Coming up this month at the Brownsville Public Library, there will be a book signing event with Lawrence Fernandez, author of the book “Jackass Flats: Tales of the Deltaland of the Rio Grande.” He will be at the Main Branch as well as the Southmost Branch location on August 24 and 26, 2021 from 7p.m to 8p.m. There will be copies of his book available for purchase on the day of the event. (Brownsville Public Library, 2021)
“Jackass Flats” (amazon, 2021)
This book is a virtual fireside chat with the great storytellers of the delta region of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. It is appropriately named “Jackass Flats,” paralleling it with the vanished prairie herds of wild horses and jackasses that inhabited a thin range of land in the Lower Nueces Strip. Just as these mythical beasts are now gone, so stands the feared endangerment of a species of “tellers of yarns” who kept the oral traditions alive, perpetuating a lifestyle that was colorfully filled with customs which were unique to South Texas colonization.
Four or five generations of close friendships, inter-marriages, business dealings, and even the occasional fights bring these accounts over the line, into being “personal stories.” You know it is personal when you open up your family cedar chests and discover a whole cross-section of photographs of non-family, and recognize them for the impact that each one gave to the community at large. You close your eyes and you can still vividly recall the scenes where the old chats were carried out; the chiseled features of the “old folks”, the smell of pipe tobacco, the salt spray of the gulf, mesquite wood campfires. You tried your darnedest to lap up all of the words of these tales.
Even though your grandmother sometimes altered the details with each presentation, you dare not correct her – that was part of the flavor. There will always be something special about reflecting back to what it was like in a bygone era. It is like going to a costume party and dressing out your fantasies. The storytellers are a strong example of reincarnation. They left a verbal, oral legacy that will live for as long as there are those who will light a fire to rekindle the message.
Main Branch – August 24, 2021 from 7p.m. to 8p.m.
Southmost Branch – August 26, 2021 from 7p.m. to 8p.m.
Brownsville Public Library
2600 Central Blvd.
Brownsville, TX 78520
Southmost Branch Library
4320 Southmost Blvd.
Brownsville, TX 78521