Opinions

Fri
01
Aug

Larger Riders Means Larger Horses

An interview with several dud wranglers and packers showed they have accommodated the increasing number of large people. Using Belgians, Percherons and their crosses are mentioned often. Draft horses are gentle beasts by nature and most wranglers are ready with a hefty footstool to assist in mounting up. This is done out of respect for the infrequent rider whose needs must be met. I admire the wrangler’s willingness despite the increase in cost to shoe, maintain and feed the heavy horses. The object is to give the customer a “good experience.”
 
Fri
01
Aug

INNKEEPER TO THE WORLD GOT START IN TEXAS

On Aug. 4, 1925, Conrad Hilton celebrated the grand opening of the first hotel he built from the ground up and the first he put his name on — the Dallas Hilton. Even though a governor once introduced him as a native son, Conrad Nicholson Hilton was born at San Antonio, New Mexico not San Antonio, Texas on Christmas Day 1887. But like so many naturalized Texans, he got here just as soon as he could.
 
Fri
25
Jul

Stupid is as Stupid Does

by Baxter Black.
 
In the movie Forrest Gump, the hero is a nice man with a low IQ, whose simplistic reasoning usually made sense. His response to anyone who called him stupid was to say, “Stupid is as stupid does.” My interpretation of that phrase is, “You don’t have to be stupid to be stupid.” One can have a high IQ and still be stupid. Which leads me into my observation that we in America have the “luxury to be stupid.”

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Fri
25
Jul

IMPEACHED EX-GOVERNOR TRIES TO WIN BACK OFFICE

by Bartee Haile.
 
The Dallas Morning News in the Jul. 27, 1918 issue endorsed William P. Hobby for governor with an editorial cartoon showing a tight-lipped Texan casting his ballot “for law and order.” The illustration was a none too subtle slap at the colorless incumbent’s challenger, “Farmer Jim” Ferguson who had been removed from office the previous year. The endorsement of the Big D daily made it a clean sweep among the major newspapers in the state for the disgraced ex-governor’s replacement.

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Thu
17
Jul

SERENDIPITY ON THE ROAD

For my birthday in June we stayed in the El Capitan Hotel in Van Horn, a historic structure built in the 30’s. On the way we stopped in Midland for a couple of interviews. Jimmy Patterson talked about his new book on the history of Midland, then we visited Magic Jack, who teaches magic to kids. In Fort Davis I interviewed Joe Duncan, who owns the El Capitan. He told me about its history, how it went from a hotel to a bank, then back to a hotel. Fort Davis has a bunch of fascinating folks.
 
Thu
17
Jul

Was Jean Lafitte the First President of Texas?

When his last rival worthy of the name fled Galveston for a healthier climate on Jul. 21, 1817, the self-proclaimed “President of Texas” consolidated complete control of the island. Whether Jean Lafitte made that ludicrous claim after going into business on the strip of sand off the Texas coast in the spring of 1817 is highly questionable as are most stories told about the legendary pirate. Maybe the buccaneers that terrorized the Gulf of Mexico under his leadership called him “president” as an inside joke. But no matter because it was this blend of fact and fiction that in the end made Lafitte immortal.
 
Thu
26
Jun

Tree Implanting

By Baxter Black.
 
When I was a lad I remember my brother John wouldn’t go anywhere without his “blanky.” My son and daughter each had a stuffed animal, a fuzzy rabbit and a sock monkey named Chango. I think Grandmother Phyllis made them. Looking at the photographs, Fuzzy and Chango accompanied us on many vacation trips. Alas, the monkey jumped ship in Puerto Vallarta. It was traumatic.
 
Thu
26
Jun

INDIAN FIGHTER DOES THE ARMY’S JOB

By Bartee Haile.
 
On Jul. 1, 1855, Gov. Elisha Pease called upon James Callahan, a veteran Indian fighter with a hard-as-nails reputation, to save an endangered species — the frontier settler. After nine years of the Potomac politicians going back on their word, nothing Washington did should have surprised the citizens of the biggest state in the Union. But Texans never imagined the United States government would leave the Lone Star frontier unprotected.
 
Fri
20
Jun

THE FIREMAN POET OF EASTLAND

“My dad wrote poetry and I guess it just came natural to me,” says Sam Williams of Eastland. “When I’m inspired about something, I write it.” Sam owns a construction company in Eastland, where he serves as a volunteer fireman. He remembers a poem handed down from generations of his family: “I had a mule. His name was Solemn Slick. All that I could dream was how that mule could kick. He could kick a feather from a dove or break an elephant’s back. He backed up against the Rio Grand and kicked it off the track. Swam the Gulf of Mexico settin’ on a log. Whipped a dozen Yankees and swallowed a yellow dog.”
 
Fri
20
Jun

LYNCHING STARTS DEM CONVENTION OFF ON WRONG FOOT

Early arrivals to the Democratic National Convention were greeted by a gruesome sight on the morning of Jun. 20, 1928 – a lynching victim hanging from a Houston bridge. Five months earlier, Democratic leaders picked the Bayou City as the site for their quadrennial get-together, the first meeting of its kind in a southern state since the Civil War. Credit went to businessman Jesse Jones, national finance chairman, whose expert stringpulling made his hometown of 250,000 the winning entry.
 

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