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The Importance of Friendship: A Texas Father’s Advice to His Son

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One Texas father offered his son treasured words of wisdom about the importance of friendship in life. Discover how this advice still resonates so strongly all these years later.

My father Chester “Pat” Caussey was a Victorian-era man. Born in 1895 on a cotton farm in Montague, Texas, he was one of 12 children. Dad never went to school, but went to the fields as a child, working until old age. For a number of years, Mom and Dad were sharecroppers. Then I came along, and a few years later, we moved into town, but our hearts and souls belonged to the cotton, wheat, and maize fields around the small town of Seymour, Texas.

Though uneducated, Dad made us a living raising crops and livestock. I never knew him to take a day off or go on vacation. But I do remember seeing him and Mom sitting around the kitchen table discussing how to pay our $35 a month rent. Dad served in WWI as a sergeant. He was in charge of the horses that pulled the large howitzers. He did his training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1917-1918. They were loading on the big cargo ships in Houston Harbor when the war ended.

The Importance of Friendship: A Texas Father's Advice to His Son

Photo: Pixabay

Years later, in 1968, when I was attending IOBC (Infantry Officer Basic Class) at Fort Sill, Dad came to visit me one weekend. The only structure he recognized was the Fort Historical Center, which once housed the mules that pulled the large ammo wagons. He had vivid impressions of all the tepees that were pitched near the fort when he was stationed there.

Dad’s first wife died from cancer. Later he married my mom in 1942. She was 20, and he was 47. Five years later, I came along. As a little boy, Dad took me everywhere with him. He took me hunting, and I fetched and carried the game. Most of the time what he killed was all the meat we had to eat. He taught me about the plants, birds, and animals that called the pastures and fields home, how they were to be respected and harvested with a sense of grace. He talked about natural balance, and how it was our responsibility to keep creatures as a treasure for future generation to enjoy. It was during these adventures when he talked to me, usually by telling stories. Stories that have cloaked me all my life, helping me make some sense of what life was all about, though often unfair. What was imparted to me were suggestions. If followed, they could help me to better understand what living was all about. Not just living, but living happily.

The Importance of Friendship: A Texas Father's Advice to His Son
Photo: Pixabay

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