Harold’s welded tonnage of heroic longhorn steer stands about eight feet tall at the poll (the space between his ears). It’s from an early period — the 80’s. Harold donated the steer to his alma mater, Sul Ross State University (its mascot is the Longhorn), where he earned his master’s degree in business administration in his twenties. It graces the hillside campus of that institution overlooking Alpine, Texas, the seat of Brewster County. Brewster is the largest Texas county, and one of the emptiest in regards to human habitation. The school was named after Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross, 19th governor of Texas.
I used to say somewhat peevishly that my father was the most photographed man in the county. Snapshots of him are legion, including one in which he modeled buck naked in a sylvan setting for a bevy of rapt life drawing students. He was in his fifties and exuded the aura of a burly satyr.
He was an avid craftsman from an early age. He learned carpentry from his brother-in-law, Jesse James, who designed and built houses in the Pecos area. Harold worked for Jesse for a time before obtaining his masters degree and taking up teaching. He picked up welding somewhere along the way, and received tutoring in blacksmithing later in life from Jim De Leon, a descendant of Martin De Leon. Martin was a Spaniard credited with founding Victoria in the late 1700’s. Jim’s smithy lay a block away from Harold’s studio, by the river.
(c) 2019 JMN