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A family and its stump: It’s at my place now

November 30, 2016
A family and its stump: It’s at my place now

Much to my delight, the door was unlocked.
It was Thanksgiving Day and the family was where it always is on that day – at Lake Whitney at the Bride’s parents’ house.
After the death of my parents, we are selling their small lake cabin with the screened-in porch perched on a high ledge with dramatic views of towering limestone cliffs across the way.
We had had the place cleaned to be made presentable for sale, and it must’ve worked because it sold on the first day of its listing. The Realtor said we needed to get what we wanted out of the cabin before the new occupants arrived.… Read the rest

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What if we were the blessing others were thankful for?

November 30, 2016
What if we were the blessing others were thankful for?

My friends, I hope your Thanksgiving was truly a time of gratitude to God for His blessings, provision, and presence. And I hope you survived Black Friday! (Of course, if you didn’t survive it, you are not reading this, so never mind). As I heard someone recently say, “Only in America, do we follow up a day of gratitude with a day of unrestrained and frenzied shopping where we spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t even like!”
If you live in the USA, you are among the most materially blessed in the world.… Read the rest

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Arizona Ranger’s trickery to capture a killer outlaw

November 30, 2016
Arizona Ranger’s trickery to capture a killer outlaw

This column first appeared November 25, 1971.

Texans probably think that they were the only state in the union with a famous ban dof outlaw chasers called “Rangers.”
Not so.
In 1901, the Arizona Rangers were organized to fight outlaws in that territory; Arizona was not yet a state.
Outlaws found its dry deserts adjacent to Mexico a good on-man’s land whre they could hide out from the authorities.
The governor of the territory asked a stern and efficient ranch manager named Burton C. Mossman to organize the first Ranger company. One might wonder why he accepted, because the pay was less than what he got at the Hash Knife Ranch where he worked.… Read the rest

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Texas African-American History Memorial unveiled

November 30, 2016
Texas African-American History Memorial unveiled

A crowd of citizens and dignitaries gathered on the south lawn of the state Capitol on Nov. 19 to witness the unveiling of the Texas African American History Memorial.
The 32-foot-wide, 27-foot-tall bronze monument by sculptor Ed Dwight features images of African-Americans in Texas from modern times going back nearly 500 years.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a former long-time member of the Texas House of Representatives, spoke at the event.
“This monument stands as a marker that no matter how smart you may think you are, no matter how gifted you may be, and no matter what contribution you may have made, we are standing on the foundation and the shoulders of people who have sacrificed to get us where we are today,” Turner said.… Read the rest

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Empty nesting before 30?

November 30, 2016
Empty nesting before 30?

Those who know me well know the only responsibility I take more seriously than being the oldest of four siblings is being a mother.
Anyone who has had the displeasure of hassling any of the other three Derr siblings– and has had to deal with me as a result – also knows this.
I am not sure when it started – I guess about the time I had my son – but at some point, I became my siblings’ third parent.
My brother and I are relatively close in age, but I am nine years older than my middle sister and 13 years older than the baby.… Read the rest

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Be the funniest person at your family’s gathering

November 21, 2016
Be the funniest person at your family’s gathering

Here’s the annual joke-fest – gathered from the deepest reaches of cyberspace – that will, once again, make you the hit of the Thanksgiving table.

Why did the cranberries turn red?
They saw the turkey dressing!

What is a turkey’s favorite dessert?
Peach gobbler!

Why did the farmer run over his potato field with a steamroller?
He wanted mashed potatoes!

A woman was choosing a frozen Thanksgiving turkey at a store, but they were too small for her family. She asked a stock boy, “Do these turkeys get any bigger?”
He said, “No, ma’am. They’re dead.”

Why do pilgrims’ pants keep falling down?Read the rest

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We can’t afford to get this Thanksgiving wrong!

November 21, 2016
We can’t afford to get this Thanksgiving wrong!

I have long believed that Thanksgiving is treated as a second-class holiday because it is so difficult to commercialize. Only stores that sell food are going to make money from Thanksgiving. Parents don’t take their children door-to-door dressed as pilgrims to deliver turkey and dressing to their neighbors.
Neighborhoods don’t organize tours of homes for people to be amazed by who has the most beautiful Thanksgiving lights outside and decorated trees inside. No one goes to the mall to sit on Squanto’s knee and tell him what they want for Thanksgiving.
Commercialization is not, however, the issue. It is not the fault of the retailers that they are making a killing on Halloween and Christmas.… Read the rest

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Walking in the footsteps of some famous, great American legends

November 21, 2016
Walking in the footsteps of some famous, great American legends

This column first appeared November 23, 2006.

For some reason, I really get excited if I am ever in the same location where a famous person has been.
My first such experience came on a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia 30 years ago when I visited a tavern where George Washington actually ate. On the same trip, I traveled to Philadelphia to Betsy Ross’ house, climbing the twisting, narrow stairs she actually climbed.
Probably the most excited I ever got was in Segovia, Spain in 1987 when I stood in the throne room where in 1492 King Ferdinand and Isabella met with Christopher Columbus and gave him the charge to set sail west to reach the Riches of the East.… Read the rest

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Addressing the dreaded ‘F’ word: Feminism

November 21, 2016
Addressing the dreaded ‘F’ word: Feminism

There are some who see Hillary Clinton’s loss in the most recent presidential election as a blow to feminism.
Let me be the first to tell you it is not. People can argue whether or not her defeat was a blow to our country – and they most certainly are – but it absolutely was not a blow to the advancement of women.
What is a huge blow to the cause is the notion – which is ever-increasing in popularity – that to succeed women need to be treated differently.
We don’t.
The idea that women and girls need a female president in order to believe they themselves could one day be president is asinine.… Read the rest

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Bill filers jump to early start as legislative session nears

November 21, 2016
Bill filers jump to early start as legislative session nears

Just a few of Texas’ 31 Senate members and 150 House members filed a total of 523 pieces of legislation on Nov. 14, the first day lawmakers could submit legislation for the coming session.
The 85th regular session of the Texas Legislature is scheduled to convene on the second Tuesday in January, that is, Jan. 10, at noon. Final adjournment — 140 days later — is set for the last Monday in May, that is, May 29.
Now, back to those bills filed on Nov. 14. Not that it’s a competition, but Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, filed 20 bills, the highest total of any House member.… Read the rest

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