Opinions

Thu
31
Dec

It’s The Law

There is a state law on the books in Colorado that makes it illegal for a sheepherder to abandon his sheep without notice. A good law, really. Since herders are often left alone on isolated ranges with their entrusted band. The owner or boss checks on him once a week or so and brings him supplies. So, it would  certainly create serious consequences were the sheep to be deserted and untended for any length of time.

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Thu
31
Dec

PANCHO VILLA PLAYED HIMSELF IN AMERICAN-MADE MOVIE

by Bartee Haile

In an El Paso hotel room on the fifth day of January 1914, Pancho Villa came to terms with a Hollywood studio to make a silent movie about the role of the bandit-turned-rebel in the Mexican Revolution. No one can say for sure whose idea it was to shoot the “Centaur of the North” and his peasant army in action or how much the “star” was paid. Villa may have approached director D.W. Griffith instead of the other way around because he grasped the importance of the new medium as a propaganda tool.

Thu
24
Dec

Cowboy Camp Christmas

It was Christmas Eve at daybreak when we found him in the yard. His horse was porcupined with frost, the ground was frozen hard. He must’a drifted in last night after we’d all gone to bed And had a fatal heart attack, ‘cause, fer dang sure he was dead!  

 

Thu
24
Dec

REPUBLICANS WERE ONCE THEIR OWN WORST ENEMY

by Bartee Haile

The longest and one of the most suspicious recounts in Lone Star electoral history continued through Christmas 1928 with the lead of Rep. Harry Wurzbach, the only GOP member of the Texas delegation, growing smaller by the day. The four-term incumbent was not the victim of a Democratic dirty trick but a rival Republican’s election- rigging scheme. Rentfro Banton Creager hated Wurzbach so much that he was prepared to sacrifice his party’s single congressional seat in order to sabotage his enemy’s political career.  

 

Fri
18
Dec

AUSTIN CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING OF HISTORIC HOTEL

by Bartee Haile
 
The excited citizens of the capital city took to the streets on Dec. 20, 1886 to celebrate the grand opening of Austin’s first first-class hotel, the Driskill. Even though the population had more than doubled over the past decade or so, fewer than 15,000 people called Austin home in the early 1880’s. Nevertheless, in spite of its size and out-of-the-way location on the western frontier, the seat of Lone Star State government attracted a disproportionately large number of visitors.
 
Fri
18
Dec

A Letter From Alf

by Baxter Black
 
Dear Carol and Grahame, I’m writing in behalf of a mutual friend, Alf, who spoke highly of you. You know him as a banker, land baron and intellectual. I knew him in college as a struggling, cynical, stubborn hayseed who was very thrifty. He would go home on the holidays to get his clothes washed. He only owned two pair of jeans and would wear the same shirt all week, then patch it on weekends. He was constantly borrowing my truck, my frying pan, my overshoes and my typewriter. I didn’t mind. He was a friend, though I didn’t know at the time how good a friend he thought I was.
 
Fri
04
Dec

BLOODY MURDER IN A SMALL-TOWN BANK

by Bartee Haile

On their third ballot of the busy morning of Dec. 2, 1916, the Waco jurors unanimously agreed on what to do with the small-town banker with the blood of a state official on his hands. For years T.R. Watson and two of his sons, Ed the vice-president and W.R. the cashier, had run the Farmers & Merchants State Bank in Teague like their own private piggy bank. As the latest generation of a respected family with deep roots in the Central Texas town, they were regarded as above reproach by their friends, neighbors and depositors. The fact of the matter was the Watsons’ bank had been practically insolvent since 1914 if not sooner. Cash reserves were far below the legal level, but that did not keep the father and sons from dipping into the cash-strapped kitty for personal loans.

 

Fri
04
Dec

The National Insect

by Baxter Black

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection. Warm memories, overstuffed afternoons and family. Yet rising from this cornucopia of good feelings, like a rubber chicken from a shopping cart full of cut-up fryers, is that runner-up for national bird...The Turkey. Despite its cinder block-like intelligence, gurgling vocals and dangling snood, there is nothing absurd about the turkey being nominated as our national bird. After all, a group of entomologists has tried to convince Congress to name a National Insect. Their suggestion was the Monarch butterfly.

 

Wed
25
Nov

BRADY MAN WAS B-17 MACHINE GUNNER

Herb Cavness of Brady was a teenager when he entered World War Two in 1943. He was a waist gunner on a B-17 and flew 25 missions in Europe with the 8th Air Force. “We were stationed in England and flew out of there,” he says. “Our missions were mostly over Germany.”

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Wed
25
Nov

BROTHERS OPEN STAGECOACH SERVICE TO CALIFORNIA

by Bartee Haile

The first load of U.S. Mail left San Antonio on Nov. 27, 1857 on a mule-drawn stage bound for San Diego, California. At the reins were George and James Giddings, old hands at hauling freight and the occasional paying customer through Indian infested West Texas. Undeterred by the fate of their brother Giles, one of the few Anglo-Americans killed at the Battle of San Jacinto, they headed for Texas in 1845.

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