The guitar—a Martin N-20 classical, serial number 242830—was a gorgeous instrument, with a warm, sweet tone and a pretty “mellow yellow” coloring. The top was made of Sitka spruce, which came from the Pacific Northwest; the back and sides were Brazilian rosewood.
Of all the remote corners of Texas considered difficult to reach—the Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande, in Big Bend National Park; the center-field wall at Minute Maid Park, in Houston; the butcher block at Franklin Barbecue, in Austin—the single most challenging can actually be found in every big city and rural burg in the state: the mind of a seventh grader.
In May of this year Woody Dinstel sat down at his desk in Houston to write a letter. First he looked at the watch. It was a gold Hamilton Masterpiece, slim and heavy. On the back was engraved WOODY DINSTEL UPON RETIREMENT FEBRUARY 1, 1978, EXXON.
As he walked through the front door of 2J’s, the modest little cafe down the road from his family ranch outside Refugio, Thomas Michael O’Connor had a feeling that something was wrong. It was a bright winter day in January 1995, and T.