Adam Casey, who is Lily’s father and the son of the Irish immigrant Robert Casey, who had been cavalryman31
and a successful cattle dealer32
in Hondo Valley/Texas. When Adam is 14 years old, his father is shot in Lincoln/New-Mexico. Twenty years later, another murder is committed in Hondo Valley and Adam Casey is imprisoned for it. Maintaining his innocence, he is released from prison three years later. A little later, he gets to know Daisy Mae Casey, Lily’s mother, whom he marries. Together, they move to High Lonesome/Texas where they manage a ranch.
Lily’s father had been injured by a horse at the age of three. From that moment on, he has a paralysis of one side of the body 33
. Furthermore, he is deaf34
because he used to work at his parents’ malt-mill 35
“Dad’s speech impediment did make it sound a little like he was talking underwater. If he said “Hitch up the carriage”, it sounded to most people like “Ich’p uh urrj,” and if he said “Mama needs to rest” it sounded like “Uhmu neesh resh”.”
Adam Casey quickly loses his rag36
: He has a “terrible temper” (p. 11, l. 34) “and from time to time he’d become so incensed that he’d pull out his pistol and plug away at things, aiming to miss people – most of the time” (p. 12,l. 5 - 7).
Lily’s father hates alcohol because he thinks that “it makes Indians and Irishmen crazy” (cf. p. 16, ll.13 f.) and thus, he does not “allow anything stronger than tea on the ranch” (p. 16, ll. 15 f.).
Adam Casey earns a living by training carriage horses and selling them afterwards. The crazy ideas
he has all the time – for example breeding37
peacocks or Great Danes, which he bought instead of paying for Lily’s tuition – prevent him from being able to work hard. Furthermore, he writes letters to politicians, such as William Taft38
“Two of Dad’s biggest concerns in his letters were industrialization and mechanization, which he felt were destroying the human soul” (p. 16, ll.5 - 7).
Due to his disability, he is not able to do compound all the work on the ranch: “Because of his gimp leg, some of the work – like pruning peach trees from a ladder – was beyond Dad” (p. 35, ll. 5 - 8)
By writing books no one will ever read, Casey has got another excuse not to work: “At the same time, Dad was working on a book arguing the case for phonetic spelling […]. Dad also started a biography of Billy the Kid, who had stopped at the Casey ranch when Dad was a teenager.” (p. 35, ll. 17 - 23).
Meanwhile, it is Lily, who has to manage the ranch and watch the helpers: “So even though I was still only eleven, I took on the hiring and overseeing” (p. 35, ll. 8 f.). Casey is a very pragmatic person
: He had what he called his Theory of Purpose
, which held that everything in life had a purpose, and unless it achieved that purpose, it was just taking up space on the planet and wasting everybody’s time” (p. 24, ll. 24 - 27). That is why he does not want his children to play: He considers it being a waste of time. In his opinion, Lily’s function is to help on the ranch. Talking to his daughter after he has taken her from school because he is not able to pay the tuition since he bought the expensive Great Danes, he admits it without having a bad conscience:
“Did you take Buster out of school, too? – No. He’s a boy and needs that diploma if he’s going to get anywhere. […] And anyway, we need you on the ranch.” (p. 43, ll. 26 - 28).
The quotation in the centre above also shows that Casey is not open-minded and considers technical progress being something bad
: “[…]Industrialization and mechanization, which he felt were destroying the human soul”. He values persons by looking at their way to handle horses: about Billy the Kid, he says “Right polite feller. […] And sat a horse well” (p. 35, ll. 24 f.).
His pragmatism is also revealed, when Adam Casey talks about horses: “If you can’t stop a horse, sell him […] and if you can’t sell him, shoot him” (p. 23, ll.6 f.).
When Lily’s mother dies in 1942, Adam goes to a nursing home. Dying in 1943, he wants his daughter to bury him on the KC ranch. Buster inherits the KC ranch and Lily inherits Salt Draw – and all the tax debts, although she had always helped her father and had had a much better relation to him than Buster had had.
31Kavallerist: zu Pferde kämpfender Soldat
36to lose one’s rag: die Beherrschung verlieren
37to breed: züchten
38Politiker der Republikanischen Partei, *1857, \dag 1930