• Sage Webb

A “Groundhog Day” for Us with Western History Galore + a Flock of Sprightly Kites

This past winter, during a trip to Florida to sail on some friends’ sailboat, I bought a membership at a museum—a membership that includes reciprocity at over a thousand other North American attractions and museums. This membership has proved to be a great investment. Not only has it paid for itself in various museum visits, it has also introduced me to places I would not otherwise have sought out. Yesterday, this membership introduced me to Galveston’s Bryan Museum.

For someone who grew up reading Laura Ingalls Wilder, Will James, and Frank Waters; for someone who spent lazy evenings in Tijuana looking at charro saddles with her dad; for someone who’s spent this year with James Donovan’s The Blood of Heroes and SC Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon; well, the Bryan Museum is a “must stop” on the island. It certainly brought to life this Libbie Custer bio I’m reading (I’m nearing the end, and she’s battling controversies that linger about George Armstrong Custer’s last stand).

The museum features Texas and Western history, artists like Albert Bierstadt (whose work Libbie C. apparently admired), even an Andy Warhol Custer from 1986. Buffalo Bill Cody (there’s a silver trowel he received) and Annie Oakley ride through. We ran into Bill Pickett again, the African-American bulldogger we “met” at the Fort Worth Stockyards. So many “familiar” faces.

A brief saddle-making video that was part of a special exhibit took us back to the King Ranch saddle shop we wandered through when we visited the ranch in January while taking a short tour in the Pryde trailer. And a likely prisoner-made horsehair bridle brought to mind Tom Russell’s song “The Sky Above, the Mud Below.” (We enjoy country singer-songwriters!)

Even the building itself has a story. An orphanage from 1895 to 1984, it has survived the big storms, and now offers little visitors a really cool kids’ pirate cave to play in. In the courtyard, a museum store features numerous small-press books of local interest (the Bosun picked one up).

Interestingly, the museum includes discussion about capturing a West that’s gone. Over a hundred years ago, Libbie Custer noted the fall of the West she’d known with George Armstrong.

Overall, our visit was a big win. We also enjoyed the Strand, a visit to my favorite Galveston Bookshop, and several great beach and seawall walks, one of which gave the Boat Dog lovely views of a flock of giant kites: an octopus, a shark, flags, and more, all afloat in the sun that finally peeked out.

The day ranks as a “groundhog day”: one we’d gladly repeat over and over!

6 views0 comments

Read Local, L.L.C., is a small (we hope to grow!) community of book lovers. We review books published by independent/university/small presses and post our reviews and thoughts in an effort to raise awareness of independent-press books. The Read Local, L.L.C., entity is owned by the parent company of Stoneman House Press, L.L.C., and that publisher's work appears on this website (we make money when Stoneman House sells books), but not everyone who writes content for us or participates in our community works for Stoneman House. Aside from Stoneman House, we also have relationships (personal and/or professional) with some of the authors whose books appear here. Some (like Sage Webb) write reviews for us and help lead us (and they make money when their books sell). We note when we have a relationship with a book, publisher, or author. Otherwise, we do not have relationships with the authors and publishers listed here. They appear here only because we liked their books and we like reviewing books. (We will be as transparent as possible when we post here about things in which we have a financial stake. Not just because of regulations like those in Part 255 of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations, but because we really are here just to have some literary fun.) If you are an author or publisher of a book that appears here, feel free to reach out to us! We'd love to hear from you. We are at readlocalbooks@hotmail.com. And if you are an author or publisher and you would like us to remove your book from our site, just let us know. We are here to serve the literary community. If you have questions, reach out.

(We also love innovative art and photography. Just sayin'.)

© 2018, 2019 , 2020 Read Local, L.L.C.

(All content on this site belongs exclusively to Read Local, L.L.C. No one may copy any portion of this site or its content without express written permission.)

Read Local is a registered service mark with the USPTO.

Read Local, L.L.C., reserves all rights in and to its marks.