Go East, Young Man
By Harrison Lebowitz
Published by CreateSpace
December 2008; 1440473617; 320 pages

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“Times are gettin’ a hard.” We all nodded in agreement with Pa’s statement, although I never understood why Pa stuck an “a” in front of “hard.”

It was September 23rd, 1987 and the sun had just about bid farewell to Grangerland, Texas for the evening. In truth, me, my brothers and Pa lived smack dab in the middle of a triangle formed by the towns of Cut and Shoot, Security and Grangerland. But I had learned that it was easier when I said, “We live near Grangerland” than “We live smack dab in the middle of a triangle formed by the towns of Cut and Shoot, Security and Grangerland.” See, too many words put people to sleep, as Pa always said, but in not so many words. Anyhow, with a town as important as Grangerland nearby, and you know it’s important when Grangerland’s Broncobuster Motel just received a recommendation in the AAA road guide, I assumed that just the mention of Grangerland anywhere in the world would have us pinpointed immediately.

‘Course, I’ve never been out of the triangle too much, so this is all conjecture on my part.

“Yep,” Little Ben said as Big Bill tossed another log into the campfire. A few ashes flew from the blaze which Big Bill proceeded to stamp out.

At this point, the conversation lulled. ‘Course had you been privy to sitting around the evening fires, you’d have a pretty good argument that the fireside conversations lulled sometime last year when we started running low on topics besides the weather. But especially tonight, after Little Ben’s mouthful of reaffirmance, there
really wasn’t much else to say.

Big Bill sat down next to Little Ben and rubbed his feet. I was proud of my oldest brother. Almost thirty, he had the reputation of having the toughest feet in Montgomery County, beating out challengers half his age. For as far back as I could remember, I don’t think I had ever seen Big Bill in anything but his barefeet. He just
felt it wasn’t natural to wear boots. He never had aversions to shirts, pants, scarfs, holsters and hats, just boots. And even though, sometimes, sitting downwind from Big Bill in front of the campfire after a long day of working the ranch was a might unpleasant, I was still proud of him.

 

I looked away from the fire and could still make out the ranch house in the distance. Of course, no one was there right now. All the hands were here with me, my brothers and Pa. When we all determined that the ranch, being situated as it was, couldn’t pick up any television or radio stations, sitting around the fire became the nightly activity. We all enjoyed this until around mid-July when it seemed a little silly to be sitting around a hot fire. ‘Course, no one would dare say anything to Pa. So when summers came, we just sorta quietly sat back a couple more inches than usual from the fire. Pa, Tex “Eugene” Henry as he is known to others, was born and raised here on the Old Miss Ranch. His pa, who started the ranch, chose this location due its proximity to the west fork of the San Jacinto River, which he mistook for the Mississippi, which explains the name. Ma, a city girl from Grangerland, met Pa during one of his trips into the nearby town. Ma’s pa was a hidetrader who often purchased cattle from Pa’s pa.

Ma said it was love from the moment she saw Pa driving twenty of his pa’s Red Branguses down Grangerland’s Main Street. She said she had always related to a “Big Red Muley,” but to this day, I don’t know if she meant Pa, who used to have red hair before Tiny Bob came along and turned his hair gray, or the cows. Anyhow, early on in their courting days, she’d often wake up to find a prize heifer tied to her front porch. Ma thought this a nice gesture on Pa’s part, but felt that a sprawling metropolis like Grangerland just wasn’t conducive to livestock grazing in one’s frontyard. She discussed this with Pa, but getting him to see reason was no easy matter once he got a notion stuck in his head. Eventually, they reached a compromise: roses would be substituted for cows. From that day on, which is still referred to in these parts as “Eugene Henry’s Great Compromise,” until the day they were married, Ma would often wake up to find roses tied to her front porch.

I seem to remember that Ma often recounted tales of their courting days. ‘Course, towards the end, when Ma’s memory was fading, I vaguely recall hearing the same story over and over, but I believe that I enjoyed it just the same.

Copyright 2008 Author
Reprinted with permission.

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Synopsis

Set in 1987, when the price of beef plummets due to health concerns, a simple family of cattlemen from a small town in Texas decide to drive their herd to New York City rather than face bankruptcy under the belief that the Big Apple is nothing but a big meat market. The book has it all - Action, Adventure, Humor, Livestock!

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Author

Harrison LebowitzHarrison Lebowitz and his wife, Molly, started Snow Farm Vineyard, Vermont’s first commercial vineyard and grape winery in 1996, as a way to keep land open and working in Vermont. This has nothing to do with his writing, but neither did his past career as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Vermont.

He did, however, have his musical “Special Deliveries” produced in New York City.

Harrison and Molly live with their two children, Tess and Jared, in Vermont.

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