Opinions

Thu
06
Aug

RECORD NUMBER DIE IN HIGHWAY 81 HORROR

by Bartee Haile
Two Greyhound buses collided on a Central Texas hilltop before dawn on Aug. 4, 1952 killing both drivers on impact and burning an estimated 26 passengers to death. The horrendous head-on crash happened on U.S. Highway 81 seven miles south of Waco. The night was clear, the moon was shining and the two-lane road was dry. But the drivers were young (24 and 23) and inexperienced. It was only the fifth day behind the wheel for Milburn Berry Herring in the northbound San Antonio-to-Dallas bus, and Billy Malone in the Dallas-to-Brownsville southbound had been on the job just four months. The southbound carried 20 passengers and the northbound 37 with several riders standing in the aisle. 
 
Thu
23
Jul

UTOPIA FAILED TO TAKE ROOT ON TEXAS FRONTIER

By Bartee Haile
 
After three wave-tossed months at sea, a shipload of thirsty Germans streamed ashore at Galveston on Jul. 17, 1847 and went in search of the nearest tavern. The previous year, Prince Carl Solms-Braunfels had made the rounds of the universities in his fatherland to talk restless students into taking the Texas challenge. As a recruiter for the Adelsverein, an association of German aristocrats advocating Lone Star colonization as a way to relieve revolutionary pressures, his mission was to fire the imagination of the younger generation with glowing accounts of the New World paradise.

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Fri
17
Jul

RETURN TO THE BATTLEFIELD

Austin Steen of Crosbyton was a teenager when he parachuted into a barrage of German gunfire during World War Two. “We were shot at all the way down,” says Austin. “We lost 65 percent of our division.” Another enemy was the two feet of snow that covered the ground in 1945. Austin fought in the Battle of the Bulge, which had the highest casualties during the war.
 
Fri
17
Jul

UTOPIA FAILED TO TAKE ROOT ON TEXAS FRONTIER

After three wave-tossed months at sea, a shipload of thirsty Germans streamed ashore at Galveston on Jul. 17, 1847 and went in search of the nearest tavern. The previous year, Prince Carl Solms-Braunfels had made the rounds of the universities in his fatherland to talk restless students into taking the Texas challenge. As a recruiter for the Adelsverein, an association of German aristocrats advocating Lone Star colonization as a way to relieve revolutionary pressures, his mission was to fire the imagination of the younger generation with glowing accounts of the New World paradise.
 
Fri
10
Jul

Snafflebit Futurity

Have you ever been drivin’ a set of pasture cattle down the lane? Then you notice them stringin’ out longer and longer, driftin’ over into the ditches along the side ‘til pretty soon you’re a  half mile ahead of the lead steer.
You look back at the feller you put ridin’ drag. Over the backs of the wanderin’ herd, through the dusty haze, there he  is.
 
Fri
10
Jul

EXILED ARISTOCRAT SPENT HALF OF LIFE IN TEXAS

A handsome lady-killer, who lived his last four decades in Texas, was arrested on Jul. 9, 1943 for the murder of his father-in-law, the wealthiest man in the Bahamas. The woman, who gave birth to Alfred de Marigny on an island
in the Indian Ocean in 1910, ran off with another man when her child was just three years old. But his father must have been an even worse parent because the son renounced his aristocratic birthright, including the title of count, and took his mother’s surname.
 
Thu
02
Jul

No Respect For Baxter

A good friend from the Texas panhandle sent me a printed poster of a new program enacted by the Amarillo Humane Society. It is designed to encourage dog and cat owners to spay or castrate their pets. On the front is a picture of a frightened, bugeyed brachygnathic Pug. The accompanying headline says, NO BALLS FOR BAXTER – MATCHING SPAY/NEUTER INITIATIVE! I admit I didn’t know how to take it…was it a compliment? Was it a signal to the pitcher to only throw strikes when I was at bat? Were they revoking my invitation to attend the dance in Cow Town? Did they make specific restrictions on what certain people would bring to the beach? Would I no longer be allowed to  answer, “I’m havin’ a b_  

 

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Thu
02
Jul

WILEY POST SET FLYING RECORDS WITH ONE EYE CLOSED

Wiley Post and his Australian navigator landed in New YorkCity on Jul. 1, 1931 completing an epic around-the-world flight in record-breaking time. Two states claimed Wiley Hardeman Post as a native son. Texas had birth going for it since the intrepid aviator began his short life in Van Zandt County a couple of years shy of the twentieth century. Oklahoma, however, had residency on its side because the Posts relocated north of the Red River when Wiley was nine.The simple pleasures of farm life never appealed to the youngster, whose head always seemed to be in the clouds. Wiley regularly skipped his chores to whittle model planes out of scrap wood and to dream of the day when he would defy the law of gravity. Post’s first fling into the wild blue yonder came in 1919 courtesy of a gypsy barnstormer. Five years later at an Oklahoma air show, he did such a fine job of filling in for the injured parachutist that the dangerous job became his permanently.  

 

Fri
19
Jun

Dead Sheep

There’s been a dead sheepout in Brent’s wheat field for a month. Emilio had a band of ewes on the corn stalks across the road. I reckon that one got hit by a car. The sheep have moved on. Brent plowed his field. Plowed around the carcass. Now it is sort of mouldering into the earth. I see it every time I drive to town. 
 
Fri
19
Jun

“PRINCESS OF THE PANHANDLE” LIVED HIGH ON THE HOG

The only daughter of one of Texas’ wealthiest cattle kings married a blueblood from Philadelphia on Jun. 17, 1902 in the family mansion at Decatur. Starting with a small herd of Longhorns in the 1850’s, Dan and son Tom Waggoner turned parts of six North Texas counties into a 750 square-mile cattle empire. At the end of the nineteenth century, the colossal Three D Ranch covered more than a million acres. 
 

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