DON'T FENCE ME IN

1960s article, author and source unknown


Lee Majors lives on a mountain ranch about 40 miles out of Los Angeles. It’s not a long ride by car, but the winding road takes you away from the sounds and sights of civilization, into the hills and countryside Lee calls home. At Lee’s invitation I made the drive one brisk Saturday morning to visit with him. As I pulled onto the dirt road that lead to Lee’s home, I saw him in the distance. He hurdled a coral fence and I met him half way as we shouted our hellos to one another.

“Did you feel it slip away?” he asked as we shook hands. My puzzled expression begged for a little more explanation of his greeting. “The world,” he continued. “Didn’t you feel all that crazy rat race world go rolling down the road and out of sight on your way up?”

For the first time I realized how quiet and fresh everything was. Lee was right, it was good to be away from the noisy city, to breathe the fresh mountain air. Right from the start of our visit, I began to understand why Lee had chosen to make his home up in the hills and why he spent as much time as possible there.

Lee’s ranch and home aren’t what you’d describe as Hollywood style. In fact there’s nothing lavish except the view of the natural landscaping. The grounds and buildings are well kept. There’s a stable, garage and workshed combination, coral and of course Lee’s small one-bed roomed, living room and kitchen home. Most of all there is a lot of land, no fences to hold him down. Lee’s house is simple and comfortable - with the expected lived-in bachelor look. We headed for the kitchen where Lee had brewed some coffee earlier.

“I got up at six this morning," he told me, "and exercised my horse for about an hour before breakfast. I was just finishing my chores before you drove up.”

Lee does his own cooking and from the taste of his coffee, I’d say he’s a pretty good cook.

Breakfast also meant feeding his horses, a burro, two dogs and a raccoon. As for the chores, I asked how he had spent his morning after his six in the morning gallop.

“Well this here ranch has only one ranch hand, partner - and he’s me." Lee laughed. "So when there’s work to be done, it means I do it. There was a dead tree on the other side of the coral that had to come down. Later I saw it up for firewood. Just before you arrived I was brushing down my horse. It’s all hard work, the kind of work that gets you dirty on the outside but makes you feel good inside.”

We continued talking as we went out so I could take a better look at the ranch. We went for a long walk and I have never seen Lee so much at ease, so very much at home as he was that morning in the hills

I asked him why he decided to live out in the country rather than near or in the city.

“Just take a long look around he said and I don’t think I will have to say much more. I was never much for city life. Here I’ve got room to breathe, to think and be myself. I guess because it’s all mine, it’s more important to me. When I was a kid I never had much that I could call my own. Now I’ve got a wide open part of the world that is all mine. It’s a good feeling.”

“What about this social life of yours that I’ve been reading and hearing about?” I asked him. “Seems like people think you are Hollywood’s new playboy.”

Lee gave a long, loud laugh that bounced off the hillsides and came back to us. “I’m a real country boy and don’t you believe any different,” Lee told me. “Sure I go out once in a while to a few clubs or a premiere, but that’s not being a playboy - not to my way of thinking. I can’t compete with the city slickers.

“First of all I was never cut out to wear formal clothes - for me, it’s like wearing a straightjacket. You know the kind of clothes I wear on the show. Well, as you can see, I wear the same things when I’m at home. I think I’ve got about four or five ties to my name.

“Another thing - I’m not really at ease when I’m with groups of people, especially if I don’t know them well. I can’t relax because of the clothes for one thing and because you’ve always got to be involved in conversation you’re not really interested in.

“I think if you’re with friends, people who really mean something to you, then you don’t always have to be thinking what you are going to say next, what you are going to add to the conversation. It just comes naturally.