We called the small spread where my sisters and I grew up ”the farm“ even though my engineer father only ran a few head of cattle to keep the freezer stocked and farmed only a small patch for winter hay. I have fond memories of long hot days in the creek and less fond memories of walking the mile-and-a-quarter lane when it was too muddy to drive a car to catch the school bus and hauling water from that same creek when the well went out. It might mean something that I live two blocks from downtown – even if it is downtown Caldwell – where everything from a gallon of milk to our church is a much shorter walk than the lane from my childhood.
That doesn’t mean I don’t admire and appreciate everyone who chooses to stay on the farm, daily preserving the cowboy way of life in everything from large-scale food production to barrel racing. We’re Texans: we need our cowboys. And everyone needs the Brazos Valley’s thriving agribusiness industry, from cotton and beef production to corn that ends up in spark plugs (really). This month’s cover feature taught me more than the fact that corn shows up in places most people never think of; it reminded me why we all owe a debt of gratitude to the “real deal” who wears boots as work gear instead of a fashion statement and who just might crack the barest glimpse of a grin as he or she reads about how the rest of us are trying to figure out how to cowboy up! – Angelique Gammon