Friends, Books, Rivers and Bats in Southwest Texas

Mary S. Black signing books in Rocksprings, TX on her book tour of southwest Texas.

I had a great time last week touring around southwest Texas with author Margie Crisp as we talked about our new books, made new friends and reconnected with ones we already love, and splashed around in the beautiful Nueces River.  I want to thank the public libraries in Rocksprings, Del Rio, Uvalde, and Camp Wood for hosting  us for events in their cities.  Librarians are some of

And food. Did I mention food?

the best people in the world, and Texas is lucky to have people like Kristen Satterfield, Barbara Galvan, Mendell  Morgan, Dixie Frizzell, and Jim Holder providing information and education to their communities. Free public libraries were the brain-child of Benjamin Franklin back in the 1700s, because he thought knowledge should be equally available to everyone.  That kind of thinking about and providing for the common good is one of the things that has made America as enlightened as it is, and today’s librarians keep the light burning.  It was my pleasure to add a small bit to that last week, plus, we had fun!

Margie Crisp and guest share a laugh at a book talk.

Margie showed me some great swimming holes in the crystal clear water of the upper part of the Nueces, thanks to landowners she knows from her research on that river.  Her new book is called The Nueces River: Rio Escondido, and she follows it from the headwaters to the mouth at Corpus Christi where it flows into the Gulf of Mexico.  She recounts the history, environment, and changes in the river over time.  If you want to know about the condition of our rivers in this state, read Margie’s book.  She makes it clear that our water supply is A) limited, and B) endangered.

I thought my travel guide From the Frio to Del Rio might be a tough sell to natives of the region,

Texas Parks and Wildlife staff gave us a fabulous tour of Devil’s Sinkhole bat cave!

but they welcomed it with open arms.  It is the first guide to the Lower Pecos region and one of only a few to cover the Western Hill Country.  Over and over people told me that even though they had lived there all their lives, they learned something new from my book talk.  That just goes to show you what looking at a place with new eyes can do.  Sometimes outsiders find more to look at than people who see the place every day.

By San Felipe Creek in Del Rio

I also want to thank Debra Wolcott, innkeeper of the Historic Rocksprings Hotel, for putting us up in style for two nights.  You couldn’t ask for a warmer welcome or a nicer place.  You’ve gotta try it, if you haven’t already!  The hotel was built in 1916 and furnished with beautiful antiques. I also thank Steve Black for sharing his cabin overlooking Eagle Nest Canyon with us one night. It was Margie’s first time to Seminole Canyon, and I think she’s hooked.  To Allen from Kickapoo Caverns State Park and his counterpart from Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area, what can I say but thank you?  Wowie-zowie, those bats were incredible! Yes, there’s plenty to see and do from the Frio to Del Rio.  Thanks for a wonderful book tour, everybody!


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