Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Texas vegetable barons

A new sort of hero for a new age

A few days ago, I had mentioned to Bonnie of frogma that Pat had come from a background of Texas vegetable barons. To be more specific, the Old Soldier had been the son of an entrepreneur who had been a pioneer in the early days of truck farming.

In the early part of the 20th century, land developers enticed people to come to such barren and remote places as the southern tip of Texas, with promises that the land and the climate were close to what Eden had originally offered – eternally warm temperatures, fertile topsoil, and, the developers promised, easy ways of shipping the abundant produce to the frigid North.

In the beginning, it wasn't that easy. The topsoil, it turned out, wasn't all that great. The climate that encouraged plants to grow also encouraged a lot of insects and blight. And the ability to ship vegetables north was not so great at first; it took a while for the railroads to establish reliable lines, and trucks, despite the term "truck farming" being used to describe what the farmers in South Texas were doing, just plain weren't there.

Bonnie, at frogma, has suggested that I write a story or maybe even a novel about the Texas vegetable barons. That might be possible. In Pat's family, there have been incidents that would lend themselves to the broad tapestry of a historical novel, and some other situations that involve personal drama on an individual level. I would certainly have to change a lot of details in order to protect members of the family, but the overall story line would be engaging.

In the past, dramas from Texas have involved oil (Dallas) or cattle (Lonesome Dove). Those industries are not currently in favor, given America's current over-dependence on fossil fuels and obesity epidemic. Perhaps a drama about vegetable barons would be more politically correct.

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Blogger bonnie said...

This is just sounding more & more interesting. I really had no idea.

Fri Aug 21, 09:16:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

More interesting was that the Old Soldier was actually born in Brooklyn, N.Y. His father was the one who relocated the family to South Texas when the Old Soldier was a small child, apparently not just because of the land developers' enticements but also because of some problems in Brooklyn -- family members who were old enough at the time to know what was going on kept mum about exactly what it was, and now they're dead.

So that gives me some latitude to speculate about what would make a relatively well-off person abandon Brooklyn (and his wife) and start a new life with his children in what was then rather much wilderness.

Whoa, this IS starting to sound like a historical novel.

Sat Aug 22, 12:45:00 AM MDT  

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