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The Day ‘The Real Texas’ Burned

July 23rd, 2017 · Tags:Cities


Monahans Rainbow

Monahans Rainbow

On the Facebook feed I see, the current cover story in Texas Monthly magazine seems to be the most shared article, ever, for that magazine.  Funny that it takes a horribly sad story to remind TM that The Panhandle even exists.  It’s a great place.  A potential state in its own right, if that myth about dividing Texas into five smaller states ever comes to fruition.

These days, I’m a cityslicker.  There’s a million people all around me.  I love Fort Worth.  I love The Texas Hill Country.  I love the Pecos River Valley.  Houston’s not bad.

But the Texas Panhandle … That is the Real Texas!

The TM story describes in detail the hard work, dedication, loyalty, resourcefulness, love, courage … and the horrific tragedy that took three young lives in the mother of all grassfires last March.  The piece is so well done, but a difficult read for the most stoic eyes.

The article creates a mental picture like a McMurtry novel … cowboys, horses, ranches, generations of family tradition … and yes “Wide Open Spaces” just like that song the Amarillo girl penned.


The Day the Fire Came

Incredible the way that beautiful country became a death trap in the blink of an eye.

Skip Hollandsworth — in my opinion — did a masterful job of sharing the entire story, filling in the gaps but also preserving the dignity for the families.

The Facebook posts out there show me that so many people had some connection to the story.  I think one of my friends is related to a pastor in the story, and he knows the family of one of the victims.  One of my kin helped to take care of one of the families, in their darkest hour. I can’t imagine how many volunteer firefighters were involved on that day when fires popped up all over the northernmost quadrant of this huge state.  I bet all of my Texas Panhandle friends have a story …

Reading the article, I was reminded of my own “connection” on the day the news broke about the three young Texans who died near the Franklin Ranch. Hundreds and hundreds of miles away on a project in Monahans, Texas in far West Texas, my buddies and I were alerted to the crisis by the smell of smoke … yes, hundreds of miles away.  We thought the smoke was from a local fire until seeing the news on TV.  A couple of hours later, the terrible story spread around town.  Not just the smoke, but the fire had hit home.  The young woman who died in the fire was from that very town.

Prayers for those families … today more than ever!  Read the article, if you can.

If there is a takeaway … the people are resilient.  Those lost will live in our hearts forever.  The grass will grow back and a new generation of cowboys will fix fence … the same way their daddies did.


Know what I sayin?