Biscuits Across The Brazos
A Family Journey
By Jim H. Ainsworth
© 2004 Jim H. Ainsworth
As I approached the hilltop farm that I had been directed to, I saw a fellow plowing a pasture in the distance. I knocked on the door and got no answer. As I was about to leave, a lady drove up and rolled down her car window. I blurted out my mission. "A covered wagon, four horses and four men are a few hours behind me. We've come from Ranger and are headed toward a small community called Shiloh. We're looking for a place to stay overnight." Janie Hull surveyed me with a slow look that took in everything from my boots to my hat. Her eyes showed amusement as well as confidence. "You might have found it," she declared without hesitation. "You fellows drink and raise hell?"
Having heard this question before, I assured her we would not. "Well, you may not like it here then, cause we generally do." I laughed and quickly amended myself and said we could readily adapt to any situation our hosts provided. I could see that her mind was working rapidly on how this interruption to her day could be made into fun. "Get in the car" she ordered. "Excuse me?" I thought I had heard her wrong. "Get in. I want to show you to someone." Thinking she was going to drag me off to a neighbor to show what the cat had drug in from the side of the road, I was a little taken aback, but not much.
We were starting to notice the heat today for the first time. The temperature had climbed into the 90's. We took Pleasant Valley Road just outside Palo Pinto to the Brazos. Having driven it before, I knew we were in for a long haul on a red rock and occasional dirt road that seems to go nowhere. There were almost no signs. I also knew that we would have to ford the Brazos since there was no bridge on this road. By four o'clock, the others were beginning to wonder if we were really going anywhere. The sun was bearing down, and we couldn't take the time to rest if we were going to camp on the river's edge. By six, we were on a definite downward path to the river bottom. Our spirits picked up and an occasional Braaaaazoos yell could be heard. Soon, we could smell the water.
Rio de los Brazos de Dios (River of the Arms of God) was the original name for the Brazos. Hiram and Eva must have felt the name was appropriate when they reached this point. My mind went back to that original wagon trip. Although we knew that the remainder of the trip would not take the same path as our ancestors, they surely crossed the Brazos and this was the likely spot. I began to transport myself back in time to their arrival and tried to become my grandfather. I could see the children wading in the cool, welcome water and Hiram and Eva feeling proud to have reached this landmark. Marion expressed similar thoughts. Charles, probably born a hundred years too late like Marion and myself, definitely felt the spirit. Gordy was just glad to be near water.
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