The answer was waiting for me in the land where I was born.
It was once barren land. The angular hills were covered with scrub cedar and a few live oaks. Little would grow in the harsh caliche soil. And each spring the Pedernales River would flood the valley.
But men came and worked and endured and built.
Today that country is abundant with fruit, cattle, goats and sheep. There are pleasant homes, and lakes, and the floods are gone.
Why did men come to that once forbidding land?
Well, they were restless, of course, and had to be moving on. But there was more than that. There was a dream—a dream of a place where a free man could build for himself, and raise his children to a better life—a dream of a continent to be conquered, a world to be won, a nation to be made.
Remembering this, I knew the answer.
PRESIDENT LYNDON B. JOHNSON
State of the Union address, 1965
The dust came up from the wheels of the car and settled like talcum powder on the leaves of the live oak trees. There was dust on the trunks of the trees, too, and on the cedar fence posts. But back in the meadow, where the sheep were, the winter rye was green. As the car approached on a farm road near the Pedernales River, Hondo Crouch saw the white of the New Jersey license plate. He squinted, pulled down the brim of his straw hat to shade his eyes, stuck a piece of grass between his lips and did not look up again until the car stopped and the driver leaned out the window.
"Hey, sport," the driver said, "where's the LBJ Ranch?"
"The whut?" said Hondo.