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Showing posts from August, 2005

Ranchito Morbido, Never to be on The Back Word

All good things must end, but must it be before my essays get published? The Back Word, the Texas website that brought several essays to the public, is no longer publishing new material. That's a shame, because I had more topics I wanted to explore. The shutdown came just before the site was going to publish this essay, a "lighter" version of an essay that should appear a Jewish paper in October.

I'll miss the Back Word, the thrill of waking up on the first of the month to check for a new essay being posted, the chance to email the URL to friends. I had fun and I got my creative cogs kickstarted, so I'll buckle down and try to market these essays and others still a-borning to other outlets (perhaps some that will even pay me). And now, the grand finale:

Ranchito Morbido: My Little Place in Texas

I grew up in a rented house on a dusty alley in Mission, Texas, about three blocks from the Missouri-Pacific tracks that divided the town into Hispanic and Anglo sections. …

Rebel Soul: Notes From a Texan Abroad

(originally published on The Back Word)

A picture taken when I met my father after eight years apart reeks with irony. He left Texas after my parents divorced, heading to Michigan and then New York City. He never returned until he paid us a weekend visit in the fall of 1970. My brother and I, aged 11 and 13, stand with him in a yard in Mission, Texas. Looking warily at the camera, standing far enough from my father to signal unease, I have my arms crossed over an orange University of Texas sweatshirt.

This is ironic because I learned, often and in rough terms, that my father hated Texas. Whether this dislike stemmed from the failed marriage, his dismay at Mission’s lack of urban sophistication, or most likely a combination of the two, he never missed a chance to knock the state. He was from St. Louis and suited to cities, my mother was from Del Rio and listened to the morning farm report on the radio. Beyond speaking English, they had nothing in common.

I saw my father a few more times, …