The Bounty of Texas Page: 55
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The Bounty of the Woods
country that shearing time always precedes the last cold rain of spring
and the first cold rain of the fall.
Anyway, the rain comes, and Charlie loses most of the goats that
have made it possible for him to survive the long drouth with a little
something left of his former holdings.
It is an all-too-common incident for people in the goat business.
Every one of them who has been at it for some years can tell you a
story. I modeled my story somewhat after a true article written in the
1930s by San Angelo agricultural columnist Sam Ashburn, about a
loss suffered by his friend Tex Ward. That article was considered so
graphic that it was once reprinted in a journalism textbook. Sam
Ashburn had been dead for perhaps thirty years when I wrote the
final version of The Time it Never Rained, but I visited his widow and
asked her permission to do a little gentle plagiarism. She seemed very
pleased that someone remembered Sam's work.
An old friend of mine named Leo Richardson, at Iraan, was one
of the best sheepmen I ever knew. He told me a story once about the
time he was trying to get a start in ranching for himself, working for
cowboy wages, saving every dime he could and investing in goats.
With three or four years' savings he finally built up a fair-sized bunch,
only to lose almost all of them in one cold rain.
Leo was one of the many models for Charlie Flagg. When the book
first came out, we happened to be in one of our periodic drouths in
West Texas. Leo told me he had read all but the last chapter. He was
saving that one to read when it finally rained, because he felt sure it
would rain in the last chapter of the book.
I didn't have the heart to tell him how the book was going to come
The Good Old Boys:
T H I S I S another example of literary license-moving
things around. In my mind I set the story around Paul Patterson's
original home, old Upland in Upton County. I changed the name to
Upton City to allow me a little freedom with the facts, which is every
folklorist's prerogative, not to mention fiction writers'.
Here’s what’s next.
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Abernethy, Francis Edward. The Bounty of Texas, book, 1990; Denton, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38873/m1/67/?rotate=90: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.