The Way North

The way north was an old trace that lay along the great wrinkle in the earth that separated the Blackland Prairie to the east from the Southern Plains to the west. The trail ran from Southwest Texas north to present day St. Louis, Missouri, and for centuries it served as a conduit for trade and war and migration by peoples ancient and modern. It went by many names. Most referred to it as the Shawnee Trail, for the ancient Indian village of Shawneetown near present day Denison.

Cowboy Radio

“With so much trauma and stress over our country’s situation, it’s nice to have a little happy, and you’ve got to be happy around goats and Western music,” said Waynetta Ausmus. “Goats will make you laugh, and Western music will make you tap your feet.”

John Sutton Shelton

“When I was 12, I began studying under Silvio Scionti, and he taught me how to make music come alive,” said John Sutton Shelton in an interview in 2003. Shelton was a child prodigy at the piano. During his senior year at Sherman High School, Shelton won a music contest that earned him a chance to play with the Houston Symphony.

Four Rivers Outreach

The weekly Tuesday evening gathering at Four Rivers Outreach is a combination camp meeting, pep rally, Alcoholics Anonymous session, gospel song fest, and tent revival—sans the tent—with a leavening of motivational self-help positive thinking thrown in for measure. It starts with introductions. “Who’s here for the first time?” says the woman with the microphone. “Stand up and tell us who you are and how you got here.”

Dinner on Deck

Sometimes it is interesting to deconstruct an idea and trace how it came to be. The dinner party afloat featured in the following pages started out a long way from the tranquility of a sleepy cove on Lake Texoma. It began in early May as an idea for a party at a yet to be found Victorian manse.