Freedom an’ Whisky
By Nikolyn Williams
If time travel does not exist I certainly think there are people that were meant to exist, in another place, another time. Their hearts and mind just simply are not of the present. For them modern conviences, and modern technology, is nothing short of annoying. I have spent the last 35 years of my life day in and day out with one these displaced souls and after 35 years of watching the daily, refusal to conform and or participate in much of anything that has to do with “modern ways," I am completely convinced, he and a few of his coharts may have been born in 1963, but they were certainly meant to be born in 1863.
What is also interesting, about them is they don’t seem to be looking for anything or wandering lost, it’s as if they’ve come equipped, with the knowledge of who they are and exactly what they want. If they are looking for anything at all I can assure you it’s a way back to 1863.
They couldn't care less if they had anything more in life other than a good horse, a good dog, a cow, and maybe a good woman!
On a simple ranch located, at the head waters of the Quitaque Creek, which by the way is dry. I wonder where does all the water that was once here go? I think I have a good idea, maybe an article for another day.
Tanner Johnson fourth generation to ranch on the plains where it breaks off into the canyon between Silverton TX and Quitaque, TX.
Tanner and his family have been ranching in the area for four generations, and are quite handy with cattle and horses. Tanner, tributes his dad Carlton Johnson and his Grandad LN Johnson for a lot of his knowledge and love of this way of life. He speaks of them with great admiration, and he’s got a lot of great stories about them. Tanner’s Great Grandfather’s father died when he was a young teen, he and his family walked from Misssouri to the community of Lone Star, Where he began working for others and putting together what is today The Johnson Ranch.
Tanner is unique in ranching today as he feeds hay and cake or cattle cubes all winter long with a team of horses. Texas Red a beautiful 4 year old sorrel and white half quarter horse and half Belgian. Along with Zeke a coal black Frisian Stud.
“In the spring and summer time I use these horses to pick up at Rodeos and cowboy on. I just can’t stand to see something just standing around without a job.” Said Tanner. Just as serious as a parent warning a child, that idleness is the devil’s work shop, In that long west Texan drawl they all have. Which is another thing I have noticed about these, time travel displaced souls, they cannot stand to be idle? I don’t think I’ve had a nap in 35 years. I am completely convinced, this restlessness, and an abnormal, ability to “problem solve” or “figure things out," or make them work is some sort of Cosmic consequence, they have knowledge that is not of this modern time, and must use it.
I asked Tanner where he got all of his harness’s and equipment from. “ I think he’s an Amishman up in Kansas somewhere. Can you believe he would not take any money for this stuff until I got it and was happy with it all? He told me “I send you the harness then you send me the money, that’s the way it works!” “ Who does that anymore?” Exclaimed Tanner! I laughed and shook my head the universe may have chronologically displaced them, but somehow they always find one another. I’d been hearing quite a bit about Tanner from Woodrow,…you know I can always tell when one of those kindred time traveled spirits and Woodrow find each other. It’s always an adventure, I’ve learned not to decline an invitation too.
Tanner, has built a hay wagon that is not powered by anything electric, gas, or hydraulics. It is totally man and horse powered. As I rode with him to feed cows once we got going, I realized this was actually more efficient there is a lot less waste involved when you roll that hay out.
Things just all kind of fit, the cows, the team of horses and Tanner’s hay feeding contraption, which he designed and built himself. No powered noises, no motors, all you could hear was the horses hooves as they hit the ground, a snort every now and then, the cows bellering and of course the wind.
As I climbed aboard, that hay buggy, and Tanner said “Step up Zeke, Step up Texas Red," the chains that hooked the harness’s to the hay buggy rattled as we took off. I knew I was in their world now, it was exhilarating and peaceful all at the same time.
Tanner has promised to take Woodrow and I in the buggy to “The Devil’s Sink” which sits at the head of the Quitaque Creek, to pick Wild Plums this summer.
Most go on summer vacations to foreign or exotic beach fancy resorts, me….I time travel.