I was named for Jake Ford, a cowboy and degenerate gambler who was also my great great great uncle. Jake Ford was, by all accounts, a sly, transient and rakish cat who drifted around the Llano Estacado shooting antelope for the government and spending his earnings on cards and women. Nobody knows why I was named for Jake Ford.

One Christmas during the depression Jake Ford drifted into his brother, Will Taylor’s, house as the family was sitting down to eat. He had with him a bottle of whiskey, purchased as a gift but already opened in transit. My grandfather recalls sitting at the table when Will Taylor, my great great grandfather, asked Jake Ford if he’d say a quick prayer before they commenced to eating. He (Jake Ford) stared straight ahead for a while in the midst of some kind of contemplation.

When considering what Jake ford might have been contemplating, one would naturally assume that he was formulating his missive to the Lord, but when he spoke up and said, “OK, I’ll do it,” it was clear that he had actually been debating whether or not he would say the thing at all.

“Lord,” he said. “It’s me, Jake Ford. I only mention the name cuz we ain’t been in contact for a while…”

Will Taylor did not allow Jake Ford to finish the prayer. He, instead, gave the regular boilerplate.

This is the only story I know about my namesake.

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