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Texas Reads
By Glenn Dromgoole

Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.

Glenn Dromgoole's Texas Reads column appears weekly at LoneStarLiterary.com

2.22.2015  Cowboys survived rugged conditions in winter of 1884

 

Midland author Patrick Dearen’s latest novel, The Big Drift (TCU Press, $22.95 paperback), focuses on two cowboys—one white, one black—and the brutal conditions they endured during the blizzard of 1884 and the ensuing cattle roundup the next spring.

 

Although the story is fiction, Dearen writes authoritatively of what it was like to be a cowboy in those days in the rugged Middle Concho region of West Texas.

 

Drawing on his nonfiction accounts of interviews with old cowboys—Saddling Up Anyway: The Dangerous Lives of Old-Time Cowboys and The Last of the Old-Time Cowboys—Dearen spins a fast-paced tale about the cowhands from the Slash Five brand and their gritty determination to save as many of their herd as possible despite harsh weather, deadly stampedes, and numerous other adversities.

 

The two main characters, Zeke and Will, both carry unspeakable and unshakable burdens from their past.

 

Zeke, who is black, is on the run, believing he is responsible for the death of the best man he ever knew, his kindly boss Master Young.

 

And no matter how far he rides, Will, who is white, can’t outrun the memories from his childhood, when at age ten he helped his father pour kerosene on an East Texas black family’s shack and then watched in horror as his father set it afire, with the family inside.

 

Circumstances draw the two young men together, with Zeke saving Will’s life and becoming part of his outfit.

 

Together they barely get through the winter and then join with cowhands from other brands as they try to round up the surviving cattle that drifted south trying to escape the blizzard.

 

If you like a good western, “The Big Drift” puts the reader right in the middle of the action.

 

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Inspirational: McKade Marshall is the author of Tasting the Goodness of God (MLM Publishing, $15 paperback), a collection of 31 devotionals “for everyday living.”

 

Each piece is about three pages long, consisting of an inspirational message followed by suggested Bible readings and a thought for the day.

 

Read more at mckademarshall.com.

 

Keith Craft, founder of Elevate Life Church in Frisco, has written Your Divine Fingerprint: The Force That Makes You Unstoppable (HarperOne, $14.99 paperback). “That which makes you different,” he writes, “makes you great.” At the end of each chapter, he offers three “think, be, do” sets of questions or calls to action. Read more at keithcraft.org.

 

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Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.

 

Read his past columns in Lone Star Literary Life here.

 

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