Our Heroes Have Always Been Cowgirls

What fun to find my great-great-aunt Ben in my favorite magazine [“Cowgirl Up,” August 2011]. That string of names listed for her was also a laugh. My grandmother Harbison always said her aunt had changed her name, as she did not like the one her parents gave her. She was born in 1861 and named Bonnie Hughes, a good old Irish name. She is on the 1870 Grayson County census listed as “Benj. M.-F. age 9.” Seems she knew her own mind fairly early and got even more creative at the naming game as she grew older.

Our family has laughed for years over tales of the things Aunt Ben was involved in. She really was a great ranchwoman. Her husband, Will Miskimmon, left it all up to her. Thanks for refreshing our great memories.

J. L. T. Keck, Wichita County

Fancy clothing doesn’t make a cowgirl. A dust-covered, dirty-jeaned woman does. The article was repetitive and fluffy. We cowgirls are also mamas and wives and bookkeepers when not rounding up or feeding. Can’t imagine what prompted an article that would say we don’t want to be labeled a cowgirl.

Deborah Hajda, Taylor

Power Player

Kate Galbraith and Asher Price’s “A Mighty Wind” underemphasized the most important player in the Texas wind power boom: Enron Corporation [August 2011]. Enron lobbyists succeeded in convincing state lawmakers to enact an electricity deregulation (really re-regulation) bill in 1999. A provision of this law, signed by then-governor George W. Bush, required electricity sellers to purchase a certain percentage of their supply from qualifying renewables. The renewable energy provision was necessary to gain environmentalist support for the law, and for Enron it was a double win, as it also benefited Enron Wind Corporation.

Rob Bradley, Houston

Game Theory

It is so refreshing to read about hunting as a food source and not just as a trophy sport [“Whole Hog,” August 2011]. We are so far removed from our food sources, and the back-to-basics attitude is welcome. I sincerely hope this article can help promote that attitude and promote the control of feral hogs in a way that is respectful to the hog and useful to Texans.

Susanna Vieira, Austin

Chili Relations

Dear Texanist, you ignorant, shortsighted imbecile. Surely you did not expect to find the answer to the “chili in the summertime?” question from the Texas Legislature or even the former governor [August 2011]. The answer to this simple question is easily found by looking at the literally dozens of chili cookin’s during the hotter months. They’re testimony aplenty to the year-round enjoyability of the classic Texas dish. I would refer you to the Chili Appreciation Society International website for further evidence.

Roger W. Parks, Fifth-Generation Bosque County Texan, Rancher, and Smartass

Perry Tales

I can’t figure out where Paul Burka is coming from on Governor Perry. A couple years ago he wrote favorably on how Perry would be a strong candidate for president [“Right Place, Right Time”; February 2010]. Then he wrote “Old College Try” [Behind the Lines, April 2011], which was not so nice about Perry’s proposals in higher ed. And now comes the largely favorable piece “Dear Yankee” [Behind the Lines, August 2011]. Mr. Burka’s is a new kind of bipolarism or, as they say at Fox News, “fair and balanced.”

Ron Trowbridge, Conroe

I’m astounded that Paul Burka approvingly regards Rick Perry’s invoking secession as admirable and worth defending as some sort of noble expression of Texas character. A Texas governor hinting at secession—even in the heat of a partisan rally—only invites the sort of ridicule from the national media that Burka decries. You can’t have it both ways: you can’t scold pundits for indulging Texas stereotypes while defending such ridiculous comments. There are plenty of people the world over who regard Texans as blustering rubes; remarks like Perry’s provide ample justification for this perception.

Brian Adamcik, San Antonio

I admire Mr. Burka’s effort to educate the foreign press, but it will certainly be in vain, as the chief concern of the elite media will be the personal destruction of any candidate who is going to challenge their golden boy, Barack Obama. Governor Perry, with his rural roots, country twang, and deep-seated conservatism, is a walking target for the libelous media. If I made my own list for them, it would read like this:
1. Tell the truth.
2. Report the facts.
3. Review his record.
4. Leave his family alone.
5. Don’t disparage Texans or their values.
6. Avoid criticism of beer, barbecue, and the Bible.
7. Spare us the cowboy hat and chaps.
8. Stay in Austin. You may fit in there.

Michael Leslie, Plano

I was feeling pretty good about how Paul Burka portrayed Governor Perry. Midway through the read I was humming “San Antonio Rose” and “The Eyes of Texas” and had visions of a 2012 Rick Perry/Marco Rubio ticket. But then I read the last paragraph and the wheels fell off the proverbial wagon.

Mr. Burka, I’m not so sure you’d get a consensus of native Texans to agree that “urban vitality” in Texas is more important than our “rural roots.” As a matter of fact, I just might have to wager my matching set of Texas Mission watercolors that you’re dead wrong.

So go home and read your favorite selection from J. Frank Dobie, listen once again to Lyle Lovett’s “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas),” take the missus on a stroll in front of the Alamo under the moonlight, and get back to your computer and rewrite that last paragraph. It ain’t right, I tell you. God bless (rural) Texas.

Stephan Dueboay Sr., Cleburn