Cows and Bulls and Bluebonnets.

Cows & Bulls & Bluebonnets.

Cows and Bulls and Bluebonnets – Callin’ me back – To the land that I love.Cows and Bulls and Bluebonnets,Pullin’ me backTo South Texas.

If you’ve ever been a songwriter at heart, or simply somebody who harbored a song-bursting bone anywhere in your spiritual body, what I write about this morning will make perfect sense. If not, then just bear with me through today. I’ll try to get back to normal by tomorrow. The subject is just rolling too hard on my mind for now to let go.

I don’t quite know, for sure,  what got me started, but I’ve been writing songs for little everyday occasions for as long as I can remember. I even wrote the goodnight lullabies that we sang to our son Neal when he was a little one.

Dad, Mom, and genes may be partly or wholly responsible.

My dad was a part-time songwriter as a young man. Dad even met my mom when he heard her singing “Paper Moon” live over the radio in Beeville, Texas and then had to drop by the station to see who was singing.

Dad even once managed to get a  famous singer from the 1920s and 1930s named Rudy Vallee to sing a published number of his on the crooner’s  “coast-to-coast” radio program back in the early 30s. He had to drive all the way to New York and be a pest to Mr. Vallee to get it done, but he got it done Dad named the number “The Moon Is Here.” It was actually the only song that Dad ever published and he wrote it in collaboration with a songwriting partner from Beeville, Texas,  a fellow named Dan Lanning. After that little venture, Dad went back to trying to make a living in the real world of the Great Depression era, but he kept on singing his heart out for as long as he lived. All tolled, he was my inspiration in baseball, as a writer, and in life.

“Cows and Bulls and Bluebonnets” came to mind again for me when my wife Norma and I drove up to Chappell Hill this past weekend to have lunch and check out the last of the botanical Mohicans. We missed the deep rich flourish of full-blue bonnet fields that were there on previous weekends, but we did manage  to capture the singular glow of a few isolated holdouts on extinction as pictured here.

The sight of these reminded me of the spring of 1965, when I was still working at Tulane University, but strongly feeling the home call of Texas. All that came to light for me shaped out as  the vision of “cows and bulls and bluebonnets” and the little hum I felt all the way from my head to my toes each time I came back to Texas for an Astros game and crossed that state line on old Highway 90, heading west to Houston from the Golden Triangle area.

The song for “C&B&BB” didn’t have much of a tune, but its call was quite powerful and permanent. I still travel far and wide, but I have no desire to live anywhere else, but Houston. This place owns my heart.

I feel normal coming back right now. Let’s go, Astros! It’s  time to take Game Two of the Reds Series and keep the turnaround going strong!

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