Friday, August 31, 2007


I Was Working In Deep East Texas Years Ago When ...

I went back in the woods to the home of a poor old black woman that had been injured in an automobile accident. When I pulled up to the small shotgun shack of a house, I was greeted by a man who was standing out in the front yard occupied with skinning a big old raccoon that was hanging from a branch of a tree. I talked to him for a few minutes and asked him if he had trapped the animal and he advised "No Sir, I Gots Him Up On The Rode." I soon went in the house and met the grandmother and let her know I would work out a fair settlement of her injury claim when she was ready. I was talking to her for a good little bit and her grandson came in and I talked to him some more and he told me they were fixing to have lunch and would have some fried raccoon ready and some turnip greens real soon. He invited me to stay and eat lunch. I thanked them but advised I had another appointment and could not be late or I would love to stay. I did not have the heart to tell him that Road Kill Raccoon did not sound very appetizing.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


The House Next Door To Us Is Getting Flipped

Yesterday I watched two guys backing a 2 wd pickup across the front yard and they started yanking all of the shrubs out with a tow strap. I asked if they were getting paid to do that and they said yes. I told them I knew an 18 year old kid that would do it for free. I then said he would probably pay you to let him pull them out with his 4 wd pickup. They laughed and said a group of investors had recently purchased the home and they were doing a complete make over. I am glad to see something happen with the property. The house was owned by a nearby church and was their parsonage. The longtime resident preacher died about two years ago. The church let his widow live there for about a year then they gave her the boot. She told my wife she tried to buy the house but that they wanted too much for it. The home has been vacant for the last year. The church was not taking care of the home. We have had a wet spring and summer and they were not mowing the yard. The weeds got to be six feet tall in the back yard and at times three or four feet tall in the front. I think the house needs to have the kitchen and bath rooms redone. Some new floor coverings and new paint. The guy told me they are going to put on a new roof next week. After all that is done it will be good as new. This will be good for the neighborhood. I hope we get some good neighbors.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


My Tax Dollars At Work At A Small Park Near ...

my home. There is a nice little park about one and one half acres in size near where I live that was donated by a deceased resident. They have a swing set for the kids and a bunch of trees and a nice little creek that bisects the park. There is a sharp bend in the creek in the middle of the park and it causes the water to back up the creek when ever we have a really heavy rain. The water has been known to get out of the creek bank and to cause minor flood damage to a few homes along the creek. The city is now in the middle of a flood control project to "fix" this problem. They are going through all of the small creeks with bull dozers and back hoes and are knocking down all of the brush and beautiful mature trees, leaving a bare ugly ditch. They will probably line the former creeks with concrete. I am concerned this will cause all of the run off to go immediately into the large creek located less than 100 yards from my home causing it to go out of its banks. If this happens several hundred homes will receive heavy flood damage. I am more fortunate than most, my home is built up on a pier and beam foundation a few feet above the ground. Most of my neighbors homes are built on concrete slabs at ground level. I have flood insurance but I would prefer not to ever have to use it. Time will tell if the city knows what they are doing. I hope they are not trading a small past problem in for a larger future one.


Anyone Remember Shakey's Pizza?

My sister called me from work today and said she and a couple of her co workers were driving themselves crazy trying to remember the name of the pizza parlor from the past where the workers wore straw hats, striped red & white vests and they had a piano and a banjo player? I thought for a few seconds and asked "Shakey's?" and she shouted "Shakey's" to their combined relief. I then reminded her we used to eat at the one behind Treasure City in Wichita Falls when we were little kids. She did not remember the one in WF but remembered one after we moved to Fort Worth. From what I remember the pizza was pretty good as was the entertainment. After we moved to Cowtown, my favorite place to eat pizza was the Pizza Hut on stilts on W. Berry St. near the TCU campus. Sadly, like Shakeys it is now just a memory.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


When I Was A Kid One Of My Childhood Heroes Was ...

Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel, Jr or "Evel Knievel" as he was widely known. I always did like motorcycles and I remember being in awe watching him on ABC's Wide World Of Sports jumping his motorcycle vast distances at the Astrodome, Caesar's Palace and other venues. Like thousands of other boys, I built a ramp in my drive way and jumped my bike trying to emulate my hero. I crashed into my neighbors garage one day and was lucky I did not break my neck, but I survived. I remember the excitement in 1974 when he announced he was going to jump the Snake River Canyon in his Sky cycle. Myself and a few of my friends paid some of our hard earned money to go watch the historic jump live on closed circuit television. He did not make it across the canyon, some say the premature parachute release was planned. It did not matter to me. I still say he was and is the greatest dare devil of all time. I am sure Evel earned millions during his career. I think he broke just about every bone in his body at least once. From what I have read, he is paying for it now. I bet if he could turn back the clock, he would do it all again with no regrets.

Monday, August 27, 2007


It Is Official, SCHOOL HAS STARTED Ready Or Not

My son starts classes at Texas A&M this morning and my daughter is starting her sophomore year of high school. I am sure they both will have a good year. Things sure have changed a lot since I was in school. When I was a kid all you needed the first day of school was a Big Chief writing tablet and a #2 pencil. Oh and a new pair of blue jeans, a new shirt and a new pair of Keds or Converse or PF Flyers tennis shoes. I don't remember seeing armed policeman or having to worry about being shot at school. Times have sure changed and not for the better I am afraid. I saw on t.v. the other day about some company is now making bullet proof back packs for children to take to school to be used as a shield when the bullets start flying. It is a crazy world we live in now. What a shame.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


There Really Was An Owl Cigar Company Brand Cigar ...

like in the sign from the Dr Pepper museum we went to yesterday. I looked it up on Google. It was a little before my time. I found this great photo on Google Images of one of their old advertisements painted on the side of an old building in New Mexico I would guess around 1900. That is cool.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


Went By And Checked Out The Waco Suspension Bridge

I mentioned in an earlier post I liked old suspension bridges. Well I wasn't lying and this is one of my favorites. At one time this bridge was the longest (475 feet) single-span suspension bridge in the world and the first over the Brazos River. For a time it was the only bridge over the Brazos. Construction started in 1869 and the bridge opened in 1870. Being the only bridge made it a popular crossing point for cattle herds - an economic boon for Waco.The bridge was hauled in sections by wagons from Galveston. It is said to have been the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge - built thirteen years later.The cost was $130,000 and sources say there were between 2,700,000 and 3,000,000 locally made bricks used in construction. I last walked across this bridge a good fifteen years ago. It was too hot today so I did not try it. My muscular dystrophy has progressed to the point walking is more and more difficult especially for any distance. I am hoping to get a lift for my truck soon. I have a power wheel chair which would be great for times when a lot of walking is required but I currently have no way to transport it. My doctor is supposed to be working on this. When I go see him next month I am anxious to get an update from him.


Went To Waco TX Today To The Dr Pepper Museum

For those that did not know it, Dr Pepper was first made in Waco, Texas, in 1885. Wade B. Morrison, owner of Morrison's Old Corner Drug, employed a pharmacist named Charles Courtice Alderton, who, when not filling prescriptions, often served soft drinks to customers. Alderton enjoyed experimenting with various combinations of fruit extracts and sweeteners. One combination, later to become Dr Pepper, proved enormously popular with drugstore patrons. As the popularity of the beverage grew, the residents of Waco urged Morrison to name the drink. Morrison named the beverage after Dr. Charles T. Pepper, a physician and pharmacist for whom Morrison had worked in Rural Retreat, Virginia. The rest as they say is history. Dr Pepper has always been my soft drink of choice. We had a good time looking around the museum located in the old building that in the past was a Dr Pepper bottling plant. One of the neatest exhibits is an old artesian well about 25 feet deep brick lined that used to provide water for the plant. At some point the well was no longer used and all kinds of items were thrown in the old well for years until it was covered over. It was uncovered in recent times and archaeologists from Baylor University went down and excavated the old well and retrieved a lot of broken and a few unbroken Dr Pepper bottles and other artifacts. You can see an old restored drug store, an old timey soda fountain and old bottle delivery truck and a lot of other cool stuff. I have been wanting to go to this museum for years and am glad I finally did.


Took My Daughter And Her Friend Melissa To The ...

Factory Outlet Mall in Hillsboro, TX today. The high school they go to has a new dress code this year. No more t shirts. All shirts must have a collar, I guess the kids will look nicer but it sure is costing the parents a lot of money. They went to the Ralph Lauren Polo store. They had a coupon in addition to the factory discount prices but it is still expensive. I think there must be a conspiracy between the school board and the clothing manufactures. The girls were happy with their purchases and they went just in time. School starts Monday morning. I am sure they are both thrilled with the prospect of another year of high school. Truth is I think they are ready to go back. After a long summer, boredom sets in. I think both of my kids really like school a whole lot better than I did.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Gourmet Cooking At Its Finest

Last night, I cooked my own dinner. My sister and daughter went to eat lunch at my favorite Mexican food restaurant, El Fenix on Camp Bowie Boulevard. They brought me a bag of El Fenix chips and a jar of El Fenix Hot (Picante) Sauce. The recipe is simple, upon opening the bag you pour a liberal portion onto (covering) a large plate. You put the dish into the microwave on high for sixty seconds. You open the jar of sauce and get a large table spoon, remove several heaping spoon fulls, placing in a small bowl on the side. I washed this down with a glass of cold milk served in a "Ball" mason jar. There you have it. So easy, even a caveman can do it! Bon Appetit.


Took My Daughter To Her Drivers Ed Class Friday

She started taking drivers ed at the beginning of the summer. She went to Colorado mountain climbing and missed the last two classes and is making them up. Then she will start the in car driving with an instructor. She has had a learners permit most of the summer and has been driving with her mother. I taught her older brother to drive without any real problems until I started to teach him to drive the Jeep with a standard transmission. Then the fun began! In all fairness to him part of his trouble was due to the Jeep needing some major carburetor work at the time. It was prone to dying suddenly. We got through that and now he drives the Jeep like a pro. We chose the driving class for Lizzie due to her sharing some of her fathers character traits like being short on patience, and being a little high strung or at times wound up a little too tight. I think this was the best decision for the both of us. On the way there she went in and paid for gas and put it in the tank for her disabled father. She is a big help to me and I really appreciate it.


Another Great Drive In Bites The Dust!

Check out Ace Jackalope for a sad story and some great pictures of another victim of "progress." I just love places like this. Sadly they are disappearing at an alarming rate and are getting harder and harder to find and enjoy. Check out the archives of his blog. It is one of my favorites. The photography is second to none. He has been to a lot of great places up and down what is left of old Route 66, this is a fantastic site!


Something's Happening!

Many years ago, the wife and I were vacationing in Colorado and had taken a day trip to Central City, an old mining town. We were walking down the sidewalk, it was a beautiful summer day. It was fairly quiet and suddenly we saw a line of cars rounding a corner and drive slowly down the street in front of us. These were not just any cars. In the caravan, were Bentley's, Rolls Royce, Ferrari's, Jaguars, and a multitude of Cadillac and Lincoln stretch limousines. The vehicles, many of them chauffeur driven, pulled up in front of an old building just down the street. My wife became very excited and exclaimed "SOMETHINGS HAPPENING!" We watched as droves of ladies of every description, young and old, tall and short, fat and skinny went inside. But they all had one thing in common, they were all dressed like they were going to Cinderella's Ball. I asked one of the drivers what was going on? He said the two words guaranteed to drive a woman a little crazy... "FASHION SHOW." It seemed all of Denver's elite high society had gathered for the event, a Geoffrey Beene fashion show. We no doubt were looking at heiresses to fortunes in Colorado, Gold, Silver, Copper, Oil, Timber and Beer to name a few. I wish I could have gotten my wife an invitation. To this day, when ever my wife and I are out and about and we see a parade or a gathering of people, I look at my wife and say "SOMETHINGS HAPPENING!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


In The Summer Of 1994, We Went To South Carolina

The kids were little and we took my in laws along on this trip. My wife is always ready to go to the beach. The main reason I chose Myrtle Beach for our destination was its close proximity to the colonial era, Hampton Plantation, ancestral home of Archibald Rutledge, South Carolina poet laureate. Thanks to Jim Casada who had edited several books compiling the best hunting stories written by my favorite author, I had a strong yearning to go see for my self this hallowed hunting ground. I had spent so many hours happily reading about the past hunting exploits of ol Archibald. One afternoon, my son and the girls went on a bio/eco tour of the low country and my father in law, the man that taught me how to deer hunt and I snuck away for a trip to Hampton Plantation State Park. I remember driving down the lane as the great white southern mansion came into view through the spanish moss hanging down from the majestic live oaks. I was in awe of its size and beauty. We toured the home inside and out. I saw Wambaw Creek, the Santee River, the old rice fields and many of the places I had read about. We saw the great Washington Oak that the first president of this country had saved from the axe on a visit to Hampton back in the late 1700's. We visited Archibald's grave site near the house and I silently paid my respects to this great man. All too quickly, it was time to leave. I am a richer man for having seen what before I had only read about. That night back at the hotel, we took my five year old son down on the beach after dark and went "crabbing." It was a lot like hunting for deer, we came back later with a bucket with two big blue crabs inside. I think Archibald would have been proud.


Paradise Lost-Trip To Cancun Mexico, December 1991

Back in 1991, I was working for a large Insurance Company. My wife was employed for two of this same companies leading agents, I worked in the claim department. There was a contest for claim department employees to win an all expense trip for two to Cancun, Mexico. The lucky winner and his wife were preparing to go on the trip when their young child was stricken with Chicken Pox. They announced they were not going to be able to go. They had another drawing and my name was drawn. My two year old son had recently had the Chicken Pox but was sufficiently recovered that we could go on the trip. It was about two weeks before Christmas. The wife and I arrived in Cancun and we walked on the beach the first day and I was excited at my plans to go para sailing the following afternoon. We got up early the next morning and ate breakfast and went to an Outdoor Market and enjoyed checking out all the shops and merchandise. I was proud of a switchblade knife I purchased. We ate lunch at a little Cafe and went back to the Marriott for a nap before I went on my para sailing adventure. I woke up from my nap and sat up and remember feeling dizzy. I could feel a big knot swelling up on the back of my neck. I soon was running a high fever and was shivering. I remembered my mother had recently reminded me that when I was a small child, when my older sister had the Chicken Pox, I did not catch it despite being in close proximity to her. Could it be I was coming down with the dreaded Chicken Pox or as my young son called it the "Chicken Pops." Soon there was no doubt, I was breaking out in sores all over my face and body. I spent the next two days in bed and then it was time to fly back home. The travel agent that went on this company trip told me to go ahead and get on the plane. I remember being at the airport and going through customs and then the x-ray machine for our carry on luggage. The technician was giving me a long look, I had sores all over my face but I was relieved when she did not say anything. We boarded the plane without incident and I had gotten in my seat and put on my seat belt and was starting to relax when I saw a commotion at the front of the plane. I looked up to see an armed policeman walking down the aisle and he was looking me in the eye. He motioned for me to follow him. He took me to the rear of the plane and pointed to a ladder. I climbed down the ladder to the tarmac below followed by my wife and the cop. He took us to the airport security office. We were interrogated by three armed police officers and none of them spoke English. They kept pointing to the sores on my face and I kept repeating Chicken Pox. They handed me a Spanish/English dictionary and I spoke the Spanish words for Chicken Pox. I think they were all convinced I had the Small Pox. I made my wife catch a later plane back to Dallas. They finally found someone who could speak English and told me they were going to send me back to the Marriott where I would be put under quarantine for ten days! I was relieved they were not taking me to a Mexican Hospital or worse a Mexican Jail. I had seen an army Jeep in front of the airport with a .50 caliber machine gun mounted in the back and I was concerned for a while they were assembling a firing squad. A taxi driver took me to the Marriott and they put me in a room on the back of the hotel near the kitchen. I was warned not to leave the room or I would be subject to criminal prosecution. I was told I could order what ever I wanted to eat from room service and they would bring it to me. I could watch t.v. and had The Movie Channel, Cinemax and H.B.O. to keep me company. When I would call room service and order, after a while there would be a knock on the door, I would run to the door and open it and my tray would be there on the floor with no one in sight. Finally after about three full days of this I got a visit from a doctor for the Marriott. He was dressed all in white and looked like the guy on Fantasy Island, he told me he was working to get my quarantine cut short. Thank God, I wanted to get the hell out of there. He came back later in the day with some guy from the Mexican Health Department. they gave me some official looking documents and advised I could leave that afternoon. The hotel arranged for my ride back to the airport. I was wearing shorts and a t shirt when my plane landed in Dallas in thirty degree weather and it was sleeting rain. My son still laughs about giving his dad the "Chicken Pops."

Monday, August 20, 2007


Meet My Other Child With The Beautiful Red Hair...

Lizzie. She is so cute and full of life. She has just the perfect personality to go with that beautiful red hair. She is sharp as can be, don't try to put anything over on her. She does not miss much. She is so fun to be around. She loves animals, most of all her dog "Foxy" and her cat "White Kitty." She loves to fish and has from a very young age. Many times she has out fished her father and brother. She has caught a seven and one half pound Hybrid Striped Bass, a twenty pound Dorado, a ten pound Jack Crevalle and a Blacktip Shark recently that weighed close to one hundred pounds. She takes all honors classes at her school and has many friends. She has been playing soccer since she was a little girl and she is developing into a great player. She and her best friend Melissa helped coach a young girls soccer team this year. She has successfully summited two mountain peaks in Colorado in the thirteen to fourteen thousand foot range. She is active with our church youth group and has been on several mission trips. She recently got her learners permit and is learning to drive. I am really enjoying watching her grow up. She keeps me on my toes that is for certain. I love my little girl.

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