Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wal-Mart has effectively shuttered this tiny downtown.
Except for the King Ranch Store, Harrell's Drugs, Roys
and a dollar store or two, Kingsville is mostly boarded-up
storefronts. I wonder how Roy can stay in business at prices
like these, competing with the loss-leader mega-hell
a mile or two away. I did admit in a prior blog to going
to W-M at midnight a couple of nights ago, but it was
an emergency (of sorts) and I DID try a few stop-n-robs
first, without luck.


Last night I listened to my step-mother-in-law (who is
actually younger than some of my older siblings,
so I consider her more like an older sister)
talk about her childhood growing up on the King Ranch.

Bigger than the state of Rhode Island,
the King Ranch was founded mid-19th century
by Richard King, and still operates as a working ranch.

Rosa's insights into everyday life on the ranch stand out
in stark contrast to the romanticized version on display
at the King Ranch website. As the oldest of nine children,
Rosa talked of spending time with an aunt who lived
in a two-room shack without electricity or running water.
She did her homework to the light of a kerosene lamp.

Her father worked with broodmares, seven days
a week, sunup to sundown, although on Sundays
he was let off at noon. Rosa told me she was stunned
to discover that when she left home, in 1972,
and got an office job, her paycheck was bigger
than her dad's.

Of course, my favorite part of any story is when
we talk about food, and Rosa gave me detailed
instructions on how to make gorditas: best with lard
or some pork rinds, although olive oil will suffice!


  1. Holy, um, Cow! An inside view of King Ranch.

    I'd love to hear more.

    Love, C.

  2. Fascinating stuff, T. I'm going back to read more about King Ranch.

    When I went back to work as a Secretary in my early twenties, my Mum told me not to tell Dad how much I was getting, as it was more than he brought home.

  3. I was waiting for the part about the food too... keep it up! :)

  4. Hey, T.

    I just LOVE your posts. They keep getting better with time. And your photos.

    Walmart has decimated more than a few small urban centers. When my folks still lived in Kentucky, I saw several small towns largely boarded up, with Walmart on the semi-outskirts grabbing all the business.

    Anyway -- keep it up! I look forward to reading your posts on a regular basis -- I am not a foodie, I sorta eat more out of necessity, but you write about soooo many interesting things...

  5. Thanks! I'll try to get more out of Rosa about the King Ranch. We're driving down to Mexico today, so we'll have plenty of time in the car to chat.