Coincidence

Gail Borden was an early Texas land developer — what they used to call an empresario — in the early part of the 19th Century, before the Davy Crockett and Sam Houston years.  His cattle empire took a bit of a step forward when he developed a process for condensing milk and putting it in a can where it would keep awhile on the grocery store shelf.  Yes, that Borden.  The county seat of Borden County in West Texas is named Gail.  Not a coincidence.

Read More

Stories from the Road: Deer Without Fear

My mother’s relationship with the deer in her community has been fodder for a great many of my articles over the years.  She has named half a dozen of them.  They give birth in her yard.  They eat out of her hand.  They watch her from outside her kitchen window and start gathering in the back yard when she approaches the door.  Cattle feed and watermelon rinds will do that, apparently.

My mother is the gentlest soul I know.  Seeing her interact with the deer kind of makes sense, in a weird sort of way.  Dad’s relationship with them is somewhat more puzzling.  Although certainly a gentle soul himself, Dad was the one who taught me to aim a rifle at one of these creatures and shoot to kill.  I spent my entire childhood staring up at the mounted head of a deer the size of a small cow.  My dad’s work.  I ate many a mess of chicken fried steak made with venison — cooked by my mom, so I guess she is complicit as well, in a way.  And now the great deer slayer is feeding them cantaloupe — not to fatten them up, but just because it is pleasant, peaceful way to pass a decade or two.

Read More

Preserving the ancient boundary

A landmark, the only one left of its kind, stands upright and proud near the town of Deadwood, Texas, on what is now the Texas-Louisiana border.  It is all that remains of what was once the boundary between the United States of America and the Republic of Texas.

        It stands, more than 150 years after it was erected, for three reasons: it is made of solid granite; it reaches six feet beneath ground level; and it has been deliberately preserved by people who value their heritage.

 Consider this.  Then ask yourselves, “How important is my heritage of faith?”

Read More

Brisket

My beloved Texas A&M University puts on an annual two-day barbecue seminar.  “Camp Brisket” shows a fortunate few dozen participants the finer points of trimming, preparing and serving the best barbecue in the world.  And here I am in Pensacola, Florida, drooling, surrounded by well-intentioned but sadly ignorant folks who think “good barbecue” used to oink.

Read More

Klobosniky

Purists insist that a “kolache” with sausage inside is actually a klobosniky.  And strictly speaking, it is not Czech in origin, as is the kolache.  It is a native Texan.  Word has it the klobosniky was invented in West, Texas (which, ironically, is not in west Texas) at the Village Bakery in 1953.

If you are not from Texas, you don’t care.  If you are from Texas, you probably still don’t care.  Frankly, I’m not sure how much I care.  I just like saying klobosniky.

Read More

Kolaches and the body of Christ

I love my life in Florida.  But I must say, trips back to Texas remind me of what I have left behind.  Bluebonnets in March, and prickly pear flowers in May.  Beef brisket barbecue so good that is actually better without sauce.  Two dozen varieties of peppers in your local grocery store.  Mexican food that is worth eating.

 But one of the least-appreciated Texas delights is a pastry called a kolache.

Read More