Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The Most Famous Relative On My Father's Side Of The Family...(on the left)

is C. Norris Poulson born in Baker County, Oregon on July 23, 1895, he died on September 25, 1982. Sadly, like my great uncle J.D. Jernigin Jr., I never got to meet him. Norris and my grandfather on my fathers side were 1st cousins. I guess that would make him my 3rd cousin. His father and my grandfather's father were brothers. Norris became a Certified Public Accountant after attending Southwestern University School Of Law which also had a business school. In 1938, he was elected to the 56th District seat of the California assembly. He then served a total of eight years as a United States Congressman before serving eight years as the mayor of Los Angeles. When he left the U.S. Congress, he was the chairman of the Interior and Insular Affairs committee. While mayor of Los Angeles, he lead the fight against Arizona over Colorado River water. During his eight years as mayor, Los Angeles became the third largest city in the United States, Norris was instrumental in leading the construction of the Los Angeles International Airport, expanding the Los Angeles Harbor and, most notably, luring major league baseball's Brooklyn Dodger's westward to Los Angeles. He also worked with Walter O'Malley to bring about the building of Dodger Stadium. The most memorable moment of his mayoral career came in September, 1959 when he embarrassed Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev during a public ceremony. The comments came after Khrushchev had constantly touted Russian superiority during his tour of the city by Poulson. Citing Khrushchev's comment, "We will bury you," Norris responded, "You shall not bury us and we shall not bury you. We tell you in the friendliest terms possible we are planning no funerals, yours or our own." Norris received over 3,600 letters following the incident, many of them praising him for his comments. Norris Poulson was friends with U.S. presidents, congressmen and senators as well as many of the biggest Hollywood celebrities of his time. On many occasions growing up, I remember being at my grandparents home when Norris would call and talk for an extended period of time with my grandfather catching up on their lives and families.


The Most Famous Relative On My Mother's Side Of The Family ...(2nd from right)

is Jefferson Davis "Duke" Jernigin. He was an aviation pioneer. He was born in Commerce, TX on June 14, 1898 and died on August 9, 1965 when I was six years old. Sadly I never got to meet him. He was a younger brother to my mother's father. He was her uncle and I guess that would make him my great uncle. When my mother was nine years old, she opened up the funny papers on Sunday, December 24, 1939 and found America's Greatest- Hall Of Fame Of The Air dedicated to her uncle J.D. Jernigin. She learned he was taught to fly in France during the World War. Later he graduated from an English flying school before joining an American Flying Squadron patrolling for German submarines. After the war, he was an army flying instructor and was a barn stormer for six years before becoming a flying salesman and later sales manager for Texaco. He was one of the first pilots to experiment taking off from a runway built out of wood across the gun turrets of a battleship! He is most well known for piloting the Waco bi plane, "Texaco Seven" that towed a glider, the"Texaco Eaglet" piloted by famous pilot Frank Hawks across the country from California to New York in the spring of 1930. The glider is now proudly displayed in the Smithsonian Institute Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. Both of these aircraft have been reproduced in die cast form in the Wings of Texaco series which I proudly own. My aunt and mother remember J.D. and his beautiful wife coming to visit when they were young with their two small terrier dogs named Scotch and Soda. J.D. was a man of the world, he ran away from home when he was 15 yrs old seeking adventure. I have found his name on a list of passengers of Orphan Trains which is an interesting part of American History. He had a loving father and mother back home in Commerce, TX who no doubt were worried about their young son. Great Uncle indeed, Rest In Peace J.D.


Kids Say And Do The Darndest Things

Years ago, when my son was in his terrible two's stage of development, we were living temporarily in an apartment in Tyler, TX. During that time in my life, I was really big into deer hunting and it was not unusual for me to put a deer hunting video in the VCR. My son enjoyed watching these and I looked forward to the day he would go out in the field with me. One night during the early days of Desert Storm, I had gone home after work and was sitting in the recliner watching the CNN live reports of the war. My wife was in the kitchen preparing dinner and my son was ambling about between me and the kitchen. I was engrossed in watching the news of A-10 Warthogs blowing up Iraqi tanks when suddenly I heard my wife scream at the top of her lungs "Frank Richard...What Are You Doing!" I jumped up and ran towards the kitchen and saw my son happily sitting on the floor holding a big squeeze bottle of Hershey's Chocolate Syrup. He had emptied half of the bottle onto the carpet and was rubbing it in for all he was worth. He looked up startled and pronounced as proudly as could be "I'm makin a "deea-scwape."


Started A Blog Log On MY Sidebar Today

Started a blog roll today. I noticed the other day that GuyK put Dudleys diary on his blog roll. I was honored to discover that another blogger, especially one of my favorite ones, honored me so. So I am returning the favor. In addition to Charming Just Charming, I have been greatly inspired by Grouchy Old Cripple as well as the late great Acidman whose blog will never be equalled. I also enjoy reading this blog even though my teenage daughter says his blog is "Gross." This fine lady has visited my blog, she is amazing to me, a grandmother who likes to hunt deer. This guy has also viewed my blog as well as this guy who probably does not know that for 15 years, I dreamed, lived and breathed Trophy Whitetail Deer Hunting. I don't get to hunt much any more due to my disability. I want to thank all of the bloggers that have paid my blog a visit. I will be adding others to my blog log as time goes by.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Back in 1988 we vacationed in Colorado, this was before we had kids but not much before. I suspect our first child was conceived on this trip at the ski lodge we were staying at in Purgatory. Scary thought isn't it. We booked a trip in the middle of May which was way too early. It was still colder than a well diggers ass up there and it was snowing and sleeting. There wasn't much else to do although we did manage to take a trip on the Durango & Silverton railroad. We bought the most expensive tickets and were rewarded with two seats in the exclusive Parlor Car. This is a restored turn of the century private car with food and drink and a waitstaff to serve you. The car was beautifully appointed with ornate wood and carpets and splendid furnishings. You could step out the back onto the private "back porch" at the very end of the train. The scenery was spectacular. The train runs alongside the Animas River and climbs way up into the San Juan Mountains. You layover in Silverton which is an old gold mining town way up on the mountain. Of all of the train trips we have been on (and we have been on quite a few) this one tops them all.


My Daughter Is Grooming The Dog Today

She bought some electric clippers last night and is doing her best to give Foxy a hair cut. She is making progress but it is slow. She may decide spending $60.00 at the groomers is not so bad after all. It is starting to get hot down here in Texas and she needs to lose a couple of pounds of that excess hair. She is an American Eskimo we got from a rescue organization. She is a sweet dog. Wish us luck, when Lizzie gets through we may have to change the dogs name to Seymour.


Hill Country Flyer Cedar Park to Burnet TX And Back

Some years ago, my wife and the kids and I rode the Hill Country Flyer. It makes a run north of Austin through the beautiful Texas Hill Country. When we left Cedar Park, the train was being pulled by a Southern Pacific steam engine. I don't remember if it was on the first leg of the trip our the return but the steam engine came to a gradual stop with a major mechanical breakdown. We had a delay while we waited for a diesel locomotive to come to the rescue. It was hot sitting there but they compensated by giving everyone all the free cold drinks they wanted. Soon they had replaced the steam engine with the more modern locomotive and we completed our trip. The train is currently operating with diesel power. The old steam engine is out of state getting a complete overhaul from top to bottom and I am sure upon return will be better than new. I remember Burnet has a funny slogan because people tend to mispronounce the name of the town. Every where you look you see the following... "ITS BURNIT DURNIT." This train had a starring role in one of my favorite movies, The Newton Boys. I urge you to see it if you have not already done so. It is a fantastic movie based on a true Texas story.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Texas State Railroad Between Rusk and Palestine Texas

One of the best tourist trains anywhere is the Texas State railroad. This was built in the late 1800's by convicts from a prison located in Rusk, TX. It was used to supply the prison foundry for a number of years and to haul iron ore, timber and the like. Today there is a beautiful State Park at each town with a restored depot and at the Rusk park there is a beautiful lake. We used to live in Palestine and have ridden this train many times. Years later after we had moved away, I was thrilled to watch Robbie Knievel jump a moving steam train in Palestine. I wish I could have been there to see it in person. You can not ride the train currently as a recent flood washed out a portion of the track. The train used to cross an awesome wooden bridge but since I have ridden, they appear to have replaced it with a modern concrete bridge. If you ever travel to East Texas you should make plans to visit and ride the Texas State Railroad.


Another Grand Depot In San Antonio I.&G.N. International & Great Northern Railroad

This depot was built in 1906 and I stumbled upon it by accident years ago. This was when the kids were little. We took my in laws with us on a Texas Hill Country vacation and took the kids to Sea World and Fiesta Texas. We were down town and I had dropped them off somewhere and was driving around and drove up on this grand structure. When I saw it I thought this had to be an old depot. I inquired and was delighted to find out I was correct. This was the old I.&G.N. depot. This is the old line that ran through Palestine, TX where we used to live which I will describe in a post some other time. Getting back to the I. & G.N. Railroad, this depot is as majestic inside and out as the S.P. "Sunset" depot but I especially like the Indian Warrior on top of the dome shooting his bow and arrow. It doesn't get much neater than that.


Texan Dining Train San Antonio To Hondo And Back

Back in the late 80's the wife and I went to San Antonio Texas for the main purpose of riding this train. It was like a trip back in time to the 1940's or 1950's. The trip started from the beautiful Southern Pacific "Sunset" Depot. I remember being impressed walking up to the huge expansive building and then walking inside and being awestruck by the view up the grand staircase up to the beautiful stained glass window. I could only imagine the steam engines and stream liners and the multitudes of people who passed this way before me. We had dressed up for the occasion but not nearly as much as some of our fellow passengers. there were men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns. We sat down at a table covered by the finest linen table cloth. the table was decorated with a crystal vase with fresh cut flowers. I remember the excitement when the conductor shouted "all aboard" and when the stream liner dining train pulled from the station. I remember looking out the window as we went through some of the roughest neighborhoods in San Antonio, then the city gave way to the wide open country side, the scenic Texas Hill Country. The dinner was served on fine china as we sipped wine from crystal wine glasses and ate our meal using the finest antique silverware. San Antonio's best chef must have been on the train that night. I remember pulling into the depot at Hondo, Texas. This town plays a significant part in one of my favorite movies, "The Newton Boys." If you have not seen this movie, do yourself a favor and see it soon. The train turned around and returned to San Antonio. We were all a little sad as the train pulled up to the depot in San Antonio as we did not want the experience to end.


Southern Pacific "Sunset Depot" San Antonio, Texas The Pictures Speak For Themselves

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