Site Seeing

While reading my March copy, with the “175 Years of Texas” headline and the beautiful, enticing scratch-and-sniff, it was only appropriate that I swell with pride, as I so often do with our family copy of the journal. Hell, the word “terquasquicentennial” at the top of the cover alone was an arousal.
Dave R. Summers 

While y’all’s trip index accurately has Coronado lost in the Llano Estacado—destination number 133—he has, in fact, been found in Blanco Canyon [“The Great Terquasquicentennial Road Trip,” March 2011]. A visit to the folksy Floyd County Historical Museum, on the square in Floydada, will put you inches away from artifacts found at the conquistador’s campsite outside of town. Crossbow arrow tips, Spanish coins, and chain mail from the exploration of Texas in the 1500’s is in this most unlikely place.
Gary Chambers 

As usual, I fell upon the current issue of TEXAS MONTHLY and read it straight through. The historical tidbits were entertaining and thought-provoking. However, I sincerely doubt that the caption on page 131—“The same chalkboard still hangs in the room where LBJ once taught grade school . . .”—is accurate. There may have been a chalkboard in the same position in the classroom, but green boards did not come into wide use until the sixties. When Lyndon taught in Cotulla in 1928, just as when I went to elementary school in Trent in the fifties, there was most likely a blackboard, to be written on with white, grainy chalk that left dust all over everything. Except for special occasions, like holidays, when Mrs. Rudd broke out the colored chalk and drew a brown turkey or a red-suited Santa Claus.
Marilyn Copeland 
Salt Lake City, Utah

Knowing you will get many complaints about your selection of places to visit on the road trip, I must add one more: Huntsville has much more than Old Sparky to crow about. It is also the home of the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, several of his homes, and his grave. Surely this deserves some ink.
Stan Hines 

You are getting better at recognizing the role of the long-ignored Tejanos in the history of Texas independence and the positive contributions of present-day Tejanos and Mexican Americans in this great place we call Texas. For that, I salute you.

However, you continue to mislead the public. It is the 198th anniversary of Texas independence, not the 175th. The honor of the first visionary to see Texas as independent belongs to Lieutenant Colonel Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara, who responded to Father Hidalgo’s grito on September 16, 1810 (El Diezyseis), and began his quest for Texas independence. He accomplished that feat on April 6, 1813, by becoming the first president of Texas. He wrote and signed the first Texas Declaration of Independence on that day and signed the first Texas constitution a week later. In truth, Tejanos had already done much of the heavy lifting, sacrificing, and dying by the time Sam Houston crossed over the Sabine River. In other words, Houston took over a work in progress.

Equally important, you must be reminded that the 1836 Battle of the Alamo and the other battles are a chronological chapter of Mexico’s history, not the U.S.’s. Texas did not join the U.S. until 1845, when the Anglos traded their independence for statehood as a slave state.
José Antonio López
Universal City

Be True to Your School

As a parent of two Kinkaid students, I read “Schoolhouse Rocked” with much interest [March 2011]. I was pleased to learn that your exposé contained nothing more than a reiteration of old news and a dose of schadenfreude. Your article dealt at length with the problems we all, as a society, must grapple with. It did not sufficiently mention what is true of the Kinkaid School in a larger sense: that it is an excellent institution with an impressive track record of placing its students at wonderful colleges and universities. It prepares its students to make a positive impact on the world by effectively tackling the very challenges highlighted in your article. Further, the demand for admission to Kinkaid far exceeds the supply of places like it.

Kinkaid is not perfect, but it is working to improve, and however flawed and insufficient your author views that process, it is a start. Even the longest journey starts with but a single step.
Brian Grove 

Writing on the Wall

Some folks prefer bullets to repel invaders; some favor walls [Books, “Pretty Ugly,” March 2011]. While that ugly ol’ wall may not be entirely effective, it strikes me as the more reasonable of the two. But what’s your preference, Misters Sherif and Lewis, an open border?
Herb Wynans

How dare the author comment on someone else’s work as “precious” and “‘artistic’ in the worst way,” then turn around and use the word “meretricious” two paragraphs later? Isn’t that a little bit like the pot calling the kettle black?
Jennifer Dorsett

Manual Override

Have you no pity for our equine companions [The Manual, “Shoeing a Horse,” March 2011]? Every Texan should not be trying to shoe a horse! The horse hoof is a fragile thing, full of blood vessels and special bones that should not be intruded upon by anyone with a four-step program from your magazine. Horse shoers should all be graduates of extensive training prior to picking up a pair of nippers, much less a nail and a hammer.
Amanda Kimbrough

Bull Pulpit

I, for one, do not take enjoyment in watching intellectually challenged “athletes” ride on animals that are being forced to perform [The Texanist, March 2011]. But, hey, whatever floats your boat. A day of academia, however, should not be replaced with a day at the rodeo. If you want to take your kid to a fair, then by all means do it, but leave the schools out of it.
Georgia Todd 
via e-mail