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Without Hard Work There Are No Kolaches

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Central Texas Road
Central Texas Road
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"Eddie Hruska wore a t-shirt that read, "Without Hard Work There Are No Kolaches." He carried a rosary in his jeans pocket, fingering it off and on during the day. His short grey hair bristled on top of his head like a frost bitten toilet bowl brush. There was hardly a day that a woman didn't comment on his hard, good looks, sometimes he heard, sometimes he didn't. When he did he would giggle and blush; most times making a comment that would have all around laughing. He didn't walk -- he strode. He strode to the garage. He strode to the kitchen. He strode to the altar to receive communion. His father strode before him and his before him.

When his father was a child, and a new immigrant from Moravia, his baby sister died. The family was in a convoy of mule drawn wagons and folks horseback fording the rising Navasota River. The Comanches were no longer a threat. However, the ford was not far from Mexia where a local rancher had accidently killed a young Comanche a couple of weeks before they passed. A group of young Comanche boys had cut-out one of his heifers and were shooting at it with bois d'arc arrows without flint or iron heads. The arrows were bouncing off but the young cow was bellowing as if she were dying.

The rancher came upon the youthful spectacle, dismounted his horse and picked up a baseball size lump of chert, throwing it at the boys to get their attention. Unfortunately it hit the youngest one on the head and he died later that day, his brain hemorrhaging. The Rancher ran up to try and fix things but the other boys, whooping and shouting, shot their harmless arrows at him, tossing their dying friend on the back of a horse and galloping full tilt north towards the Red River country, past Parkers Fort. The little boy dying on the back of his buddies horse was the grandson of Topsannah, Cynthia Ann Parkers daughter. Cynthia Ann had been kidnapped by Comanches from Parkers Fort fifty-five years before.

The Czech wagon train had heard the story when they passed through Saint Augustine. It made most of the women and children fearful. The men knew that smallpox and measles were a bigger threat, having talked to the owner of the livery. He warned them to stay away from any roaming bands of Caddo or "gypsies," saying they were "lousy with disease."

Eddie Hruska's little Aunt died of the measles as the wagon train was fording the Navasota. His grandfather bundled the child up in one of his old shirts, said an "Our father" and a "Hail Mary" and eased the little body into the rushing waters. His wife watched the sorrowful bobbing package until it got caught in a snag, quickly turning away. Eddie Hruska's grandfather, coaxing the mules on with a stick of sugar cane, looked sternly, determinedly forward. He would periodically cut pieces off the cane and give it to the restless children.

Eddie Hruska would tell this story as a matter of fact -- a tale of doing what must be done..."

This is a little story I wrote this morning after I posted this piece here yesterday. It got me thinking about someone I used to know. The response to the movie "American Sniper" has been strong and Chris Kyle, the sniper, has been personally savaged and disparaged. Did he deserve it. I don't know. I think Rob's on the right trail.

(Article changed on January 25, 2015 at 17:53)

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Kevin is an Artist, Writer, Carpenter and Gallerist in Texas.

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