Articles and stories from the February 2013 issue of TEXAS MONTHLY.
San Antonio Rose
A few months ago, my father, who was considering moving from his apartment in Alamo Heights to a town house down the street, asked me to drive in from Houston to help him assess the new place. The family selling the home was extremely well-off, and as I walked from room to room, I had the eerie sense of having entered a lost world: high-quality Western art hung on the walls, crystal glassware gleamed next to the good whiskey on the wet bar, and old-fashioned floral wallpaper adorned the master bedroom. Dozens of family photographs'taken mostly at what looked to be The Ranch'lined an upstairs hallway. I suspected that if I took the time to snoop seriously I would find a Fiesta week picture of someone serving as either King Antonio or an Order of the Alamo Duchess. I knew without looking that there was at least one hunting rifle'...
The Best Laid Plan
These days El Paso can feel like a big city (especially during rush hour on Interstate 10), but it's still close-knit enough to retain the qualities, both good and bad, of a small town: there's a coziness to it, which residents boast about, and yet also a fair amount of squabbling, the kind of brother-and-sisterly infighting that makes it hard to get things done. There's no better example of this than Plan El Paso. The urban redevelopment scheme first got national attention in 2011, when it won a Smart Growth Achievement award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Some nine hundred pages long and beautifully illustrated, Plan El Paso was so extensive and cutting-edge'focusing on walkability, historic preservation, gorgeous public spaces, environmental cleanup, and efficient public transportation'that outsiders couldn't help but take notice. "It is among the best, most articulate comprehensive plans I have ever seen," wrote sustainable-planning expert Kaid Benfield'...
Illustrated by Kent Matheson. Fortieth-anniversary seal by Kendrick Kidd; 3-d rendering by Digital Progression.
All Hat, Some Cattle
Dawson Granade loves Fort Worth. His shirt from a local barbecue joint reads "Life's too short to live in Dallas." Twice a day, six days a week, Dawson piles visitors from Chicago, Poughkeepsie, and Tokyo into his Suburban and tools around town, spooling out Fort Worth's history as he negotiates traffic and indicates sites of historical note. It is, he said, "the best goll-darn tour in Texas."' Parked by the Tarrant County courthouse one December morning, Dawson gestured at the location of the original fort, now occupied by the county jail and a sad park that's cordoned off with chain link. Beyond it, the Trinity River snaked gentle and lovely past downtown. "They came, those early pioneers, and looked over the bluff and said, 'This is it,' " Dawson proclaimed. " 'This is where I want to start my life.' " A cop car slowed and glided past the idling Suburban. Emblazoned on'...
Roar of the Crowd
Free Lance Are you kidding me? Lance [Armstrong] put Austin and Texas on the cycling map, and now you want to pile on? Whatever he did or didn't do, he did it better, and isn't that what Texas is really all about? Jim Burnett, Austin I stand with Lance and [Washington Post columnist] Sally Jenkins and against the leftist oinkers of Texas Monthly, most of whom are well known to be too fat to ride a bike more than fifty feet. Yeah, that's right, Texas Monthly,'fifty feet. Not your commie "metres." Doug Welty, Arlington, Virginia The Bum Steer Awards were much better when you focused mostly on politicians'they were much funnier'and, in my opinion, the best thing in the December issue was the recipe for King Ranch chicken casserole ["Vittles"]. Rosemary Colvin, Katy This may have been the worst Bum Steer edition ever published by you all. All'...