Monday, March 1, 2010


Besides keeping bad people out of the Hunt Club , my job as gate keeper often revolved around keeping track of children and stray adults. Teens who were grounded were not allowed out nor were their undesirable boyfriends allowed in. Divorces were a whole "nother" nightmare. The only part of the job I really didn't like was being forced to police the personal lives of the owners.

Alice was the other gate keeper and one day she and I were chatting in the guard house. I had come to pick up my check when he burst through the door. Doug, an owner with two teenage children, was really upset. His face was red and he spit a bit when he bellowed at us.

"Ok, which one of you is responsible for my daughter being pregnant?"

I felt a grin coming on and had a strong desire to tell him the obvious, that it was a biological impossibility. Our bodies produced eggs, not sperm , and in truth my eggs had turned to dust which removed me from even being a donor. Somehow, his bulging neck veins and eyes made me think better of a flip answer. Alice, a sweet, bit naive, and a very religious young woman, was aghast.

It seemed he had come from home unexpectedly to find the unwanted , access denied, boyfriend Raul, snuggled up on the couch with his daughter. The boy bolted from the house and disappeared on foot. That is when the daughter broke the news about the coming baby to distract the father from chasing the boy. Perhaps now is the time to mention that Doug was a deputy sheriff and armed.

Doug's eyes were slits as he slammed out of the guard house in search of our boss so he could have our jobs. Right then, I felt like telling him he was welcome to mine. Alice and I both knew we had not let the young man in. I had personally turned him back several times. He was a persistent little cuss though, either in rut or in love, maybe both.

Unless he had sneaked through in someone's trunk, he had not come through on my shift. Not being allowed to search vehicles nor did we have "teen sniffing "dogs, we felt comfortable that we had done our j0b and he had not visibly come through the front gate.

Mike our boss, after questioning us, backed us up completely. He offered Doug all the security video tapes for the previous three months to see if we had let in the wayward boy. Seems Doug was not interested in viewing 2000 hours of tape to catch us in sloppy gate work.

When he questioned his daughter further, he learned that for months that summer, the boy had walked miles through pasture lands to the back perimeter of the Hunt Club, climbed the fence and nailed the willing daughter. Had to admire the kids determination in seeing his love. Regardless, we were off the hook.

The deed was done and while Doug was understandably unhappy, he realized that forbidding a relationship was not all that was needed to stop it. The tighter he had tried to draw the net before, the more holes appeared.

To keep her from running off with the boyfriend and out of Doug's life forever, he decided to allow Raul entrance through the gate at will, but would not allow them to marry. The kids seemed content with the new arrangement.

Doug's main objection to Raul was that he came from a poor migrant worker family and was quite content with his poorness. Raul from years of being uprooted as part of a migrant family, had not been able to muster the grades necessary to graduate and was happy to work the vegetable fields with his family.

Doug was no different than most fathers. While Raul was Mexican, I really don't believe Doug was prejudiced for Doug's wife was from a wealthy Cuban family. It was not the Spanish heritage. It was just that all fathers think no man is good enough for his daughter and a migrant field worker with no ambition, was pretty low on the list of suitables.

When the baby came, Doug went from disapproving father to proud grandfather. She really was an amazingly beautiful child. I wish I had a better end for this story but I left there when the baby was about 3 months old. As of then, the kids were still not married, daughter and granddaughter lived at home and Raul visited regularly. I know Doug was hoping the boy would tire, move on and out of their lives.

I would like to think that Raul was hit with a fit of ambition upon seeing his beautiful child, was able to carve out a niche for his family and they lived happily ever after. Just as easily though, he could have pulled up stakes when the crop season changed and went in search of work some where else, either taking his young family with him or just disappearing all together.

I'll let you create your own ending.


  1. What a story!! You are full of them, I think.

    Last week I was flipping channels on TV and happened onto MTV and a program called "16 and Pregnant" (or something like that). I watched two, back to back. The cameras follow the girls throughout their pregnancies; showing family stresses and wayward boyfriends, who pledge their help and support early on, but fly the coop when the baby comes. They were compelling stories, but the saddest reality shows I've ever soon.

    At least that girl had a dad who cared about her and her baby. I'd like to think it all worked out for the best - whatever that was.

  2. :-) All fathers think noone is good enough for their daughters! I can relate to that..hahaha.

    Raul I'm sure turned out responsible. I like the guy's dedication. One hopes the baby changed their lives for the better & Doug stopped being a spoke in the wheel.

    Did I mention, I only like happy endings!:-)

  3. You know even Harry Trumans mother-in-law never thought he was good enough for her Bess...I always chuckle when I think of that....Maybe some parents just have their standards too high...

  4. In Texas that scenario is common. And the usual ending is the guy moves to the next migrant job sans family, leaving the baby and mother plus rest of family in shambles.

  5. Another great story. You have a way of telling that really grabs a reader.

  6. The ending I prefer is Raul caught the spark of a better way to live from the girl's family. The father seemed to have a good head on his shoulders. I'm going to imagine Raul made a success of himself greatly due to the support he received from the girl's family.

  7. I think one thing I got from this post is the "class" difference. Dougs wife was from a "wealthy" Cuban family. Dear Raul was not.
    What if Raul was happy being a migrant worker? And at the same time really LOVED Dougs daughter.

    Gated Communities are all about "class" diffeences. In a way, Patti, this is a very sad story because of this continuing "class" clash, which we still see today, EVERYWHERE in our so called Democracy.

  8. I hate to think of a child growing up not knowing their father, so my ending would have the young man working hard, proving himself worthy and winning the father's respect and love in the end.

  9. You are so funny! I love your stories. I'd like to be positive, but for some reason, the NitWit ending feels more realistic. hmmm?

  10. kenju,
    Well we know I am full of something, that's for sure.
    I know where you are coming from, generally, the girl and the parents shoulder the responsibility, only in rare cases does the young fellow "man up".
    Doug really did stick by his daughter.

    I too want them to have a happy ending. Had I made up the story, it would have had one. They had a lot going against them.

    4th sister,
    Harry was my favorite president and I had heard that about him. When he used to come to the Little White House in Key West, they let us grade schoolers out of school so we could line the streets and wave when he came by. Loved that man.

    I fear you are right and wish you weren't. I do know that her family was totally behind her and the baby.

    Thanks so much. I'm just retelling what I was witness to.

    That is my wish also. Hay, it could have happened that way. They certainly made a beautiful baby.

    I worked with a Mexican girl who had been raised as a migrant worker. They roamed from Florida, Texas to the Carolinas in search of a crop to pick. That is a very hard life and the children rarely get an education as they are always on the move. My friend had drive and really pulled herself out of the cycle and provided a much better life for her young family. It was not an easy thing for her to accomplish and I admire the stew out of her for doing it. I totally see where Doug was coming from. He wanted his daughter and granddaughter to have a chance.

    Me too Wanda, me too. That would be the best of all worlds.

  11. turquoisemoon
    I am such a Pollyanna and half full person but I fear I am also leaning towards the nitwit version. I rerally want to believe a happy ending but think I am better off not knowing.

  12. I didn't realize the job of gate keeper meant you had to police and keep track of everyones's kids.

    In my version of the ending, Doug realizes that Raul and his daughter are really in love. He helps Raul better himself and make a good life for his family.

  13. Hi Patti, Have I told you how much we love Arkansas??? If George's parents were still alive and NEEDY --we'd probably move there.

    You could have written a book about your experiences as Gate Keeper at the Hunt Club. Cannot believe that father was blaming you all...

    Hope the story did have a happy ending--but I truly doubt it. Oh Well!!!


  14. I am not sure I would have reacted any different than Doug - Where did youever come up with "In Rut or in Love:? I am gonna steal that one:)
    Thanks once again for an excellent piece and written so well. You are gifted!

  15. Romance or tragedy? It all depends on love and kindness really. It is wonderful how angry and outraged parents of "wayward" children can turn into proud and caring grandparents! Those on moral high ground could say that was hypocritical of them, but I think it gives hope seeing love winning out in the end.

  16. Linda,
    And it sure doesn't let fences,gates and cranky gatekeeepers stop it.

    That is the closest to how I would end it. I thought Doug should help Raul get his GED and get him a job on the force.

    He was just so upset and wanted some one to be the blame since he felt he had failed.
    Got to admire your taste in states.

    Thank you so much for the lovely compliment. Help your self to the saying. Lord only knows where it came from. Years of reading and living, I most likely heard or read it somewhere. At 70, it is almost impossible to have an original thought.

    You are so right. I would hate to meet the person who could not be turned goofy by a tiny hand wrapping around their little finger. Babies are clean slates, so full of promise and so in need.

  17. My guess is Raul moved on when his family did to go to the next crop. He didn't have the skills for another type of work, and certainly not enough for a job to keep his new family in good health, and happy. He didn't even really know how that all went or how to get it for his woman and daughter, probably.

    This is no doubt telling more about us than about your gate keeping duties.

  18. Another interesting story, patti. I suspect Raul moved on. Unless the power structure of the relationship was with the daughter, and then she probably demanded that he shape up or ship out.

  19. I am hoping Raul went to college, the daughter went to college
    and they are now both immigration lawyers raising a healthy, happy baby :)

  20. A brilliant story that shows that you are a great judge of human nature. My father was just the same. The men he thought good enough for me, I didn't like. And the ones I liked were beneath his ideas of a suitable husband. Well, when I met my husband, my father was not more there to witness my wedding, sadly enough.

  21. Amber Star,
    You caught me. I am having a great time reading everyone's comments. Very interesting the different view points.

    She pretty much called the terms of the relationship so maybe she could make him shape up. She was a pretty willfull girl thanks to a bit of spoiling.

    Now that is a good twist. I am really enjoying all these different endings.

    Reader Wil,
    Fathers tend to look for the man who will provide the most comfortable life for his daughter, not necessarily the happiest. They can't help it. I hope he would have approved of your husband.

  22. I guess the Father didn't realize forbidding her to see him, only made her want to see him more.

  23. I love your stories, and if you don't write a book, I'm coming down there and, and encourage you with hugs....

  24. Patty
    You would think he would know that would only make Raul more appealing. Think the best thing the parents can do is highly approve of an undiserable. That will turn off the child immediately.

    Aw, thanks so much Brighid. So glad you think so. Comments like that keep me coming back to the computer.