HPPR Arts, Culture & History

History:
prehistory
Native American history
early exploration
trails and railroads
homesteading
community settlement
farming & farm life
Dust Bowl era
ghost towns
personal remembrances & biographies

Culture:
ethnic groups
religion
language
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traditions
values
folklore
myths
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Arts:
literature
folk art
visual arts
music
theatre
events & festivals

The Beats: Many have Kansas roots

Apr 10, 2016
George Laughead, Jr.

I grew up in Dodge City. My father grew up here and my grandfather was on the first city commission, so I have deep roots.  Part of living in southwest Kansas was that we had dozens of buses and trains going to all sorts of places back when I was a kid.  Thus we had a paperback bookstore very early and it had a lot of books.

In that bookstore, I found a book called The Beats edited by Seymour Krim. It had come out in 1960.  In 1963, I stole a copy of it. Because I was 13, the owner wouldn’t sell me one. 

Caldwell's story is my story

Apr 7, 2016
Cindee Talley

I’m a Radio Reader from Canyon, Texas. This spring the HPPR Radio Reader’s Book Club is exploring the theme – a sense of place.  In Gail Caldwell’s A Strong West Wind, every page took me home. 

Caldwell and I share a birth year and many thoughts.  Beginning with the prologue, I felt as though I was reading my own story. Caldwell was growing up in Amarillo at the same time I grew up in Muleshoe, but her experiences reflect my own as a product of the Texas plains. Her words bring back my own wonder and angst while growing up in an era of conservatism, patriotism, and faith rapidly evolving into a world of unrest, feminism, and new freedoms. 

Caldwell’s memory of her grandmother’s house, as she words it, a “rambling old white house” with its rooms “bearing whispers of the past,” took me back to my grandfather’s farm and the little stucco house that formed a cocoon of love around a very large family. I relived through her words, a time of weekends spend hanging around the local drive-in burger joint and rulers measuring hemlines in school. As she recalls cars pulling aside to stop for her father’s funeral procession, I remembered a lone farmer in the middle of his fresh plowed field standing respectfully beside his tractor, hat in hand, as we made the trip from Dimmitt to Muleshoe behind the hearse that bore my brother’s body.  Home is depicted in every chapter.  Wide open spaces of flat land and strength sapping wind that bent trees and people to its will.

Colorado Public Radio

I’m a former Kansas poet laureate and fifth generation Kansan. I am proud of my Lenape (Delaware) heritage. Vietnam was a tragic time for the large number of Indigenous Americans and their families. They followed traditions of protecting their beloved land and families. Some had ceremonies for returning warriors. Geary Hobson, Linda Grover, Karenne Wood, and Jim Northrup express the Vietnam experience in poetry:

 

Central Highlands, Viet Nam, 1968 by Geary Hobson—Cherokee, Quapaw, and Chickasaw

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An eagle glides above the plain

Kathleen Holt

Some have compared what seems to be a political and social revolution pitting conservatives and progressives today to a parallel, although profoundly different period of change outlined in the HPPR Radio Readers Book Club’s 2016 Spring Read’s book A Strong West Wind by author Gail Caldwell who grew up in the Texas Panhandle in the 1950s and 60s.  

juliezickefoose.blogspot.com

You’ve heard the saying, “Looks can be deceiving.” That statement describes our little terrier’s coat. When you meet him, he looks like a sleek pooch that doesn’t shed. That’s true July through February. However, when the calendar says spring, he gives March Madness a new interpretation.

Most folks who meet the winter Buster love to stroke his silky fur and rub his soft ears. Let them visit before a spring de-thatching, and they’ll wear Buster home. That little guy sheds like a champ. If there were Olympics for losing winter hair, our pet would win a gold medal.

Luke Clayton

Folks, after making corned venison last week, I got an idea to make sauerkraut to make some Reuben sandwiches.    Now, I've never done it before, but I have to tell you, it turned out to be pretty simple, and very delicious!

Take a listen, I give you step by step instructions.  

Until next week, go outside and enjoy the great outdoors!

Cindee Talley

Hello, Radio Readers! You know, when HPPR wanted to explore a High Plains sense of place, I was a little skeptical. That our terrain and lives are different from, say the East and West coasts, seems fairly obvious, but are the High Plains all that different from the Midwest? The Southwest? I wondered what ideas about life on the High Plains a novel about eastern Colorado, a social  history of the Comanche, and a memoir about growing up in the ‘60’s and 70’s in Amarillo and Austin could share.

Goldenrod is a wallflower, standing in the background, while other flowers in the garden take center stage.  It has been blamed for watery eyes and runny noses, when in fact, the true cause of those allergy symptoms is probably ragweed which blooms at the same time.  Goldenrod has taken the heat for years for, but its  blame without substantiation.  It is a rare gardener to take up the cause of the Goldenrod, but I like this plant.  It has a place in my garden. 

DeGolyer Library SMU

I’m curator of art and western heritage at the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum at West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas.  I’ve been asked to comment on this month’s High Plains Public Radio’s Radio Reader A Strong West Wind by Gayle Caldwell.  I’ve lived out here for going on 29 years.   I grew up in Kansas and the title appealed to me initially because of the reference to wind.  I’m out west of Canyon, a little bit north and west of Canyon.  Canyon sits about 18 miles south of Amarillo.

Texas makes you tough

Mar 27, 2016
Cindee Talley

I’ve been thinking a lot about the influence of “place” on who we become and whether or not that influence ever wanes.  

In A Strong West Wind, an account of a Texas high plains girlhood, Gail Caldwell writes, “How do we become who we are? The question belongs not just to genes or geography or the idea of destiny, but to the entire symphony of culture and its magisterial march—to Proust’s madeleines and Citizen Kane’s “Rosebud” and anyone’s dreams of being someplace, anyplace, else. I was a girl whose father had taken such pride in her all her life, even when it was masked as rage, that he had lit a fire in me that would stay warm forever. I was the daughter of a woman who, on a farm in east Texas in the 1920s, had crept away from her five younger siblings so that she could sit on a hillside and read—a mother whose subterranean wish, long unrevealed, was that I might become who she could not. Each of us has these cloisters where the old discarded drams are stored, innocuous as toys in the attic. The real beauty of the question—how do we become who we are?—is that by the time we are old enough to ask it, to understand its infinite breadth, it is too late to do much about it. That is not the sorrow of hindsight, but its music: That is what grants us a bearable past.” 

dariennewsonline.com

Easter is about much more than egg hunts and a big ol’ rabbit posing for pictures with little ones. However, in small towns across Kansas such festivities remind winter -weary children and adults that spring truly has arrived. With the promise of sugary treats, hope rises like sap in tots impatient to collect brightly colored eggs tempting them from a green lawn. Their enthusiasm should be bottled and sold.

Venison Pastrami

Mar 25, 2016
Luke Clayton

Join Luke this week for some hands on, step-by-step instructions in making pastrami and corned venison at home! Many people might be surprised to learn that making corned beef (or corned venison) has very much in common with making pastrami. Both tasty sandwiches cuts require curing the meat first. After curing, pastrami is seasoned and either baked or slow smoked. Corned beef or corned venison is slow simmered for a couple hours after curing. Luke goes into great detail this week in describing the process.   

Ridin' the Plains

Mar 24, 2016

In A Strong West Wind, an account of a Texas high plains girlhood, author Gail Caldwell evokes a sense of place through many descriptive passages, often involving her father. She writes, for example, “When I was a girl of nine or ten, my dad would take me along on autumn dawns to go quail and dove hunting, out to the far reaches of the Caprock, past towns named Muleshoe and Dimmitt to prairies so remote and unrelenting that even the phone lines seemed to disappear as we drove into morning light.

Cindee Talley

I’m a High Plains Public Radio Book Club reader from Northwest Kansas. It’s time to think about our third novel of this season, A Strong West Wind by native West Texan Gail Caldwell. The question that comes to mind is how does this memoir enhance our understanding of place? As one would expect, it’s different from Plainsong and Summer of the Comanche Moon. Based on reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble, it’s a book readers either love or hate. With such strong responses in mind, it’s important to focus on insights this author’s memories offer this unique book club’s membership.

Xing Lida / Wikimedia Commons

You may know your state flower, but do you know your state fossil? According to The Atlantic, since the 1960s, most US states have elected their own official fossils. Often, the choice comes down to a dinosaur that was discovered in the region. For example, Colorado has claimed the Stegosaurus, since the plate-backed dinosaur was first found there.

Jonathan Baker

I’m a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’ve been asked to talk a little about this month’s Radio Readers Book Club Read, A Strong West Wind by Gail Caldwell. Gail’s story is a familiar one to me. In fact, my story mirrors hers in many ways. Both Gail and I grew up feeling isolated on the High Plains, and escaped into books. We both left the Panhandle for Austin, where we both rebelled, discovered politics, and sowed our wild oats.

Almost Empty Nest

Mar 18, 2016
Vincent Mancini

I’ve observed a great-horned owl on her nest for the past three months. This triggered a reflection on parenting similarities humans and critters share. It also added questions to those already swirling about my busy brain. One of those is do birds experience a sense of unsettledness like the one humans have when their young first leave home? After surviving those aching months when our youngest moved away, leaving behind an unnaturally quiet house, I recall a moment when my husband and I looked at one another, and said something along the lines of, “We’re going to have to relearn what a world without kids is like.”  

Luke Clayton

Luke Clayton here. Let's head out to my little "meat processing" building behind the house today and I'll show you how to make some very tasty snack stick from ground venison and wild pork. 

Today, we're making Salami flavored meat sticks. We'll use the sausage stuffer with the small tube and crank out about ten pounds. Through the years, I have experimented with purchasing all the various spices, mixing them with proper amount of cure and blending them with ground meat. But I've found a much better way! Now, I get the Snack Stick sampler kit from Butcher Packer Supply  www.butcher-packer.com. This kit contains everything needed for making 10 pounds of salami snack sticks, 10 pounds of deer hunter blend and 10 pounds of Teriyaki flavored sticks...The blend of spices is perfect and after they are smoked, I freeze the little snacks sticks for a quick snack (or in some cases, a MEAL) when out hunting or fishing. 

Last Buffalo Hunt

Mar 17, 2016
en.wikipedia.org

Hello, Radio Readers! We’re reading and discussing a High Plains sense of place with Sam Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon, a social history, as Gwynne writes, of “the rise and fall of the Comanche. “ After thirty-some years, the Comanche capitulated to the US, surrendering horses and weapons in exchange for life on a reservation. There, Gwynne writes, “everything that defined Comanche existence” was exchanged for “crude squalor….hunger and desperation and dependency” – benefits promised to the Comanche turned out to be insufficient, paltry, and shoddy. Gwynne suggests that those who adopted and adapted to white ways did so to survive, even as they tried to preserve their culture, however vestigially.

JD Hancock / Creative Commons

Today is St. Patrick’s day, and the economic website Wallethub has published some interesting facts about this most Irish of holidays. Just over half of Americans plan to celebrate St. Patty’s this year. And 82% of those celebrants plan to wear green (no word on what the other 18% plan to wear). In Chicago, the city pours 45 pounds of vegetable-based dye into the river to turn it green. The color goes away after five hours—though some say the color never really goes away.

Native Americans in Film

Mar 15, 2016
Paul Phillips

KATHLEEN HOLT :  Talk a little bit about Native Americans and film.  I think when we talk about the High Plains and a sense of place, we often think of it in terms of white settlement…

TOM AVERILL:  Well, yeah.  We also start with white exploration . .

TOM PRASCH:  As if there wasn’t anything to see

TOM AVERILL:  As if nothing existed until there was a white person to see it.  So, Coronado is our first tourist looking for the Seven Cities of Gold and unhappy with what he found.

TOM PRASCH:  They are figures in that whole conquest of the West motif.  You know one of our theme  when we look at Kansas film and literature is that whole manifest destiny sensibility that this is ours to settle and it is part of this drive that is going to push us to California and the rest.  And because most film making for most of the history of film has been told from that perspective, it gets a little hard to tell the Native American story.  And, in fact, we only really get a kind of counter reaction to that with the rise of AIM and Native American rights movements in the 1960s and 1970s and that’s when you get  Dustin Hoffman’s Little Big Man.   And there is an Altman film about that time – Sitting Bull – Oh,  Custer and Altman taking on the Custer story.  Suddenly, you get the sense that, “Oh, gee. We have been leaving some stuff out here.”  

ANC News

The website onlyinyourstate.com recently published a list of fascinating Texas facts that you probably didn’t learn in school. For example, did you know the Ferris wheel at the Texas State Fair in Dallas is the largest in the Western hemisphere? Or that El Paso is closer to the city of Needles, California, than it is to Dallas, Texas? How about that the last battle of the Civil War was fought in Texas?

Katharine Du / NPR

NPR.org recently took a look at the connection between genius and food. And they discovered that some of history’s greatest minds had some very peculiar dining habits. The French writer Honore de Balzac, for example, drank 50 cups of espresso a day. He died at age 51 . . . of caffeine poisoning. The Greek mathematician Pythagoras hated beans so much that he forbade his followers from even touching them.

CJ Janovy / KCUR

There’s a strange sort of art gallery in the Kansas town of Volland. Inside, the gallery is pretty much like any other. Art and photography hangs from the walls, and visitors wander among the offerings munching cheese cubes. It’s when you go outside that things get really interesting, reports KGOU. The gallery isn’t on Main Street or tucked into the back of a coffee shop. This art gallery is surrounded by the vast spaces of the Kansas prairie.

U.S. Forest Service

Researchers in Colorado have unearthed an extremely rare fossil, reports weather.com. In fact, the fish fossil is one of only three in the world. Paleontologist Bruce Schumacher discovered the complete skull of the fish during a geological survey at the Comanche National Grassland in southeastern Colorado.

Western History Collections / University of Oklahoma

70 years ago Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher was refused admittance to the University of Oklahoma’s law school. The reason? The color of her skin. State law mandated the segregation of public educational institutions. The ensuing legal battle made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court two years later, notes member station KGOU.

Paul Phillips

Before my students read a section of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca’s travel journal about his exploration of Texas, I had them write directions from their house to a nearby destination. It sounded like a simple assignment until I add these qualifiers. They couldn’t use man-made landmarks or addresses in their instructions, nor could they use vehicles or GPS systems. They were limited to foot travel, and they needed to depend on the sun and stars for directions.

Bettman / Corbis

Dinosaurs have become an everyday part of the American imagination. From Jurassic World to The Good Dinosaur, we encounter these ancient behemoths perhaps more than we even realize. But how did this obsession come about? It happened largely thanks to the efforts of one man: Barnum Brown. Brown was born in frontier Kansas in 1873. Named after the great showman P.T. Barnum, Brown would grow up to become a master promoter in his own right.

Buffalo: A Mobile Commissary

Mar 11, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Comanche’s sense of place.  I once visited the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma – part of the High Plains once populated by both Comanche and buffalo.  The prairie that day was punctuated with wandering beasts – this time by longhorn cattle as well as buffalo in an ironic, if not strange and symbolic centuries-later depiction of the events explored in Empire of the Summer Moon.

Comancheria

Mar 10, 2016

I’m a former Kansas poet laureate. Comancheria is home to many Plains Indian groups. My grandfather of Delaware Indian heritage was among the dislocated Eastern Natives who settled on the Kansas Plains of the 19th century.

History is alive in the works of Native poets. N. Scott Momaday, a Kiowa, gained national recognition in 1969 as a Pulitzer Prize winning author. His works present the Native oral tradition as a sophisticated way to preserve culture. He influences many contemporary Native poets.

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