Welcome to the twenty-fifth issue of CEE News!
As I watch the brutal beating that Hurricane Harvey has unleashed on my native state, my memories turn to growing up in one of its quaint country towns. Here is an excerpt about that experience from my book, Work On Purpose: I grew up in the town of Cut & Shoot, Texas. No kidding. It’s a tiny town nestled among the tall Texas pines about 40 miles north of Houston.
According to local lore, Cut & Shoot was named after a 1912 community dispute that almost led to violence. Various accounts attribute the clash to either:
A. The design of a new steeple for the town’s only church,
B. The issue of who should be allowed to preach there, or
C. The conflicting land claims among church members.
Whatever its origins, the irony of moving to a town bearing this brutal name was not lost on me – even as a six-year old. I was the only girl among the four children in our family. It was my duty to hold the family standards high while my brothers reveled in the tree climbing, rock skipping, fort building opportunities that our new surroundings afforded.
I escaped my plight by diving between the covers of books. By the time I completed the 6th grade, I had read every library book available written by legendary American authors – Hemingway, Twain, Fitzgerald, and Steinbeck. I’m sure that I struggled with the gritty angst of Hemingway. Yet, I developed a love for the artistry of a phrase, an appreciation for universal themes, and empathy for the struggles and triumphs of the human spirit.
Those struggles and triumphs played out in thousands of vignettes as Hurricane Harvey bore down over Texas and neighboring Louisiana. People poured from their homes, drew together, and literally lifted one another back on their feet. My heart filled with pride as I was reminded of the strength of the community that shaped me. Heroes don’t need capes.