By: Sally Gill
Years ago, my mother-in-law, Ruth Bayne Gill, aka “Bayne”, bought a parcel of land on Mill Creek, between Vanderpool and Medina, Texas. It’s a beautiful piece of Texas Hill Country, with creek bottom habitat including Bald Cypress and other water loving plants and a nice size hill rising toward the rear of the
property covered with juniper, Texas mountain laurel, red oak, and blue oak. The hill is tall enough to hike up and look out over the valley to the opposing ridges and hills and is itself capped with huge and magnificent boulders painted with colorful yellow, white, and rust orange lichens and green Hill Country ferns. Bayne spent a lot of time visiting her land, dreaming how she would put a small Texas “Dog Run” cabin on it. In the meantime, she thinned the cedar just a little and explored her acreage from bottom to top.
Bayne passed away in the spring of 2013, surrounded by her family, in her country cottage in the woods outside of Goliad, Texas.
Fast forward to March of 2019. James and I drove up to Mill Creek to camp for the night. Visiting the Mill Creek land she passed to her children always makes us feel closer to Bayne. We can almost hear her voice ringing with joy while telling us some delightful natural history tidbit or Native lore.
Early the next morning, James got up to hike across the creek and up the hill. I stayed back, enjoying the quiet morning air. Later in the morning, I started hiking around the property, checking on some bigtooth maple trees (of Lost Maples fame) that James’ older brother William had planted some years back. As I was walking, I spied a small glass jar with a rusted lid on the ground near a clump of old cedar trees. I picked it up; there was paper inside. I’ve always dreamed of finding a message in a bottle. Doesn’t everybody? I knew
I felt like I had won the lottery a thousand times over. Actually, I already had. Bayne was the best mother-in-law I could dream of; I loved her dearly. I knew at that moment, her spirit was with me and always will be.
Growing up, I was always happiest outdoors. Joining the Gill family took me to a whole new level of love for the miracles of nature. James and I, along with our amazing Gill team, are thankful and humbled by your support in allowing us to share our love of plants and the outdoors with you.
Thank you for being a part of Gill’s and Happy Mother’s
Day to you!