‘You don’t ask ranchers how much land nor cattle they have in Texas.’
I want to spend some time to walk through yesterday’s events.
I’m sure some time will come to unleash the frustration regarding ‘overwhelming creativity’ — but today my emotions centred themselves on one of delight and fascination.
From 9 am to 2:30 pm, it was on-the-go and non-stop.
Two site interviews and one phone call interview.
Then two phone calls in between.
It led me to write the blog on my phone, but no planning could predict that mayhem that ensued.
At 2:45 pm, my day turned on its head.
I met a man named Steve Murrin, a prolific figure in Fort Worth and someone who immersed himself in town politics, fairness and is a man for growth in the interest of the people.
It was my understanding that we were to go to a coffee shop and have a discussion.
That understanding was far from the truth.
He gave me a drive-by tour of the downtown area, explaining the significance of buildings and what they used to be — how the city has changed.
Next stop was the Stockyards, and so started his tour of what Fort Worth means to him.
Before we got to the stockyards, he imparted some genealogy on me and explained the roots of his father and grandfather.
Actually, before we even reached that point, he stopped by a dirt road and explained that a red-brick building and said that in the 1920s it was built by the KKK and it was their hub.
Years later, the new owner removed the cornerstone which had the inscription of Fort Worth council members who had been killed by the KKK.
That was an eerie but rather crucial piece to understanding the past identity of Fort Worth.
After speaking to members of the government about the so-called Trinity River Vision, I started to picture it in my head.
Steve said that he used to own a property that would be on the new canal-front of the bypassed Trinity River and would prove profitable. He sold it over fifteen years ago, before circumventing the river became a materialised plan.
We arrived at the Stockyards, and he pointed out a mural that I had seen days prior and said that it was him saddled on top.
I looked and inspected once again, and it shocked me.
I couldn’t believe the pedigree of the man giving me a tour of his hometown.
After showing me his new business venture, we headed to another one of his enterprises. I met some friendly people there who I may interview for my project.
After this point, Steve took me on an unprecedented tour of his lifestyle.
He owns a property somewhere between his ranch and the Stockyards which he calls his ‘man cave’.
His bungalow-like property backs onto Lake Worth.
A magnificent blue-space overlooking the US Air Force base with F-35 planes taking off and landing.
He had two boats and said he needed to fix them, but he bought them in a sale.
It was the classic country lifestyle.
Imagine the movie ‘Grown Ups’, when they go to the lake and kick back. That was this place.
Next, we headed up to his ranch.
I learnt two things:
1. Never ask a rancher how much he has
2. Never ask a rancher how many cattle he has
This place, by my imagination, was huge.
I couldn’t say how large, but it was a greater area than the borough of Tower Hamlets.
Somewhere between the size of Tower Hamlets and the size of Bexley.
So, you can imagine that it took some time to traverse.
He showed me his longhorn cattle, Angus cattle, horses and dogs.
All lived a happy life. They roam free and can go across swathes of land unassisted.
He let me feed the cattle with this super-nutritious feed.
They swarmed around me.
It was petrified.
The horns were swiping across and could’ve whacked me at any second.
Luckily, Steve understood it was my first time and helped me through.
He ushered me back in the car and told me to throw it out the window.
It was a genuinely Texan experience.
His story is ongoing.
But he is definitely from Fort Worth.
He speaks well of Fort Worth and its growth.
He doesn’t agree with a some of the things happening right now.
But he is confident that the city will always be his home, and nothing will change his mind.