Lone Star Book Blog Tour: Yonderings: Trails and Memories of the Big Bend by Ben H. English

Trails and Memories
of the Big Bend

Ben H. English

  Genre: Memoir / Travel / Texas
Publisher: TCU Press
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Date of Publication: November 17, 2017
Number of Pages: 221

It was a time before Terlingua Ranch, chili cook-offs, and when you could drive a hundred miles without seeing another vehicle or another person.  The year was 1961, and the tides of humanity that ebbed and flowed into the lower reaches of the Big Bend were at their historical nadir.  It was a vast, empty land spotted by isolated ranch headquarters, a national park with few visitors, and the many ruins of a past shrouded in legend, lore, and improbable truths. Six generations of Ben H. English’s family have called this enigmatic region home.  With his family headquartered at the old Lajitas Trading Post, he worked and lived on ranches and in places now little more than forgotten dots on yellowing maps.  He attended the one-room schoolhouse at Terlingua, prowled the banks of the Rio Grande, and crisscrossed the surrounding areas time and again on horseback and on foot.

Some fifty years later he writes about those years, revealing along the way the history and legends of the singular land he knows so well, separating fact from fiction, and bringing the reader into a world that few have experienced.  He also explores the lower Big Bend as it is found now, and the extraordinary vistas one can still discover just over the next rise.



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By Ben H. English

 I was asked to come up with a playlist of songs to accompany Yonderings, and after some considerable thinking, wrote down the following.  Many of these choices have been around awhile; some of them go back a century or more.  But each in turn is enduring, much like the land I have used them to describe…

 “The Time to Decide”                                  Poem by Bruce Kiskaddon**

-This poem was written nigh a hundred years ago by the greatest cowboy poet of all, Bruce Kiskaddon.  It comes to mind while prowling the lower Big Bend, and most of all at majestic spots such as the South Rim of the Chisos.

“Cattle Call”                                                  Eddy Arnold

-This was one of my grandfather’s favorites, and I cannot hear this song without thinking of him.  I still miss you Papa, and wish you could be here now…

“La Golindrina”                                            Pedro Infante

                                                                       Los Caballeros

-I stated how some of these songs go back a century or more, and this sad Mexican ballad has roots that go far more back than that.  Several of the songs I have selected come from across the border because everything Mexican has about as much to do with the Big Bend as many of the Anglo influences.  In truth, they do not clash near as much as complement each other…

“Faded Love”                                                 Bob Wills

You cannot do any song list about any part of the Lone Star state without including a Bob Wills tune.  Of the many ones that he and the Texas Playboys did, this has got to be one of the prettiest.  Waylon Jennings was right; when you cross that ol’ Red River, Bob Wills is still the king…

How Great Thou Art”                                 Alan Jackson

-Songs of faith have been part of my life since I was very young, and they seem to become a bigger part of it as I grow older.  When I hear this hymn, I think about easing up Juniper Canyon on foot, early in the morning just as the sun is clearing the Sierra del Carmen…

“Annie Laurie/Bad Half Hour”                      Don Edwards

-Any man who has ever pulled night guard or sentry duty for any reason can understand this song instinctively and about the lost loves and ‘could have beens’ that accompany it.  It just sort of goes with the territory and places like Fresno Canyon or along Terlingua Creek at night…

**Be sure to visit Books and Broomsticks blog on the 12/8/17 tour stop with Lone Star Book Blog Tours to hear author Ben H. English read “The Time to Decide” by Bruce Kiskaddon.**

An eighth-generation Texan, Ben H. English was raised mostly in the Lajitas-Terlingua area. An honors graduate of Angelo State University, he served in the United States Marine Corps for seven years, was a high school teacher, and retired after twenty-two years in the Texas Highway Patrol.


12/5/17 Playlist Reading by Moonlight
12/6/17 Review Texan Girl Reads
12/7/17 Top Ten List A Page Before Bedtime
12/8/17 Author Video 1 Books and Broomsticks
12/9/17 Review Forgotten Winds
12/10/17 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
12/11/17 Author Video 2 StoreyBook Reviews
12/12/17 Review Syd Savvy
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12/14/17 Review Hall Ways Blog

2 Replies to “Lone Star Book Blog Tour: Yonderings: Trails and Memories of the Big Bend by Ben H. English”

  1. Ma’am,

    Thank you for the review of my playlist. I do appreciate it.

    God bless,

    Ben H. English
    Alpine, Texas

    • It is my pleasure! I love that all of these songs conjure up such vivid memories and recollections and capture the beauty of Texas!

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