Our Town This Week
By Lois Lacy Lewis
For ages and ages, the prairie meadows of this community are just there as always, hog wallery as to surface, flower strewn in May, waving grasses in late summer, waiting for crews of workmen to come in with baler, rakes, mowers--for the winter's supply of baled prairie hay.
Since J. M. Clymer, before the Civil War, "bought land five miles south of Leonard around the Lane community, some of those lands are still in the ownership of family descendants."
A report in "The Dallas Morning News" on Monday, November 24th, by columnist Campbell Read, tells of a state organization, the Texas Nature Conservancy, and their purchase of 114 acres of Clymer's Meadow near Celeste in Hunt County. The report reads in part, "Clymer's Meadow was a high priority for acquisition because of the rapid disappearance of what is left. The critical event is turning the soil under the plow because once that is done, the extraordinary diversity of the prairie plant community is lost."
The organization works to preserve natural wilderness acres as does the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
On the weekend of October 25, 1986, members of the Conservancy followed a published map from Celeste, west to the road (CR 1140) leading north from the J. W. Hazal place (on FM 1562). They camped overnight, "around a bonfire under the stars, celebrating saving such a rich place of our past," the columnist wrote.
Mrs. A. M. (Lucille Crabb) Price of Leonard is a member of the Conservancy now for six years. She and her son, the Rev. Tom Price of Sherman, attended the formal ceremonies at the campsite, on Saturday morning, October 25th, while some members wandered over the acreage they had purchased. Their acquisition was from a section of the Clymer holdings, sold earlier by inheritors and passing through several owners. Mrs. Price spoke of her love of her lands, the Clymer home place, and acreage of meadow and woodland.
The Meadow has a special meaning for us three older kids as we moved to Hunt County in 1907, one and one half miles southeast of Lane. A meadow hill on the J. B. Taylor place had to be crossed as we walked to school on weekdays during the winter months and to Sunday School and church year round.
Catty-cornered across the hill was a deeply worn path. We could easily imagine that it was made as an Indian trail or buffalo path. The grasses in the spring lapped over the path and tore at the bows on our new patent leather slippers. By Easter, the prairie grass was just right for a community Easter Egg hunt.
We loved the mowing at baling time. The path was easier to skip over.
The Taylor meadow was spared in those days, the country road went around it. Now, the paved road takes out also catty-corned across the old path. I must stop and look to see if any sign is still there of the old trail.
Meadows lie peacefully in blocks around the Lane community, undisturbed like in parts of the Clymer holdings, except for the sometimes great roaring fires accidentally set and fed by dry high winds.
In modern times, volunteer firemen rush to contain the fires.
Conservators, probably regret the loss of rare flower seeds, yet the meadows have a heady comeback over the ages.
The Bluebonnets and Indian Paint Brush and other flower and grasses paint a fine picture each spring on the Jack Johnson meadow land along the road to Lane from Celeste.
The Dallas based Conservators have added nature's rosy path to their holdings from Clymer's Meadows.
Lenna Barr has a new plaque for her 'fridge. It reads, "Beauty operators never die. They just curl up permanently." Her brother Slim Compton gave it to her as she had dinner with them on Thanksgiving. Lenna left the Cowboy game to them, came home, and crocheted a lace collar, one of several she will make.
See you next week,
(Undated clipping, The Leonard Graphic)
Submitted by Sarah Swindell