Now it’s time to see off another pillar in the Texas community: our governor. Much like Strait, this month’s cover boy is another small-town, good-lookin’ swarthy Texan who, despite seemingly insurmountable odds, became one of the most influential people in his arena and held on to a reign of power that has never been seen before and likely will never be seen again. And that’s about where the similarities end.
Anyway, it’s July, so some of you may be asking why we’re saying sayonara to the governor, whose term doesn’t actually end for another six months. Because everything in politics is set against a seemingly interminable timetable? Well, yes, kind of. As Perry embarks on his valedictory lap that will segue nicely into a presidential campaign kick-off, it seems appropriate that we now begin to consider his legacy. As senior executive editor Paul Burka notes in his Behind the Lines column this month, with fourteen years as guv under his belt, Perry’s tenure is unlike any of his predecessors. Which is to say, Rick Perry completely changed Texas politics, turning the governor’s office, a historically weak position, into one of great power. During that decade and a half in office, Perry has had far-reaching influence over every major sector of our lives: transportation, education, criminal justice, and health care, just to name a few. It sort of seems appropriate that as we’ve become a state obsessed with grading and tests we would give Perry his own report card. And how does the governor feel about his accomplishments in office? Senior executive editor Brian Sweany asked him just that.
Also in the feature well you’ll find an incredible portrait of Johnny Gimble, one of the greatest fiddlers of all time, and how his music influenced senior editor and masterful musician Michael Hall and his son, Jackson; and a you-can’t-make-this-up true crime story about the woman in Houston accused of murdering her husband with her blue stiletto.
If all of this reading has you craving a drink, you can have the most adorable banana daiquiri ever (and yes, adorable is in fact the correct adjective to describe this beverage); you can float the river with some booze (though that now-defunct can ban is still a touchy subject down in New Braunfels); or you can enjoy a margarita, complete with a lime wedge (the Great Lime Panic of 2014, which scared us all, is finally over).
You can talk about all of this and more at your date this weekend. However, if it begins going poorly, you can comfort yourself by reminding yourself that it’s not a double date with Leatherface at the premiere of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Or maybe that’s actually your thing and the date goes exceedingly well, leading to some Chainsaw-themed nuptials. In that case, I would bet that even you would glean some helpful tips on a long-lasting marriage from guest columnist Ruth Pennebaker. For good advice in general, read our estimable advice columnist the Texanist, who this month addresses some bygone dining traditions and how to combat the lonely feelings of being a Tex-pat. And in a savvy move by the magazine to tap into our Buzzfeed-y culture, CATS (“I can haz barn mice.”)
There’s so much to savor in our July issue, but the fun certainly doesn’t end when you turn that last page. The site is going full throttle too. I mean, where else would you learn what “pizzle” is? Or read about the rise and fall of Texas’s teen matador? Or, on a more serious note, understand how Texas has become the leader in the world of fire science? Also, if you’re following us closely, you’ll know that we were among the first to break the news that the infamous Amarillo prankster, Stanley Marsh 3, died, just a few days before the Cadillac Ranch’s 40th anniversary.
And please let me know if you see problems with the site. I always rely on the kindness of readers.