Where Have All the Longneck Beer Bottles Gone?

Q: It seems like the longneck bottle and Texas beer used be synonymous with each other, but over the past few years the beer section at my local grocery store has been stocked with more and more canned Texas beers and fewer and fewer bottled Texas beers. In fact, this seems to be the case […]

You Can Never Leave the Border Behind

hen I think of la frontera—the El Paso–Juárez borderlands—the first thing that comes to mind is the oppressive heat and dust, and our attempts to defy them. When I was growing up, those suffocating summers during which months pass without a single raindrop made me fantasize about winter and fall and even worry that they’d never […]

The Romance of the Rail in West Texas

It began this summer, when we slept with our windows open. The first time it happened, I awoke in the middle of the night not knowing what I’d heard. It sounded like loony laughter from a dozen different souls, some of them clapping weird noisemakers, before their demented hilarity abruptly ceased. Moonlight streamed into the […]

Is It OK to Wear My Late Uncle’s Giraffe-Skin Cowboy Boots?

Q: My uncle recently passed away, and he left me his entire collection of cowboy boots, some of which are exotic. Most notable are the elephant and giraffe. I was told by my cousin that he was also planning to purchase a pair of boots made out of hippo. What I want to know is […]

For Want of a Nail

Dolby Smith is a farrier, a shoer of horses. Accompanied by his wife, Jess, who is also his assistant, he circuits far West Texas every four to six weeks, trimming hooves and nailing shoes onto his clients’ horses, ponies, mules, and donkeys. “When I was fourteen, I started working with farriers to see if I […]

The Path to World Domination

About a century ago, in central Louisiana, in the town of Harrisonburg, the seat of Catahoula Parish, Arch and Mae Aplin opened a general mercantile store. The Aplins sold everything—dried goods and leather shoes, medicine and cotton shirts, cuts of beef and hammers and nails—and their store was successful, in large part because of its location. […]