Musings and Misadventures

Return to Sender

Investment property!

Ugggh! Those words tasted like bile bubbling up the back of my throat when I opened the nice little white envelope from some lady in Austin offering to buy our farm.

I wonder what she is willing to invest?

I think of all the evenings I couldn’t stand up straight after grubbing and dragging mesquite trees all day, hands aching with poison from mesquite thorns. I think of the evenings my eyelashes stuck together with backsplash from painting all day. The days I spend working on someone else’s animals all day just to come home and attend to our own in the dark of night. The endless circles on a back-wrenching, bouncing tractor trying to whack back summer weeds or coax winter grains to grow. Flat tires and broken pins and blades and axels, leaking hydraulics and another damn tire-maybe she could invest in these, because they certainly cut into our grocery budget….

I’m terrified of heights; I wonder if she would like to “invest” in the days Jeff and I roofed these buildings?

We fought ten years of drought on this place, trying to be good stewards of the animals in our care, most of whose bones are buried on this place, but because of the natural cycle of their lives, not because we failed to provide for them. I don’t recollect anyone offering to invest in their feed.

When the drought ended, it ended in floods. And tornados. Perhaps she would like to invest an evening laying over her child in an iron bath tub while a tornado tore this house apart? Or the hours of sweat and blood it took to rebuild it over the following two years?

Every room in this house was created by the three of us, every structure built with our hands. I wonder what that investment is worth? To me it’s worth more than life itself. My life is invested here.

My ancestors settled this country when they came here with Stephen F. Austin, and in all four cardinal directions, my neighbors are my friends and family. I have rescued their cows off the highway in the dark at two AM. We have weathered storms and droughts and fires and tragedy together, funerals and weddings and births. They have appeared out of nowhere every time we needed them most and helped to set the things right that life had left in disarray. I have educated their children and they have educated mine. When I die, they will be the people to throw dirt over my bones. These are not just the people with property in proximity: we are all invested in each other. I wonder what she would invest into their lives?

While I am sure a good real estate investor would pay their ad valorem taxes, there is a little more that our children need here. I wonder if she will bake for the Athletic Booster bake sale to buy our athletes new uniforms, or lead a 4-H group or sponsor an animal for an FFA kid? Maybe she could invest her time substituting at the school or helping a teacher with the expense and work of decorating and supplying a classroom?

I guess what angers me the most about some twat from Austin offering to buy our home is the social and political contradictions our state capitol has engaged in. Its population has embraced socialism as an ideology to assuage its guilt from engaging in the worst of capitalist greed. They decry the tragedy of environmental destruction but hesitate not one instant to seize natural resources to exploit for themselves. 

It seems you can’t turn on the news these days without hearing some silly story about something some urbanite has found to be offended about. A boy that wanted to be a girl but was actually a boy was offended by accidentally being referred to as a boy or some other absurdity. You would think that in a society that takes such pleasure at discovering new ways to be offended, it might occur to them that offering to make someone’s home an “investment property “ might be offensive, but I suppose arrogance and greed reign supreme.

I know, unless some drastic event changes our course, this type will eventually buy up all our lands and cover them with spec houses. They have already come for the minerals. Next they will buy “investment properties “ to capture our water rights and direct them to urban centers. Golf courses and swimming pools will abound, but our crops and animals will perish of thirst. 

Each year a few more of our kids are stolen by crime and drugs. We have to lock our doors now, where that was once unheard of. There are so many unfamiliar faces in town, but for now we have been able to open our arms to these new country dwellers and show them how our gentle rural community exists. One day the canker of urban sprawl will envelope us, but not today.

In the meantime, Austin doesn’t quite have what it takes to “invest” here.  Tomorrow I will get up and milk the cow and feed the chickens, then make sure ten ranch horses can play their role in feeding beef to an ungrateful urban world. Friday I will spend cooking for our sick and raising money for our 4-H children’s education. Right now, this is MY investment property and these people and animals are MY life’s investment.  

It’s God’s right to judge and not mine, but I can still hope that He sees fit to sentence a certain type of investor to a brief and scabious existence.

No, you fool. You cannot buy this farm from us. We are already quite invested here. My family explained that to Santa Anna and we can ‘splain it to you!

7 thoughts on “Return to Sender

  1. Words fail me because I know I am not worthy to comment on your words, Carmen. Your heart-breaking eloquence so well expresses that usually unspoken love of land that permeates the hearts of true Texans as opposed to the recently arrived. Thank you!

    1. Haha! “Heart-breaking eloquence” is a faaaar cry from my husband’s comment, which went more like “ They are just trying to make a living, don’t be such a b****!”.
      I like your comment much better! However, his is probably more accurate!
      Thanks for the sweet words❤️

  2. I just read “Our House,” and it was so moving. I love the paragraph that describes how your house was cobbled together over time. It sounds like our house in Georgia, which started out as a plain concrete-block box and has now been added onto in every direction. It was half destroyed by a falling tree in 2005, but thanks to the insurance we were able to repair and improve. We have a family tradition that no job ever gets past 90% completion, but we just work around and keep it on the “To Do” list.

  3. I just loved and felt in my whole body your words and feelings! Good for you and the family. I guess they will just have to “Come and Take It!”

  4. It deeply saddens me that people like this bitch think they can continue to ruin good Texas country and have the audacious to write to you in such a way. Thank you for standing your ground!! For standing on that line for the 5 generations of ranchers this family is.
    The community of small rual areas are something these people will never understand. The family that these communities are is something they will never have because of their blind selfish, self centered ways. I have watched Austin, and many times Califorina via Austin, arrive in West Texas just to complain and gripe about it once they get here. And they so all while ruining our community, our tax base, and our schools.
    The voice needs to be united. The voice of HELL NO this is our land. Ruin Austin some more but leave us alone you twats!!!
    My family and I are having to sell our home and leave town because Austin has arrived here and ruined our tax base so badly that we can not afford to even live within our own hometown. As I look at these four walls around us, it breaks my heart. Our lazy ranching community where we used to leave our keys in our trucks, our front door never locked, kids rode their bicycles down the streets has become an “investment”. And investment into what?? Not into the future of these children. Not into the future of our ranching heritage. Not into the future of the family that is our community. So again I ask you, what is the investment into?

  5. Thank you, Carmen, for your exquisite vignette that exposes the soul of those whose investment is in breathing in and marveling at and sighing thankful prayers for the work of our Creator.

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