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May 2014 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

Must Reads for a Deserted Island

I enjoyed “Bound & Determined” [March 2014], but I was especially challenged by the question, “What books would you want on a deserted island?” Initially, I started to list all of my favorite books and writers, which in itself is not an easy task. But as I explored this task in more depth, my list began to change.

The books would have to sustain me. They would have to keep me sane and grounded. They would have to bring me hope and keep me connected to my past and to the rest of humanity. Some would have to sooth; some would have to challenge; some would have to make me laugh.

The Bible

“Charming Billy” by Alice McDermott

“Leaving Cheyenne” by Larry McMurtry

“The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay

“Paula” by Isabel Allende

“PrairyErth” by William Least Heat-Moon

“Hard Times” by Studs Terkel

“The Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio

“The Best Short Stories of Ring Lardner”

“Selected Poems” (Spanish and English) by Pablo Neruda

Jim Hill | Lubbock
South Plains EC


Good list. I would add “The Jefferson Bible.” With Greek, Latin, French and English on facing pages, I could perhaps teach myself an extra language or two.

Veda Smith | Pipe Creek
Bandera EC


I would recommend very highly William J. Bennett’s “The Book of Virtues.” It is more than 800 pages of poems, stories, famous speeches and excerpts from the Bible and plays. Good reading for all ages.

Juana Bishop | Austin
Pedernales EC



We all love a main character who salves her heart-wrenching circumstances with chocolate and a story then rises with passion to reinvent herself. Christopher Cook’s article evokes empathy for Kathy Patrick and is a good read.

My list for a deserted island is:

The Bible, to gallop through repeatedly

“Days of Anguish, Days of Hope” by Billy Keith, to remind me of exceptional courage

“Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives” by Laura Schlessinger, to implant a more harmonious balance in my personality

“The Last Sin Eater” by Francine Rivers, to see life through the eyes of a 10-year-old mountain girl

“Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers, to better understand acceptance

“Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, to understand recognizing healthy limits in physical, mental and emotional areas brings beauty and health

“The 15-Minute Organizer” by Emilie Barnes (she’s been to my house)

“Choosing to SEE” by Mary Beth Chapman, for a walk through a mother’s worst nightmare to SEE hope

“Adventures of a Verbivore” by Richard Lederer, for belly laughs and insights into the English language

A case of books by Janette Oke

Anna L. Russell | Chapel Hill
Cherokee County ECA


Without thinking too much or too long, I listed the following:

“The Prince of Tides”

“Into the Forest”

“House of Sand and Fog”

“The Drifters”


“Pippi Longstocking”


“Mila 18”

“The Sinister Signpost” (Hardy Boys!)

“The Bonfire of the Vanities”

Each has its own reason and was read at a different time of my life. “Savages” and “Into the Forest” could help out on that deserted island. The rest would keep me entertained.

Jane St. Romain | Winnsboro
Wood County EC



“Beloved” by Toni Morrison

The Bible

“Church Folk” by Michele Andrea Bowen

“Having Our Say” by A. Elizabeth Delany, Sarah L. Delany and Amy Hill Hearth

“Deal With It” by Paula White

Any book by Sandra Brown

“Their Eyes were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston

Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life is So Good” by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman

Any book that offers instructions on swimming

Cynthia Matlock | Troup
Cherokee County ECA


I, like Christopher Cook, was a guest author attending one of Kathy’s famous Girlfriend Weekend events, and it is so true that Kathy’s main objective is literacy and giving authors a venue to promote their work/books.

Your article was about another facet of the multitalented Kathy Patrick. She is indeed capable of making lemonade when life hands her a lemon. She is not only a role model for women who, for whatever reason, need to reinvent themselves, but she is an inspiration for women of all ages.

Suzanne McLennan | Lometa
Hamilton County ECA

What books would you want on a deserted island? Share your list by posting it on our Facebook page or sending it to [email protected].


Making Us Proud

Valor Always Welcome” [March 2014] on Gainesville’s recognition as the Most Patriotic Small Town in America was the best article you’ve ever printed. I knew of Gainesville’s title, but I hadn’t realized the reason or the extent of the town’s project.

The article by E.R. Bills demonstrates all that is possible when a town is united in beliefs and works together to make reality happen. All Texans should be proud of the residents of Gainesville as well as proud of all recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Loretta Bedford | San Augustine
Deep East Texas EC


Thank you, Gainesville, for respecting and honoring the Medal of Honor recipients. These men are real heroes—not the overpriced athletes that the press typically describes as heroes.

I have never understood why athletes are held in such high esteem in the U.S., but heroes like these and others who contribute significantly to civilization receive almost no recognition from the majority of the population.

Paul Watkins | Nash
Bowie-Cass EC


A Great Native Son

Thanks so much for the short article about T.R. Fehrenbach [“He Wrote Texas’ History Book,” March 2014]. I had not heard about his death in December, so that was a surprise.

My favorite work of his is “This Kind of War.” It includes several pages of information about my father, Col. Arthur B. Busbey Jr. (then a captain) and his experiences as an infantry company commander in the Korean War. I quoted from that book at my father’s funeral at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery four years ago. Sadly, Texas lost another great native son in Mr. Fehrenbach.

Charles P. B. Busbey | Dripping Springs
Pedernales EC


Pearl Portrayed Perfectly

Your article describes Pearl perfectly [“Pearl Bluegrass Jam,” March 2014]. My parents, Tom and Jeanette Ludwick, were avid bluegrass fans and called Pearl their second home, even to the extent of leaving their travel trailer permanently parked at the Community Center until their deaths.

Any bluegrass fan or musician worth his or her salt knows all about Pearl. Thank you for a heartwarming article that I can share with my family.

Jeff Ludwick | Temple
Heart of Texas EC


Hooray for Horses

Thank you so much for “Queen of the Turf” and “Charro Days” [February 2014]. Equines have been and are such a huge part of Texas; it was wonderful to see them included.

As an equine judge and retired horse business owner, I can truly appreciate what an “iron horse” Pan Zareta was.

Cherry Wilson | New Ulm
Fayette EC


Wisconsin and Kolache

I also have many stories to tell about the kolache in Wisconsin [“The Kolach Trail,” January 2014]. We at the Heritage Farm south of Kewaunee host the largest Czech and kolache festival in Wisconsin.

We make and sell 10,000 for our two-day event in August. After the first festival I chaired, I was asked (begged) to teach kolache-baking classes. I am in the eighth year of teaching the classes, with people coming from Texas, California, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Oklahoma and all points in Wisconsin.

The request for classes never ends. It is so much fun to preserve my Czech heritage in this manner.

JoAnn Vogel | Manitowoc County, Wisconsin


Recipe Contests

Please leave the recipe contests as they are. Christmas around my home, and at many others, just would not be the same without these wonderful recipes.

Susan Davey | Wimberley
Pedernales EC