Elmo Jackson

 

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Elmo Jackson

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Elmo Jackson

Elmo Jackson Elder, a.k.a. "Poaching Jackson" Elder was one of the most colorful figures of West Texas History.

 

Elmo Jackson was born September 14, 1911 in Camp San Saba Texas to Dike and Nellie Elder. After the death of Elmo's father in 1918, the family moved to Loyal Valley, Texas in Mason County.  The family home served as the community's Post Office, and telephone office.  With the closing of the Loyal Valley phone company, the family moved to Eldorado, Texas, in Schleicher County. 

 

Elmo had trouble finding work in the 30's as the depression was on and jobs were hard to come by. Elmo found work for the Santa Fe Railroad.

In 1930 he found work dressing tools in the emerging West Texas oil fields.  He spent the next 50 years working in the oil fields in one capacity or another, primarily as a "roughneck" on rotary drilling rigs.  He loved the hard work and excitement of the oil fields.  His favorite poem was by an unknown author and was called the Roughneck's Dream:

A Roughneck's Dream

(Author Unknow)

I was working in the oil fields one cold West Texas day,

And there on the rig floor a dying roughneck lay,

He said, "I am off to the Big Rig, the Big Rig I'm told

Where the crown is purest silver, and the kelly's made of gold

Where a diamond studded cat line hangs from a pearl gin pole,

And the the driller makes all the connections,

and you never come out of the hole.

 

If you have never worked on a rotary oil rig, the poem won' make much sense, but if you have, it is pure gold. Elmo Jackson was seriously injured countless times in the oil fields.  One time he was working the night shift, and while making a connection, the drill stem hit a pocket of natural gas.  The gas came rushing out of the drill stem, and engulfed the rig floor.  The gas ignited, causing a huge fire ball.  The explosion blew Jack and the other roughnecks off the rig floor.  All of them were seriously injured, some critically injured with third degree burns.  Jack recovered from his burns and injuries and returned to the oil fields in a couple of months.

 

Elmo Jackson was particularly fond of Venison, and he viewed  our State's Game and Fish laws as merely guidelines or suggestions, and nothing that needed to be rigorously adhered to. One could almost always count on finding fresh venison at Elmo's house, in AND out of hunting season.

 

He also had a passion for fruit trees, and in particular peach trees.  He raised peach trees in his yard, and each year would take the saplings and give them to anyone who wanted them.  Over the years he shared his special peach trees with just about everyone in Schleicher County.  To this day, his trees are found across Schleicher county and throughout the Texas Hill Country. The peaches that his trees produced were the sweetest and most succulent fruit you ever tasted in your life. Sometime in your life you need to make your way to Schleicher County in the fall of the year and experience one of these indescribable pieces of fruit.

 

Elmo Jackson came up with a drink he called "Peach Nectar".  He would peal his tree-ripened peaches, and then freeze the fruit.  After the fruit was frozen, he would take it out of the freezer and put it in the blender.  He would then blend the frozen fruit into the most rich and delicious beverage you have ever tasted.  He had lots of peach trees and would freeze enough peaches to last all winter.  When visiting Elmo, he would often say, "lets have some of that Nectar", and you knew you were going to be in for the treat of a lifetime.

 

As Elmo Jackson reached his late 80's his oil field injuries, years of smoking cigarettes and eating high fat, salty foods finally began to catch up with him.  He suffered a number of heart attacks, but always seamed to pull through.  Finally, he was no longer able to live independently, and had to be put in a nursing home.  Nursing home life was not well suited for Jack, and he frequently made his escape.  He would be found all over town, in coffee shops or other places, and would have to be taken back to the nursing home.  Finally, the nursing home said that they were not a correctional institution and that they were not equipped to deal with someone who did not want to be there.  They notified the family that Elmo Jackson was to be kicked out of the nursing home.  Since Jack needed the care afforded by the nursing home, it was unclear what to do.  The family reached a compromise with the nursing home where they would allow him to stay there, but that the family would have to pay for the installation of a security system.  Jack would have to wear a leg bracelet, and if he attempted to walk out of the nursing home, the alarm would sound.  The solution was implemented, yet still, many times Jack would make a run for it, but with the alarm system in place, he would rarely make it past the parking lot before someone caught up with him.

 

Jack's life of hard living finally caught up with him, and he passed away on April 2, 1995.  As the attendants were wheeling his body out of the nursing home, as they passed the front door of the nursing home, the alarm went off.  The security bracelet was still on Jack's leg.  I guess it was his last escape from the nursing home, and this time he made it.

 

 

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