The Write Stuff

You can scoff, if you like, at the bromide that journalists should comfort the afflicted, yet for all the stories we publish both in the magazine and online—covering everything from politics to food—our staff writers reserve a special pride for shining a light on the injustices suffered by people caught in the system. So it was particularly rewarding to hear two updates to recent stories as we were working on the February 2015 issue.

Serenity Knives

Five years ago, Russell Montgomery was managing a Starbucks and dreaming of starting his own business. His wife, Elizabeyta, suggested knife making, because he had been fascinated by sharp edges as a kid—the blades of the skates he used as a competitive ice skater, the viking axes he spent hours throwing at trees.

Cadillac Dreams

Joe Bowers arrived in the Panhandle in 1897 with one goal in mind: to become a cowboy. He was 25 years old and tired of walking behind a plow on his family’s cotton farm in Bell County, so he took a job breaking horses for his cousins, Burl and Frank Jackson, who had a ranch near Miami, in Roberts County. Bowers cowboyed on various ranches and managed to lose his left arm while trying to fix a windmill. Then he met Lizzie Martin, a friend of Frank’s wife, and they were married on Christmas Eve 1898.

Meanwhile, in Texas . . .

A hummingbird that had flown off course on its migration south was taken by airplane from Minnesota to Texas, where it was released into the wild. A Woodlands house with a three-story closet was put on the market for $12.9 million.

•Fathers at Lakewood Elementary School raised money to buy a car for the longtime crossing guard, whose vehicle had been repossessed following his wife’s costly illness.

The Checklist

Music

Make Some Room, The Suffers (self-released, January 20) 
Yes, this is a four-song EP from an unsigned Houston band. But when that band dominates the Houston Press Music Awards, attention must be paid. And given this ten-piece ensemble’s razor-sharp funk revivalism and front woman Kam Franklin’s powerhouse voice, it’s tough to imagine they’ll remain unsigned for long. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, watch out.

Abnormal Mycology

It all started with a dog. My friend’s bulging-eyed, pointy-eared terrier that I said looked like a gremlin. Or was it a mogwai? As the hour and the wine waned, she explained the difference between the two, a conversation that put me in mind of gnarly creatures that emerge when conditions are just right.

Old News

“Beaumont has made a record for herself that has perhaps not been equaled before in any other city in the state. Beside the disagreeable distinction of claiming the heaviest snowfall, she also thinks she can claim the distinction of having had used on her streets the first snowshoes ever used in Texas.”
Galveston Daily News, February 17, 1895

 

Justice Was Overserved

After DWI charges against Justice Nora Longoria, of the Thirteenth Court of Appeals, were dismissed, outraged Hidalgo County Republicans pointed out that Longoria and the district attorney and district court judge who decided to let her off are all Democrats—and a police dash-cam video that showed her bombing her field sobriety test went viral.

The Dogs of War

In the farm country just outside Commerce, the front door of a red-brick-and-limestone house opens and a stout dog with a black face and pricked ears emerges. Its wide, shining eyes are fixed on a 22-year-old man wearing a thick black suit of padded, densely handwoven linen. Matt Davis squares his shoulders and glares at Tigo, a Dutch shepherd.

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