J. REEDER ARCHULETA
Genre: Fiction /Short Stories / Coming of Age
Date of Publication: December 8, 2017
Number of Pages: 132
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These short stories are about coming of age in rural far West Texas. The stories are about the people who have come to stay in a remote part of Texas with a climate that can be harsh and unpredictable and that is demanding and unforgiving. The stories are told through the eyes of Josh, a young boy, who finds himself alone in a small farm and ranch community and who realizes that he will have to make his own way in this place. Along the way he meets a group of characters with different takes on life. Some try to help shield him from the chaos of the world, some try to add more chaos. But all of them, in their own distinct way, through jobs, advice, or actions, play a part in his life.
“Punchy, plainspoken dialogue…colorful and charismatic characters…The result is an atmospheric Texas…reminiscent of Larry McMurtry’s “The Last Picture Show.” — Kirkus Reviews
“The universality of Josh’s journey gives it a timeless quality…a rich tapestry…The stories are conveyed in lean, elegant prose reminiscent of Annie Proulx and Cormac McCarthy” — Blue Ink Review
“Archuleta’s collection offers poignant and hopeful stories of determination in the face of need. Thoroughly engaging…narrated with passion and eloquence…” — The Clarion Review
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In 1965, the West Texas Sportswriters Group decided to do a ten-year anniversary feature article on high school basketball and sent reporters out to interview members of championship teams. One reporter caught up with Sue Ann at her place of employment, The Lone Star Café.
REPORTER: Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for what we are calling “The Championship Season.” Before we get started on the season and the tournaments, I would like to ask you a few questions for the personal interest portion of the article.
SUE ANN: OK.
Tell me a little about your background. Like, where were you raised, and do you have any brothers and sisters?
I was raised right here in the Valley on a cattle ranch. Four brothers, three sisters.
Are you still living on the ranch?
No. When Daddy died, we sold the ranch because only half of us wanted to keep ranching, and a section would only support six or seven head of cattle, so it wasn’t enough to make a living for all of us.
Thank you. I was out here last week during the rodeo, but they told me that you were over in Sierra Blanca at the magistrate court. Mind telling me what that was about?
Uh-huh. Will you be putting this in your newspaper?
Not if you don’t want me to.
I don’t. It was like this. We were having a beer at the Cotton Club, celebrating my boyfriend winning the ‘doggin’ event when….
Bulldogging. Anyway, one of the calf ropers was pestering me for a dance. I had told him no three or four times, but then he came over and put his hands on my … that is, he touched me where I didn’t want to be touched. I had put up with his tacky behavior, ‘bout what you’d expect from a roper, but he crossed the line when he put his hands on me. So, I hit him.
They tell me that they had to take him to the hospital in El Paso.
That’s about right. Anyway, Etienne, that’s our deputy, gave his report to the judge and they let me go.
I see. Now before you take me back to the “Championship Season” and tell me about the awards you won, do you have any questions for me?
I do. If you know any of the big shots down in Austin, would you see if you can get them to change the rules in girl’s high school basketball? It’s silly to break the game down into two separate halves, with guards on one side and forwards on the other. We can damn sure play full court basketball just like the boys. Sorry, but that’s always stuck in my craw.
Yes. A good idea. Now will you take me back to the winning season and tell me and our readers what it was like?
I would like that.
The author was raised in far West Texas and five generations of his family are in their final resting place there. His great-grandfather is buried in Concordia Cemetery in El Paso within spitting distance of the grave of John Wesley Hardin.
You can connect with him on:
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