I liked this piece about him in the UK Telegraph, by Toby Harnden:
The cotton fields at Paint Creek are empty this year because of the fearsome drought. But amid the dust and searing heat, beneath a vast blue sky, the farmland of Mr Perry’s youth is still being worked. Life here is as hard as ever.We made a wheel with an axle and rolled it around....
At the school, from which Mr Perry graduated third in a class of 13 in 1968, Don Ballard, the school superintendent, reflected on the place that had made Mr Perry what he is.
“We had farm values,” he said “We got up, we worked and we knew what the dollar meant. There was no squandering money here there and yonder. Everybody struggled.
“You’d have a good crop one year and maybe a bad crop the next. Rick Perry understands being up and being down and that if you’re down you’ve got to work to get back up. Most of the families round here want their kids to be better and have more than what they had growing up.” Mr Perry is descended from Confederate veterans of the Civil War on both sides. In an old interview, his grandfather Hoyt Perry, who died in 1992, recalled how his father arrived at Paint Creek in 1887.
“The whole country was covered with prairie dogs. The buffaloes were killed in about the 1870s. I did a lot of farming with the mules. We made our own toys. We made a wheel with an axle and rolled it around.” The future Texas governor spent his teens living in a brick bungalow that his father built a field away from the wooden frame home. J.R. “Ray” Perry and his wife Amelia, now in their mid-80s, still reside there.