Falling out of the Field

In my youth, my father told a story about falling out of the field while plowing. This happened on the upper 32 acres, which we have always called “the Mountain”. For many years, I believed the story an exaggeration, but not any more. I spent a little time up there last winter, and am now convinced that attempting to plow the hillside could easily result in mule and farmer falling out of the field. The area is surrounded by steep hillsides, and if it could be magically stretched out, would likely cover nearly 100 acres. Much of this part of the county is like this and our lower (by about 35 feet) 52 acres is very similar. The Mountain is the highest accessible point in Sabine County. One point on the San Augustine County line is a few feet higher, but no roads go to it.

It took hardy stock to farm this land. Every time I walk it, I am amazed that my grandfather was able to scratch a living out of it, where the most abundant natural feature is lots of red rocks. Where the land is not red dirt, filled with rock, it is sand. The sand at the house place is three feet deep. Somehow, with a mule and lots of guts, the family produced 1 bale of cotton per year at the height of the depression. At $.05 a pound, 600 pounds of cotton brought $30.00 at the Gin. With that, my Grandfather had to provide clothes and shoes for the school year. My father and his siblings had to walk the two and a bit miles on the Sand Road to the schoolhouse in Geneva. Life was hardscrabble here in the 30s, and I’m sure my family story is not unique. I take pride in having family roots here.