Joyce Gibson Roach

An unorganized arrangement of book reviews, newspaper articles, speeches, papers, and opinions both published and unpublished.

The world as I see it . . .

“Convergence: Race and Ethnicity in the Work of Elmer Kelton”

     A line of verse by Townsend Miller in This Bitterly Beautiful Land, suggests the theme that runs through the novels of Elmer Kelton. Miller calls the region of Kelton’s works, “The bleached bone laid on the huge heart of the continent.” The 1972 book, edited by Al Lowman, the great Texas bibliophile, contains essays, recollections, and descriptions of a land that is indeed bitterly beautiful. Long out of print, the book is a limited edition designed by William Holman, illustrated by Barbara Whitehead, and published by Roger Beacham.

Hearth Song : A Cookbook Introduction

Home is where the heart is—that’s what they say.  Home is also where the hearth is. Hearth?  What’s a hearth and where is it located in your house? The word has Old Germanic origins, but it means the part of the floor of a room where a fire is made, or the brick, rock or concrete floor of a fireplace.  In pre-historic times the hearth was simply the fire pit where food was roasted and where the group or family gathered for warmth in winter and where the blaze kept away wild animals.

Ranchers on the horns of hard times (nomination for Texan of the Year published in Dallas Morning News)

The West Texas landscape is one dotted with cattle ranches, pump jacks, flaring torches of gas wells, all encapsulated under a blistering sun. Oil and gas revenues rank first in the state’s economy. Isn’t all that true? Not quite. Cattle contributed more dollars than oil or natural gas production in the past. Thanks to a second harvest in the Barnett Shale, gas may now top cattle.

Tony Burgess, a man for dry seasons (nomination for Texan of the Year published in Dallas Morning News)

Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (2006) spotlighted Global Warming, pointing out all the horrors, naming the consequences, hopefully scaring the designer socks off us. Prince Charles’s Harmony ( Nov. 19, 2010) didn’t spend time on a litany of disaster, but rather showed international examples of working with nature rather than against it.  Simple. But overall that’s what the Green Movement is about.

Callahan’s Legacy (nomination for Texan of the Year published in Dallas Morning News)

As Texan of the Year, I wanted to nominate someone who has passed, an old-timey way of saying, dead.  Dead is such a final word. Passed indicates someone simply moving beyond, somewhere.       

Simeon Oslin Callahan, S O for short, born in 1856, passed in 1942. He formed the first volunteer fire department in Jacksboro in 1882, organizing a bucket brigade, and at the same time founded the volunteer fire department, becoming the first Fire Chief. The title was kept when in 1910 the town made both the department and the Chief part of local government.

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