It is just as you said in your last letter, no news, that is from this end. But even an envelope from that end is news indeed. Right here I want to say that there is one habit I havent got over and I guess I never will. That is trying to write with a lot of talking going on. Do you know that I am driven almost crazy, when I am trying to collect a bunch of words into a letter. Right now I could hit about five of these guys, and would I guess if it were not for the fact that if they knew I had this weakness, they would never let me write one word. So I sit here and scribble away, and it’s a wonder that there are not some words in them that I don’t intend to go in, as it is I use the rubber not a little.
This is some writing paper that one of the boy’s mother sent him and I think it is pretty classy for the life we are living. Yes Em told me that Pa was going to N.Y. but it seems only yesterday that he left. You said it when you mentioned the candy being stuck on itself, but it didn’t take long for us to get stuck on the candy. You speak of the weather being tough up there, and I am sorry that it is so much harder to get used to it in Boston than it is down here for I really mean it when I say, that although it is warmer here, it is so dry that you dont mind it unless you are working or hiking. Then again I will say that it is hard to breath easy if we hike any distance especially up and down the hills. This is the next thing we have got to get used to, and, by the way I am getting aclimated, it wont be long before Ill really like this climate, (but never the country).
You say that you havent seen but very little sun for at least two weeks, and I am going to shoot right back, that we havent seen but two showers since we struck here, and then only about one half hour duration. And you spoke about boiling water. Well Im going to say that as soon as we get through eating, the food that is left on our mess pans is dried on to the extent that you would accually think that the pans, knives, forks and spoons were stuck in an oven and baked. Any thing made of metal, that is left in the sun even three or four minutes can hardly be handled, it would be so hot. Where we are now there are a few (very few, but they are like a diamond in a coal bin) trees. And say Lena you couldnt find a more pleasanter place in the world for (comfort.) But if you should get just out in the sun, you wouldnt feel, or think there was ever such a thing as a breeze.
I am glad that your hunt in search of a house for Mollie has ended. It is like this post I have charge of today. Here we are out here for twenty four hours and there isn’t a match in the bunch. We will have to wait for the visiting patrol before we can have a smoke, unless some one of us gets a little Indian stuff and makes fire with out one.
Now I got Em wrong when she said that she went over to Henry’s and he didnt come out. But by your letter I find that she went over to get the picture and the pictures didnt come out. (Excuse me Em. Yes and Henry too) But I am still waiting for that letter and that picture.
Give my regards to Madge and the rest of that family, and I bet if Madge was in a climate like this she would be all better in no time. Tell John he couldnt have been any more pleased with my letter, than I was with his. As for Mary, I guess Ill have to write her a letter. Thank you for fixing my clothes. I can imagine how disagreeable it must be there in this hot weather with fresh paint in the house, and I know you cant stand it, so for Heavens sake get out of it. I hope you can dig something interesting out of this. I am fine.
P.S. I sent a small package with two souviners in it. Please state whether or not you have received it.
Here is a poem that just suited this place the first week I landed, but now I am beginning to change my mind in the opposite direction. Gee but the nights are fine here and rain is a thing of the unknown.
Poem printed on the front of postcard
HELL IN TEXAS
The Devil in hell we’re told was chained,
And a thousand years he there remained.
He neither complained nor did he groan,
But determined to start a hell of his own.
Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being chained in a prison pen.
So he asked the Lord if he had on hand
Anything left when he made this land.
The Lord said, “Yes, I had plenty on hand,
But I left it down on the Rio Grande;
The fact is, “old boy,” the stuff is so poor,
I don’t think you can use it in hell any more.”
But the Devil went down to look at the truck,
And said if he took it as a gift he was stuck,
For after examining it carefully and well,
He concluded the place was too dry for a hell.
So in order to get it off His hand
The Lord promised the Devil to water the land,
For he had some water, or rather some dregs,
A regular cathartic and smelled like bad eggs.
Hence the trade was closed, the deed was given,
And the Lord went back to his home in Heaven;
The Devil said to himself, “I have all that is needed
To make a good hell,” and hence he succeeded.
He began by putting thorns all over the trees,
And mixed up the sand with millions of fleas;
He scattered tarantulas along the roads,
Put thorns on cactus, and horns on the toads.
He lengthened the horns of the Texas steers,
And put an addition to the rabbits’ ears;
He put a little devil in the broncho steed,
And poisoned the feet of the centipede.
The rattlesnake bites you, the scorpion stings,
The mosquito delights you with his buzzing wings;
The sand-burs prevail, and so do the ants,
And those who sit down need half-soles on their pants.
The Devil then said that throughout the land
He’d arrange to keep up the Devil’s own brand,
And all should be Mavericks unless they bore
Marks or scratches, of bites and thorns by the score.
The heat in the summer is one hundred and ten,
Too hot for the Devil and too hot for men;
The wild boar roams through the black chaparral;
‘Tis a hell of a place that he has for a hell.
By the Author of “Texas A Paradise”
© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.