I was living in Rio Rancho, New Mexico when the lament of a country song, “Won’t you talk to me Texas? Let me hear that drawl” stirred faded memories of bygone days in Wimberley, Texas. In retrospect, the time spent in the company of horses in the Texas Hill Country was all too short, less than 10 years. In the 1970s it was a treasure of time like no other. In the summer you could count on fast moving rivers and clear running creeks, swimming holes shaded by old cypress trees and vines that swung out into the deepest part of the water. There were 4-H play days, midnight horseback rides and overnight camping trail rides. I never got over the lonesome call of a Whip-poor-will at dusk or the hill country’s signature live oaks, limestone and long winding roads. “Talk to Me Texas” is a gift for my two girls – lest they forget the days they have grown past – the summer days when they knew first hand, “The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears.”
I was born in South Texas and grew up on a cotton farm in the 1950s. I owe the privilege of my Texas upbringing to the stalwart spirit of my great-grandparents Tomas and Veronika Fojt who in 1870 were among Texas’ first pioneers. They came with a hearty constitution, physical endurance, grit, perseverance, bravery and a spirit forged by love of land and freedom. As Czech immigrants they settled the Texas blacklands as farmers and blacksmiths. Unfortunately, 140 years passed before I became aware of the depth of gratitude owed them; and conversely–due largely to ignorance of their existence–had likewise been denied. After searching, I finally found the remains of their intrepid spirit on the Texas prairie–etched in stone and muted in the silence of a foreign language that as a 4th generation Texas Czech, I had long forgotten. In their memory, I published Strangers at the Gate in 2013 to honor and give thanks for their fortuitous ancestral passage to an extraordinary place called Texas.
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Carole & Jean-Michel Published December 15, 2012