This Is and Isn’t My Daddy’s West Texas

Large Rock

I’m on vacation in far West Texas this week. I’ve rented a studio apartment in Marfa, a small town that has attracted a lot of big time artists. So it’s an interesting mix of cultures. The old west of my father’s youth is still here — he grew up in ranch country about 150 miles northeast of here, an easy day trip in West Texas distances — but in addition to being the closest town for some ranchers, Marfa also boasts fancy restaurants and elaborate galleries.

Alpine, practically next door at a mere 25 miles east, just held the Way Out West literary festival last weekend, and is hosting a big rodeo this coming weekend. And if it would just stop raining, I’d go up to Fort Davis (25 miles north) and look through the telescopes at the McDonald Observatory. (It’s hard to complain about rain when you live in drought-stricken Central Texas, but you can’t look at the stars when it’s overcast.) I need to remember that summer is the rainy season out here.

Here are some of the pictures I’ve been taking.

Food Shark

The Food Shark mobile cafe brings tasty and healthy lunches to downtown Marfa. Both locals and tourists eat here. I had Greek-style food today, and the people sitting across from me were speaking French. They probably had chuckwagons delivering food back in my father’s youth, when he might have worked a roundup in the area (my father worked as a cowboy during the summers when he was in school), but I expect they served beans and stew, not falafels and Greek salad.


This picture was taken north of Alpine and south of Fort Davis.


I took this picture of a thunderstorm moving in from the west while waiting to go around an overturned tractor-trailer. I’m still trying to figure out how the truck overturned on a straight stretch of highway between Fort Davis and Marfa.

Our Lady

A mural in downtown Marfa.

Fort Davis Courthouse

The Jeff Davis County Courthouse in Fort Davis. My pictures of the Presidio County Courthouse in Marfa, which is equally interesting, aren’t very good. I’ll have to try again. I’m thinking about a series of courthouse pictures. I’m fond of old courthouses.

Blooming Cactus

Even cactus blooms when it rains.


The Way of the Warrior blog series will return next week.

Nancy Jane’s flash fiction this week is “Searching.” Her collection Conscientious Inconsistencies is available from PS Publishing and her novella Changeling can be ordered from Aqueduct Press.

Check out The Nancy Jane Moore Bookshelf for more stories.



This Is and Isn’t My Daddy’s West Texas — 5 Comments

  1. Ah, I thought I wasn’t quite right in calling those flowers. Fascinating that they’re edible as well as beautiful. I’ve eaten nopalitos, but these are something else, I think.

  2. They’re the prickly pears of the prickly pear cactus. When they’re ripe peel them and eat them raw (but look out for spines).

  3. I had them stewed in a tomato sauce in a restaurant in Tucson once, but I can’t say I really liked them, at least cooked like that. I’ve never tried them raw, though if I knew exactly what to pick, I’m in an area with plenty of prickly pear right now.