Friday, February 24, 2017

It’s Itasca

Left to Right: Lina & Sol Smith, Hige & Fleda Smith -1948
When I was very young my grandmother, Fleda Starr Smith, talked about having friends a long way away in the big city of Itasca. Vince says he remembers going there to see them, but he doesn’t remember who they were or where they lived. He’d not been back since, and I’d never been, so we were off on the road to Itasca. This small town, at head of Richland Creek, is on a natural watershed that divides the Brazos River and Trinity River basins. It is named after Lake Itasca, at the head of the Mississippi River in Minnesota. Railroads played an important part in the creation of the town when a station for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad was needed in 1881; four years later, Itasca was incorporated.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Covering Covington

Many little towns in Texas sprang up because of rail lines crossing the state. This part of the state was short-grass prairie. This means that it’s a good place to raise cattle and that the
Cattle country
land will support crops. Farming, ranching, and the ability to get produce to larger distribution centers let towns such as Covington thrive. Covington, in the north central Hill County, began its life through the efforts of James J. Gathings. This Mississippian came to Texas in 1852, buying thousands of acres of land, then building a large and successful farming and ranching concern. He set aside 100 acres of his ranch for the town of Covington, which he had named for his wife. Any family who agreed to make a home in the area and to help build a school was offered a lot in town. They were also offered jobs in Gatherings’s other businesses. Quickly the town, and the businesses, grew generating a factory that produced boots, clothes, flour, saddles, wagons, and pretty much any other items the settlers needed. A steam mill and gin made Covington an attractive place to do business and made Gathings wealthy.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ricordi Italiani

The Plastino family having a party
It’s been an unusual week. I’ve spent most of my time with my head stuck in a computer rather than out on the road experiencing interesting places. So what does an addicted traveler do when she can’t travel? I think about trips I’ve taken! And just to add fuel to the memory fire, a friend asked if I’d help her son with a report on Italy. My first trip to that wonderful country was in 1985 and I’ve been in love with the people, food, and history ever since. That year I met my relatives who live in Cleto, a small town in the Calabria region located on the instep of the boot, and although I’ve been back to Italy several times for work, I’ve not gotten to see them in Cleto since.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Beaders on the Road

It was a beautiful winter day in Texas, bright sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s,
Interesting door design,
downtown Temple
when three of us hit the road to Temple, Texas for fun with likeminded artists and artisans. Temple is a relatively small town fairly close to the center of the state; most of its ‘good stuff’ is hidden from the view when you’re on the freeway. Last year we nearly missed the town because of the highway construction; this year the construction seems worse but we found the correct exit with only one detour. What can you expect from an area suffering/benefiting from a rapid growth in population?