Opinions

Thu
19
Dec
Edgar's picture

MR. SANTA CLAUS OF NEDERLAND

By Tumbleweed.

Earl Gregg lives at Weches, near Crockett. He makes chocolate turtles, peanut patties and pralines for his grandkids at Christmas time. This year he had to make 20 bags full of the sweets. He starts cooking in November to be ready for the holiday. For seven years during the 1980’s, Earl was Mr. Santa Claus in Nederland. He dressed as Santa and visited with people in their cars as they drove by his house.“I had many thrills,” he says. “I’d average passing out about 1200 to 1400 candy canes every night. We’d have traffic jams on the street in front of my house.
 
Thu
12
Dec
Edgar's picture

Crypt Orchid is King

By Baxter Black.
“In the land of the geldings, the crypt orchid is king.” That seems to be the best way to describe American politics since Reagan or Truman. But we get what we deserve. Politics by nature is divisive, susceptible to corruption and injurious to the participant. Government bureaucracy is the pre-eminent example of Peter’s Principle, which says as long as one achieves at a position he is in, he will be promoted. When he finally reaches a position he is not good in, he remains at that level. Mediocrity is the expectation.
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Thu
12
Dec
Edgar's picture

ERRATIC LAMAR NEVER LIVED UP TO HIS POTENTIAL

By Bartee Haile.
Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, second president of the Texas Republic, dropped dead from a heart attack on Dec. 17, 1859. When Lamar stepped down as the Lone Star chief executive in December 1842, he was a physical and emotional wreck. Not only had his grand plan of setting the new nation on an independent course gone all wrong, but the voters had picked archenemy Sam Houston over soul mate David G. Burnet as his successor. A much anticipated trip to Georgia to visit his daughter Rebecca, whom he had seen just twice in seven years, was almost permanently postponed by a duel. Blaming Lamar for his recent rejection as vice-president, Memucan Hunt demanded satisfaction but mutual friends managed to defuse the private powder keg.
Fri
06
Dec
Edgar's picture

Black’s Hambletonian

By Baxter Black.
Did you ever wonder if being horsey is hereditary? 25 years ago a fellow veterinarian invited me into his office and showed me a picture in a livestock book copyrighted in 1882. It was a drawing of a bay stallion. It was labeled “Black’s Hambletonian. One of the finest and best blooded trotting stallions of the day. Property of S. Baxter Black, Compassville, PA. Cost when a weanling colt, $3500. Sired by Rysdyk’s Hambletonian; dam, Kitt, out of Long Island Black Hawk.”
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Fri
06
Dec
Edgar's picture

OIL PULLED RUG OUT FROM UNDER THURBER AND MINGUS

By Bartee Haile.

The post office at Thurber closed for good on Nov. 30, 1936, leaving the once thriving mining town with barely a pulse and neighboring Mingus on the critical list. Separated by two miles and the Erath-Palo Pinto county line, the two shared a mutual prosperity in the boom times of the coalburning locomotive. The future was bright for the mining mecca and the rail center until the dawn of the oil age pulled the rug out from under them both.
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Fri
22
Nov
Edgar's picture

“LITTLE PHIL” MADE LIFE MISERABLE FOR CONQUERED TEXANS

[The History Press will publish Bartee’s first book on Jan. 14, 2014. You may pre-order a signed copy of “Texas Depression-Era Desperadoes” at barteehaile.com or by mailing a check for $26.65 to “Bartee Haile,” P.O. Box 152, Friendswood, TX 77549.] The dictatorship of Gen. Philip Sheridan in occupied Texas officially ended on Nov. 29, 1867 four months after the president sent the pipsqueak packing. Celebrity status in the North, the product of a popular poem that exaggerated his exploits, and a cozy relationship with Gen. U.S. Grant gave “Little Phil,” who stopped growing at five feet five inches, free rein over the conquered Confederate states of Texas and Louisiana. Absolute authority allowed him to indulge his battle-hardened prejudices against secessionists
 
Fri
15
Nov
admin's picture

The Rain Hotline

For several years my phone conversations with George have been depressing. Sometimes when we discuss rain, he’s never had enough on Spud Mountain. He seems to live in the endless drought conditions…until it rains
and washes out his water gaps, tanks and roads. It’s tough on his cows. Thank goodness he has a job at the bank 
 
Fri
15
Nov
admin's picture

“FACTORY FARM” VISIONARY GOES BUST IN PANHANDLE

by Bartee Haile 

“What is believed to be the largest field in the country under one fence was broken and sown to wheat this fall by Hickman Price, the most extensive wheat farmer in the Panhandle of Texas,” the Kerrville Times reported on Nov.13, 1930. One sure way to get off on the wrong foot in any small town is to treat the inhabitants like a bunch of brain-dead yokels. The welldressed stranger was smart enough to grasp that fact of life, but he 
did not let something as trivial as common courtesy stop him from straightening out the editor of the Plainview paper.
 
Thu
07
Nov
admin's picture

FROM PRISON TO PUBLISHING

Troy Buck was raised in Andrews. “My daddy was a horse trader and so it was obvious where I was gonna go. I joined the Texas Rodeo Association when I was nineteen, then moved into the professional ranks when I was twenty-two. I was a bull rider and calf roper for fourteen years.” He made it to the National Finals Rodeo in 1976, 77 and 78. When he retired from rodeo in 1978 he started driving a truck. In 1999, when he was fifty-five years old, he was sentenced to twelve years in prison for DWI. There was no accident involved, he was not a heavy drinker and the charges were thirteen years apart. He served the whole twelve years and was released on June first, 2011.
Thu
07
Nov
admin's picture

The Presence of Nothing

By Baxter Black.
I was explaining about pregnancy testing to a young veterinary student. She plunged her arm into the cow and palpated. After a studious attempt she said, “I can’t feel anything. Maybe she’s open?” “Maybe,” is an acceptable diagnosis in some places but it doesn’t impress the owner of the cow. “Not feeling anything,” is not a diagnosis. Concept #1 in the cow vet’s Principles of Preg Testing is understanding that “Open” is not the absence of something; it is the presence of nothing.
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