Rip Smock will always be a friend of mine. I first met Rip 32 years ago, when Jim and I drove from Houston to the farm in Waller. Jim wanted me to see the farm and he also wanted me to meet his father and two of his brothers. He told me that Rip didn’t talk much to people that he just met and sometimes he even walked away before he met them. When we arrived at the farm, two of Jim’s brothers, Big John and David came to the truck and his father Rip was walking towards the truck to see Jim. When Rip came to the truck Jim said “Dad I want you to meet Cherry”. Rip said hi and asked me if I wanted a beer and he started to tell me about Granny’s farm. Jim, John and David’s eyes got big and they looked at each other. We stayed there until late afternoon and by then Rip had told me a lot about the farm and what he planted in the gardens. This short time with Rip made me feel like I had known him for years. That first time I was at the farm will always be with me.
I have a lot of fond memories of Rip. Rip worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. and around 1975 or 76 the phone company went on strike and since Rip was in management, he had to work long hours. The garden he was planning to put in was put on hold because of the hours he was working. He had a lot of vegetable plants growing in pots everywhere and no time to plant them. I thought I would help him out by going over when no one was home and I started to dig rows where he was going to plant. The first night I dug two rows and it took longer that I thought it would (long rows). I did two rows a night and on the third night Rip came home early and surprised me since I did not expect him to show up that early. He told me he that he had been wondering who was digging up the garden and no one could tell him. Rip told me to stop and wait until he went and changed clothes. He came back out, started the tiller and turned over one large area. We planted the next night and Rip continued to plant until the back acre was nothing but a garden.
When Jacob was about five or six months old, Maria was going to watch him for me early one morning. When I went over to their house Rip said Maria was sick and couldn’t watch the baby. I said that is ok, I will take him with me and Rip got up out of his chair and said, “what”s wrong with me watching him?” I said, “Are you sure” and he told me that he has 9 children and he knows how to take care of children. I gave Jacob to Rip and told him I would see him in about 4 to 5 hours. When I came to pick Jacob up Rip had a big smile on his face and said he really liked watching Jacob. That time was when Jacob and Rip bonded and became close to each other. Jacob really liked going over and seeing his Grandfather and Grandmother.
I frequently think of all of the good, fun times I had going over to the Smock house, going on camping trips with the Smock’s and watching the things that Rip did and how he did them. I really truly miss Rip and I will always remember what a great person he was and how privileged I am to have had the opportunity to meet him and join his good family. He will always be in my heart.