Our August 2013 cover, featuring a noted pair of pink tennis shoes and a stately trio of Democrats, posed a question that had long been percolating in political circles: Did anyone have what it took to turn Texas blue? By the time our November 2014 issue rolled around, we had the answer, and it was a resounding no (see the issue’s clear-cut infographic “Five Reasons Why Texas Won’t Turn Blue This Year (Or Anytime Soon)” and the landslide results from Election Day 2014 for further proof). One astute reader, @SemperLibertas, wondered if we’d felt at all silly at having run last year’s piece, to which the story’s author, Robert Draper, responded: “Feeling especially good about the story’s last line: ‘Winning comes later.’ ”

And now, a sampling of feedback from our readers.

Bear Necessities

Overall, Tom Bartlett did a fairly evenhanded job with this article on his and my alma mater—with one glaring exception [“The Creation of Baylor”]. He dismisses the Baylor Alumni Association, an organization over 150 years old whose past presidents include such Baylor luminaries as the late congressman and Texas Supreme Court justice Jack Hightower and the late federal circuit judge Sam Johnson as well as a host of other political and business heavyweights.  

The association had good relations with nearly all Baylor presidents until Robert Sloan and a new set of regents came along. Beginning at that time and continuing to this day with Kenneth Starr, the Baylor regents and administration have expressed their intent to control anything and everything about Baylor and to permit no independence of thought from the alumni association or anyone else associated with Baylor.  

Instead of encouraging and supporting the alumni association through the recent years, the regents and administration have been intent on destroying it. Just this year, Baylor demolished overnight the Alumni Center headquarters on campus, claiming that the pedestrian walkway from the campus to the new football stadium had to go right where the alumni building stood—this despite the Baylor architect on the job stating that the walkway did not have to take that specific route. Baylor followed that by banishing the association from the campus completely.

I take my hat off to the many good things that are happening but am ashamed they are such control freaks that they cannot stand the occasional criticism that an independent alumni association lays out.
Terrell Blodgett, via email 

Baylor on the cover of TM. Miracles can happen.
Smith Getterman, via Twitter

I liked Baylor better when it was a penciled-in 63–3 win on everyone’s schedule.
Trampas Ball, via Facebook 

Gotta bootleg me one of these!
Vickie Walker Ihrig, via Facebook

Love it! Best cover I have ever seen on TM !
Chuck Jordan, via Facebook

Funny how it took success on the football field for the entire university to get a cover story.
Jennifer Bussey, via Facebook

Novel Ideas

I’ve read many of the books listed in your November issue [“Against the Canon”], but many I have not. Thank you for increasing my list of books to read. I’ve ordered quite a few from the list, as I suffer from an unquenchable thirst for reading fiction and nonfiction about Texas. In saying that, I was surprised the following favorites of mine were not mentioned: The Worst Hard Time, Timothy Egan; The No-Gun Man of Texas, by Laura V. Hamner; Horseman, Pass By, by Larry McMurtry; and Cattle Empire, by Lewis Nordyke.
Linda Dowlen, Houston

Soon after it hit bookshelves, I was thrilled to be gifted with a signed copy of Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club. Wow! The protagonist could have easily grown up, like me, in the fifties, literally at the back door of the Humble Oil and Refining Company, in Baytown. The smells and sounds and complex dynamics of that place and time should resonate with anyone from the petrochemical complexes of Texas and Louisiana. Mary Karr gets my vote for having written one of the greatest Texas books!
Carol Fielder Davanay, Newport News, Virginia 

My nominee for the great, underappreciated Texas novel? Paul Horgan’s Whitewater. Almost nobody I know has read it, but in my opinion, this beautifully written story is right up there with The Last Picture Show.
Joyce Sáenz Harris, Dallas

I’d like to see Elmer Kelton’s The Time It Never Rained on a list like this.
ELP, via texasmonthly.com

Not entirely sure I was able to extract John Phillip Santos’s list from this long and rambling essay. But any such list that found no place for John Graves’s Goodbye to a River would be to that extent a flawed one.
Bob Becker, via texasmonthly.com

Any reservations I have about this list, and I have about six or seven, are completely outweighed by the pick of A Texan in En-gland, which has been criminally neglected.
RoyMix, via texasmonthly.com

Pride of Pampa


“Harvester Good” made my day. I have been wondering where Trent Loder is for a while now. I graduated from Pampa High in 1994. I played basketball there and have many great memories of him.
Seivern Wallace, via texasmonthly.com

Loved seeing this. I’m a 1991 grad of good ol’ PHS, and I’m not sure there’s anyone who doesn’t know Trent. 
Kris Adams, via texasmonthly.com

And if you’ve ever coached football at Pampa, you receive a Christmas card from him every year.
Shawn Brasher, via texasmonthly.com

Landmen at Work

My husband is a landman, and lucky for us, we live in the Eagle Ford Shale [“On the Road Again”]. In ten years of doing it, he’s only been gone from home about a year. But I can relate. Both of us were sent to Beaumont for six months, permitting a seismic shoot. Tough living out of a hotel.
Susie, via texasmonthly.com

My wife is an attorney, a landman (woman). This guy paints a dismal picture, which he may very well have experienced, but this is NOT the life of everyone running titles in the Eagle Ford. Not everyone smokes and drinks and carouses. Some are extremely professional and take great pride in the work that they do. Everyone makes sacrifices in work, and landmen are no different. It’s a good job.
Randy Adkins, via Facebook

Rah, Rah, Sis Boom Brouhaha

I graduated from UT–Pan American, and I feel ashamed that so many people are making such a big deal about Bucky [“Get Bucky”]. Boohoo. UTPA has always had issues keeping the school spirit going. People want to “Save Bucky,” as if every basketball or volleyball game was full mainly because of “bronc pride.”

There are many other items in the UTRGV transition that are of higher importance, but oh no, let’s focus on the mascot. Thanks for putting us on the map of stupid.
Bucky, via texasmonthly.com

So ridiculous! This emulates many of the negative qualities that don’t allow the Rio Grande Valley to move forward into the twenty-first century: Old-time politics. Not knowing how to let go. Being obsessed emotionally with details that stunt growth. Not knowing how to look at the bigger picture. Who cares about the damn mascot? The new president needs to now play daddy and take away the toy from each of the children so none of them get offended.
Death to Bucky and the Oscelot, via texasmonthly.com

How about Buzzie the Bucelot?
Aaron, via texasmonthly.com

The Pies of Texas . . .

My grandmother used to make fried pies [Vittles]. Have not found any good ones anywhere else. Guess I’ll be buying this issue! 
Lisa Cypert, via Facebook

Meeting Shirley Rooney was a highlight of our West Texas experiences. The pies weren’t bad either.
Jane Hart, via Facebook

Yum, I want to go back to Lubbock and get some August Pies. 
Jaime T. Aguilar, via Facebook

Ooh, I remember some yummy ones from a bakery in Fredericksburg when I lived there in the eighties.
Shirley Page-Deslatte, via Facebook

Try the fried pies at Peggy Sue BBQ in Snider Plaza, in Dallas.
Winnie Arthurs, via Facebook 

Or the ones at First Monday Trade Days, in Canton. A church group makes them on the spot. Never better than when they are hot and fresh!
Dan Batte, via Facebook

I miss Bruce’s fried pies.
JoAnn Brown Stringer, via Facebook