Monthly Archives: November 2018

Ludwig’s Studio

As I drove to work down highway thirty six, I was surprised to see heavy equipment at work on a building in the metropolis of Lyons, Texas (pop 150).

It was tearing down a venerable brick building.

The structure had stood empty for years, but it had been the studio of a friend, so I had always noticed it because of a stained glass art nouveau window as I passed.

Ludwig Schermer, my friend, had died years before. He was a liturgical artist, which means he designed places of worship and stained glass windows.

He was of the “Great Generation”, but he was not American. Of course by the time I knew him he had become a naturalized American citizen.

As a young man, however, he had been a member of the German army, during World War II.

At that time Germany and America were enemies.

After the war Ludwig had immigrated to the USA. He once told me of a time when he had been on the Russian front in winter. They were short of rations, clothing, ammunition and even tobacco. He said they were stripping the bark off of fence posts to crumble and roll up in paper to smoke.

When he came to the United States in the ‘fifties he attended college in Chicago to study liturgical art.

Religion and humanism were very important to Ludwig.

In time he did art work and design work for great cathedrals in Chicago. He became a major American stained glass artist.

Late in life he married and moved to Texas.

Finally he established a studio in Lyons, in Burleson county, which had once been a depot for the Santa Fe railroad.

Santa Fe, in Spanish, means Holy Faith.

Now, Lyons is a mere crossroads of FM 60 and State 36, with a post office, a restaurant, and a filling station.

Among other projects in Texas, Ludwig built stained glass windows for the Harmony Baptist Church, and helped redesign the sanctuary and windows for St Mary’s Catholic Church in Caldwell.

He put a small stained glass window high up on the wall of his shop in Lyons, which faced the highway.

It was something that I always looked for as a reminder of my friend, Ludwig, long after his death.

Now, the window is gone, along with the building. But my memories of that exciting little German artist remain, a man whose faith bridged two war torn countries, and whose legacy is one of beauty in my county.

Frio & Frisky

And it came to pass, as it always has, that the mercury took a nosedive!

The north wind swept all the dry hay out of the barn. Unless you’ve experienced it you wouldn’t believe the effect that the first blue Norther has on central Texas!

Furthermore, you wouldn’t believe the effect that it has on the behavior of a young horse in training.

Yesterday, when winter had suddenly replaced summer, I rode three horses (one at a time, of course). I was hoping to get to the back pasture to check some mares and cattle that I hadn’t seen all week.

Well, student number one reverted to pre-training behavior. As soon as I got in the saddle she began to shake. Her ears started to vibrate. Her back “collected” under the saddle, raising the back of a roping saddle enough to insert one whole Charleston Gray watermelon.

Normally, the narrative would go rapidly downhill from there!

But I encouraged her to back up a few steps, and turned her around, at which point she launched off into a lope around the pen. After several revolutions she came down to a trot, and finally a walk. By some miracle we got the gate open, with a certain amount of snorting.

Then off we went to the crossing. Finding it once again running ten feet deep in cafe au lait, we turned around and ground our way back up the hill to the barn.

Amazing how a forty degree temperature drop overnight cures lethargy in a young horse!

And not so amazing how it causes me to want to get back in the house and throw another log in the fireplace!

To Kaybob (my first horse)

My father thrilled at the ocean’s swell

And his father sailed the main

And though I sought the hill and dell

My son was called to the sea again.

But to me, the deck of a mighty galleon

Took second to a Spanish steed

And the sea of grass and a snorting stallion

Did my heart’s fancy feed!

As if from the womb a dream was mine

To sail the mountains and prairie

On the deck of a native cayuse fine

Who’s heart bore the whims of a fairie

Whose hooves were his wings and keel

And his flowing mane his sail

And the wind of the west my face did feel

My rudder his midnight tail

My kingdom is of clouds and cattle and grass

My throne of Iberian leather

And when you hear hoofbeats as I pass

You’ll know that my heart is a feather

Leopard Doggerel

It’s a Catahoula she said to me

As she led her pooch down the sidewalk

She was all outfitted oh so fashionably

And she knew all the in-crowd dog talk

So I didn’t say much as I hobbled on by

Thinkin’ thoughts of the pasture and past

We called them Lepperds, don’t know why

And our training was purty half assed!

Instead of a leash with a recoiling spring

Ours were chained to a blackjack oak

And we didn’t walk them or do anything

To groom them,we thought that was a joke

Their job was a hard one, and their life was Spartan

For their main job was herdin’ Wild cattle

They weren’t pampered or babied that’s certain

We just whistled and yelled at ‘em from up in the saddle

A leopard gyp pup had to learn from her mom

How to get up in front of a wild runnin’ bunch

And to go for the nose of a crossbred phenomenon

And to hold them, but not listen much

Unlike Border Collies they weren’t communicators

They worked off of instinct and toughness

Their diet was deer bones and leftover taters

And their mainstay was hyperactivity and roughness

So if I don’t seem like such a metropolitan guy

Nor appreciate the finer points of the breed

Maybe this little jingle will help you see why

Just Leopard dogs is all the name that they need