, making for the mouth of
it. We pass a monster wild gooseberry bush with its load
of sour fruit We take a short cut across Old Man Jones'
hemp field, and Jim gets a few stalks of old last year's hemp,
stating as he picks it up that when he gets to the crick he
will wet it in the water and make a fine stringer for his fish.
We get over the old rail fence, with the wild strawberries
growing in its corners and strike a long ridge leading down to
the creek. The ridge is covered with wild larkspur and
Sweet William. Pretty soon we reach the old blue hale at
the mouth of the branch. We have two long hazel switches
that we have cut on the way. We stand upon the promon-
tory where the two streams come together and watch the
sun-kissed ripples run from the smaller stream out into the
great deep pool, and meeting kindred currents, join them in
their race to the sea. A woodpecker is knocking on an old
dead hickory, and an old gray squirrel is peeping at us from
a walnut near by.

We get out the hooks, and the stoppers from "maw's cam-
phire bottle," and the cork that "was painted." We bait the
hooks, and begin to fish. Pretty soon Jim gets a nibble but
he don't get the fish. Finally he gets restless and goes up
the creek a little way. Then he crosses the creek on the



JESSE EDWARD GRINSTEAD 179

"water-gap" and comes down on the other side. Here he
sits down by the big "ellum" right across the stream from
me and proceeds to pull out a dozen fine catfish, while I
fail to get a single nibble. Pretty soon I get tired and,
sticking ray pole in the soft bank, lie down on the grassy
ground. After awhile Jim calls across and says:

"Whatcher doin', Sojer?"

"NothinV

"Whatcher lookin' at?"

"Jes' lookin' at things. See a buzzard way up yander,
wander how they can sail that way? They's a squirl in that
old mulberry. How yer reckon they can crawl down a tree
head fust without fallin'? They's a bee in a wild buttercup
here, an' he's got yaller stuff on his laigs. Whatcher guess
it is? Say, Jim, hear all the sheep bells an' cow bells?
Sounds like somebody playin' 'Home, Sweet Home' on a
pianer, don't it?"

"Oh, shet up, Sojer! The fish won't bite when you're
hollerin' 'thaterway."

"Don't care. Don't want no fish. See a raincrow over
there in that old wild cherry tree, an' it's fixin' ter holler.
Don't like ter hear rain crows much, an' I jes' can't stand a
whippoorwill, sounds like clouds fallin' in a grave an' little
orphans cryin'. Say, Jim, reckon anybody ever tried ter
play a tune on a fiddle or any thing that sounded like bees
hummin', sheep bells, birds singin', little babbies laughin',
an "

"Grab yer pole, Sojer! They's sholy a whale on it this
time."

I "grabbed the pole" just in time to save it, and came near
going into the water head foremost, as a monster catfish
made for the bottom of the big hole. The strength of the
line that "Grampaw gave me" was tried to the uttermost
strand, but it held true, and I landed that fine "yaller cat,"
while Jim danced in glee on the other bank. When I had
gotten my catch on the string, with many cautions from my
companion, I tied him to the root of the big sycamore, so



iSo WRITERS AND WRITINGS OF TEXAS

he could play in the water and "keep alive," and went back
to my fishing.

For half an hour longer Jim and I were both very -busy
pulling out catfish of various lengths and families. Finally
Jim spoke up and said:

"Pears like we ain't goin' ter ketch nothin' but catfish.
Must be goin' ter rain."

I looked toward the northwest and sure enough it looked
like rain. Jim went up and crossed on the water-gap,
bringing his fish with him. We hurriedly wound up our
lines, threw the poles in the creek to keep any other boy
from getting them, and prepared to make the best of our
way home. When all was in readiness, Jim said:

"Sojer, do you know how far it is to Old Man Thomp-
son's?'

"'Bout half a mile, maybe three-quarters."

"Well, I think it is going ter rain a flood, an' I'm in favor
of goin' right on this road to Thompson's. It just three
miles from there to your house, 'cause I heard Pap say he
carried the chain when they surveyed it. He told me that
one day when he was comin' home from mill, an' I had an
orful headach and wanted ter stop at Mis' Thompson's."

So we agreed to go by Thompson's, and away we went,
carrying our big string of fish on a pole between us. Have
you ever thought how much bigger the rains were then, and
how much fiercer the lightning and louder the thunder?
To my knowledge, there has never been another such storm


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