The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 12
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
myriads of stunned fish floating helplessly along the coastal waters,
and, from the earliest days, Indians, Spaniards, and Americans
have helped themselves to these bountiful windfalls."
True to their nature, however, Texans have made a virtue out
of a necessity in the case of the norther. Since nothing, not even
a barbed wire fence, has been able to stop the norther, Texans
have accepted this superhuman element and have long since taken
pride in it as being, like most things Texan, the biggest and the
most unsurpassable of its kind. Thus the norther has entered into
Texas folklore and Texas brags,6 and, because the norther is quite
something in its own right, the truth has not had to be distorted
so very much at that. After all, if Texans boast that the icy, swift
norther once caused the mercury to drop three feet in a few sec-
onds-it is true-the thermometer was blown off a wall.64
It is true, of course, that the forewarning which Texans of today
receive of a norther through their weather bureau, press, and
radio forearms them to a degree which Texans of earlier genera-
tions never enjoyed. No doubt this has taken a bit of the sting,
surprise, and dramatic effect out of the norther; but plenty of
the drama is left: the first chill puff, the sudden banging of
windows, the shivering, the cursing, the leaning into the wind,
the drifting of cattle on the ranch, the flying of geese and of sand,
the concentration of eyes on the thermometer, the rush for anti-
freeze, the glow and scent of smudgepots, the hurried covering of
cherished plants, and the huddling round the stove or heater-
all this remains and so too does the suffering and dying of livestock
and wildlife and occasionally of man; but so also is the parched
range given a rebirth, the air given a new vigor, and the Texan
a new boast, for the norther means life as well as death, romance
and fun as well as tragedy and suffering. How like life itself the
norther blows; now ill, now fair, sporadically, unpredictably, but
In fact, the norther is perhaps the most eternal feature of the
Southwest. The buffalo and the Longhorn came and went; the
162John Russell Bartlett, Personal Narrative of Explorations i& Incidents in Texas,
New Mexico, California, Sonora, and Chihuahua ... (2 vols.; London, 1854), II
'a8See especially Mody C. Boatright, Tall Tales from Texas (Dallas, 1934), 49-53,
75, 92; Dobie, The Flavor of Texas, 19-2o.
a4Sweet and Knox, On a Mexican Mustang, 128.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/24/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.