A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Taking a Back Road with the Bowie Brothers

Rick said he was pretty positive he was the only person in the world that got a call this afternoon from someone saying they had found where Jim Bowie and 10 other men fought off 164 Indians, killing 80 of them. I'm pretty sure he is right.

The summer doldrums have set in here so I thought I would drive up to Brady, run some errands there, eat some good Mexican food, and get away from ranch projects. I did all this and headed back home. I did pick up another quart of paint. It's a red called Hot Tamale! I think I'm going to paint the legs of the little work table I made and leave the top unpainted. 

The county I live in and those surrounding only have one road that's more than two lanes, and that's the interstate. So you could say all our roads are back roads. But what really determines whether a road is a back road or not is whether it qualifies for the finger wave. If it's a road where you lift one or two, no more, fingers from the wheel in salute to any drivers you meet, then you are on a back road. These are my favorite roads. You plug your phone in and listen to all the good music you have downloaded, preferably Texas music, and sing along. 

If you come to a ranch gate and it's flying a U.S. flag, it will always have a Texas flag too. Most of the gates you pass won't be very fancy. If they are chances are good the people live somewhere else and this is their hunting ranch.

You won't see much traffic on a back road. In fact on the main road to Brady from Menard I only met two or three vehicles. None of us gave the finger wave because we knew we weren't on a back road. 

Coming back I decided to take a sure enough back road. I've been on parts of this road but not this part. I soon came to a historical marker. I stopped in the middle of the road and backed up. You can do that sort of thing on a back road. 

I pulled over to read the marker. It told about a fight Jim Bowie, his brother Rezin, and 9 other men had with 164 Indians. I did wonder if someone had counted them to get that exact number of 164. But, hey, it's Texas. If we say we were attacked by 164 Indians, you can believe it! 

Rezin Bowie invented the Bowie knife that his brother Jim is remembered for. The brothers were in the area looking for a lost silver mine when they ran into the Indians and had to fight it out. 

I take a few minutes to look around. There is a ranch gate there by the marker. The countryside in our whole area is sparsely populated and most people have their houses set back where you can't see them. It's easy to imagine that you are back in the time of Bowie and Indians and lost silver mines.

You never know what you'll find on a back road and that's part of the appeal. There's a little church on the Ivy community back road. You drive along beautiful Bear Creek on a back road near Cleo. On the road over from us there are old wooden telephone poles with blue glass insulators on them below you on the hillside, almost hidden in the trees.

My dad loved back roads. When we first moved to Houston from Louisiana we went back to Monroe a lot to visit family. The uncles used to make fun of him because he got off the interstate as soon as he could and went the back way. It took longer but it made him happier to travel that way. I used to wonder why. But I don't wonder anymore. 

And then, there's that back road that takes you to the best place, home.


  1. Great post. I too love the back roads. We don't know how to get to our family in Oklahoma unless we take the back road.

    I've missed your posts this summer, you must have been busy.

  2. Hey there, Judith! My husband says he is getting more and more stressed with big city and interstate traffic. I know he is ready to travel down the back roads as soon as he retires!

    I have done some posting this summer but yes, have been busy with one thing and then another. Lots of watering! Things are drying up here and no rain in sight. I have had a few little building projects - sandbox, outside kitchen, shelves. And moving the granite gravel led to raking some rocky areas and hauling the rocks out of the yard.

    Ready for cool weather!

    Take care,

  3. We had a few pretty nice rains last month, some that helped bring the water levels up in a lot of stock ponds, but the lake levels are all still down 15ft or more, except of course Lake Texoma... no one wants any water out of it.

    We are on water rationing, down to one day a week with a sprinkler. It's just so flippin hot, everything is just burning up and the rabbits are gnawing everything down to the bare ground. They are even eating my mint and lavender! I guess they are just thirsty.