Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

Bill Hobby

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pp. ix-x

This is an American story, but don’t think that it’s just another inspiring story of an aspiring boy making good—it’s so much more.
Bill’s mother was an alcoholic at a time when treatment options were few and far between. Abandoned by her husband and unable to hold a job, she moved her three boys from apartments to vacant houses. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

This book would never have become a reality if it had not been for my wife, Jenny, and my friends who encouraged me to tell my story. It took me thirteen years to put it on paper. Jenny has never lost faith, convinced that my story should be told to inspire and motivate others. She has spent endless hours editing and helping ...

Part I. Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch

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Chapter 1. Abandoned

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pp. 3-11

On the day after Christmas in 1960, everything my two younger brothers and I owned was packed into a small cardboard box and put in the back of a white Chevy station wagon. Painted in black on the wagon’s front doors was a logo of a young boy wearing a cowboy hat and riding a bucking horse with another boy behind him holding on to the cowboy’s shirttail. “Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch”...

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Chapter 2. Cal Farley

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pp. 12-20

Cal Farley masterminded the entire organization of Boys Ranch. He never requested government funds for his work because he did not want the government telling him how to raise his boys. He did not affiliate with any religious group, though he made certain that Bible teachings undergirded the principles of the ranch, and though ...

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Chapter 3. A Schooling

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pp. 21-26

When I was five years old, my legs and arms began to shrink, and I would fall a lot. I became very skinny. It got so bad my parents took me to St. Joseph Medical Center in the heart of Houston, Texas. After several tests, I was diagnosed with polio. In the 1950s, polio had become one of the most serious communicable diseases ...

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Chapter 4. The Rodeo

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pp. 27-28

The biggest event of the year was the annual Boys Ranch Rodeo. The rodeo, always held over the Labor Day weekend, drew thousands of spectators. The younger boys rode small calves. The older boys rode bulls and bareback horses. Animals were assigned based on age, and I was old enough to ride a steer, or a young bull.  ...

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Chapter 5. Homeless

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pp. 29-37

My mother, Joyce Ardys Maxwell (Honey), was born to Clarence and Ruby Maxwell in Bogalusa, Louisiana, on May 24, 1926. My granddad, whose name I bear as my middle name, grew up in Mississippi and, at the age of six, worked for the railroad as a water boy, carrying buckets of water to the men who laid the railroad ...

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Chapter 6. Tascosa

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pp. 38-41

Judge Ewing was the first person who told me about Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. He told me it was a place where we could live like cowboys and ride horses. He showed me the Boys Ranch stamps with the boy and the puppy.
About two months later, Karl “Doc” Sarpolis, my dad’s dad, showed up to take us to the Boys Ranch in Amarillo. Doc Sarpolis was a big, ...

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Chapter 7. Back to School

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pp. 42-52

I attended summer school and worked on my reading, writing, and mathematics, but I was still struggling with my grades. More Fs on my report card would mean more lickings and more restriction time. I had no interest in either of those. Despite my efforts, the staff and teachers were still trying to decide if I should be placed in special ...

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Chapter 8. Growing Up

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pp. 53-58

When Karl was twelve, one day he got very sick, and his temperature went up to 104. He was rushed from Boys Ranch to a hospital in Amarillo. While in the hospital, Honey asked him if there was anything he wanted. Karl said he wanted to see his brothers. That was all it took for Honey to head to Boys Ranch to pick ...

Part II. Farming, My Future

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Chapter 9. Future Farmers of America

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pp. 61-72

When I first came to the ranch, I noticed a lot of boys wearing dark-blue corduroy jackets with the emblem of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) on the back and their names stitched on the front. I asked a boy what the jackets meant and how I could get one. I was told that when I got to the ninth grade, ...

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Chapter 10. The Free World

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pp. 73-100

Most kids’ goal in high school is to graduate, and most achieve that. But when you’re thirteen years old and can’t read or write, it seems like an impossible dream. For me, that dream was about to come true. On graduation day in May of 1967, I put on my blue cap and gown and looked at myself in the mirror, feeling very proud of what I had accomplished through my years at Boys Ranch. ...

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Chapter 11. Politics

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pp. 101-115

Two weeks after the convention, Donna and I were married in the Boys Ranch Chapel. Bobby, who was now an ordained Baptist minister, officiated the ceremony. Nine FFA vice presidents attended.
That summer I worked as a bricklayer for the construction company working on the Clarendon Junior College campus. ...

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Chapter 12. Honey

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pp. 116-124

When Donna became pregnant, both of us were elated. I loved putting my hand on her belly and feeling our baby move. Honey was ecstatic and could not wait to become a grandmother. The employees at the Boys Ranch town office threw a baby shower for us. Donna’s obstetrician, Dr. Hands, told us that he planned ...

Part III. State Politics

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Chapter 13. A New Road to Travel

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pp. 127-139

I flew to Austin to meet Speaker Clayton at the state capitol. A tall man in his early thirties introduced himself as Rusty Kelly, Clayton’s chief of staff. Rusty introduced another man, Jack Gullahorn, attorney for the Speaker’s office. The two of them had similar lively personalities; both were smart, and both cared deeply about their service. ...

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Chapter 14. The Primary

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pp. 140-150

Crockett Camp called to let me know that Gerald McCathern had filed for the Democratic primary thirty minutes before the deadline. McCathern was a farmer who had gained national recognition as the founder of the American Agriculture Movement. He was from Hereford and lived only a few blocks from me. ...

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Chapter 15. The General Election

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pp. 151-159

The day after the election, I returned to my job. Wesley said he was proud of me and was happy that his sales had increased during my Senate primary. He continued his support and encouraged me. ...

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Chapter 16. Am I In Over My Head?

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pp. 160-172

I was at home when the phone rang. A woman introduced herself as Betty King, the secretary of the Texas Senate. She said, “I look forward to meeting you, Senator.” That title still seemed so strange to me. “I’m letting you know that freshmen orientation will be the week after Thanksgiving. The session will start on January 3.” ...

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Chapter 17. My First Session

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pp. 173-183

Back in the Thirty-First District, I had the same van overhauled that I had been driving since I was the district director for Speaker Clayton. I had the signs repainted on my mobile office and hired a driver to travel throughout my very large district. My job was to serve the people. ...

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Chapter 18. Fighting Mad

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pp. 184-196

I received a lot of press after SB 306 was passed. People from across Texas began calling my office to report their stories about loved ones who they had lost in drunk-driving accidents. Their stories were compelling. My staff and I listened. ...

Part IV. The Painful Road to National Politics

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Chapter 19. Finding My Father and Saving the FFA

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pp. 199-206

Rusty Kelly and I had dinner one night at a popular restaurant in Houston. Rusty and I had become close friends when he worked for Speaker Clayton, and he had been incredibly helpful during my election campaign for the Senate. Rusty was a very well-respected, self-employed lobbyist in Austin. He was a straight shooter and very ...

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Chapter 20. A Walking Miracle

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pp. 207-214

Each year, the Texas legislature attends the Southern Legislative Conference, providing it the opportunity to meet members of other southern state legislatures and learn from each other as to how the states addressed important issues. I became very active in the conference, and I was elected chairman of the Southern Legislative ...

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Chapter 21. Agony Even in Victory

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pp. 215-229

It was only a matter of time before Donna and I went our separate ways. After being married for sixteen years, we finalized our divorce agreement. I gave her everything, except my son. We had joint custody of David, but he lived with me, and I accepted the responsibility to raise him. I was equally to blame for the divorce. ...

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Chapter 22. From Slot Machines to Congress

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pp. 230-235

T he threatening phone calls continued, and I was really worried about David. We moved back to Rick Smith’s apartment so he could help me take care of David while I was on the road campaigning. I was also still working for Wesley’s Center Plains Industries.
District Attorney Danny Hill called and asked to see me. ...

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Chapter 23. What Does He Have Planned for Me?

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pp. 236-247

Larry Milner and I had two televised debates. One would be taped and aired the night before the election in Wichita Falls and the other would be televised live from Amarillo the night before the election. On the day of the taping, I was scheduled to speak at a luncheon in Amarillo, so my plan was to fly myself to Wichita Falls ...

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Chapter 24. The Lithuanian Dream

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pp. 248-256

One night, during my first month in office, I was working late when a tall man appeared at my office door. As soon as he spoke, I knew he was from another country.
“Are you Mr. Sarpalius?” he asked. I said I was, and he introduced himself as Dr. Vytautas Landsbergis from Lithuania. ...

Part V. International Politics

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Chapter 25. The Fall of the Soviet Union

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pp. 259-272

In January, I announced my intention to seek reelection, and state representative Dick Waterfield announced that he would run against me. Waterfield was a wealthy rancher from Canadian, Texas, who was into horse racing. One of his horses had run in the Kentucky Derby. Waterfield had the money to commit to the race. ...

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Chapter 26. Fighting the Soviet Empire

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pp. 273-277

A few years earlier, President Ronald Reagan had increased our nation’s defense spending. The Soviet Union responded  by building more ships, airplanes, submarines, and weapons of mass destruction. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was not much commitment or loyalty to the Communist Party. ...

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Chapter 27. The First Lady Comes to Boys Ranch

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pp. 278-285

In 1990, I was in one of the toughest campaigns in my career. State Representative Dick Waterfield and the Republican Party were determined to unseat me. Waterfield had defeated former congressman Bob Price in the Republican primary by a landslide. He had a big ego and a lot of money. ...

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Chapter 28. Voting for War

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pp. 286-290

Casting a vote to send troops into war is historically one of the most dreaded decisions for an elected official. It was the one I faced when Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait. President Bush deployed US troops to Saudi Arabia in a mission called Operation Desert Storm. Twelve other countries sent naval forces, joining the United ...

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Chapter 29. Losing What You Love

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pp. 291-299

After Pantex’s contract was up for dismantling the nuclear weapons, thousands of jobs were at stake. Because of our country’s dependency on oil, there was a growing demand for alternative energy sources. Amarillo was perfect for wind and solar energy. As a state senator, I helped get funding for research on wind energy and ethanol. ...

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Chapter 30. Grand Duke

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pp. 300-306

Adjusting to life after Congress was not easy. I was barred from lobbying for one year.
I called the president and ask him if there were any positions available within the Department of Agriculture, where I could work for one year until I was able to lobby. He appointed me as an undersecretary of US Department of Agriculture (USDA). ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 307-310

My brothers, Bobby and Karl, mean the world to me. We have traveled an incredible journey together.
Bobby earned an associate degree from Amarillo College, a bachelor’s degree from Hardin-Simmons, and master’s and doctorate degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. ...

Index

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pp. 311-322

Back Cover

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