156 Chapters
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Chapter 11. Seeing Red over Varsity Blues

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

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ast year I had the occasion to speak to a group of students at Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches. Having just written a social history of old-time

Texas high school football coaches, I was curious to poll the students about the perceptions of their own head coaches back home. On my informal scale of 1 to 3—one being Fred Flintstone with a gimme hat and whistle and three being their favorite uncle—all but a smattering of about seventy students said their coach was like that favorite uncle.

So now, MTV brings us Varsity Blues, with Jon Voight playing

Coach Bud Kilmer, the stereotypical troglodyte. The first view of

Voight left no doubt about where this film was heading. It was at a pep rally, full of excited high schoolers—band blaring, cheerleaders screeching—who fell into a reverent silence at the mere outstretch of the coach’s hand, outstretched, that is, in a not-sosubtle Nazi salute.

Here was a man who had brought the fictitious West Caanan two state titles and twenty-two district championships in thirty years. And this season, he boasted, he was gonna bring ‘em number twenty-three. If there was any doubt that the town worshipped their coach, you had only to look past the corner of the end zone to see his graven image standing sentinel over—you guessed it—

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Fishing for Whoppers

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

7978-ch05.pdf

10/6/11

8:17 AM

Page 307

FISHING FOR WHOPPERS by Henry Wolff, Jr.

Whoppers come in many forms, everything from a hamburger to a big fish, but I happen to be particularly fond of the kind that are measured not by taste or size but in the telling, such as the stories that can be heard around a table on a lazy afternoon in a country tavern—or at a fish camp like the one at Indianola that the old fisherman Ed Bell operated for many years.

Known in his time as one of the best tall tale tellers on the

Texas Coast, one example would be a story that Bell always credited to a friend, Tex Wilson. It seems that Wilson and his wife had been fishing in some fairly deep water when their boat bogged down.

“It had to be four feet of water for it not to kick up any mud,” Bell explained in telling the story. “All at once it just stalled and ol’ Tex couldn’t figure it out since there weren’t any logs or anything there to stop a boat. That was when his wife looked over the bow of the boat and said, ‘Good Lord, Tex, cut that thing off and come here and look a minute.’ He did and there was a big ol’ flounder with his back just flush with the top of the water.

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Chapter 25. Some Past Directions of Narrative-Folklore Study

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

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egardless of how we choose to define it, presumably folklore has existed for as long as human culture has existed. But while the collecting of folklore must also have its roots in prehistory—in the first bard’s notion of repertory—systematic collecting for the preservation of threatened species and for humanistic and scientific study belongs chiefly to the nineteenth century.

Two related political trends in eighteenth-century Europe, toward nationalism and toward democracy, awakened an interest in the folk-spirit as embodied in the common lore of the people. The word “common” has, of course, a double meaning; it implies the vulgar as well as the shared. Accordingly, educated Europeans schooled in the classics were slow to value the stories, jests, songs, and sayings of the unlettered masses. By and large, folklore was beneath notice except when taken over and transformed into literature by a Chaucer or Boccaccio. Near the end of the sixteenth century it had taken a courageous Sir Philip Sidney, a true knight and a gifted poet, to write uncondescendingly of a folk ballad, “I never heard that olde song of Percey and Douglas that I found not my heart moved more then with a trumpet.”

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Fishing

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

7978-ch05.pdf

10/6/11

8:17 AM

Page 331

FISHING by Vicky J. Rose

When the call came from the Texas Folklore Society for papers about hunting and fishing lore, I immediately dismissed it. I never hunted and haven’t fished in years. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized what an important hand fishing took in developing my attitude toward life and people.

In those pre-feminist days during the late fifties and early sixties, women with children rarely worked outside the home. I was the middle child of three girls, tow-headed, with wide and trusting eyes. To keep from driving our mother crazy, she kept us busy playing with dolls in the winter, carving doll houses out of cardboard boxes and decorating them with scraps of wallpaper and fabric. In the summer, we were expected to play outdoors. Our only enemies then were snakes and the sticker-burs that infested the deep sandy soil where we lived. My older sister, with her delicate hands and tiny wrists, had an almost abnormal fear of spiders.

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The Lore of Wild Hog Hunting in Texas

Edited by Kenneth L. Untiedt University of North Texas Press PDF

7978-ch02.pdf

10/6/11

8:15 AM

Page 139

THE LORE OF WILD HOG

HUNTING IN WEST TEXAS by Kenneth W. Davis

In many parts of West Texas on Friday and Saturday nights when there are neither football nor basketball games, chronological or psychological adolescents and others—male and female, from ages about fourteen through sixty or way beyond—delight in roaring around farm and ranch lands after dusk in high-powered all-wheel drive vehicles—mostly pickups equipped with strong spot lights.

These vigorous people are armed with 30.06s and similar weapons.

In a single four-wheel-drive pickup there is usually enough ammunition to quell a moderate-sized insurrection or flying saucer invasion. The presence of intrepid hunters is welcomed by owners of the land over which these Nimrods ramble frantically in search of what is considered a dangerous creature found almost everywhere in Texas: the wild hog. These hogs are a nuisance, a pestilence, threats to man and beast, and, of course, they smell bad, have ticks, and are ugly. In most species the very young are at least somewhat cute. Not so with wild hogs I have seen up close in West Texas.

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