They came and scattered themselves about the plains and prairies of West Texas like seeds thrown into the constant winds. In clusters or in singles they dug in. Depending on rainfall, they flourished or failed.
Maybe the journeyers arrived in the springtime of a good year and saw the beauty of the place, expecting it to last. Maybe it did last for a season or so before a bad dry spell set in. Maybe it was several years before a real drought appeared, which they foolishly thought would pass. Regardless, there were soon small pockets of people becoming inseparable from the land. Some were made sad, mean, cantankerous, negative; some quiet, kind, patient; but all shared stubbornness, informed by the very land itself.
In these eight stories that share the same setting across time, Joyce Gibson Roach writes of the place that sparked her treasured West Texas sensibility. Her fictive Horned Toad calls to stand and speak itself into existence—to live again in words. The characters are all familiar West Texas–types speaking in the tongues of dry places. All reflect their moments in time, proving that human nature does not change in this land of rain shadow.
Joyce Gibson Roach is a retired Texas Christian University adjunct English professor, author of non-fiction books, short fiction, and juvenile fiction, a folklorist, grassroots historian, rancher, and naturalist. Her writing has won three Spur Awards and the Carr P. Collins Prize. She is an active member of many organizations, including the Texas State Historical Association, the Texas Folklore Society, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the West Texas Historical Association.