Go Go, Boots!
The article “The Power of Boots” [December 2019] spoke to me, and I was so excited to see Sandra Cisneros on the cover wearing vintage cowboy boots. My love of boots dates back to my childhood in South Texas. I admired the boots my great-uncles wore at the ranch and for “Sunday best” outings. I moved to the Midwest in 1996 and got rid of my boots—leather soles are no bueno on ice and snow—but in 2014, my husband and I bought a second home in San Antonio. I started collecting cowboy boots, which I display in our Texas home. They come with attitude, and to me they are works of art. Among my prized possessions are my 1950s Acme and 1980s Rocketbuster boots. Keep up the good work, and keep stroking our Texas egos!
Edna Campos Gravenhorst, St. Louis
I loved reading the boots issue that came in the mail this week. I have three pair in constant rotation: a pair of Larry Mahan caimans, for which I constantly receive compliments; some handmade black calfskin Luccheses that fit like a soft pair of slippers; and a new pair of Justin brushed ostrich square toes that give the illusion that I am young, hip, and cool. I love them all equally and in their own special way, like my children.
Steve Rogers, McKinney
Great article. It’s funny how something like boots can get stitched into the tapestry of one’s life. You remember where you were when you wore them and the times you had and that cute girl who looked at you that way or the horse that bit you on the kneecap as you sat on the fence at your friend’s corral. The best “shoulda woulda might coulda” experience of my life happened at a train station in Prague while I was wearing a pair of Tony Lamas that I still have and still wear. It’s just that way.
Traces of Texas, viatexasmonthly.com
No No, Boots!
Born in Fort Worth in the late sixties, I have been reading Texas Monthly since I was a teenager and found myself transfixed by the young and urbane memoirists and chroniclers whose prose meticulously transcended the facile clichés of the Lone Star State. Based on the magazine’s storied past, I have to say, I’m way disappointed in the December issue. The lengthy piece on boots seems tooled for a New Jersey college student writing an anthropology report on “another country” the adjunct assistant professor would likely dismiss with a “Well done! B-minus.” Jesus, I say (respectfully but mournfully): it’s an Onion feature reducing our state’s nuanced aesthetics to the cheapest permissible stereotype. My subscription from 1983 lasts until summer; after that, I’ll probably switch to Michigan Monthly or some such. It would be easier to tolerate the “phone it in” magazine depictions of a state I’ve never inhabited to the shadows of one I love but no longer see in print as recognizable or real.
Z. Bart Thornton, Richmond, Virginia
The yeehaw agenda is nothing more than a marketing gimmick to sell a song that says nothing about the real cowboy way of life. Boots are what us actual cowfolk work in, not stomp around in for fashion.
Ron Ryan Jr., via texasmonthly.com
You can say the hat didn’t originate in Texas. You can say the big ol’ belt buckle and the bolo tie didn’t originate in Texas. But for God’s sake, not the boots too! I mean, really. The next thing you’ll tell me is Lone Star is a mediocre beer.
Ted Holland, Onalaska
East Austin Memories
Thank you for the article on the new book about the old East Austin [“East Side Stories,” December 2019]. We built our home there 25 years ago. We raised our children there and hosted every holiday known to man, attended by family from across the state. My home is paid for. I worked until we paid it off in full when my children were in elementary school. But my taxes now exceed the original mortgage payment. So we’re moving—along with most of my neighbors—and it sold the day before listing. I hope the Californian loves this home as much as we did.
Kathy Caldwell, Austin
I remember waking up at 6 a.m. to catch the bus from Mabel Davis Park, make my way down to Pleasant Valley, passing all the apartments off Riverside, going over Lady Bird Lake in the early mornings, watching the sun peek out over the tops of trees. Pass Cesar Chavez and make my way to Govalle Park and walk past the huge pecan trees over my head with just enough time to get to Eastside Memorial High School. Those are the best memories I have of the old East Austin.
Moises Faz, Laredo, via Instagram
Quake to a Lake
In his discussion of Caddo Lake, the Texanist correctly describes the history of that beautiful body of water [The Texanist, December 2019]. However, there is another piece of the story. Legend tells of a Caddo Indian campsite on Big Cypress Bayou [the waterway that forms Caddo Lake], which was temporarily abandoned for some purpose. On return, the tribe found that their campsite was submerged under a new lake that covered the area. It has been theorized that in addition to the Great Raft of the Red River, Caddo Lake was formed by the New Madrid (Missouri) earthquake of 1811, a massive tremor that makes California look perfectly stable. It was felt as far away as New Orleans, the Carolinas, and New England, as well as North Texas. It formed Reelfoot Lake, in Northwest Tennessee, and was so powerful that part of the Mississippi River flowed backward for a while.
Travis Crow, San Antonio
Boomtown, a ten-part podcast series from Texas Monthly exploring life in the Permian Basin, debuted on December 10 and immediately drew a great deal of positive feedback from listeners. New episodes will be released each Tuesday on texasmonthly.com through February 11.
There are so few works that are able to authentically capture the people and culture of West Texas without turning them both into a stereotype. As a native West Texan and former Permian Basin boomtown resident, I can’t recommend [associate editor Christian Wallace’s] Boomtown podcast more highly.
John Boyd, Houston, via Twitter
Recently stumbled upon the Boomtown podcast—highly recommend it to anyone who’s interested in Texas history or the history of the oil industry and its influence on U.S. politics.
Drake Hernandez, Boston via Twitter
I grew up in Odessa. Elementary school, birthday parties, and boom-bust oil in the Permian Basin. Texas Monthly has done a fantastic job on this story, and I look forward to the Boomtown podcast.
Brian Franklin, Dallas, via Twitter
It’s really, really hard to make you see and feel and experience a place through the pure sonic instrument of a podcast, but, wow, can I smell the caliche as I listen to the first episode.
Taylor Pipes, Denver, via Twitter
Editors’ note: Our Pat’s Pick column in the January issue included an incorrect phone number for the Dallas restaurant Salaryman. The correct number is 214-364-8902. We regret the error.