Harvey & Roseleen

It seems like the lives of Harvey & Roseleen was a beautiful dream. From my perspective as their firstborn, they were a simple couple who spent their entire lives virtually within the city of Coleman, Texas. A couple of excursions were the only times they left the area. The first was to the top of the Panhandle of Texas. That is where they happened upon me. The next one was about six months to the Midland, Texas area around 1950. Dad tried and tired of the house painting profession. Then we moved back to Coleman. Oh! Yes! There was the trip to Arkansas. Dad had found an opportunity to homestead in the Ozarks of Arkansas. We left one early morning to scout out the homestead area. We drove from Coleman through Ft. Worth and Dallas. We entered Arkansas just south of the Texarkana corner and suddenly we were driving into the mountains of the Ozarks. Twisting and turning, up and down. One side of the road was straight up, the other straight down. Remember this was way before turnpikes and freeways. It seems to me that we may have driven an hour like that when all of a sudden, Dad said, "This is enough for me!" My faulty recollection shows that we literally made a U-Turn the first opportunity and arrived back in Coleman shortly after dark. Both my brothers say it wasn't quite that abrupt.. but I will retain the loss of homesteading Arkansas to the overall picture. I think I was the one of the family that discovered that there is life on the other side of the Ozarks.

  Dad spent his working years as an automobile mechanic in Coleman. He gained and earned a very good reputation of being an excellent mechanic and a wonderful man. I don't know of anyone who did not like Harvey Metts. His word was as good as a bond. He simply stayed out of the way of people who tried to take advantage of him. He was an expert in diagnosing the ailments of just about any automobile. He didn't have much use for my Edsel, and quickly arranged for a replacement wanting to make sure I made it back to Missouri.
  He continually collected "valuable" stuff. Car parts, that could be fixed some day; radios and other devices that just needed a little tuning some day etc. etc. etc. One thing for sure if a neighbor or friend needed something, chances are that Dad had the item in a box or closet. Might need a screw or spring.
  Dad was not a man who vainly looked for the "Pot of Gold.", but he was continuously coming up with what could become a source of extra income. He would read an ad in Mechanix Illustrated; send off for the kit and start a unique venture. So we were explorers of a sort, right here in little old Coleman. He raised quail, parakeets and African Night Crawlers. Mom raised chickens.
  Dad spent his final years tinkering and helping neighbors. He got to where he didn't get under the hood, but he could give friends a mental roadmap of where to go under the hood.
  Dad's heart literally gave out on his seventy fifth birthday, October 24, 1989.

  Mom bravely struggled without her cowboy, until she had made her own trail through Dad's treasure trove. For the next nearly twenty years she faithfully attended her Church and her family. She seldom ventured out unless she gladly participated in her brother, Chester's tours. She was accompanied to Missouri once by Georgeanna and Billy to attend the wedding of Lyndi to Neil. She really enjoyed that trip. There had been a couple of other trips with Dad after they had discovered life on the other side of the Ozarks.

  Since I was taken to the uttermost ends of the earth, I was only able to get brief glances of Mom's life in Coleman. I do know she was comfortable and definitely not a recluse. She took care of her aged mother for several years. She made a neat pair of footies for just about anyone who requested them. There were arrows to indicate left and right feet. All the while, she was keeping an almost daily diary. Her life revolved around her Church, her siblings, her boys and her grand kids. She was always hinting and insisting on pictures. Her siblings, who are wonderfully unique, would regularly gather at the Ballard place at the corner of Magnolia and 14th St. The house is ably maintained and kept open by Jim Ballard, who would be any body's Uncle.... well not just anybody. Mom loved those sessions around "Etta's table."

  Mom had a couple of responsibilities. The first was her garden. Some say she has trained it to generate itself...we will test out that theory next spring. Her other duty was to harvest the pecan crop. I forgot to mention earlier that among Dad's projects he was always trying to develop a softer shell pecan. He studied and practiced pecan tree grafting. His field became 4 or 5 pecan trees all around his house.
Anyway, Mom cared for (as much as a tiny woman can care for huge pecan trees.) the trees and each fall would scour the whole yard gleaning the precious pecans. We have found just about every type of pecan cracker that exists, in this house. She would then patiently shell and pick those pecans and put them in zip lock bags in her freezer. That way she had a gift for just about anyone who visited, and for Christmas to those who had found life on the other side of the Ozarks.

  Mom drove her own car until a few weeks before she found heavenly transportation at 90, November 9, 2006. She left a freezer packed with shelled pecans. She left an interesting collection of gadgets and she left her cowboy's treasure trove virtually undisturbed after almost twenty years.
She left three boys who will take some time in fully realizing what an awesome upbringing they had.

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