Yes, if I were going to write an article for the Reader’s Digest, it would be about Ronnie Patton, one of the most interesting, mysterious, and colorful people in my family. Ronnie began his life as the youngest son of a farmer in central Texas, He was shy and quiet as a young man. That is, except when he was playing pranks on my sisters and I. He joined the Navy after high school and went to sea on the USS Arlington, serving our country during the Vietnam War.
After his time in the Navy ended, he found himself in Arizona, then in New Mexico, cowboying for a land baron. Ronnie made his home in northern New Mexico. Literally. He built for himself a little three room house, with a completely off the grid electrical system, using solar and wind to provide power for his lights and his well pump.
During the 80’s Ronnie and a friend leased wagons, horses, and buggies to movie production companies working in the area. He also had the opportunity to appear in several of the movies. As his family, we were very proud of Ronnie’s moment of fame.
Ronnie also prospected for gold in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Did he ever find any? “Yes and no”, was his answer when I asked him that question.
Another of Ronnie’s interests was writing cowboy poetry. He could turn almost any story into a poem.
In addition, Ronnie was an avid ham radio operator, and he loved communicating with his other ‘hams’ daily.
If we were lucky we got to see Ronnie once a year when he came to Texas at Thanksgiving or Christmas, and if we were lucky, because he was so quiet and reserved, we got one good conversation with him. For this reason, Ronnie remained a mysterious legend to his family his entire life. And we loved him dearly.