I picked up the last copy in the TCU bookstore of The Big Rich, the book that everyone in Texas is reading. One woman in her late 70s in the oil business was staying up in the wee hours to finish it. The story of the big oil fortunes and the people who built, maintained and increased or lost them over time is so interesting that my husband wanted me to read it out loud on the drive back to Santa Fe which I did, for six hours (or so it seemed). I finished it last night and he stole it this morning to read the parts he missed.
There is so much about Texas that is bigger than life, mythical and for my husband, it is a history of his state where he is a sixth-generation Texan. My family has roots in the oil business -- my father was born into the Texas oil business -- and for anyone interested in investments, it is a tale of riches. The tales of the west were entertaining to those in the East, but the oil fortunes signaled a shift that the East was not all-powerful. A couple of weeks ago I attended the Fort Worth Symphony in Bass Hall, a facility built with monies that were built from original oil fortunes of the Big Rich.
We were in Oklahoma in the 80s when everyone seemed to be a petroleum geologist or landman and everything in that state hinges on the oil economy. My husband in business school studied the silver investment fiasco of the Dallas Hunt brothers as it unfolded, a story also included in the book. When I was in Austin last week touring the capitol as the legislature was in session and being with friends and family, I was reminded of the importance of oil to education with the Santa Rita pump jack sitting on the U.T. campus.
When we lived in Houston the money was flowing from commerce and shipping and the flashy rich in Atlanta included the new hip-hop money. Then, in Manhattan it was hedge funds and private equity in a city that was basically built on commerce and where Wall Street ruled - at least when I was there. Money and how it is made is interesting fodder.
Anyway, I'm a little hoarse today in a little city that sits at the End of the Santa Fe Trail, a place that once was a center of trade. Big Riches.