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It was a couple of years back that we made a swing through central Texas, exploring towns and places we hadn’t been. Texas had been in the throes of an extended drought, over five years of insufficient rain. The effects of the drought were obvious at every turn, fields left fallow, crops stunted and brown, sales of goat and cow herds. 

It was early afternoon when we rolled into the little town of Llano, TX, northwest of Austin. Carol spotted a Mexican restaurant, for a late lunch. As forward scout, she scoped out the parking situation and reported we could fit into the parking lot. 

Inside, the restaurant had mostly emptied from lunch and soon it was just us and a rancher, seated a couple of tables away.  He turned towards us and asked if the RV was ours. It was the obvious question, but it began a conversation. Over the next few minutes he asked about our travels and our lifestyle. 

When the opportunity arrived, I asked, “What’s been the effect of the drought?” “Well sir, I’ll tell ya. I’m not a big rancher, just a couple thousand acres for hay, goats and cattle.” He continued, “I couldn’t water when the wells went dry. I was growin’ hay for my livestock and to sell, but that went south after the first couple of years. Then, I needed to buy hay for my livestock, but with no rain, what little hay there was got expensive.” 

“I don’t suppose hay was something you could get at the local feed store?”

“Naw, and pretty soon nobody had it. Now, I’m like Roy Rogers; I got my horse and my dog. The 300 head of cattle went first, then I sold off over 80 goats. So many in the same situation didn’t make it easy, but I basically sold off all I had but the land. Now, I’m just an ex-rancher.” 

Our meal came and the conversation took a backseat for a moment.  

“I got this granddaughter” he spoke, “she’s five.” “She’s an only child and always around adults. She even talks like an adult.” “Our youngest is like that,” I replied, “but a bit older now.” He continued, “Julie called me a while back.” “Whatcha need miss Julie?” I asked when I answered the phone.

“Granddad, I need a vacation and I think you need a vacation too.” 

“Well, Julie, if we was to take a vacation, what would we do?”

“Granddad, I want you to take me somewhere I’ve never been and show me somethin’ I’ve never seen.”

I had to ask, “So, what did you do?”

He paused a minute and then said, “I took that little girl to Mississippi and we watched it rain.”

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A few spots over from our site, sits an Alfa motorhome, a diesel pusher, maybe 36 feet long. It was supposed to leave last week, taking its inhabitants to new and wonderful destinations, or just back home. But, it didn’t. 

We listened that morning to the starter cranking over the diesel. The engine was disinclined to fire. Later, a local repairman arrived to help with the reluctant beast. They pulled the fuel filter and found it packed with diesel goo. It still failed to start. 

I had wondered about this RV. It seemed to have a perpetual water puddle beneath it and looked in need of overall maintenance. When efforts failed to ignite the engine, the decision was made to call Good Sam for roadside assistance. The vehicle would be towed to Edinburg, Texas. 

This morning, a gigantic tow truck arrived for the task. First thing to accomplish, inflate the airbag suspension. Oh, that takes the engine to drive the air compressor. No worries, the tow truck can use its compressor and an secondary valve to do the job. The  next problem arrives, no air seems to fill the lines to the airbags. It appears the air lines are one of the many items needing repair or maintenance. 

Carol was speaking with the wife about their problems. The couple, about my age, are hoping to get the vehicle fixed and then sell it. It seems the hydraulic stabilizing jacks are rusted, refusing to deploy. That’s just another of the plethora of problems. Financially, they’re upside down and just want to get out from under the burden. Now, they’re facing $15K to $20K in repairs. Maybe this Alfa has met its Omega. 

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There is a chapter in John’s Gospel telling of a man, blind from birth, that Jesus heals. The gift of sight results in mixed blessings for the man which is the gist of the gospel. 

I began to think about two of our senses, sight and sound.

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There’s no pattern, no repetition; as breaking waves vary in size and sound, the drumming overhead varies between gentle patters and a louder thrumming. Rain comes

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For south Texas, it’s a cold day. Not so much if you’re from more northern climes, then it would just be blustery. A cold front stormed down the coast yesterday afternoon carrying

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Slowly, like bar patrons sifting out after last call, they began to take their leave. The stragglers lingered, searching that last drink, the one needed to keep the high going just a bit longer.  The drink they wanted wasn’t some shot of whiskey or rum, it wasn’t some cocktail or shooter; it was

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