John Graves

John Graves was born in Fort Worth in 1920 where he explored the Trinity River bottom before it became littered with beer cans. He graduated from Rice University, received a master’s degree from Columbia, and served in the Pacific as a firm lieutenant where he lost the sight in one eye. He taught at the University of Texas and Texas Christian University before writing four notable Texas books, Goodbye to a River, Hard Scrabble, From a Limestone Ledge, and Myself and Strangers. Over the years, Graves has also contributed to Texas Monthly and written for the Sierra Club, the Atlantic, Esquire, and the New Yorker.


Great Guns

In my 86 years I’ve come into the possession of an assortment of firearms: a Colt .32-caliber semiautomatic pistol that my grandfather bought at a hardware store in Cuero; a Remington Model 870 pump, 20-gauge shotgun that my Aggie uncle-by-marriage used to shoot birds; the Winchester Model 06 pump .22 rifle I got on my tenth birthday; and many others. And each one has a story.

The Old Country

I’ve become a sort of pessimistic accepter of the changes that have beset the Hill Country in recent years, unacceptable though many of them may be. But I’m grateful for having experienced the hills earlier, when change was slight—and grateful too for corners and stretches still untouched.

Paw Prints

Photographer Keith Carter’s latest pet project reminds me of big Texas dogs I’ve owned—some clownish, some serious, but every one of them great.

My Favorite Place

What do the city of Lubbock, a defunct restaurant, and a submerged neighborhood have in common? They’re all places in somebody’s heart.

Dead Oaks

Texas’ beloved live oaks are falling victim to a creeping fungus, and no one knows how to stop it.

Big River

A photographic tour of the timeless Rio Grande, from its origins in the mountains of Colorado to the Padre Island dunes at the tip of Texas.


Saint Paul said that a little wine is a fine thing. He must have known something.

Lord of the Flies

Fly-fishing is a particularly fastidious way of trying to fool a fish, but it’s also a particularly pleasant one.

Lord of the Flies

Fly-fishing is a particularly fastidious way of trying to fool a fish, but it’s also a particularly pleasant one.

Going Under

For a man and his daughter out for a pleasant day’s
fishing, the first sign of danger was a man’s hat
floating silently down the stream.

The Heat Treatment

This one has been a humdinger, but every Texas summer is broiling hot—and that’s nothing to get all steamed up about.

Whose Woods Are These?

As more and more city dwellers tread on the landscape, farmers and ranchers are less inclined to forgive those who trespass against them.

One Man’s Music

Harmony begins at home.

One Man’s Music

Harmony begins at home.

Kindred Spirits

Don’t both with séances or clairvoyants. There is a much better way to contact the shades of the past.