These short stories by J. Reeder Archuleta, author of the novel “Rio Sonora”, are about coming of age in rural far West Texas. The stories are about the people who have come to stay in a remote part of Texas with a climate that can be harsh and unpredictable and a land that is demanding and unforgiving.
The Author was raised in far West Texas and five generations of his family are in their final resting place here. His great grandfather is buried in Concordia Cemetery in El Paso, Texas within spitting distance of the grave of John Wesley Hardin.
What remained of the afternoon sun balanced on the floor of the horizon and gusts of wind scattered the piles of brittle leaves at the base of the cottonwoods on top of the dirt berm. The leaves swirled in the cooling air above the small boy’s head and then settled on the empty matchboxes he pushed around the small roads he had smoothed in the packed earth of the berm. He pushed the leaves out of the way but when they kept falling on his matchboxes he abandoned his imaginary highways and stood, brushing the dirt from his trousers. He could hear the steady drone of the tractor engine and turned to look over a small stand of salt cedars to the field on the other side. He could see Cecil on the faded red Farm-all pulling a brace of discs that cut long straight lines down the length of the field.
“Josh, come down here and clean up. Supper’s ready,” his mother called from the other side of the berm. There was a pot of stew hanging on a rod and bacon sizzled in the skillet at the edge of the fire.