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Oh, Pretty Woman: Say hi to dad up there

May 4, 2016
Oh, Pretty Woman: Say hi to dad up there

I’ll bet my dad is pretty happy right now.
For almost 10 years, he’s waited for Mom at the Pearly Gates. And on May 2, she headed that way.
In Dad’s final months in 2006, I visited as often as I could. He voiced his concerns about his wife of decades.
She was leaving on stove burners.
She repeated something she had just said a minute early.
She was forgetting to brush her hair and shut doors.
She was “not acting right” and asked me to keep an eye on her.
Dad was right to be concerned.
Mom managed to live at Lake Whitney alone for a while; however, when visiting, we clearly saw signs of decline.… Read the rest

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Know who you are

May 4, 2016
Know who you are

Who are you? Who? Who? Who? Who?”
That’s either a chorus of owls, the theme song from CSI, or a classic rock song (1978) from The Who.
It’s also a great question. So often, we ask, “What do you do?” rather than “Who are you?” Maybe the reason we ask that is because it is so much easier to answer. If we define ourselves by our vocation, we may not be clear on who we really are. And if we are not clear on who we are, how will we be able to communicate it to anyone else?
A few months ago, in response to an intriguing email, I had lunch with Pastor Terry Terry of Friendship Baptist Church, located just outside Boyd on County Road 4698.… Read the rest

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On ‘meeting’ a pair of California Hispanic pioneers

May 4, 2016
On ‘meeting’ a pair of California Hispanic pioneers

This column first appeared November, 22, 1995.

I “met” two Hispanic pioneers of California during a recent visit there. These men both settled in what is now Ventura, California, but which originated as Mission San Buenaventura. The two men were Jose Francisco Ortega and Raymundo Olivas. The Ortega and Olivas homes are historic sites and are preserved in Ventura today.
Jose Fransisco Ortega was one of the earliest settlers of the California coast and is given the credit for discovering San Francisco Bay. As the first commandante of the Santa Barbara Presidio, Ortega received a land grant from the Spanish in what is now Santa Barbara County.… Read the rest

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Supreme Court sends Voter ID case back to 5th Circuit

May 4, 2016
Supreme Court sends Voter ID case back to 5th Circuit

Texas’ voter identification law will remain in effect for now, but the U.S. Supreme Court has instructed a lower court to rule on its constitutionality before November’s election.
On April 29 the Supreme Court temporarily upheld a stay granted by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 14. The stay has allowed the Texas law to remain in effect.
Justice Clarence Thomas, acting on behalf of the high court, ordered the New Orleans-based appellate court to decide Veasey v. Abbott by July 20, well in advance of the November 8 General Election.
The plaintiffs allege the state law’s requirement — that in order to cast a ballot at an election poll a voter must present certain approved photographic identification — places a discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional burden on blacks and Hispanics.… Read the rest

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The problem isn’t the president

May 4, 2016
The problem isn’t the president

Every four or, at most, eight years, we experience a peaceful transition of political power from one presidential administration to the next.
Okay, by “peaceful” I mean noisy, messy, and disgusting – but without bloodshed (unless you count protesters at Trump rallies). That in itself is a miracle to many countries in this world.
Lots of places, when someone gets power, they hold on as long as they can, whatever the cost. They abolish constitutions, eliminate opponents, take over the military – and use public office to enrich themselves and their families at the expense of their people.
It’s immoral, but it’s the way much of the world operates.… Read the rest

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Options for what can you do with the past

April 27, 2016
Options for what can you do with the past

Mrs. Sweetie and I saw Cats on Broadway last week. OK, it wasn’t really on Broadway, but it was a Broadway quality performance in the beautiful Opal Theatre on the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship, where we shared seven days with about 6,000 of our closest friends.
We made some great memories on this eastern Caribbean voyage and hope to be able to do it again – without the 20-year gap that happened between our previous cruise and this one.
Cats was visually stunning, with spectacular dancing, but I can now say I have been there and done that. I am a musical theatre lover, but I now know why there is only one well-known song from Cats.… Read the rest

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Abbott proclaims flooding disaster, adds more counties

April 27, 2016
Abbott proclaims flooding disaster, adds more counties

Gov. Greg Abbott on April 18 declared a state of disaster for Austin, Bastrop, Colorado, Fort Bend, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, Waller and Wharton counties.
Those counties were hit with severe storms and flooding beginning April 17, requiring the aid of emergency responders over many days.
Abbott authorized the use of “all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with this disaster” and suspended any statute that would prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with the disaster, pending written approval of his office.
On April 22, Abbott added the counties of Bosque, Fayette, Liberty, Milam, Palo Pinto, Parker and San Jacinto to his April 18 disaster declaration.… Read the rest

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The untold tale of the other Santa Anna, an Indian

April 27, 2016
The untold tale of the other Santa Anna, an Indian

This column first appeared January 28, 1971.

The name Santa Anna is deeply engraved in the memory of all Texans as the Mexican general who defeated the brave Texans at the Alamo and later was defeated himself by our own beloved Sam Houston at San Jacinto.
Most Texans don’t realize, however, that a Comanche chief who was prominent in the 1840s was also named Santa Anna.
In fact, the Santa Anna Mountains in Coleman County are named for the Comanche chieftain.
In 1846, Santa Anna was persuaded to make a trip to Washington with some other Indians. Before he left, he told his people that he intended to count the number of white people the Comanches would have to fight.… Read the rest

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Once you go pickup, you’ll never go back

April 27, 2016
Once you go pickup, you’ll never go back

When a teen, I never dreamt I would own a pickup truck. Why would I? My dad drove a pickup. Plus, I was going to move to the Big City and wouldn’t need any sort of vehicle.
Then a couple of decades later, I made the mistake of buying one. A friend warned me: “Once you have a truck, you’ll always have to have a truck.”
He was right.
The Bride and I were in a Ford pickup Feb. 27, 2004 when a drunk hit us and totally demolished poor Cletus.
By then, having a truck was a necessity. Instead of the Big City, we now lived on a hill in the country with nary a skyscraper in sight.… Read the rest

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Checking off Captain Fantastic

April 20, 2016
Checking off Captain Fantastic

In my continuing late in life quest to see 1970s rock icons that I missed 40 years ago, (my Old Man Tour) I found myself queued up outside the Colisseum in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
When the music that filled my life was popular, I almost never went to any concerts, so two years ago, I started trying to fit in many of the acts/performers I missed. Of course, all of the rockers are downright ancient now, and certainly none of them imagined still being on a stage in their 60s and 70s – how far away that age was in 1977!… Read the rest

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