Texas Bluebonnets

I drove out IH 37 so I could meet a general contractor yesterday.  While I waited for him, I looked at the wildflowers blooming in the highway ROW.  We had the least rainfall in recorded history in my part of south Texas last year which caused a poor showing of wildflowers rather than the usual spectacular blanket of blue.

"When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression..."

I associate wildflowers, specifically bluebonnets, with Texas Independence Day since bluebonnets, our state flower, start blooming in early March, and Texas declared  their independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836.  Not only did we celebrate it in school, we heard about it at home.  Although our dad was the high school principal, his undergrad degree was in history.  And he loved Texas history.  Top that with an aunt whose college classes on the Texas Revolution were legendary and the Coleman girls are well versed in the Texas struggle for independence.

Pre-drought picture (March, 2004) taken of Fannin Memorial near Goliad

Adjectives and opinions filled our Texas history stories.  In our dad’s words, Santa Anna the Mexican general and president who “murdered our brave Texas boys” at the Alamo would have been a Communist if he were alive.  That was during the 60’s when any self-respecting Commie was a torturing, dictatorial, tyrannical atheist.   Sam Houston who won the final battle at San Jacinto was wily; William Travis who wrote that he would “never surrender or retreat” in his letter to the People of  Texas and All the Americans in the World was a courageous man and a patriot.

The colorful tales of “lines in the sand” at the Alamo and Santa Anna exchanging his general’s uniform for that of a private to evade Houston’s forces were car trip entertainment.  There was a catch in our dad’s voice when he told the story of Santa Anna’s command to massacre James Fannin and his 344 men at Goliad and their burial  in a mass grave.   I’m lucky to own that rich tapestry of Texas history and careful not to quote the stories without checking for apocrypha.

Better Late than Never Youngs Coleman land grant for serving in Texican army

Since I started doing genealogical research, I discovered that 2 of my g-g-grandparents qualify me as a daughter of the Texas Revolution.  Old Youngs Levi Coleman and his wife Lucy emigrated from Tennessee to Liberty, Texas with Lucy’s parents in 1828.  They came with a wave of prospective Texicans who were looking for cheap land at $1.25/acre.  Youngs Coleman served the minimum 3 months in Sam Houston’s Texicans Army, enlisting right after Battle of San Jacinto when the war was essentially won.  That qualified him for military land grant and he received 320 acres in Jackson County.  My sister, Georgie the Elder, used to quote a line from a play she’d been in:  “Whatever happens, I go with the winner.”  Great-Great Grandpappy could have used that line.

I used to think that Texas bluebonnets couldn’t grow any place but Texas.  I even believed that there was a federal law prohibiting the removal of Texas bluebonnet plants from Texas.   I am pretty sure a respected family member told me that and I let that belief stand into adulthood.  The truth is that the two predominant species of bluebonnets are native to Texas, and they are found in no other location in the world.  Indian folklore is filled with stories about the bluebonnet.  Spanish priests carefully gathered seeds and planted them around the mission grounds.

Tomie dePaola used one of my favorite folk tales about bluebonnets in The Legend of the Bluebonnet.  It tells the story of a little Comanche girl, She-Who-Is-Alone, an orphan whose family has died in a drought driven famine.  She-Who-Is-Alone sacrifices her most prized possession, a doll, to the Great Spirits. This doll is her only connection to the family she has lost. The Great Spirits accept her gift, end the drought, and as a sign of forgiveness, they cover the ground every spring with beautiful blue bonnets.

I love that story, my bluebonnets, and my Texas!  With all of its funny ways, it’s my home.

About texasgaga

I am a mom, a grandmom (Gaga to my 2nd oldest grand-child), a sister, a friend, a construction estimator, a homeowner, an active member of a 12 step recovery group, an artist, a reader, a survivor, a do it yourself wannabe, a laugher
This entry was posted in Corpus Christi, Driving, nostalgia, Texas, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Texas Bluebonnets

  1. I love the folk tale of She-Who-Is-Alone best. I’ve seen your beautiful bluebonnets many times while crossing the long state of Texas going to California. I saw people stopping to pick them… and I thought they were doing something ‘illegal’… :))) The beauty of those flowers does make one want to grab a few! I never had the nerve! :)))

  2. Pingback: Spring Pictures (1) | A German Expat's Life in Texas

  3. Hello,I enjoy coming and visiting your site as I always get to learn something new.

  4. John Bernal says:

    Hi, i came across this post when i was googling the history of my family. May name is John Bernal and my grandfather’s name is John Enos Coleman. You posted a piece on Youngs Levi Coleman, he would be my g-g-grandfather as well. I thought it was cool how we had this in common and figured i would make a comment and say hi.

    • texasgaga says:

      That is one of those “small world, isn’t it” kind of things. John Enos is my g’grandfather. His son, Obediah David, was my grandfather.
      Have you been up to the hill country where John Enos settled after the civil war?

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