89 Chapters
Medium 9781574412567

"Graveyard Meanderin’; Or, Things of Life Learned Among the Dead”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF



I have never been a particularly “normal” person, considering my unique quirks and “idiot-synchrasies” (yes, I know that’s not a real word, but what is language if it won’t do what we need it to do?). I get what my mom used to call “big ideas” as in, “what’s the big idea, anyway?” Not all of them are fuzzy, warm, or particularly comfortable for others to consider, so some of them I keep to myself until I know a person better. One is my lifelong fascination with cemeteries, or graveyards. Most folks really don’t understand this interest in walking, talking (to myself and whoever else may be listening), snapping pictures, and writing in a graveyard. I only know it has offered me images, ideas, and inspiration countless times. Oh, you may call it ghoulish, but there it is.

Never considered whistlin’ past one, but I have also never driven past a country graveyard without wishing to go spend a few hours wandering around . . . just being. I am not talking about those manicured, devoid of standing stones, everything-at-groundlevel jobs. No sir. I speak of the places where breezes tickle overgrown brush—where grasshoppers and grass burrs await your step with anticipation. This is true no matter where I find myself: Anyplace, Texas, the South or Southwest, Washington state, Ireland, or Scotland. I really come alive in a graveyard.

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Medium 9781574412383

“The Passage of Scotland’s Four/El Pasaje de los Cuatro de Escocia”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF



De lejos, muy lejos de aqui, far from the land of the Gaelic accent, came the vessels across the challenging waters of the Atlantic to

America’s different ports of entry. The vessels carried immigrants whose uncharted destinies would be remembered for many generations en la tierra de el nopa, de el mesquite, and mammoth trees draped with Spanish moss. We, Tejanos, just like them, have had our own fight for freedom and liberty. We will remember the passage of Scotland’s four, el pasaje de los cuatro de Escocia.

Pues quiza algunos Tejanos le llamavan Valentine. Most often he was called Richard W. Ballentine (1814–1836).1 The surname

Ballantyne is from Sept of the Clan Campbell; their Argyll motto is

“Ne obliviscaris,” Roman Latin meaning “Forget not.” Ballentine was a twenty-two-year-old Scottish lad whose family had established residency in Marengo County, Alabama. He was recruited to serve with “The Mobile Greys” for Texas.2 Some Greys traveled by land and others by sea. In December 1835, the schooner named

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Medium 9781574412383

“Legends of the Trail”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

LEGENDS OF THE TRAIL by Francis E. Abernethy

[A legend is a traditional prose narrative that has a historical setting and real people as characters. It deals with extraordinary happenings, even supernatural events, in a realistic way. Legends are folk history which document heroic or dramatic events of a culture’s life.—Abernethy]

The following happened in August of 1886 on the Camino

Real de los Tejas, where the Trail crosses Onion Creek southwest of Austin.

1886 was the drouthiest year in over a generation, and the wells had dried up, and the black land on Tobe Pickett’s farm had cracks in it wide enough to swallow a jackrabbit. María, who with her husband Pablo were Tobe’s hired help, walked alongside a great wide crack on her way to cut prickly pear for the hogs. As she looked into the depths of the crack, thinking to see a trapped jackrabbit, her eyes caught the gleam of old metal. A closer look revealed a crack’s-width view of a large chest with an iron chain around it.

María had found the chest of gold the Spaniards had buried on the Camino Real when they were attacked by bandits a hundred years earlier—before Spaniards became Mexicans. María marked the spot and told her husband, and they waited and planned how they would get the chest out when nobody could see them.

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Medium 9781574412772


Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF

BOOKS OF THE TFS by Len Ainsworth

Books drew me to the Texas Folklore Society. I began to read TFS books in high school without paying attention to the publisher, being drawn to them by the editor and frequent contributor, J.

Frank Dobie. A ranch-oriented small-town boy in the 1940s, books such as Pitching Horses and Panthers just suited me. The illustrations by Will James, another favorite, were icing on the cake. Reading Mustangs and Cow Horses was akin to a religious experience and the subject of much discussion with a best friend.

We had grown up with horses, and recognized Dobie, Boatright, and Ransom as the gurus (although we wouldn’t have understood the word) or founts of greater knowledge about a Texas still much alive in our thoughts. We even expanded our taste to beyond

Dobie offerings, insofar as our school library provided them.

Someone in the school must have developed a fair collection of the earlier TFS publications for them to be available at least a dozen years later. We read some of the Mexican tales (Puro Mexicano,

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Medium 9781574412383

“High Flyin’ Times”

Kenneth L. Untiedt, editor University of North Texas Press PDF



AND A PIPER TRI-PACER by Barbara Pybas

Our High Flyin’ times were good years, the late 1950s and early

’60s, a healthy, optimistic, happy era. Even with the Cuban Crisis and Kennedy’s death, this ten-year folklore period seemed less complicated and stressful than the ensuing decades of the Vietnam

War and national turmoil. Perhaps, to the young, obstacles are undaunting and overcome readily. This account is neither about barnstorming nor acrobatics, but for the pure enjoyment of flying and a good excuse to use it in a farming-ranching operation. DFW

Airport was non-existent and the rigid FAA rules not in place; even a radio was not a requirement. VFR (visual flight rules) was sufficient for little planes.

Jay Pybas was bit by the flying bug in his mid-thirties. After returning from World War II Marine Corps service, completing a stint with GI Bill college time and marrying an Oklahoma A&M co-ed, he found his way back to Texas. For ten years he struggled to revive a Red River bottomland farm released by the U.S. Government. This Cooke County area had been used as the infantry and artillery training area for Camp Howze during the war. It had grown to a jungle with disuse but, nevertheless, was fertile and promising. By hard work, stamina and extreme fortitude, in ten years the valley became beautifully productive.

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