Several summers of my childhood, our family went to a ranch in Chase County Kansas, one that my great grandfather homesteaded. The ranch was known as Bloody Creek, so named because of all the Indian battles that took place between the Kaws and other Indian tribes in the early 1800’s and because of the pioneers that were massacred there. (The Kansa Tribe, “people of the southwind,” were commonly known as the Kaws.) Cottonwood Falls was the nearest town and was the county seat in the heart of the Kansas Flint Hills, an area well known for its abundance of strong grass and water. Fady took cattle there every summer to fatten for the Kansas City Market, so he was always busy tending the daily needs, like sick cattle, broken fences, keeping a steady water supply, just to mention a few things. Naturally he was not going to leave us out of all this fun by making us stay home in Texas.
For my three sisters, brother and me, it was like being at a summer camp. We played in the creeks, meadows, swam in the ponds, ran up and down the cornrows, and had a ball. Occasionally Fady needed our help to move some cattle for one reason or another. We had some ole plug horses that we could saddle. One or the other of us would help drive the herd through a gate and onto a new watering hole, or we’d put animals in some work pens if they needed to be doctored.