The town of Saint Jo, a mere dot on a map in the north central Texas county of Montague, is home to an eccentric group of artists, cattle ranchers, cotton farmers, oil and gas companies, and business people who take great pride in their storied history. Just shy of 1,000 residents, one would be hard-pressed to find a community more patriotic and family oriented than the Texans who carved lives out of the rolling hills and vast grazing grasslands that were once a stop on the iconic Chisolm Trail.
My recent travels included a few days in the peaceful countryside; both in and around Saint Jo. About a swanky, upscale destination for wine tasting and gentrified entertainment, drawing connoisseurs and enthusiasts from as far away as Dallas and Oklahoma City—ironic, as Montague County was, until recently, dry.
Cindy Castle, 54, a retired schoolteacher, works in the tasting room of the winery, and I thought now was the perfect time to touch base with her and check in on the local talk.
All Hat and No Cattle
Like most middle Americans, Cindy was fed up with Democrats and Republicans alike. A conservative, and a fan of Trump, she was not too fond of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and those who attempt to garner favor from never-Trumpers.
“We elected Trump. We elected a Republican majority in the House and Senate. As far as I am concerned, they have run out of excuses. Do your job or go home.”
In her estimation, the Democrats fare no better, and the frustration level of the silent majority will not bode well for future elections.
“And people wonder why so many opt out of casting a vote. It doesn’t matter when nothing gets done. Do they [politicians] want to see less people at the polls? They all talk a good game on the campaign trail, but they are all hat and no cattle.”
She also pointed out that a country divided, as we are, is a dangerous game. The only winner would be those who wish to do us harm.
“When any nation is experiencing civil unrest it becomes vulnerable to its enemies.”
Big Steaks, Big Guns
Cindy’s husband of 33 years, Doyle Castle, a retired electrician, was less diplomatic with his responses to similar questions about the Swamp Dwellers. He summed up his part of the conversation succinctly, “The Left is dangerous, violent and bent on taking my guns. That won’t happen.”
Yeah, Saint Jo is full of preppers.
The Millennial Contingency
A 25-year-old Army veteran, Christie, lives with her parents on 80 acres they call Sunridge Ranch. They have a small (for Texas) cattle enterprise, several horses, and a variety of typical farm critters sharing their land. Christie is studying to be an EMT and attends classes at a local college a few miles away. She serves as the only ranch hand at present. Yes, Christie has an opinion on the state of her country after the 2016 elections, and it is mainly about gun control. Candidates who tout modifying the right to bear arms will not get Christie’s vote, and she represents a large contingency in Texas.
Katie, 27, and Riley Thomas, 35, are raising their family on the outskirts of Saint Jo. With three children, two careers, and a large household to run, they don’t dwell on the small problems facing the country like Trump’s inability to drink delicately from a plastic water bottle. And yes, that was actually national news. In fact, they are armed for protection, prepared for any disaster (I have seen their pantry), and can live off the grid for a few months with gas-powered generators. What they see as the dark cloud over the country is the left’s constant attack on the Second Amendment.
The family-oriented community of Saint Jo, Texas represents middle America to a T—they recite the pledge of allegiance, sing the National Anthem, and fly the stars and stripes with pride. And they’re “Texas first” when choosing representatives. We should all take a page from the Saint Jo handbook of being a good citizen. Always keep your family safe, help your neighbors (although they are few and far between), and never settle for a cheap bottle of wine when you have the finest of vintages at the Blue Ostrich waiting to be uncorked.