THE OUTDOOR NATURE CLUB OF HOUSTON, TEXAS
"Romance and Texas"
By R. A. SELLE
Carroll Publishing Publishing Company,
B Reviewed by Bess W. Scott
It has been said that the native of
South Texas has been saturated and
steeped in the history of his native state
until he is first a glamorous curiosity
and then an amusing bore to visitors.
Be that as it may, there is no denying
that the Texan is one of the most deeply
sincere persons on earth when talking or
writing of his native state. And also that
his is a "big" subject in every sense of
Thus not only Texans, but lovers of
beauty and bigness and vivid word painting, will welcome "Romance and Texas,"
the newest of a series of volumes on the
state, by R. A. Selle, Houston author,
traveler and naturalist. "Romance and
Texas," subtitled "A Century of Progress," was issued late in December, and
will prove a practical aid to the Texas
Centennial in listing "what Texas can
offer in romantic history" as well as
^elightful reading to all interested in
■lis "giant of American states."
With sure strokes, Mr. Selle paints in
vivid canvas or in delicate limnings, highlights of Texas—a wilderness, empire of
Tejas, cave dwellers and sun worshippers,
haven of adventurers, a republic, state,
and present vast empire of beauty and
wealth and industry. From "the blue
haze of the Guadalupe, across the liquid
fires of the desert, through great trees
with long gray whiskers, and over staked
plains and boundless seas of grasslands,"
the author's brush of words splashes brilliant colors that form the familiar outlines that bound Texas from the Panhandle to far-flung wings on east and
west and down to the slender tip that
balances on the azure blue of the Gulf
With equal verve the author writes of
the vanished buffalo herds; the bluebonnets that make "turquoise seas, cobalt
lakes" and their aura of legend; the
nockingbird, state bird of Texas, whose
Bongs of youth, of love, of adoration
^.nd ecstasy cast a spell of rapture"; the
shrine of San Jacinto; old Houston; the
spell of Indian summer in Texas, and
other impressionistic sketches. Other subjects, treated in the same informal vein,
are Texas curiosities of nature, including
the horned frog; the Magic Valley at its
best, "when winter comes to the Valley
of Summer"; grand old historic trees of
the state and more prosaic subjects, such
as the "flowing wealth" of the East
Texas oil fields.
Tucked between chapters and divisions
of the volume like treasured newspaper
clippings are brief news stories of Texas
events such as the Tyler rose festival,
the grapefruit fiesta of the Rio Grande,
and the Houston Chamber of Commerce
fete of December 21 honoring Jesse H.
Jones. It is this charming informality
of tone and novel format that give the
volume added zest.
"In Texas: Places to Go and Things to
See" is a chapter of practical guidance
to the visitor in the state that should
prove a godsend to chambers of commerce and Centennial committees. The
final chapter of the book is a brief listing of writers and near-writers of the
Southwest—the "near" being the reviewer's comment and not the author's. The
Texas Centennial commission members
and committee are also named in full.—
The Houston Post, January 13.
It is fine to return and on a familiar
If alone—or with a friend like you.
Each day I find a new scenic view:
Beauties of hills, trees and a leaf-filled,
And how like nature study is the selection of a book,
For one may be read and no real meaning or significance found,
If the listless reader hath not with zeal
An appreciation of the moral of the story
An artful, unlistless soul would find or
search for a clue
In the unwinding thread of phantasy's
Or turn silently down a well-beaten
path, and treasures see
Of familiar story-style—sad, or gay and
Wants too easy supplied one often hath,
to live interestedly.
But to read, first-hand, restful books
of nature for me,
Then read the pictured-style to remind
me of the earthy lea.
Keen living, new insight, a brighter
These—oh, could I teach, beloved—I'd
Music of singing winds! Soft sleep-
music of the tall pines.
A vacation land! Trout, perch, black
bass, gleaming lakes, tranquil rivers,
laughing brooks, flowering prairies, sighing cypress swamps, quarries of ageless
granite, out-of-the-way places in Texas.
It is yet possible to keep some of the
wild wonderlands in their natural and
primitive condition; they should never be
landscaped and boulevarded, gridironed,
manicured and whitewashed, and ruthlessly cheapened to attract de luxe tourists who are not in the frame of mind to
meditate and appreciate profound truths
Leave the house, that is more thoroughly covered with mortgages than
paint, and bask in "God's green tent";
luxury, and no rent or taxes.
Nothing is given for nothing in this
world. With a consuming interest, time
becomes a moment, and labor a delight
Natural objects have curiosity, new
truths, first pleasure to communicate, the
thrill of the discoverer. Constructing a
grapevine swing may give as much pleasure as erecting a skyscraper, when it
calls out unused primitive instincts.
Climbing around Mount McKinley—we
did not go to the top—we encountered
the strangely unreal phenomenon of purple snow. Altitude, distance and a particular angle of the source of light must
be the explanation. Weird, strange, the
spell of a new experience! Modern invention takes some of the novelty as well
as the fierceness out of travel in wild
localities; aviators say that we can expect to get a glimpse of purple snow on
the Rocky Mountains whenever the light
is just right.
Boundless as the ocean, the great
plains spread out in all directions. Hour
after hour, as you travel, it is the same
landscape, the same prairie hawk, wheel-,
ing, careening, looking for a victim, and
the same long-eared jack rabbit just getting ready to run.
Genius is intensity. A yellow-jacket is
Committees for 1935, as announced by
the president at the February 7 business
meeting, include the following:
Nature Study: Ruth Beasley, chairman.
Field committees: J. M. Heiser, birds;
Miss Laura Anderson, insects; Miss Margaret Fitzgerald, plants; Robert Vines,
Program: Mrs. Edna Minor, Miss Margaret Fitzgerald and J. M. Heiser, Jr.
Coastal Bird Colonies: Alston Clapp,
Sr., and J. M. Heiser, Jr.
Art: Miss Tillie Schmidt, chairman;
Jack I. Pullen and Miss Erna Giesecke.
Outing: Robert Vines, chairman, who
will announce the names of his committee.
While the program of outings for the
year is being considered, Mr. Vines announces that the first trip will be an
attempt to see the famed yellow jessamine at its best in the big woods of the
San Jacinto River bottoms, and, if possible, catch the red maple in its early
stages, in the "big thicket," near Camp