When my great-great-Chickasaw-Choctaw grandmother Margaret Delitha Ralph crossed the Red River by covered wagon into Texas she was only 14.
Born in Arkansas just five days after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Margaret settled in central Texas near Brady Creek.
She married a cowboy, James Morgan, who spent most of his days on the Western and Chisholm cattle trails between Mexico and Kansas. Often he herded Brady area ranch livestock to markets up north.
The community of about 50 became a township, Brady City, with a new post office and general store when she first arrived.
By the time both of my maternal grandparents, aunt, uncle and mother were born in “The Heart of Texas,” in or near the city, it was shortened to “Brady.”
In honor of our cowboy ancestor and family who lived in the area, my youngest son was named Brady Morgan Dennis.
One of the favorite side dishes during family gatherings and holiday meals was black bean salad. Depending on who made it, the different variations were placed on the table with names such as “Texas Caviar,” “Southwestern Salad,” and even “Gringo Mexican Salad.”
In tribute to Brady Dennis and his family, we call this recipe “Brady Black Bean Salad.”
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 diced red onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lime zested and then juiced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 Hass avocados, chopped
Combine all ingredients except for avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight.
Right before serving, (to prevent from turning dark) add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.
DON’T FORGET TO DRAIN AND RINSE THE BEANS
Raised in San Antonio, Jack Dennis’ early experiences were as a newspaper reporter and private investigator. With a Texas State University bachelor’s degree, Jack studied journalism, education and psychology. He was the founding vice-president of Sigma Delta Chi, the Association of Professional Journalists at the University. Jack has received numerous awards, including Investigative Reporter of the Year from Rocky Mountain Press Association, David Ashworth Community Award, and Leadership in Management.
Some of the people and groups Jack has interviewed include:
Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, George Strait, Roy Orbison, Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Jackson Browne, Steve Wariner, Tanya Tucker, Scotty Moore, Fats Domino, Patty Page, Tommy Roe, Emmy Lou Harris, Johnny Rivers, Charly McClain, Kinky Friedman, John McFee, Guy Allison & Patrick Simmons (Doobie Brothers) , Randy Bachman (BTO), Jim Messina, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Lee, Gary Puckett, The Ventures, Freddy Cannon, Augie Meyer, Christopher Cross, Whiskey Myers, Sha Na Na (John “Bowzer” Baumann), Flash Cadillac, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkinson, Darrell McCall, and more.
Politicians & News
George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Lady Bird Johnson, Greg Abbott, Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Jack Anderson, Tom Bradley, Connie Mack, and more.
Clint Eastwood, Mike Myers, Taylor Lautner, Cameron Diaz, Jerry Lewis, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Selena Gomez, Tippi Hedren, James Earl Jones, James Woods, Jim Nabors, Martha Raye, Rosalind Russell, June Lockhart, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Howie Mandel, Meg Ryan, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, James Drury, Melanie Griffith, Nathan Lane, Alan Thicke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clint Howard, Tony Sirico, Cesar Romero, Michael Berryman, Tracy Scoggins, William Windom, Warren Stevens and more.
Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Wally Schirra, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Walt Cunningham, Scott Carpenter, Gene Kranz (NASA Flight Director), Ed Mitchell, Richard Gordon, Bruce McCandless, Vanentina Treshkova (first woman in space, Russia), Alex Leonov (first man to walk in space, Russian), Al Worden, Dee O’Hara (nurse to astronauts) and more.
Sports: Joe Torre, Roger Staubach, Bob Hayes, Billie Jean King, Manuela Maleeva, Drew Pearson, Bob Lilly, Tim Duncan, David Robinson, George Gervin, Tony Parker, Shannon Miller, Cathy Rigby, Bruce Bowen, Wade Boggs, Fernando Valenzuela, Bernie Kosar, Dale Murphy, Jim Abbott, Dick Bartell, Mike Schmidt, Dan Pastorini and more.
May Pang, Bob Eubanks, Vernon Presley, Vester Presley, Charlie Hodge, Joe Esposito, Rick Stanley (Elvis’ step-brother, Harold Lloyd (Elvis’ first cousin), Doyle Brunson, Kara Peller, Hank Meijer, Norman Brinkler, Stanley Marcus, Jerry King, Mac King, Nathan Burton, Zach Anner, Louie Anderson, Owen Benjamin, Steve Byrne and more.
As head of Facilities for a major retailer (H-E-B Food/Drugs) for 20 years, Jack co-founded Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association (PRSM) and was elected President to establish PRSM magazine. Jack is a writer, speaker, golf-concierge and happiness coach. He has researched and studied happiness for over 40 years.
Jack was a prolific writer for Examiner.com, with over 1,900 articles written in six years. His articles and stories have appeared in AXS Entertainment, The ROWDY Country Music, Memphis Flash, and numerous magazines.
He is author of “Miracles of Justice,” a true courtroom drama novel about social injustice and miracles.