In 1875, when Pete arrived in San Saba County, Texas, he had not slept in a bed nor eaten a square meal in over two weeks. An occasional splash in a river had served as his bath. His clothing was stiff with sweat and dirt. A razor had not touched his face since leaving Liberty. His eyes were bloodshot from the wind and sun glare, and his blond skin was parched from the sun. Both he and his horses were weary to the bone.
As the sun rose over the vast plain, Pete could see a thread of smoke rising from a tiny dot in the distance. He hoped he would find water and rest there for his horses and at least a sandwich for himself. He followed a barbed-wire fence toward the distant thread of smoke. After riding miles and miles of fence, he came to a gate with a sign above proclaiming it to be the property of “Steve W. Terry, San Saba County Sheriff,”
As Pete approached the gate, he yelled at the top of his lungs, “Hello! Anybody home?”
A comely girl with dark blonde hair, about five-feet four, came running from the house. Peter guessed that she might be about fifteen years old.
She told him she had been watching his cloud of dust moving that way for over an hour and introduced herself as Amanda Terry.
Pete asked if she thought her father would mind if he watered his horses.
She told him her parents would be home at any moment, and suggested he rest on the swing on the verandah in the shade while she pumped him some water and watered his horses.
Pete reached for the dipper hanging by the well, filled it three times, and drank. As he watched this lithe young woman pumping water for his horses, he thought of the Bible story of Rebecca drawing water for Isaac’s servant.
The swing on the L-shaped verandah was made of hard oak wood and was as hard to rest his sore bones on as his saddle, but the shade was inviting. Curled up on the swing, Pete soon fell asleep. When he awoke, there was a pillow under his head, and a light blanket covered his unshod feet. His sweaty socks had been washed and hung over the porch rail to dry in the sun. There was a basin of warm water, a towel, and a bar of soap on a stool near the swing. His horses were grazing contentedly in the run (a small fenced area where horses to be used in the morning were kept overnight). The smell of coffee, biscuits, and bacon wafted from the kitchen–there was never a more tantalizing aroma.
Pete strolled around the house to find the outhouse. In the backyard was a well-kept garden where two little boys were pulling weeds while two small girls were picking green beans from long green vines. Returning from the outhouse to the verandah, Pete found a tray on the swing. Perhaps it was because he was so hungry, but he never tasted better coffee, and the biscuits were out of this world!
Steve and Jane Terry, who had gone to town, got home near sundown. Amanda had their supper ready and the younger children all clean and ready for bed. Steve gave Pete permission to pasture his horses for a few days and invited him to bathe and eat dinner with the family. He offered him a clean shirt and trousers, so the women could wash the ones he was wearing along with the rest of his clothes.
The “few days” turned into weeks. Before he left the ranch, Pete made 16-year-old Amanda Terry his bride. They were married in San Saba on December 6, 1876. This settled the matter of him become a priest.