In her childhood on San Antonio’s West Side, Cat Cardenas grew up hearing fantastical stories about her grandfather: encounters with the devil and rattlesnakes, and the lion that lived, for a while, in his home. Cat tells his story in this first episode of our new podcast, State of Mind.

Over the next eight weeks, the show’s first season will feature Texas Monthly writers and contributors telling stories about music and food, family and history, and all the rest of what makes life in Texas something special. Cardenas’s story is about the power of narratives, and about building a life in Texas—a perfect way to kick off the show.

This story was originally published in the April 2020 issue of Texas Monthly. Look for a new episode coming next week, featuring executive editor Skip Hollandsworth.

You can subscribe to State of Mind on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.