Thursday, August 1, 2013

Down the Brazos In The Late 1950's.. What If John Graves Had...

The news of John Graves death at age 92 did not make me particularly sad.  He had a long interesting life that was traversed mostly on his own terms. He had a life that succeeded in moving many people and apparently made very few unhappy or mad. We should all be so fortunate.

Old Brazos bridge near Newcastle, 2009 <click image to enlarge>

In the middle of this morning a whimsical thought came to me that brought a minds-eye vision that made me chuckle.  I did not know John Graves at all other than through his writing, but being the man he obviously was, I wondered to myself if he too would not give a little bark at the preposterous vision in my mind..

What if....  Back in the late 1950's as he was getting into his canoe on the Brazos along with his little dog he...

Grabbed his MP3 player...turned it on.. tucked it into his pocket.. inserted his 'buds into his ears.. and then cast off downstream into the muddy Brazos!

Don't laugh!  Think about the probability that a lot of the Brazos canoe trippers below will do exactly the same thing this weekend ....

Old US-80 1934 Brazos Bridge Near Millsap Exit - 2009

It's cinch that the Goodbye to A River wouldn't have jelled into a mind that was consumed with music. The perceptive descriptions of the river, the wildlife and the history of the place would have had a hard time getting into a mind filled with Eddie Fischer, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra and maybe Bob Wills..

What a loss to literature and Texas that would have been...

Abandoned Brazos Suspension Bridge Near Woodson <click image to enlarge>

Just a whimsical thought..  But I'm really glad that John Graves took the Brazos straight on, stored it in his powerful mind, turned it into simple but compelling words and then eventually wrote..

Goodbye to A River


  1. What a beautiful tribute to one of Texas' literary giants. You're so right--he lived a life that satisfied him on his own terms, and he enriched the lives of so many. RIP John Graves, and rise in glory.

  2. John Graves enjoyed the music of nature in finer times. I'm sure he knew just how fortunate he was to experience those moments and capture them forever as a writer. Great tribute, Pete. -Mike

  3. Thank you for this tribute, Pete. I'm grateful that his words will be with us always.