I have a friend who lives out in West Texas who spends a lot of time from January to September worrying about the cotton crop. Every drop of rain that falls is carefully tabulated against what will be needed to get those cotton plants up.

Not only does he worry about droughts, he also worries about getting too much rain which might in some way have an effect on the tender cotton plants. I really donít think he gets a good nightís sleep until the cotton is blooming.

What is puzzling about this is the fact that he is retired and doesnít raise cotton and never did. If the entire West Texas cotton crop was wiped out by some act of nature, including cyclones, it wouldnít affect his income or his lifestyle one bit.

Still, he has many sleepless nights worrying about that cotton crop until it is harvested, ginned, and sold to China, or whoever they sell it to.

Since he and I were born in the same era and lived through the Great Depression, I understand his feelings perfectly. As for worrying, Iím booked up until around September myself. Every year, among other things, I worry about whether the peach crop at Fredericksburg will be successful.

I donít really know why. I have never bought a Fredericksburg peach in my life. I donít even like peaches. They are far too acidic for my taste. Still, I would be devastated if they all froze out. Occasionally, it does happen and I feel bad about it for days.

I have noticed that when I happen to be in the area during peach season, the tourists are buying every peach in sight. Any enterprising soul could buy a load of peaches anywhere in the state, back his pickup in the bar ditch near Fredericksburg and sell the whole load in 10 minutes at a premium price. Iím sure it has probably been done.

Tourists, I have noticed, will buy anything if they are at least 50 miles from home. I once saw a fellow in Fredericksburg pay $200 for Grandmaís old rocker that she threw away in 1924.

I really donít know why but neither I nor my friend has ever worried about the cantaloupe crop at Pecos. I guess we really should. I know we both like cantaloupe. Maybe next year, weíll save a little time for the folks at Pecos. We can do that after the cotton blooms and the peaches are past freezing at Fredericksburg.

Back during World War II, the Air Corps had a bombardier training school at Pecos. As a result of this, every bombardier I ever met hated Texas. All they ever saw of Texas was Pecos.

I never heard any of them say one word about cantaloupes.

It seems that after we all age a little we start worrying more. We go to the doctor for a checkup and worry about what he tells us. Actually, itís what he doesnít tell us that cause us to lay awake at might. We know, beyond a doubt, that heís withholding something.

There is one thing in regard to my health that I no longer worry about. Some four or five years I ago, I was sitting on a bench in the mall listening to two old men discussing something. Iím not sure what it was but one told the other, ďIf youíre past 70 and you ainít got it yet, you ainít gonna get it.Ē

Iím past 70 and whatever it was ďI ainít gonna getĒ makes me feel a lot better.

Now, I can worry about the cantaloupe crop.

Harry Marlinís column is featured every Tuesday on the Brownwood Bulletinís Viewpoint page. E-mail him at pilgrimB17@verizon.net.