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Desolation row and South Texas

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I had to take baby home to see her daughter in Corpus Christi,Tx. today. Made me realize how much of an "inside the loop Houston guy I've become".

She'll be gone a week and I'll miss her.

But the trip driving from Houston to Corpus Christi was interesting.

A real journey of deja vu.

Reminded me of one of my favorite Dylan songs Desolation Row. I'll never forget Dylan doing the song live in the Village.

Anyway the deja vu came along in Victoria ,Tx. Truly a shithole of a town. But it has it's attractions like oil, natural gas, and beautiful women.

Basically one side of the tracks is owned by the O'Cconnor Family and the other side is owned by the Welders. Their land grants go back to the Spanish land grants hundreds of years ago and I find it fascinating.



The guy at the end was Patrick W Robinson, one of the Welder family. The kid in the middle (no longer a kid, is now a banker, and the guy at the end is a prominent musician.

Anyway driving through Victoria (which is a diversion) on the way to Corpus Christi, I really felt a "Desolation Row", and deja vu. Patrick died at 50 years of age and his family's story was truly the stuff of books. But not many care about my Texas historical threads, so we'll leave it like that.

I'll never forget going "Alligator Hunting" with Patrick on the Welder spread in the late 1980s and early 1990s. That consisted of going down to the river bank and leaving a bunch of bloody chickens out, tied to stakes. The alligators would appear and then gorge themselves. After they were happy, filled, and sleeping, we would get about 5' away from them and put a 45 behind their ear.

Lots of beautiful alligator boots, and great times. I'll try to find some pictures.

Anyway, baby and I continued on to Corpus through towns like Refugio (pronounced refurio, and Sinton) Not really ugly but not pretty places either. Nice people, but an air of desolation row.

We got to Corpus and I dropped her off to see her daughter. I didn't even stay in Corpus. I'll miss my personal training, even short term

This Labor Day weekend I and some wild friends are going to the valley and the border towns for the holiday. Should be nice, but truth be known, I'd rather be with Baby! I'm a one personal trainer type of guy.

Anybody else ever get that desolation row or deja vu feeling?
post #2 of 22
I was in Port Aransas last week. Corpus is kind of a drag but I love S Texas. My paternal grandmother is from Runge (near Gonzalez) and all my people down there were farmers and ranch hands. They're some of the few black people left in that area since most of them left for Houston and San Antonio generations ago. My dad worked on a book with Louise O'Conner about the ranch hands on that ranch called Crying for Daylight that's a pretty good back ground on South Texas coastal ranching culture.
post #3 of 22
For what it is worth, I like your texas threads. At 48 Im starting to spend more and more time thinking about what happened in my life and the characters I knew. It seems as though you had some very interesting times and have known some very interesting people. Keep em coming.
post #4 of 22
I get a feeling sort of like that when I travel back to Chicago. Not really a "desolation" feeling, but more of a "you can't go home again" feeling. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and moved downtown in my twenties. After living in various Chicago neighborhoods for six or seven years, I moved down to Texas. Now, when I go back to Chicago, I'm a tourist...it's not my home anymore, which does create some feeling of loss. The bars and restaurants I went to have different names now. My friends have all moved on. When I walk along a crowded sidewalk, I don't have the same rhythm/flow that everyone else does.

It probably doesn't help that I still haven't gotten to the point where I feel that Texas is my "home", even after fifteen years down here. It still seems like a transit point, an airport that isn't my final destination.

BTW, I do enjoy your Texas history posts. I just usually don't have anything to add after reading them.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by texas_jack View Post
I was in Port Aransas last week. Corpus is kind of a drag but I love S Texas. My paternal grandmother is from Runge (near Gonzalez) and all my people down there were farmers and ranch hands. They're some of the few black people left in that area since most of them left for Houston and San Antonio generations ago. My dad worked on a book with Louise O'Conner about the ranch hands on that ranch called Crying for Daylight that's a pretty good back ground on South Texas coastal ranching culture.

Thanks, I'll check the book out.

The O'Connors are hugely wealthy and important in South Texas as you know.

There's a nice little town called Port O'Connor.

One of the O'Connors is an attorney named Morgan O'Connor. She a very nice lady and knew my friend, Patrick Welder Robinson well.
post #6 of 22
Is that one of the guys from ZZ Top?
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by acidicboy View Post
Is that one of the guys from ZZ Top?

Yes, he was a life long friend of Patrick Robinson too.

And Patrick Robinson's brother Hamp Robinson was heavily involved with Woody Harrelson's Dad, the gangster and killer, Charles Harrelson.See the book "Dirty Dealing " by Gary Cartwright here!

Patrick R was an independent oilman. His brothers Hamp and Justin Robinson were addicts and gangsters. Both died from overdoses! I was at the hospital when both of them died.

The Robinson family saga would make the book "Blood and Money" by Thomas Thompson look like a an average short story in comparison.
post #8 of 22
Man, I love your stories
post #9 of 22
Alligator hunting sounds a bit like crabbing, which we used to do in Port Bolivar when I lived in Galveston. You use smaller chicken pieces and a net instead of a gun. Well, maybe just a few similarities there.
post #10 of 22
I lived in Houston, but have no stories like these.

Me and some friends were at a shooting range in Pasadena once and our car wouldn't start. He called a tow truck and waited, we figured we would walk until we saw a cab to flag.

There are no cabs to flag in Pasadena, TX.
post #11 of 22
I was too young for it but my brother and great grandfather used to take the train to Victoria and go squirrel hunting.
post #12 of 22
"Trip to Bountiful", the movie, was about the Gulf Coast of Texas - Wharton in particular - and Wharton is in between Victoria and Houston. Horton Foote, the writer of the plot, lives in Wharton. This movie reminds me of the nostalgia you feel going back to places like what you're describing.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HORNS View Post
"Trip to Bountiful", the movie, was about the Gulf Coast of Texas - Wharton in particular - and Wharton is in between Victoria and Houston. Horton Foote, the writer of the plot, lives in Wharton. This movie reminds me of the nostalgia you feel going back to places like what you're describing.

Well, I'm going back to South Texas this Holiday weekend. Really to Mexico for the weekend and just driving through South Texas.

I'll take some pictures if I can.

When I get back I'll continue "the Texas Tales". A lot of the interesting and well known people that I know are very much alive and wouldn't like posts about themselves on a bulletin board though.

But plenty of them are dead too by now.

I'll tell the story of Shearn Moody and "his ranch" on 8 & 1/2 mile road ion Galveston. I was working for Roy Cohn in NYC and he was sending me down to Texas to assist Shearn in some litigation support. Shearn Moody and Roy Cohn are now gone but they were real characters.

Also, I'll tell of the time of the time Robinson was doing one of his "detoxes" at the Methodist Hospital in Houston. He was in the executive wing of the hospital and in the same wing was Albert Alkek. The Hospital wing was named for Alkek! He had been a good friend of Robinson's Grandfather in Victoria, Tx. Talk about a dying breed.

Alkek was a self made quintessential larger than life Texas oil man. His stories were remarkable. We were talking about the time a man had killed someone in Victoria in a drunken fit of rage. I asked Alkek what had happened? He said "OH, nothing, that was back in the good old days when you could buy the sheriff off easily " True story, Robinson and Alkek will be missed.
post #14 of 22
For all the times I've driven to Victoria - I agree.

Headed to the hill country this weekend myself and not entirely sure why these days. Kind of miss the quiet, kind of don't.

One of my colleagues tells all sorts of stories about the Chicken Ranch in LaGrange - he's kin to one of the founders. I'll have to bring a tape recorder next time we have drinks together.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnoldh View Post
Anyway the deja vu came along in Victoria ,Tx. Truly a shithole of a town. But it has it's attractions like oil, natural gas, and beautiful women.

I spent a month in Victoria one week. I agree with your description. I didn't see the beautiful women, but then I was married and couldn't have done anything about it if I had.

Quote:
Originally Posted by acidicboy View Post
Is that one of the guys from ZZ Top?

Billy Gibbons, right?

ZZ Top was the first concert I went to. Aged 14 in about 1975 at the Myriad Convention Center in OKC. A couple of memories came out of that one.
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