At the LBJ Ranch, outside of Johnson City in the Hill Country, where Johnson was born and died, everything is being restored to the way it was during his presidency. After his retirement, he liked to show visitors around himself, like a docent of his own life. He would recall how he used to sit on the porch of that beloved house, or by the fireplace in winter, listening to his granddaddy’s yarns about driving cattle along the Chisholm Trail.
As the brochure says, the "myths and realities of…Johnson’s frontier heritage helped shape both his life and what was written about him." Myths is right. That much-loved house was actually a reconstruction with new furniture. LBJ, the cattle rancher rooted in his boots and Stetson, was a stagey character. Here, too, one felt, listening to the rush of the Pedernales River, that history had blurred with legend, visible only through a haze of nostalgia.