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Billy Ray

 

My first interest in metal work originated in shop (welding) class in high school. A few years later I hired on in the layout department of a metal fabrication plant, where an older African American gentleman mentored me in the operation of an oxy-acetylene torch. I worked there for more than a year before dabbling in other occupations. In 1974, I took a job in the maintenance department of a company in Ft. Worth, Texas, where I was once again working with things of metal; arc welding and torch work…and once again I was mentored by an older gentleman. He was half Cherokee Indian and a full time friend. I got married in 1975 and worked there until 1978. In that year I bought a fully equipped welding truck, with the notion of starting my own business. But it was not to be. I took a factory welding job, but worked on creative metal projects in my spare time. Within a year, I went to work in a totally unrelated field, because it offered more security and benefits for my wife and two daughters. In 2013, after 35 years, I retired from that venture. I kept my welder and torch all those years and even bought two more welders; all the while expanding creative metal designs. I now enjoy much more time in retirement to concentrate on those interests.

 

 

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A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine.

I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image.

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