Approaching the awe-inspiring Texas Capitol, I always feel a little small—but in a good way.
As a Texan exiled for 14 years to Arizona, I feel fortunate to have found decent barbecue, chicken-fried steak, and—halfway through my time there—even Blue Bell ice cream. There was no Tex-Mex, though. And, unfortunately, there was a shocking dearth of pie.
In the November issue: Georgia O’Keeffe and Palo Duro Canyon; what’s not to love?
ADDIE R. CAMPAIGNE, TH Facebook Fan
The bloody American conflict didn’t reduce demand for southern cotton at textile mills in places like England, France, and even New England. In return, the Confederacy’s cotton exports financed its war effort, supplying Rebel armies with imported guns, ammunition, swords, uniforms, and accouterments far beyond what limited Southern industry could produce. To squelch the trade, and hopefully shorten the war, the Union established blockades along the Gulf Coast, pushing foreign ships to seek ports free of interference. They found them at Texas’ southernmost tip—the destination of southbound wagons on the “cotton road.”
Each year the hectic pace of the holiday season takes me captive, rendering the days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s a breathless sprint devoid of their supposedly inherent jaoy. Every year I vow to change things the next go-round—to shop earlier, do less, enjoy more. So last December, my husband, Matt, children (Caleb, Madi, and Esther), and I took a drastic approach to carving serenity from the holiday chaos: We shoved the entirety of our to-do list to the side (even skipping Christmas-play rehearsal) and embarked on a weekend getaway to a purported winter wonderland, The Woodlands.
The approach of a Texas winter brings with it mesquite smoke above Hill Country chimneys, migrating sandhill cranes over the Panhandle plains, and blue northers churning coastal bays. Our winter’s mild frost still reminds us that seasons do change in Texas; without an occasional freeze and its icicles, our memories of past summers might not seem so sweet. Fortunately, Texas also offers the ideal antidote for those prone to the winter blues—a vacation in the remote Big Bend Country, where warm afternoons and crisp nights are common from December to February.