l was invited by Sarah Ramos and Dr. Ray Buchanan to give another cactus presentation on February 27 in Marble Falls, this time to the Texas Tech OLLI Education Program-Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which has an office in Marble Falls and Fredericksburg as well as Lubbock. Dr. Buchanan asked that I talk about succulents native to Texas, the difference in cactus and succulents, and a few other questions.

But wait, there’s more! To the trip, that is.

When Muleshoe lost Magann Rennels on February 4, I was contacted by Linda Mulkey who grew up in Muleshoe, graduated from MHS in 1980 and was neighbors and friends with the Rennels family. Linda had come across the story I wrote about Magann on the Internet.  Since she knew many other people in Muleshoe, having grown up here, she wanted a copy of The Bright Lights of Muleshoe which has the story I wrote about Magann. Long story short, it was decided she could be my guest to the talk and buy a copy of both my books. She lives close to Bandera, so it was an easy drive to Marble Falls to meet me and go home with the books.

So, off I went on Monday, February 26, to do the powerpoint presentation on Tuesday, February 27, and meet Linda. I addressed the topics requested and the audience, both in person and following on Zoom, asked good questions, and we had a good time discussing the fact that Texas has many native succulent plants like agaves and yuccas, but not the cute little fleshy plants they tended to have in mind!  Those chubby succulents are native to Mexico, South Africa, and other places other than Texas. One fact I shared with them was that cactus are native only to the Americas, a huge number of them native to Texas,but succulent plants can be found all over the world. But my presentation did end with the one fleshy succulent, Echeveria strictiflora, that right before I left for the talk I discovered is actually native to Texas. This species is found in a few very scattered areas on the Texas/Mexico border, but Texas can claim it.

Photo courtesy of Woody Minnich

Dr. Ray Buchanan, the man who had asked me to do the talk, treated Linda and me to lunch, and we all had a wonderful lunch and good conversation. He took us back to the site of the talk and our cars and bid us goodbye. But Linda and I continued the conversation, this time about what and who we had in common in Muleshoe. The longer we talked, the longer that list became. The small world concept overtook us as we discovered that her good friend Terrie Smith also cut my hair; we had common friends in the Rennels family, we both like prairie dogs, she sang the praises of my fellow teacher and friend Kerry Moore, she was friends with the Leals, and odds and ends of other connections. But the best one came out when I asked her what her maiden name was. She said Nowlin; I asked who her dad was, and when she said Joel, I told her his Nowlin Construction Company helped build our house! And I taught her younger step-brother Donny who is Caroline’s age. How cool is that?! She bought a copy of both my books so she could read and remember more things about her hometown and the people she knew.

Giving the talk and then meeting Linda made this quite a trip!

I left Muleshoe amid dirt and precious little green showing: then I see bluebonnets all over Marble Falls!

And then after I get home on Wednesday, February 28, the very next day, February 29, this was the color of everything in Muleshoe!

Welcome to February in Muleshoe. But the trip was fun, the talk was successful and interesting, and I made a new friend.

What a deal!