Opinions

Fri
06
Apr

CLIFF AND NANCY RICHEY, TENNIS’ SHINING SIBLING STARS

By Bartee Haile

A single point away from losing a Madison Square Garden grudge match on Apr. 5, 1968, the female half of tennis’ best ever sister-brother team mounted one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the sport.

The story of Nancy and Cliff Richey starts with their father George. Growing up in San Angelo during the Depression, his own dad groomed him for the boxing ring until his mother put her foot down. The athletic boy next showed promise on the baseball diamond before hurting his pitching arm. Searching for a sport in which he could excel, George picked tennis, easily the least popular pastime in 1930’s West Texas. He practiced from daylight to dark on the only private court in town, which happened to be in a neighbor’s backyard, and taught himself to play with his healthy left arm.

 

Fri
06
Apr

A LOVE STORY

By Baxter Black

This is a love story.

In a small ranching community in the west there lived a man, his wife and four children. They were no different than their neighbors, they ran cows, built fence and did their part to keep their little town alive.

The children attended the local school. Students numbered less than a hundred. But the remoteness of the area instilled a strong interdependence among the ranchers, families and townies.

 

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Fri
30
Mar

FITTING END FOR WEST TEXAS GUNFIGHTER

By Bartee Haile

The surprising thing about the Apr. 3, 1902 death of Barney Riggs was not the violent nature of his demise but that the West Texas gunfighter managed to live so long.

There is no telling how many notches Riggs had on his six-gun before moving to Arizona in the early 1880’s. Not that he was a professional killer, but just an amateur with a fast draw and a very bad temper.

The fact that Riggs somehow seemed to have “reasonable doubt” on his side kept him out of jail until Sep. 29, 1886. That was the day he shot a friend in the head for fooling around with his unfaithful wife. This time there was no doubt as to Riggs’ guilt, and the judge saw no reason for leniency. The Texan started serving a life sentence for murder on New Year’s Eve 1886 in the notorious Territorial Prison at Yuma.

 

Fri
30
Mar

OL’ BUDDY

Ernie’s an artist. He’s a rawhide man. He plaits California vaquero style headstalls, romals, reins, reatas and other fancy stuff. When you ride with Ernie you always feel like yer in a parade.

But like any artist who is self-unemployed, he has plenty of time to kill. He told me he was settin’ in the sale barn one mornin’ visitin’ with the geezers and watchin’ Noah’s Ark run through the ring. They ran the assorted single lambs, odd hogs, box of baby chicks and day-old Holstein calves through and had moved on to the beef cows and calves.

Ernie kept his eye on E.B., the local order buyer, to learn some tricks of the trade. E.B. sorted through the lots of killer cows, gummer pairs and shiny lookin’ weaners. Ernie sat on his hands. E.B. noticed Ernie’s lack of participation. In came a shaggy lookin’ something-or-other cross.

 

Fri
23
Mar

A POX ON THIS COLUMN

by Baxter Black

A man in Wahoo, Nebraska said he ate all the eggs he could. He felt it was his contribution to beef sales; every egg he ate was one less chicken!

People take chickens personally. My brother Bob had a rooster named Oscar. They hated each other! Lots of kids like Big Bird on Sesame Street. The state birds of Rhode Island and Delaware are both chickens; one red, one blue. Oklahoma has two cities named after the humble poult: Chickkasha and Henryetta. Toledo had a minor league baseball team called the Mud Hens.

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Fri
23
Mar

This Week In Texas History

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MEXICO’S LINCOLN

by Bartee Haile

On Mar. 21, 1872, Benito Juarez suffered the first of three heart attacks that five months later brought down the curtain on the amazing life of the “Lincoln of Mexico.” As a Zapotec Indian born in the first decade of the nineteenth century, Juarez’s birthright was poverty, oppression, ignorance and disease. Orphaned at the age of three, he was taken in by an uncle and taught to be a shepherd. But the boy wanted to do more with his life than herd sheep and goats. He desired an education, but the closest schools were on the other side of the mountains. So on a cold winter day in 1818, the 12 year old walked the 41 miles to the state capital of Oaxaca.

Fri
16
Mar

GREENBACK PARTY MAKES BIG SPLASH IN TEXAS POLITICS

By Bartee Haile

Disgruntled Democrats, rural rebels and a handful of breakaway Republicans cast their lot with the Greenbacks on Mar. 14, 1876 at the organizing convention of the Texas branch of the new third party.

The devastating depression triggered by the Panic of 1873 shook American society to its core. Out of this crisis arose the Greenback Labor Party with its catchy slogan “More Money, Cheaper Money.” Nothing ailed the crippled economy, the Greenbacks argued, that a massive influx of paper currency could not cure.

First among blue-collar workers in the industrial Northeast and then in the ranks of impoverished southern farmers, the mighty movement spread like wildfire. Within a matter of months, the upstart party challenged both Democrats and Republicans.

 

Fri
16
Mar

GLIDERS PROVIDED A ONE WAY TRIP TO THE BATTLEFIELD

Seven thousand volunteer glider pilots were a vital part of the US Armed Forces during World War Two. Most of them were trained at South Plains Army Air Field in Lubbock.

“The gliders were a delivery method for groups of men or heavy artillery or equipment that couldn’t be dropped in by parachute. The advantage was that you could deliver them to one location. Paratroopers are really effective if you want to spread them out over a mile or so, but with gliders you could get them in a specific landing point.”

Sharon McCullar is curator of the Silent Wings Museum located near the Lubbock airport. The museum used to be in the metroplex but was relocated to Lubbock.

 

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Fri
09
Mar

ONLY MEDAL OF HONOR WINNER TAKEN PRISONER

by Bartee Haile

Two months after surviving a mid-air ordeal that earned him the Medal of Honor, Lt. “Red” Morgan flew the lead B-17 in the first bombing raid on Berlin on Mar. 7, 1944.

Born in 1914 at Vernon a stone’s throw south of the Red River, John Cary Morgan did most of his growing up in Amarillo. But he finished finish high school at New Mexico Military Institute at the insistence of his father, a prominent attorney.

 

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Fri
09
Mar

JEKYLL & HIDE CATTLE COMPANY

He’s kind to his wife when the market goes up

His children think that he’s neat.

The implement dealer sits by him in church And his banker waves on the street.

Salesmen treat him like he was a king The hired man asks for a raise.

 

 

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