Stories from Texas

The Texas Connection To Colorado’s Royal Gorge Bridge

Bridges are measured in three ways, for those who like to keep world records and such: longest, tallest and highest.  In Texas, the Fred Hartman Bridge is both the longest bridge at 2.6 miles, and the tallest, at 440 feet. But it is not the highest. That honor goes to the aptly named Pecos High…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Queen’s Royal Welcome to Texas

By W. F. Strong and Lupita Strong February 2021 will mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 69th year on the British throne. In all of those years during which she witnessed some of the world’s most pivotal events, one can say — if one is a Texan — that we deserve an honorable mention amongst those events…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Norfleet: The Texas Rancher Who Kept On Coming

By W.F. Strong The year was 1919. J. Frank Norfleet, after two years of pursuit, finally slapped the handcuffs on Mr. Stetson in Florida. Stetson – real name: Joe Furey – had swindled Norfleet out of $90,000 in Dallas and Fort Worth two years before. Stetson was shocked to see him and paid him a…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Texas: A State That Loves Its Flag

By W.F. Strong If you were ever to start a new country, one of the first tasks you’d have to undertake would be to design a flag. Are you really a country if you don’t have a flag to advertise your existence – a flag that can fly atop skyscrapers, state houses, schools and ships…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Tragic Story of Dora Hand

My friend, Jac Darsnek, owner of the always remarkable Traces of Texas webpage sent me a message recently. He asked if I had ever told the story of Dora Hand on the radio. I said, no, but I will. Thanks for the suggestion Jac. Here we go: Dora Hand, many said, was the most beautiful…

Tags: , , ,

El Llano Estacado

By W. F. Strong The Llano Estacado is an enormous mesa. It covers more than 37-thousand square miles of Texas and New Mexico. On this side of the state border it starts north of Amarillo and ends south of Odessa. But how did it get its name and what exactly does it mean? Turns out,…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Madame Curie’s Philanthropy Continues To Inspire

By W. F. Strong A couple of years ago, there was a photograph published on Twitter of a group of radiation oncologists in the radiation treatment room at MD Anderson, all women, under the hashtag, “Women Who Curie.” They were celebrating the legacy of Madame Marie Curie and her pioneering work in radiology that daily…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dichos

By W. F. Strong and Lupita Strong  Dichos are proverbs. Dichos is a Spanish word for wise sayings, clever maxims, humorous perspectives that can guide you well. Dichos are life coaches, lighting a pathway that, if followed, can make our lives better and less painful. Dichos are nuggets of wisdom that are handed, like gold,…

Tags: , ,

Jefferson Davis Highway: The Persistence Of A Confederate Memorial

By W.F. Strong On July 29, 1925 — a full 60 years after the American Civil War — Miss Decca Lamar West of Waco, Texas, wrote a strongly worded letter to Chief Thomas H. MacDonald, the head of what was then the Federal Bureau of Public Roads. Miss West was an influential member of the…

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

How Texas Became A Desert

By W. F. Strong To much of the world, and to many people in the U.S. who have never been to Texas, the state is a vast desert. It is not the Sahara, but instead a high-plains arid region studded with rocky mesas, sweeping wall-like cliffs, dusty canyons, and sometimes adorned with thousands of Saguaro…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

El Rio Bravo

By W.F. Strong Ten years ago I was touring the great Catedral de Sevilla, in Spain, when I got into an unexpectedly informative conversation about Texas with an 80-year-old guide of that majestic church. When he discovered that I was from South Texas, he asked me, in perfect British English, “Did you know that your…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Hero Of Cinco De Mayo Was A Texan

My wife Lupita and I were celebrating Cinco de Mayo at home Tuesday. We had a couple – or so – margaritas in honor of General Zaragoza’s victory at the Battle of Puebla. Lupita said, “I wonder if Texans know what they’re celebrating when they party on Cinco de Mayo.” She’s originally from Mexico and,…

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Texas Cowboy Moves to Montana

by W. F. Strong (adapted from folklore)  I think we’re in need of humor more now than ever before. So I thought I’d share with you this bit of classic Texas folklore. You may well have heard it before and, if you have, I’m sure you won’t mind hearing it again. If you haven’t heard…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Things ‘Redneck Dave’ Said to Me on the Drive Across Texas

By W. F. Strong A while back I had occasion to travel across 400 miles of Texas, about half the state, with my older brother, Redneck Dave. We call him that out of admiration for his unbending and unapologetic devotion to life as he sees it. He loves his nickname, by the way. Wears it…

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Texas Polio Epidemic

The silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic, if there is one, seems to be that it spares children. The polio epidemic that raged off and on in the United States for about 40 years did the opposite. Indeed, it seemed to focus on children. Whereas there is hope that COVID-19, like the flu, will weaken…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jim Bowie: Timeless Influencer

A relatively new phenomenon in modern society is the rise of the influencer, a person on social media who is skilled at persuading followers to buy things. Some are influencers by design and some are accidental influencers, finding without trying that they have attracted an army of imitators. I wondered how many of these now…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Texas Coral Snake – Beautiful and Occasionally Dangerous

Twice in the last three years I’ve seen good sized coral snakes in my yard. Both times I relocated them deep into the woods nearby. Their presence troubles me because there are often young children playing in my yard. If any were bitten by a Texas Coral Snake, though they probably wouldn’t die, they would…

Tags: , , , , , ,

Love Letter to Scarlett

Two years ago I introduced you to my then 3-year-old daughter, Scarlett. My Valentine. She was a late arrival in my life and particularly special because I grew up with all boys and had only boys, until she came along. She’s introduced me, for the first time, to the wonderful world of little girls. Scarlett’s…

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Impeachment and Conviction of Texas Governor Jim Ferguson

It’s hard not to like the down-home folksy style that made Texas Governor Jim Ferguson so enormously popular 100 years ago. After all, he was known as “Farmer Jim.” He often said, “Civilization begins and ends with the plow.” Ferguson was a mesmerizing speaker and storyteller and was splendidly fluent in the dialects of rural…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Three Texas Myths That Won’t Die

In my travels around the state I run into people now and then who have deeply held convictions about Texas that are simply untrue. They hold to myths that have been nurtured by well-intentioned souls since San Jacinto days, and it breaks my heart to tell them they are mistaken, but not for long. I…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,