Tartan Twang by Sandy Devers
Hello ! ( Or howdy , y ’ all !) You might remember me from the summer edition of the Cenizo Journal . I ’ m the guy from Scotland who told the story about cycling across the U . S . and being stuck in Far West Texas for a few days , meeting a range of interesting and beautifully weird people , enjoying the magnificent landscapes and generally , letting the outside world go by , while experiencing everything that Far West Texas had to offer .
I often recall my stay in the Big Bend . After an overnight stop in Marfa , meeting new friends , playing soccer and drinking too much , it was rhythmic pedal pounding to Marathon . Being stuck there with bike problems turned out to be the most beautiful thing for me . I was just hanging out , surrounded by curious , kind people who were scratching their heads and trying to work out ways to get me back on the road . It really was something to behold . I was informed at an early stage that it wasn ’ t uncommon for people to be stuck in Marathon with mechanical problems , and once that happened , that was them stuck there for life . In fact , it appeared that to the locals , my un-scheduled stay was a source of amusement and perhaps even good-natured schadenfreude . Marathon , it seemed , was like the Hotel California . I could check out , but I could never leave .
Throughout my life , it ’ s random situations like that which have brought a little bit of magic into my world . People seem to come along when you least expect it and quite often , they sprinkle some nice fairy
dust all over the place . I guess I ’ ve been lucky over the years and on this latest occasion , the amount of dust being sprinkled could easily have left me with a sneezing fit .
That cycling trip was truly the experience of a lifetime and these long days on the road offered plenty of time for reflection on life thus far , life to come and , of course , it gave the opportunity to introduce myself to a huge variety of people and wildlife along the way .
Well now , let ’ s get up to date . There ’ s been a development . I ’ m a musician and if you read my last feature here , you may recall that I had my bagpipes in tow . After my trip came to an end and I was back in Scotland , I continued to link with my new friends here in Texas , with a view to starting exchange programmes for Scottish and Texan musicians . In just a matter of months , ‘ Tartan Twang ’ was born . In November of 2022 , we brought three music students over from Glasgow , Scotland , for eight days touring beautiful Far West Texas , based mainly in Marathon . They were joined by a young musician from Austin , and together we performed in community venues , including libraries in Alpine and Fort Davis , as well as schools in Marathon and Terlingua . The ninety-minute shows included music , stories and traditional Scottish dance . There was even a trip into Mexico at the Boquillas crossing and two nights on a large ranch , where there was plenty of jammin ’ and an opportunity to explore the wonderful landscape on offer .
So , for a few days , the skirl of the bagpipes could once again be heard
12 Cenizo Winter 2023