Texas Standard » Stories from Texas Stories from Texas are written for and recorded for the Texas Standard radio program. They're written by W.F Strong and edited for broadcast by Texas Standard producers.Texas Standard airs Monday through Friday on more than 20 public radio stations across Texas. Visit texasstandard.org/listen to find when it airs where you are. Texas Standard is hosted by David Brown, and infrequently by Laura Rice from KUT Radio in Austin, and Lauren Silverman from KERA Radio in Dallas.

Stories From Texas KUT hide caption

toggle caption
KUT

Stories From Texas

KUT

Texas Standard » Stories from Texas

From KUT 90.5

Stories from Texas are written for and recorded for the Texas Standard radio program. They're written by W.F Strong and edited for broadcast by Texas Standard producers.Texas Standard airs Monday through Friday on more than 20 public radio stations across Texas. Visit texasstandard.org/listen to find when it airs where you are. Texas Standard is hosted by David Brown, and infrequently by Laura Rice from KUT Radio in Austin, and Lauren Silverman from KERA Radio in Dallas.More from Texas Standard » Stories from Texas »

Most Recent Episodes

Bass Boat Heroes

Every destructive hurricane is remembered in a unique way. Katrina is largely remembered for levees breaking and the paralyzing chaos that followed. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900, whose anniversary is in two days, is remembered for a horrific number – 6-thousand. 6-thousand people perished. It was the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. I believe that Hurricane Harvey will be remembered for the greatest amount of rain ever to fall in one place in the U.S. within 24 hours, but I believe it will also be remembered for the bass boat heroes. Someone on social media suggested that we should build a monument to "two regular guys in a bass boat." And that idea has been seconded by tens of thousands. Even from where I live in deep south Texas, I saw dozens of trucks pulling boats, headed north on Highway 77: bass boats, swamp boats, pontoons, skiffs and navy seal type zodiacs. The call went out for help across the state and Texans answered. They came from San Antonio and San Angelo and Austin, Waco, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Tyler, even I understand, from the Panhandle and El Paso. From every nook and cranny of the state, they rolled toward the floods, spontaneous convoys racing to the coast. It was magnificent to see them: Texas flags bent by speed and proudly waving from their trucks and trailers, a genuine cavalry to the rescue. These men and women didn't ask for money or mileage or payback of any kind. They didn't ask for whom the bell tolled, they just concluded, it tolls for me – and away they went. I talked to a man at a station near my house who was filling up his slightly lifted GMC. He was pulling a 15-foot bass boat with a trolling motor. I asked him if he was going to Houston. He said, "My brother and me thought we might head up that way. I mean I got a truck and a boat. Might be of help to somebody. I know they'd do it for us if things were turned around." And they didn't just come from Texas. The Cajun Navy, as they are so beautifully named, came from Louisiana in large numbers, as did others from Arkansas and Oklahoma, and no doubt other states too. A National Guard Officer said on the Weather Channel: "These people are showing up with air boats, swamp boats, and jet skis. They go out and rescue people and bring them to us. I don't know where these people are coming from, but it's the greatest thing I've ever seen." An old friend of mine, Matt Carr, from Central Texas, answered the call. He said: "Driving into Houston in the storm was surreal. I-10, 290, and 610 had no cars on them. It was apocalyptic. Fields full of water, cows huddling on tiny islands above rising water. We felt all alone. We got there in a window of time before the world arrived again." He said the police were busy with calls and told the rescuers they were free to go where they pleased and help in any way they could. So they did. He said once the National Guard arrived, the process became more efficient. "It felt like a Texas version of Dunkirk," he said, "less dangerous, but the same spirit." Matt rescued a 90-year-old woman named Hazel. She didn't have anyone in her life. She was alone. She didn't want to leave her house, but she was cold. Matt convinced her to go. He said, "I took her to a bus so they could take her to a shelter. She was scared. So I knelt down next to her in the aisle on the bus and we said a prayer together. And then I got back to work." Matt's was one of thousands of similar stories from that night. Here's another from my buddy Manny Fernandez who is the Houston Bureau chief for the New York Times. He was out riding along with many of these rescuers, impressed with their instinct for navigating what was now an urban bay. And it was dark except for helmet headlamps. Dangerous work. Manny asked many of these rescuers why they had come so far to take these risks. He said that almost to a person, they answered, with three words: "This is Texas."

Texas: The Name Heard 'Round The World

By W. F. Strong I've spent a good deal of time over the last couple of years contemplating all things Texas inside of Texas. So I thought I would take a look at Texas OUTSIDE of Texas. There is a lot out there. First, I suspect you've heard that in Norway the word "Texas" means something like "crazy." More like wild and crazy. Let me use it in a sentence as the Norwegians would: "That party last night, after 1AM, turned Texas on us." I am honored to have Texas utilized that way – describing something that is a bit out of control and rebellious. In Barcelona, Spain, "Texans" is a common name for blue jeans. People in Barcelona often say, "Let me put on my Texans and I'll go with you." In other parts of Spain they refer to jeans as cowboys, but in Barcelona, they get right to the point by simply calling them Texans (Tejanos). In London and Paris you can visit the sites of the Texas Embassies, which were located in those cities in the early 1840s, when Texas was an independent sovereign country. The legations were just rented spaces so no dedicated structures remain. However, you can still see commemorations of the first embassies (and last ones) for The Republic of Texas. When I first saw those words, "The Republic of Texas," on an antique gold plaque in London, my heart swelled up bigger'n Dallas. Not that I want Texas to be a Republic again, but I love the fact that we once were. The other site has a carving on the facade of a hotel in Paris, the Hôtel de Vendôme. Leaving Europe, let's go way down under to Oz. In Australia, there is a town named Texas. It is in Queensland. Texas, Queensland. It's true. When you see the road sign that says Texas 15, it is surreal. Not just because you are in Australia, but because the 15 is for kilometers and the sign is on the left side of the road, the side you are driving on. From the look of the landscape, you would swear you're in west Texas, perhaps near Marfa. It is a good comparison because Texas, Queensland is just a bit smaller than Marfa – only about 1100 people live there. But Texas, Queensland has more water – a river runs through it. So, how did it get its name? How did the folks there decide to name their town Texas? Well, first of all, there were no immigrants from Texas who gave it that name. That is a common way that such things happen, but not in this case. They say that back in the 1840s there was a sustained dispute over the land between the McDougall Brothers, who had earlier laid claim to it, and the squatters who took it over in their absence. Seems that the McDougalls went off to look for gold. When they returned, goldless, they had the added insult of finding squatters on their land. The McDougalls were eventually successful at getting their land back, after a few years in the courts. They said it reminded them of the more famous and much longer struggle Texans had endured to secure Texas, which happened halfway around the world, but at roughly the same time. So in honor of their victory, the McDougalls named their little settlement "Texas." You already know that everything's bigger in Texas. As you see from this quick trip around the world, Texas is pretty big outside of Texas, too.

Cabeza de Vaca: The First Texas Tourist

The first person to waltz across Texas – okay, waltz is the wrong word (just tipping my hat to Ernest Tubb there). The first European to walk across Texas was Cabeza de Vaca. And he did it barefoot and mostly naked. Why? We shall see. His full name was Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Bet...

Top of the Chart Songs about Texas Towns

There are thousands of songs about Texas. For example, all the way over in England, Duran-Duran – the British new wave pop group, dropped a top 20 (#14) song called "Rio" back in '82. And you have "All My Ex's Live In Texas" and "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and "The Road Goes on Forever,"...

Show 'Em Your Badge

As told by W. F. Strong This story comes under the heading of a Texas classic. It is folklore. I don't know for sure that its origin is in Texas, but from the oldest versions I know of, going back 30 plus years, they have Texas linguistic markers. So I believe there's a good...

Texas Land Rush

The most expensive property currently on the market in Texas is a 2300 acre estate in Lago Vista. It is near Austin, on Lake Travis, going for a mere 68 million. Only 30 thousand an acre. Get out your checkbooks. That's quite a contrast compared to the deals the first Texans were getting on real...

McMurtry And Twain

Larry McMurtry is, by many standards, Texas' best writer. He wrote "Horseman, Pass By" to wide acclaim when he was just 25, which became the movie "HUD," starring Paul Newman. When he was thirty, he published "The Last Picture Show," which won him even greater critical praise and the movie that followed launched Cybil Shepard's...

Lingo for Gringos: Ten Spanish Words All Anglos Should Know

I call this commentary "Lingo for Gringos" mostly because it rhymes, but it should really be called "Ten Spanish Words all Texans Should Know." I'm not talking about the easy words like cerveza, vino, tortilla, taco and baño. And I'm not talking about the common words you say every day that are actually Spanish words – patio, plaza,...

Three Texas Pride Stories

I've been sad lately noticing how the oral tradition seems to be dying. Twenty years ago friends would often come up to me on the street and say, "Hey, I got a story for you." But now they just come up to me and hold out their phone and say, "Seen this?" And laugh. Not...

Quanah Parker: A Mother's Day Story

Quanah Parker was the most feared of the Comanche chiefs on the Texas frontier. He was half white and half Comanche. He was taller and stronger and faster and more clever than any other chief of his time. The fact that he never lost a battle to soldiers who relentlessly pursued him ... The fact...

Back To Top