Books Matter: Rick Tullis

March is National Reading Month, a whole month designated to encouraging Americans – and by extension Wacoans – to read! The Act Locally Waco blog is beating the drum for National Reading Month by hosting a blog series throughout the month of March, called “Books Matter.” Every day throughout March we will be sharing a post about a Waco resident and a book that matters to him/her.  Thank you to students from the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and professor Amber Adamson for help with this fun project.  To read all the blog posts so far, click here

By Cole Grafton

Books have the ability to change the way the reader sees the world. For Rick Tullis, “Goodbye to a River” by John Graves helped him connect with nature and the world around him. 

Tullis is the president of Capstone Mechanical, a local engineering and construction company. 

“‘Goodbye to a River’ appealed to me because it’s about Texas rivers,” Tullis said. “I love rivers and love being around them or on them, and so that’s what attracted me to go and read the book.”

Tullis explained that the book was an autobiography of John Graves’ two week trip down the Brazos River, where he had spent many of his summers growing up. 

“They were installing lots of dams along the river, and there were several other ones proposed at the time. So he said, ‘OK one last chance, I’m going to get in the canoe and float down the river,” Tullis said. “And he’s a great storyteller, so his book is not only about his journey down the river, but he tells kind of the history of the different parts along the way.”

Tullis then explained how the book reminded him of his own life and experiences that are similar to the adventures described by Graves. 

“This book matters to me because I’ve got a little farm on the middle Bosque which flows into the Brazos, where he was. And 20 years ago with a friend of mine, I kayaked from Crawford down to Lake Waco, and it was just totally awesome,” Tullis said. “I felt like I was in a totally different part of the country. It was so beautiful.”

The similarities between the lives of Tullis and Graves have helped Tullis to see the river in a new perspective, and to better appreciate Graves’ trip down the Brazos. 

“I connect with the way he sees the life on the river and … the connection to history, but also to the animals, and the plants and the life that a river brings to an area,” Tullis said. “And so I get it. I see that whenever I go out to the river myself, and I can really connect with how the author views those things.”