South Texas is a virtual gold mine of history. I’ve always favored the Gonzales Flag, a rough canon on an old bed sheet, and the taunt, “Come and take it!” The Mexican Army, at the time, the evil overlords in this neck of the woods, so to speak, they wanted the small canon back from the township of Gonzales, and the rest is history. First salvo in the Texas fight for independence, which resulted in the 6-week war, we won, and you ungrateful California folks forget that we damn near owned you.
To this day, there is one historical map of the Country of Texas, shows Texas as everything east of the Rio Grande (all of Eastern New Mexico, including Roswell, which explains even more, but never mind that), extending to the, I believe, what is now the Canadian border.
It was the purported headwaters of the Rio Grande, although, not unlike many of my Texas compatriots, a little fast and loose with the facts.
The part of the history I was trying to recall, should’ve been a warning, there are actually two parts to this tale, first, I lived in North Austin for a spell. Aforementioned “pho” exposure, I was near – in – a neighborhood that was largely Asian in heritage. I was between trailer parks at the time, and that apartment, a source of other amusing tales as well, that place looked out on a church playground, like, a big field as my “backyard,” only it wasn’t mine, and I tend to shy away from Born Again Baptists.
Fall, one year, I looked out over the “backyard,” and I could see beautiful fields of snow. I wrote how we were up to our hips in snow, buried in the snow in Texas.
A more northern friend inquired how much.
“It’s huge, three-quarters of an inch! Most near an inch in places!”
Stops a city like Austin dead in its tracks. I didn’t budge either.
Next part of the tale, this, wait, Feb 13, 1836 (why is this date important?) —
2/13/1836, what is now South Texas, what was then part of the rebel states of Coahulia y Tejas, got snow. Just like this recent finger of Arctic Air, and it dumped around a foot of snow in the region. Important because General Santa Ana was marching north to liberate Texas from the rebel alliance, the outlaws, and most of Santa Ana’s troops were from the more tropical regions of Mexico. Might never have seen snow. While it didn’t stop him, never try to deter a despot, it did slow him down.
I’m sure this is part of most, what is it, third grade history in Texas these days? Probably comes after the bit about the Bible being right.
The part about the freezing rain and snow, sleet, all hail breaking loose, that gets glossed except that there are some weather reports from that era. More than a foot of snow.
Yet there it is, in the history books.