Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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August 1, 2013

Goodbye to a legend

John Graves dies at 92

(Continued)

Price said Graves “took the [1957] float trip after the drought broke, after seven years. Before that, the river was all potholes. You could [ruin] the bottom out of a boat, dragging it from pothole to pothole.”

“John Graves is blessed with vivid description. If you’ve ever floated the river, you’ll have no trouble following his narrative, because he makes it so vivid.

“As far as I’m concerned, his book is the ‘Bible’ for an outdoor lover who wants to know about the core values of the Brazos River watershed in Palo Pinto County,” said Price.

“When Graves’ book came out, a lot of locals read it. I’ve read it five times,” Price said. “I wrote him about that and he said it was one of the best compliments he’d ever had.”

Price tried, but he was never able to get in Graves’ Advanced Creative Writing class at Texas Christian University.

“We met on numerous occasions,” recalled Price, who also wrote Graves. “Every time I wrote him, he replied in a hand-written letter … which I treasure.”

“He impressed everybody with his modesty,” he added.

Even today, among Price’s peers, he said, “Graves’ name is still referred to and chapters cited among people who like to read serious history of the upper Brazos country.”

“He made enough royalty out of his book to buy and pay for 400 acres of land near Glen Rose. It was rough land and he ran goats on it, because it couldn’t support anything else,” explained Price.

Graves called his home Hard Scrabble, which was also the name of one of his books. In addition to “Goodbye to a River,” he wrote “Hard Scrabble: Observations on a Patch of Land” in 1974 and “From a Limestone Ledge” in 1980. The books became known as his “Brazos Trilogy.”

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