I read the article about Texas caves with great interest [“Deep (Very, Very, Very Deep) in the Heart of Texas,” December 2023]. In 1952 when I was fourteen, my friends and I would ride our bikes all over the West Austin hills. One Saturday we saw an empty lot with boards across a hole. We could see that the hole was deep, but we crawled under the boards anyway and down to the bottom.
We realized we didn’t have a way out. We didn’t have flashlights, but I saw a crack on one side and crawled into it. My friend was larger than me but followed. After about thirty feet, it was pitch dark, and I said to him that we should go back. But he could not go backwards. I told him to stay put while I saw where the crack went.
After another twenty feet, I could see a small amount of light. I started digging with my hands to get to the other side, and then I dug more to make the hole large enough to pull my friend out.
We never told our parents what happened, and two years later my family moved to Laredo. When I returned to attend the University of Texas at Austin, I went to see if the cave was still there. It had been filled in. I look back and realize I could have died in that cave.
Robert Waldrop, New Braunfels
Another Texas Hero
Your “Giving Back” articles [“Heroes Among Us,” December 2023] inspired me to suggest yet another giver: Nancy Krenek, founder of the Ride on Center for Kids, which is located 25 miles north of Austin, in Georgetown.
Twenty or so years ago, Nancy was a physical therapist working with children with Down syndrome. She is also a native Texan who occasionally rode horses growing up. She put the two together by persuading community members to loan land to stable and graze horses, and she trained therapists to work with the kids. My autistic son had been resistant to working with almost anyone but started looking forward to his sessions with Nancy. The program now enrolls hundreds of children and has expanded to include programs for wounded veterans and their families.
While doing all this, Nancy earned her doctorate and helped create another equine therapy program in College Station. There’s more, because the woman never seems to sleep, but I think you get the idea.
Sari Garfinkle, Houston
A Better Approach to Voting
The recent article on Matt Rinaldi and the internecine battles in the Texas GOP was interesting [“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry GOP,” December 2023], but it did not mention a simple solution: ranked choice voting. In politics the issue is always power—the power to lead, the power to control, the power to influence, the power to profit. Ranked choice voting could mitigate that by reducing the voices of the more active extremists in each party. It would help Texas, and we need to hear more about it.
Lon Jones, Plainview
This article originally appeared in the February 2024 issue of Texas Monthly. Subscribe today.