Opinions

Fri
18
May

CONNALLY BEGAN HIS CLIMB ON THE BOTTOM RUNG

by Bartee Haile

A young naval officer from South Texas destined for his own brand of greatness was just another face in the crowd, as Gen. Charles de Gaulle rode triumphantly through the streets of Algiers on May 22, 1944. John Connally told the story of his remarkable life in In History’s Shadow shortly before his death in 1993. This book, the source of most quotations in this column, may be the most readable and candid autobiography of any Texas politician. The family tree was planted in the Lone Star State by Connally’s great-grandfather.

Fri
18
May

NITWIT WISDOM

Nitwits are partial to wisdom that’s usually corny and trite.

But the worst part of nitwit wisdom is when the nitwit is right! I’s ridin’ pasture for Brimhall, checkin’ for bad eyes and such.

He’d hired this nitwit to help me.

He never did like me much.

“You can’t be good at everything.” said Nitwit, missin’ the steer.

 

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Wed
16
May

SPANIARDS PUT DOWN PERMANENT ROOTS AT LAREDO

By Bartee Haile

 

More than two and a half centuries ago this week — May 15, 1755, to be exact — a Spanish rancher established the outpost of Laredo on the wild frontier of New Spain. Although Tomas Sanchez is remembered with good reason as the founder of Laredo, the real credit for the settlement of the lower Rio Grande belongs to Jose de Escandon. He turned the vast territory previously dismissed as inhospitable wasteland into a patchwork of permanent colonies. F

 

Fri
11
May

SPANIARDS PUT DOWN PERMANENT ROOTS AT LAREDO

By Bartee Haile

 

More than two and a half centuries ago this week — May 15, 1755, to be exact — a Spanish rancher established the outpost of Laredo on the wild frontier of New Spain. Although Tomas Sanchez is remembered with good reason as the founder of Laredo, the real credit for the settlement of the lower Rio Grande belongs to Jose de Escandon. He turned the vast territory previously dismissed as inhospitable wasteland into a patchwork of permanent colonies.

 

Fri
04
May

AIR DISASTERS NINE YEARS AND FIFTY MILES APART

By Bartee Haile

Twenty-three minutes into the short hop from Houston’s Hobby Airport to Dallas Love Field on May 3, 1968, Braniff Flight 352 carrying 85 passengers and crew broke up in a thunderstorm and crashed near the Navarro County community of Dawson.

Nine years earlier, another Braniff turbo-prop flying the same route also disintegrated in mid-air raining wreckage and human remains down on the quiet countryside near Buffalo in Leon County. A mere 50 miles separated the sites of the two deadly aviation disasters.

 

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Fri
04
May

LE FOWLER: WOOD CARVING FISHERMAN

When I drove up to LE Fowler’s house at White Oak, near Longview, half the driveway was taken up with a huge, wellequipped fishing boat. I could tell I was in the right place. Lots of people had told me about this legendary fisherman. Some call him a fish witch because he can catch fish where nobody else can. Some say he’s psychic. Whatever you call him, he knows where and when to catch fish.

He has won some big tournaments and has been a fishing guide. Once on a successful outing, one of his customers asked him how he was catching all those fish.

LE’s girlfriend, who was along on the fishing expedition, was quick with the answer. She said, “I’ll tell you how he’s catching all those fish. He thinks like a fish.” 

 

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Fri
27
Apr

VON RYAN EXPRESS” AUTHOR A POW FOR 869 DAYS

By  Bartee Haile

U.S troops liberated a German prisoner-of-war camp on Apr. 29, 1945 bringing to an end the 28-month ordeal of a Houston newspaperman turned bomber navigator. Anyone, who has driven the streets of Texas’ largest city, has at one time or another ridden down Westheimer Road. Few realize, however, that the urban thoroughfare named for a nineteenthcentury German immigrant is the longest in the entire Lone Star State. Mitchell Louis Westheimer came to Texas in the 1850’s.

Fri
20
Apr

RANGERS AND INDIANS UNITE TO FIGHT COMANCHES

by Bartee Haile

Texas Rangers and Indian allies in war paint crossed the Red River on Apr. 24, 1858 in search of a common enemy — the Comanches.

The key to Hardin Runnels’ surprising upset of Sam Houston in the election of 1857 was his belligerent attitude toward the North and the Indians. While the new governor could not declare war on the Yankees, he was free to turn Rip Ford loose on the Comanches.

 

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Fri
20
Apr

The Day The Ranch Changed Hands

I first met the crew in the bunkhouse the day that we bought the 4 D’s.

I’d come in that night after supper and found’em all takin’ their ease.

My job was to count all the cattle and stay till the transfer was done.

I offered my hand to the cowboys and asked how the outfit was run.

“My name is Man’well Palamino. Vaquero. I came here to ride.

 

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Fri
13
Apr

MUTINY ON THE ROAD TO SAN JACINTO

By Bartee Haile

Hearing his commander-in-chief had decided to stand and fight, an insubordinate captain rejoined the Texas Army on Apr. 14, 1836 in time for the Battle of San Jacinto. When Travis’ final appeal reached the independence convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos on Mar. 5, 1836, Sam Houston quickly excused himself. He headed for Gonzales “to collect all the armed forces that could be found” and to march to the Alamo according to his “Review of the San Jacinto Campaign” written in 1845.

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