Read Me. Texas Index

Taking Texas 101? Here are your study notes.
Wed December 31, 1969 6:00 am

If you’ve ever wondered about Texans’ penchant for big hair, waving to strangers, shirts with snaps instead of buttons, and belt buckles with our names engraved on the back, consult Read Me. Texas, a primer that will get you through Texas 101 easy as falling off a log. From Fritos to fire ants, these are the things that give our state its character.

Georgia O’Keeffe by Anne Dingus
“It’s absurd the way I love this country.”

Abraham Zapruder by Anne Dingus
This Dallas clothing manufacturer made the most important movie of all time.

Darrell Royal by Anne Dingus
A peek at the less famous side of a Texas football royal.

The Wishbone Offense by Jim Atkinson
Besides carrying the Longhorns to glory, it gave us another way to tell Southerners from Yankees.

The Right-Angle Pump by Dick J. Reavis
The invention that made West Texas bloom.

The Sticker Bur by Mimi Swartz
Into each and every barefoot Texas childhood a little sticker bur must fall.

The Water Tower by Anne Dingus
It’s a landmark if you’re just passing through and a benchmark if you want to move on.

The Resistol Hat by Peter Applebome
Where does American dream meet Texas myth? In this cowboy hat, of course.

The Horny Toad by Anne Dingus
It’s the ugliest critter in Texas. We’d hate to see it go.

Mesquite by Suzanne Winckler
The tree that made Texans tough.

The Tar Ball by Drew Jubera
It’s a beautiful day at the beach—surf’s up, wind’s blowing, and then … squish.

The Windmill by Anne Dingus
This simple marvel of engineering coaxed from the earth a resource more vital than oil—water.

The Dust Storm by Anne Dingus
When all of Texas seems about to blow away, the best defense is a sense of humor.

The Yellow Rose of Texas by Stephen Harrigan
Sure, her eyes were bright as diamonds and sparkled like the dew—but that wasn’t the half of it.

The Herkie Jump by Joe Nick Patoski
Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar. He did it first and watched everybody foller.

The Chilipiquín by Patricia Sharpe
More fiery than the jalepeño, it answers the burning question: What’s the best chile in Texas?

The Rose Window by Mimi Swartz
It’s not just a carving on a mission wall. It’s a declaration of enduring love.

C.W. Post by Jan Reid
The cereal king made his fortune in Grape-Nuts, but he saw his salvation in Texas.

The Balcones Escarpment by Stephen Harrigan
If life wasn’t always quiet on the Western front, the Hill Country tells us where the fault lies.

The Texas Institute of Letters by Karl Kilian
Fifty years ago some Texans established a literary club. They’ve been feuding ever since.

The Texas Cowboys Cheerleaders by Anne Dingus
How much are the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders paid per game?

Big Red by Joe Nick Patoski
Drinking Big Red soda pop is as much a part of growing up in Texas as souvenir chameleons at the State Fair, the first dip in the Gulf of Mexico, or a visit to the Alamo.

The Frito by Nicholas Lemann
The venerable corn chip whose life is a Tex-Mex history lesson.

The His and Her Gift by Susan Chadwick
The whole world is waiting: what fabulously expensive gifts are Texans giving this year?

The Hughes Drill Bit by Nicholas Lemann
This is the invention that found most of the oil in Texas.

Barbed Wire by Anne Dingus
They say the six-gun won the West, but in fact, a strand of wire did.

The Farm-to-Market Road by Paul Burka
It was supposed to help the farmer; instead, it spirited his kids away to the city

The Tumbleweed by Stephen Harrigan
The tumbleweed is as much a visual trademark of Western romance as the moonlit silhouette of a coyote.

Marfa Lights by Gary Cartwright
Scotland has its Loch Ness monster. Bermuda has its triangle. We’ve got the Marfa lights.

The Western Shirt by Catherine Chadwick
Today’s cowboy can thank Hollywood designers for the shirt on his back.

Football Hand Signals by Paul Burka
The Southwest Conference may not have the best teams, but it does have the best school signs.

The Bowie Knife by Susan Chadwick
The fearsome weapon that terrified enemies, ensured supper, and made its namesake a hero.

The Fire Ant by Jan Reid
These tiny red invaders have avoided chemical warfare. Why? Just to torment Texans.

Juneteenth by Chester Rosson
Texas slaves greeted Empancipation Day with joy; modern reactions are more complex.

The Flash Flood by Joe Nick Patoski
The forecast predicts sunny skies, clear nights. And in Texas that doesn’t mean a thing.

The Coronary Bypass by Stephen Harrigan
If you smoke, drink, or eat red meat, you may be eligible for this Texas rite of passage.

The Native Texan by Susan Chadwick
Pondering the answer to that all-important question, “Where you from, boy?”

King Ranch Casserole by Anne Dingus
Bland, yes, but there when you need it. The club woman’s contribution to Texas cuisine.

The Two Step by Susan Chadwick
It’s a simple step. But done to tricky country rhythm, it’s Texas’ most dignified dance.

The Bluebonnet Snapshot by Suzanne Winckler
Sure, its a kitschy keepsake. But come springtime, everybody wants one anyway.

The Grand Champion Steer by Suzanne Winckler
In a livestock show, he’s no walking T-bone—he’s as glorious and glamorous as Garbo.

The Hi Sign by Anne Dingus
Its casual, its concise, and it makes you feel at home on lonely country roads.

The Texas Brag by Susan Chadwick
We do we make such outrageous claims for our state? Maybe Yankees just love to hear them.

The Pecan by Patricia Sharpe
The nut that nourished the Indians, rescued Cabeza de Vaca, and gives its all to make Texas’ best pies.

Christmas on the Range by Anne Dingus
Deck the halls with cedar and red chiles!

The Blue Norther by Jan Reid
Greetings from the Arctic.

Cedar Fever by Patricia Sharpe
Face it. It’s part of being a Texan. The trees are here to stay, and so is the allergy.

The Trail Ride by Susan Chadwick
It’s a nod to the past, a chance to play cowpoke, but mostly it’s a party on horseback.

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