By: W.F. Strong
About a month ago, my son went off to college with my Jeep, and I needed to get another vehicle. I had been truckless for a few years – a rare condition in my life – and I decided I wanted to fix that right away.
For a long time, I had wanted a King Ranch Edition Ford pickup, with those fine leather seats, carrying the classic brand of the ranch I hunted on as boy. So now, I had the chance – and the reason – to buy one. With two kids in college, it was no time to splurge on a new one, but I thought I might find a previously-owned truck that would satisfy my longing.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was able to search for just what I wanted: a one-owner vehicle in near-mint condition being sold by an owner who had elaborate maintenance records and a pristine Carfax report. I found what I was looking for in San Antonio, 300 miles from where I live down in the Valley. So I contacted the owner and we made a gentleman’s agreement as to price over the phone, and I headed up to look at it.
I loved it – beautiful truck, dark brown with tan trim. Meticulously maintained. I said, “Let’s do it.” So, he pulled out the title to begin the paperwork and I was surprised to see that his name was William B. Travis. I said, “I guess you know, you’re kind of famous.” He said, “Yes, I do have a famous name. And I have the whole name, too. I’m William Barrett Travis and I’m also a descendant.”
I was astounded by the coincidence. I thought, “Here I am, a specialist in Texas lore and legend, about to buy a King Ranch pickup from a descendant of the commander of the Alamo, and he still lives in San Antonio. How cool is that?” In the favorite word of my teenage son, “Awesome!”
We finished up the paperwork and payment, and he walked me out and gave me a detailed tour of all the unique features of the truck and directions on how to get back to the expressway to head home. I could tell he was a little sad to let go of the pickup. They’d had many good years together. I said, “I promise I’ll take good care of her.” So, I drove my new truck (new to me, anyway) back to the Valley.
It was good to be riding high in the saddle once more, driving into a blustery coastal wind without breaking a sweat. In fact, I drove my King Ranch Edition pickup with its Alamo lineage, back through the actual King Ranch, while eating a Whataburger and listening to Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again.” I have just have one thing to say: “Out-Texas Me That!”
The only thing that would have made it better is if a Southwest Airlines jet had done a flyby at 200 feet and given me a wing salute.
This article was edited for broadcast by Texas Standard producers for the Texas Standard radio program on Apple podcast