Maverick Mystery Tour
By Gene Fowler
Texans invented the maverick. The term probably entered the American lexicon on the state’s coastal plain in the mid-19th Century, when Samuel A. Maverick allowed his cattle to roam free and unbranded. Because of this, all unmarked strays found in the area were generally described as “one of Maverick’s.” The name stuck. In time, explains David Dary in The New Handbook of Texas, “the term maverick came to refer to any creature, human or otherwise, that goes its own way rather than acting as part of a group or herd.” The word’s application may have expanded beyond its original Old West context, but it’s still the best definition I’ve seen of the
There’s a little bit of maverick in every Texan. Some, like the folks gathered on these pages, savored the state’s quirky “sense of place” with such gusto that they in-habited that cultural niche of the American psyche known as the “eccentric Texan.” Many of the more inscrutable mavericks strike me as folk artists whose delightfully unusual endeavors can be seen as a form of performance art. They viewed life in the
From the January 2008 issue.