Opinions

Fri
28
Apr

ROOKIE PITCHES “PERHAPS MOST PERFECT GAME EVER”

by Bartee Haile

A rookie from the Lone Star State pitched his way into the major-league record book on Apr. 30, 1922 by retiring 27 batters in a row.

The rarest achievement in baseball is a perfect game. To accomplish this incredible feat, a pitcher cannot allow a single batter to reach first base. Only 21 have done it since 1900, and one of those was a nobody from North Texas.

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Fri
28
Apr

Landscaping

by Baxter Black 

Genie noticed the bottle of Jack Daniels on the kitchen table when she got home late that night. Like most lettuce farmers, if whiskey was kept in the house, it was not usually kept on the kitchen table.

She marched in the bedroom to find her husband Don sprawled out on the bed with one pant leg off and one sock on. He looked like a body that had been dragged off the bottom of a lake.

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Fri
21
Apr

Pick It Out

by Baxter Black 

The newspaper photo showed them leaning into the harmony like four caroling coyotes! The caption named the pickers and said they were members of a new country singing group. It announced that they would be playing at the Dairy Queen on Thursday. The owner explained that the Troubadours would be appearing at the restaurant for a while, playing for hamburgers and exposure.

It ain’t easy to get into show business! It’s a long way from Monte Vista, Yreba or Blue Earth to Nashville.

Music has always been a part of my life. My family emigrated to Oklahoma from Texas. Grandpa played old-time fiddle. He taught his kids. I’ve been seconding good musicians as long as I can remember.

 

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Fri
21
Apr

THE CHARMED LIFE OF A FRONTIER LAWMAN

by Bartee Haile 

A Texan for three years and a Ranger for less than one, Jeff Milton survived his baptism of gunfire on Apr. 25, 1881 just as he would many other brushes with death in the years to come.

When the wife of Florida governor John Milton gave birth soon after secession, the pleased papa named the baby Jeff Davis in honor of the Confederate president. The elder Milton died in the closing days of the war, proud of the fact that his beloved Tallahassee along with Austin, Texas were the only southern capitals not to fall to the Yankees.

Young Jeff hung around the ruins of the family plantation until 1877, when he moved to Texas to live with a married sister. The teenager worked for his brother-in-law in a general store at Navasota before deciding relatives do not make the best bosses.

 

Fri
14
Apr

A ROOSTER GOT THE TOE

Bobby Weddle lives between Stanton and Lamesa. He loves to tell family stories. This one is so popular he gets requests for it at family reunions and other gatherings. “My mother and dad were farming up close to Key, a little old farm community out of Lamesa.

My three older siblings were my sister Frances, my brother Marvin and my sister Dolly. It was their chore to bring in firewood every day before it got dark. They chopped wood and grubbed stumps with a sharp axe. “

 

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Fri
14
Apr

RENOWNED RANGER ROUTS RIO GRANDE RUSTLERS

By Bartee Haile

The sheriff of a South Texas county overrun by Mexican bandits sent the following telegram to Ranger headquarters in Austin on Apr. 18, 1875: “Is Capt. McNelly coming? We are in trouble. Five ranches burned by disguised men last week. Answer.” Although the sprawling spreads south of San Antonio had been plagued for years by hit-and-run rustlers, previous losses paled in comparison to the current crime wave. Led by Juan Cortinas, parttime revolutionary and full-time thief, well-organized bands were driving hundreds of cattle every week across the Rio Grande for shipment to Cuba. In spite of his delicate appearance, which made it possible for him to impersonate a woman during the Civil War, Leander McNelly was definitely the man for the job. If anyone could clean up South Texas, it was the hard-as-nails Ranger who enforced the law by waging all-out war.

Thu
06
Apr

Hi-Horned Red Cow’s Calf

by Baxter Black

I have calved a lot of heifers in my life…thousands. All of us who have that type of experience know that after the sweat and strain, the slick and sticky, the hope and pull, the grunt and sigh, when the wet little creature plops on the ground, sometimes there is a moment that time stands still. A second, or two or five, we stare, our world suspended, waiting for a sign.

Then the new baby sniffs, or blinks, or sneezes, or wiggles an ear, and at that moment it feels as though a burden has been lifted from our shoulders. We did it. We did it again. Just regular common people like us, engaged in that age-old profession of stockman, have participated in a miracle; life being passed from one generation to the next.

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Thu
06
Apr

BLOODY TRIPLE MURDER IN THE BIG THICKET

by Bartee Haile

Ten years into a 99-year prison sentence for murder, a trusty told the guards he was going fishing on Apr. 11, 1930 and vanished into thin air.

In February 1915, a farmer and his son hunting in the Big Thicket, the impenetrable natural wonder that once covered portions of 11 southeast Texas counties, came upon a partially decomposed corpse in a shallow grave. The coroner’s educated guess was that the man had been dead two weeks, but the bullet holes in the victim’s chest left no doubt as to the cause of death. The deceased was identified from his clothes and dental work as an oilfield worker named Richard Watts.

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Fri
24
Mar

EX-CONGRESSMAN NEGOTIATES RELEASE OF TEXANS

By Bartee Haile

Waddy Thompson did not let the fact that he had been a private citizen for two weeks keep him from asking one more life-saving favor of Santa Anna on Mar. 23, 1844.

Texans naively presumed their neighbors in New Mexico would jump at the chance to join the Lone Star Republic. So, in the summer of 1841, President Mirabeau Lamar sent more than 300 soldiers, merchants and a grab bag of adventurers to deliver an engraved invitation and to stake Texas’ claim to the lucrative trade of the Santa Fe Trail.

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Fri
24
Mar

Anything That Can Go Wrong

By Baxter Black

“By gosh, that’s a new twist,” thought Terry as he tightened his collar against the biting wind and stared at the heifer. She was trying to calve standing up! He eased up on her and dropped a loop over the horns.

She stood atop a swell on the high plains of eastern New Mexico. Terry reached her and tied 100 foot of polyethylene water skiing rope around her horns, as well. A safety line so he could at least get within 100 feet of her if she decided to take off in the 300 acre pasture.

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