Ascending the hill to Grandma and Grandpa's house I heard a noise similar to a car horn. Since I was in the country where traffic is scarce, I knew that no one was honking at me. I turned down the radio, rolled the window down, and looked around their front yard, when I discovered the "honk" came from one of their peacocks which was "barking" at me like an obedient watch dog. In all the years Grandma and Grandpa have had peacocks, I never noticed one act this way. I was surprised and slightly scared that maybe it went mad. I wondered what other types of things I had never noticed.
Since my parents' home was flooded with three feet of water in October of 1998, I began to notice many details. The flood has brought my family closer together in our yearning for emotional and physical safety. Soon after beginning school in January and learning that I would be completing a project on a subject of my choice, I knew exactly what my focus would be -- my family. I also knew that this project would be a wonderful opportunity to reacquaint myself with my grandparents whose relationship I had taken for granted.
As I parked my truck and collected my "hunting" gear, a notebook, a camera, and a tape recorder, I wondered what their reaction would be to the artifact I held in my hand. It seemed strange that such a small and unusual object could lead me to a trail of investigation and up the steps of my grandparents' home. It would soon lead me to two important lives, my great grandparents, Joe and Meta Malik of Hobson, Texas (a small community once thriving of cotton, churches and schools). Who were these people who seemed so foreign to me, yet so much a part of me?
The hondo -- it is a roping device my great grandfather, Joe Malik, used to rope cattle. It looks like it is made out of brass and there seem to be dents and impressions in the edges.
As I presented the teardrop-shaped, brass hondo that once belonged to Joe Malik, Grandma and Grandpa seemed in deep thought. "What is it?" they asked. After I began explaining that it was used in a lariat as the hole that forms the loop, Grandpa immediately interrupted with an excited expression remembering that he had never actually seen one except for on television. He said that Joe used horses almost his entire life. What Grandpa said did not surprise me for I already had made that assumption. I still wanted to find out where Joe might have obtained such a nifty tool and whether anyone else had ever seen it before, since Joe gave it to my brother, Karl, about twenty-one years ago (Kolodziej, Karl). This answer remains a mystery because Grandma did not recognize it from her years on the farm with her father, and Grandpa surely had never seen his father-in-law with it before. Nevertheless, the importance of the hondo still boldly remains -- it led me on a terrific adventure of discovering different people and tons of detailed information. As my adventure unfolded, I concentrated on things in terms of history, economics, and the arts to aid me in forming more useful questions and developing meaningful answers. First Things First . . .
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