Miles and Miles of Texas

We went to a house concert the other night. An old friend from school had called and told us about it. He and his family often got together with mine of an evening and we’d sing folk songs, and the new songs of the, then novel, Texas singer songwriters. It was good getting back together. I enjoyed the music, the musicianship, and the upbeat feeling of it. Mostly I enjoyed the excitement in his face when the singer cranked up an old familiar song with a good rift of the guitar and clever, poetic lyrics that we both remembered from earlier days. I drove Home with my Sallie humming “New Mexico rain” and other old favorites. We reminisced about Sand Mountain, the Checkered Flag, and the Rubaiyat, old coffeehouse haunts of our school days, where we would soak up the magic of Michael Martin Murphy, Diane Colby, Bill and Bonnie Hearne, and Steven Fromholtz. They were our bards, our troubadours. They sang of creeks and gullies, skinny cows, mourning doves in flight, west Texas highways, and pickup trucks. Their songs had the smell of Juniper and dust and “clear mountain mornings.” They distilled our youth, and our parents and grandparents lives, into a lyrical and melodious memory. The unique character of Texas in the drought of ‘57, the muddy rivers, the patch pants cowboys, the yaupon brush, prickly pear, and the Llano Estacado were all there. Like the night I drove a U-Haul truck back into Texas, returning from the military, and through the open window, smelled rain soaked mesquite, while the radio wafted out Ray Benson’s group Asleep at the Wheel singing “I saw miles and miles of Texas”

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