- Legends and Life in Texas: Folklore from the Lone Star State, in Stories and Song ed. by Kenneth L. Untiedt
I've been a member of the Texas Folklore Society for some fifty-four years and have watched the organization through the leadership of Wilson Hudson, Mody Boatright, Ab Abernethy and the counsel of J. Frank Dobie, John Q. Anderson, Mabel Major, Martha Emmons, Hudson Long, James Byrd, James Ward Lee, Hermes Nye, John Lomax (son), James Day, John O. West, Frances Vick, Lou Rodenberger, Phyllis Bridges, Elizabeth and Jack Duncan, and more recently Mary and Jim Harris, Lucy West, Meredith Abarca, and Lee and Karen Haile. While changes certainly have occurred within the organization over the years, its publications have remained consistent, with few changes to format. Most have been miscellanies, sometimes with a theme, sometimes not, some with footnotes and endnotes but usually with a preface that edifies, enlightens, and sometimes entertains. Occasionally, there are stand-alone books done by solid members and writers of note. Overall, publications of the society illuminate the differences and similarities of history and folklore, recognizing that it takes both to tell the real story of Texas.
This year's publication is a traditional miscellany divided into three parts: "'Legendary' Texans," "Texas Folk Song and Dance," and "Life in Texas—As We Remember It." There are reprints of older pieces and some new pieces.
The first section includes twelve chapters. My three favorite pieces here are by Paul Carlson, who tears a few holes in the story of Cynthia Ann Parker; Meredith E. Abarca and Lucy Fisher West's "The Legacy of JohnO. West: Mexican American Folklore from the 20th to the 21st Century"; and a chapter by newcomer James Mody Bridges, called "The Family Saga of Mody Boatright."
Section two, "Texas Folk Song and Dance," is composed of five pieces. Two good ones are Karen Reinartz Haile's "Here a Ditty, There a Ditty, Everywhere a Little Ditty" and Jean Granberry Schnitz's "Yodels, Cattle Calls, and Other Melodious Sounds." Although this section is short, it is filled with great sounds of Texas.
Finally, the third section, "Life in Texas—As We Remember It" includes seven essays. Each depends on its author's personal acquaintance with the subject at hand, such as Elizabeth Harris Duncan's "Before I Was Five" and Lee Haile's "Whiskey Stills in the Hills."
There are many other pieces I might have mentioned. They include some that have appeared in previous Texas Folklore Society publications, some that were given as papers at annual meetings, and some that are new contributions. Excellent notes and sources and many photos are included. [End Page 240]