by Ralph Calcote

I first heard about the Calcote Bird from Frank Calcote. He was telling me about a visit with Frances Calcote Brite in Pleasanton, Texas. According to Frank he and Iva Pearl had really enjoyed the wonderful Texas hospitality shown by Taylor and Frances. However, his deepest impression came from the bird. Every time he walked out of the house he heard the Cal-cote, Cal-cote song. I did not understand why Frances would have a Calcote bird around her house. Pleasanton was not the old family home of the Calcotes. Frances had moved there because she was married to Taylor Brite. Probably not a single Calcote name appears in the Pleasanton telephone directory. On the other hand, there are many Calcotes living in Lincoln and Franklin Counties of Mississippi. Our early ancestors, John Sr. and James Calcote, are buried at the Calcote Cemetery in Lincoln County. Why would the Calcote Bird choose Pleasanton, Texas for its habitat? Why not Lincoln County or Franklin County, Mississippi? To be truthful I half-way doubted Frank's story. I thought that he was "pulling my leg." Of course, when Frank told me about the bird, I did not realize that it was Charles Calcote, father of Frances, who had first recognized the Calcote Bird. He had moved to Pleasanton during his senior years.

The answers to my doubts and questions became clear when we visited in the home of Frances and Taylor during April of 1999. Fred and Betty Calcote were with us. Taylor guided Fred and me on a path that encircles their beautiful home. We moved along under large Live Oak trees and smaller Mesquite trees. From all directions we could hear birds singing. Taylor stopped and said, "Listen. You will hear the Calcote bird." We stopped. We listened. We heard Cal- cote, Cal-cote. Frank had been telling the truth. The next evening, as we stepped out of the car in front of the Brite home, there seemed to be a full choir completely surrounding us. They were singing Cal-cote, Cal-cote, Cal-cote, Calcote. It seemed that the birds were elated that some members of the Calcote family had come to visit them.

That evening Jean Ann, Steve Brite's wife, joined us for strawberries. We mentioned to her that we had been listening to the Calcote Bird. Jean Ann lives in Pleasanton. She often visits in the home of Taylor and Frances. Yet she did not even know what we were talking about. Fred's wife, Betty, and my wife, Gena, both chimed in to say that they had not heard Cal-cote, Cal-cote from the birds. I began to understand the mystery. A person without Calcote blood cannot hear the sound. Except for Taylor Brite. There is a special reason that Taylor can hear and understand. Taylor has endured a long compassionate walk with Frances as she researched and recorded her Calcote genealogy. This gave him ears of compassion as he walked with her during her long journey through Calcote history. With that compassion he has learned to hear Cal-cote, Cal-cote.

Another person without Calcote blood who heard the Cal-cote, Cal-cote song of the birds is Iva Pearl, Frank Calcote's wife. Like Taylor Brite, she has endured a long and compassionate walk with a Calcote. Frank has been one of the outstanding flag bearers in the march to lead the Calcote family to understand our history. He has shared with us many stories and much information heard from his dad, Uncle Sig. He has been generous in guiding Calcote cousins in their search for Calcote places and Calcote information. Frank has been one of the most regular persons in attendance at Calcote Reunions. Iva Pearl joined Frank in this venture with such enthusiasm that one is almost tempted to ask if she also has Calcote blood. As she stood under the Live Oak trees behind the Brite home, she also heard, Cal-cote, Cal-cote. She had the heart; she had the ear; she could hear.

I return to the mystery of why the Calcote Bird chose Pleasanton, Texas for its habitat. Frances Calcote Brite has written and published an excellent book of Calcote genealogy, Calcote Family Journey. When she began the research, she did not plan to write a book. She was seeking information that would make it possible for her family to become members of Daughters of the American Revolution through her own ancestors. However, with her search for information, seed for the idea of writing a book was sown. It sprouted to a tiny plant but a book would be the equivalent of a huge tree. From whence would come the motivation--the encouragement, the patience, the endurance--to do that which was required to write a book about her Calcote heritage? I believe that it came from the Calcote Bird.

Each morning as she walked with Taylor on the path around the house, she heard the song, Cal-cote, Cal-cote. It reminded her of her dad. It reminded her of her family. It reminded her of the book to be written. The book took several years longer than Frances had anticipated. Week by week new information was added to the old. Next week there would be more; next month new families would be added to the tree. There was no way that all the Calcote information could be included in one book. When do you stop adding new information? Why not let someone else write it? Dead-lines went by. New publication dates were set. They slipped by. Somehow Frances kept going. Finally she sent Calcote Family Journey to the publishers. Many of her Calcote family members now possess a copy of her excellent book. It forms the roots and the trunk to which other Calcote genealogy information will be added. It provides the beginning branches on which all Calcotes can tie our heritage. How did she do it? From whence came her persistence? Certainly the answer must be found in the song of the Calcote Bird. Every time she stepped from her house--every time she opened her window, she heard the Calcote Birds singing Cal-cote, Cal-cote, Cal-cote, Cal-cote.

No! Frank Calcote did not make a mistake when he heard that song. He had the blood; he had the ear; he had the heart. I guess the Calcote Birds will keep on singing even though the book has been completed. Maybe they are so happy about the completion that they keep on singing for joy. Maybe they are urging other members of the Calcote family to write their stories. If you have the Calcote blood and if you ever stop by for a visit with Taylor and Frances Brite in Pleasanton, Texas, be sure to listen for the song, Cal-cote, Cal-cote, Cal-cote, Cal-cote. It will surely cause you to want to write your part of the story.