This I Can Leave You

A Woman's Days on the Pitchfork Ranch

978-1-58544-075-7 Paperback
6 x 9 in
324 pp. Illus.
Pub Date: 06/01/2000
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When D Burns arrived at the mighty Pitchfork Ranch as the new manager in 1942, he walked straight into the hostility of a lot of longtime hands who did not want to take orders from an outsider. Gradually, though, D and his wife, Mamie, won allies and made a place for themselves on the historic spread. For the next twenty-three years Mamie jotted down stories about the cowhands, the cooks and gardeners at the Big House, the many guests, and her own lively family.

Her stories reveal life as it was on an isolated ranch during the war years and the years of change that followed. The Pitchfork is one of Texas’ largest and oldest ranches, eighty miles east of Lubbock and a hundred miles north of Abilene.

Mamie’s reminiscences about life there with her husband, her grandchildren, and the many hired hands needed to run such a spread portray the exuberant informality of chuck-house meals, the color of Christmas dances, and the Forks’ grand tradition of hospitality. “My book is about the ranch people,” she writes, “more than it is about the ranch’s history, or its skunks and rattlesnakes.”

Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University

Published by Texas A&M University Press