My teenager, Austin, prefers blood, action, a splash of gore, and pure adrenaline rushes. The faster and more blood in a program, the more excited he is. Forget a relaxing television program where you can drift into a mind numbing state or something remotely realistic. When watching a show with Austin, it is pure speed and non-stop action. Fast car chases, burly criminals, big weapons, and “intensely, cool fighting moves” are what Austin thinks makes a great show. Obviously many people agree with him when you note the most popular TV and movie selections available, a fact that Austin never fails to constantly remind me about.
My boys have had wonderful history teachers. They have studied Texas history is 4th and 7th grade. I am a member of the local Daughters of the Republic of Texas chapter and my boys are each members of our local Children of the Republic of Texas chapter. Being a 7th generation Texan and living at the ranch I try to inject some pride into our heritage. Unfortunately, my boys have tired a little of the stories of their ancestors who came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin’s original 300 settlers, the hardships of the early settlers, and hearing about relatives who perished with Colonel Fannin in Goliad. It is as if they hear it so often that the enormity of it all has failed to sink in.
Then we welcomed “Texas Rising” into our home. This miniseries had been advertised for a month now and Austin and Jamison’s interest in the series steadily grew. They showed previews with “blood and guts” and battle scenes which garnered Austin’s interest. The previews also mentioned San Antonio and the Alamo, yelling Comanche Indians, the Presidio in Goliad, and the fact “that more people died at the La Bahia than at the Alamo,” which caught Jamison’s unyielding attention. They made plans to start watching the 5 part series a couple of Monday nights ago. When 8:00 arrived I was thrilled to see them parked in front of the TV intent on watching the fictional take on historical events surrounding the founding of Texas.
I am aware of the many critiques; the favorable and unfavorable comments about the “Texas Rising” series. Everyone has their own opinion and I agree that there are some points, scenes, and character depictions of the program that I am not fond of and believe too much “Hollywood” was added to. However, when Stephen F. Austin’s “Ol’ 300” was mentioned the boys cheered, “That’s how we got here. They’re talking about us, “Jamison explained as Austin rolled his eyes. The focus on Col. Fannin and La Bahia made their ears perk up and then Victoria was mentioned many times. Although the scenery was certainly not authentic Texas with no mesquite trees in sight and the terrain completely off with deep, desert canyons in Goliad? Um, not exactly the Coastal plains. However, the mention of the towns, cities, landmarks, and historical figures they have studied and heard in classes and many family stories, kept their interest.
The depiction was purely a Hollywood production intent on appealing to a vast audience. However, owHI am thankful that Austin and Jamison were able to obtain a glimpse of the numerous hardships and “a slice of life” that their ancestors endured. The caliber and pure “toughness” that embodies Texans, and the stigma that Texas still holds today, amazed my ranch boys. They slipped on their boots with a new appreciation of the Texans boots that they have to fill, on the very land that they are growing up on, near a town that their relatives fought and shed blood for. All of the sudden the soil of the ranch beneath their feet seem more solid and a sense of pride ran up their backbone and straightened their growing shoulders.
While the world in now a very small place, and people move to different countries and cities often for work, school, or sheer experiences, my boys have had the realization that they are fortunate to live someplace that their ancestors choose. It is extremely likely that the future will take Austin and Jamison on various adventures far away. But, at least, they have a solid foundation and deep roots planted firmly south Texas soil.
“Well, I am grateful that we at least have ‘iron horses’ now” mentioned Austin, complete with air quotes, as he walked over to his motorcycle. “Yeah, especially since you are like majorly allergic to horses. I like how they make your eyes swell shut,” Jamison cleverly chides his brother, uses air quotes in mocking, and he walks over to his own 4 wheeler. They tear away on their own Texas adventure complete with authentic mesquite trees, dusty, flat terrain, cow mess to dodge on the road, and jack rabbits trying to out run them.