I am no longer a Texas oil baron. My Lone Star State identity has been ripped from me. When I acquired the ranch in 1998, a big-ass ugly oil well occupied the back corner. The profits were nil— enough to buy a happy meal yearly—costing me more in tax accounting fees than the rusted torso brought in. Understand. As long as the oil company pumps something out every sixty days, property owners cannot terminate the lease. I was stuck with it.
Still…. I had bragging rights.
Native Texan! Cattle Ranch Owner! Oil baron! Concealed Carry License Holder! Gun Owner!
Who could be more Texan than me?
OIL BARON CONFESSION
- We have cows, but they are rent-a-cows. A local cattle owner pays us $500 a year to run livestock on the land and we get a big agricultural property tax deduction. We supply the materials for fencing and the local supplies the labor if repairs are made.
- While I am a concealed carry license holder and own a small pistol and concealed holster, I have never actually carried the weapon in public. Obtaining it was mostly for bragging rights. The only time I pull it out is for target practice and road trips. Something spooks me about breaking down in the middle of nowhere.
- I never owned a gun until moving to the country. The rail car killer was lurking nearby and the area is isolated. Additionally, feral hogs, rabid skunks, and coyotes are a threat. More importantly, I am prepared for power outages, insurrection, and other chaos; able to hunt my own food, if necessary.
About six years ago, a new company acquired the lease and spoke as if fracking were imminent. At the time, ten miles south of me, new drilling was targeting the Eagle Ford Shale oil deposits. The gentleman inquired about pumping water out of my big tank (pond) earning me a nifty $20,000 on top of large future royalties. I would have liked the money as well as the opportunity to get rid of the trashy yellow catfish inhabiting the water feature. They even painted the oilwell and spruced up the holding tanks.
Nothing came of it.
A month ago, a new owner appeared, telling me they were either going to do something with it or shut it down. Low and behold, about two weeks later I heard all this noise coming from the back and went to investigate. A huge team was there, taking away the rig!
I no longer have bragging rights. My ego is shattered.
OIL BARON REGRETS
My feelings are mixed. The money and bragging rights called. On the other hand, as a climate change believer, I feel oil should go the way of whale oil and coal. Solar and wind are our future.
Thankfully, no longer will the clatter of the pump drift my way on days the north wind blows. Soon, the pasture will be pristine, all evidence of man’s quest for power erased.
Still, I could kick myself. One of my “to do’s” was to take a picture of me in my western garb, complete with my western-style gun belt, pistol, and rifle. It never happened. I thought the thing would be there forever.
Oh, well. There’s always photoshop.