RSSOpinions

On being yet another unsung filmmaking auteur

June 7, 2017
On being yet another unsung filmmaking auteur

I was wandering around a strip shopping center back in 1985 with a just-out-of-the-mail credit card pulsing in my pocket.
That’s when I saw it – a self-contained video camera.
Back then, video cameras had to be attached via a cord to a battery pack worn on your side; you toted both around as you filmed.
However, this shiny new version had the battery clip onto the back of the camera. No more side pack. Genius!
I bought it on the spot, maxing out the credit card in one swipe.
Even though it was like balancing an anvil on your shoulder, I began filming everything.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

‘What God has did, He done good’

June 7, 2017
‘What God has did, He done good’

There was a particular look in her eyes, a warmth of expression, a glow of deep and abiding contentment, a simple and plain elegance in an unexpected place. That’s what I remember about her.
That, and one simple statement.
We were on the island of St. Maarten with the North Texas Singers and we had just presented a concert in a nursing home. Our group of 45 had crowded into a small meeting room with as many residents as the staff could wheel in. It was hot in that room!
Many of the residents wore the same expressions that you would find in any nursing home anywhere.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

The history of Yellowstone Park’s Old Faithful Inn

June 7, 2017
The history of Yellowstone Park’s Old Faithful Inn

This column first appeared February 24, 2000.

Those of you readers who have been fortunate enough to visit Yellowstone National Park, and make the necessary trip to view Old Faithful surely took note of Old Faithful Inn.
On a visit to the park with two friends in 1974, we called ahead and made reservations to stay at the Inn.
I’ve just been reading a book about the park, and the author made the following statement: “Old Faithful Inn, bless its pine-knotted walls, still stands; it is Park Service Property. To dismantle it would be an act of barbarism equal to clogging up Old Faithful geyser.”
I agree!… Read the rest

Continue Reading

It’s all on you now, grads – prepare to modify

June 7, 2017
It’s all on you now, grads – prepare to modify

Over the last month, I have spent quite a few hours typing the biographies of graduating seniors.
As I went through and read the aspirations of these kids, it got me to thinking about my own grad bio published in the Azle News in 2004, and just how differently life has turned out from what I planned.
Here is what was written about me:
“Christina Derr, daughter of John and Samantha Derr of Azle, was active in theater, thespians, church youth group, FISH, and volunteering in political campaigns. She’s listed in Who’s Who Among American High School Students and will graduate early.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

State budget awaits gov’s final approval

June 7, 2017
State budget awaits gov’s final approval

Governor Greg Abbott as of June 4 had not signed Senate Bill 1, the 2018-2019 state budget finally approved by both houses of the 85th Texas Legislature on May 27. SB 1 appropriates $216.8 billion in total spending for the state’s budget during the 2018-19 biennium.
A long wait for Abbott’s signature may fit a pattern. The governor did not sign the 2016-2017 budget until June 20, 2015, the final day for him to approve or veto legislation. The governor has the power to veto line items in the bill, instead of rejecting it wholesale.
SB 1, a lot to contemplate at 969 pages in length, could take every remaining day for the governor’s office to digest, until this session’s veto deadline of June 18.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Sartorial confrontation: A rare loss for The Bride

May 31, 2017
Sartorial confrontation: A rare loss for The Bride

I agreed to go church shirt shopping with The Bride. She buys 95 percent of my clothing and I obediently put everything on – all nicely color-coded and matching.
We shopped at a place that had – no kidding – 10,000 shirts my size: the Dillard’s outlet in Ridgmar Mall.
It was overwhelming; there were so many shirts that it became the veritable forest for the trees concept.
Until…I saw one shirt that stuck out; I walked past it several times but kept returning to it, hearing “my precious!” whispered over and over.
I picked it up. So soft!
While this certainly wasn’t a church shirt, we have a tropical vacation planned for next April – yes, it takes that long of a ramp-up for us – and this seemed like a perfect shirt.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Lifequakes still happen to everyone

May 31, 2017
Lifequakes still happen to everyone

Back in April 2011, I wrote my first Life Matters column for the Azle News. If anyone would have told me then where the writing journey would have taken me, I would have said, “Bless your heart.”
Since I have spent most of April and May traveling, I didn’t really have a chance to acknowledge how grateful I am for the six-year anniversary. In honor of that, I’m sharing the first Life Matters column that ever appeared in the News. The specifics are dated (and I have made notations), but the concept still applies. Thanks for reading! – Dr. G.

I was recently a part of a discussion group where someone asked the question, “What would you do if you knew for certain that the return of Christ would happen in five years?” Most of the responses were expected…pray more…spend less on material things…tell more people about Jesus…do more ministry.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Denison, Texas: A town built around a railroad

May 31, 2017
Denison, Texas: A town built around a railroad

This column first appeared October 18, 1990.

It is surprising how fast a town could spring up in the 19th century West, especially if the railroad was going through. Denison, Texas was such a town.
The Denison Town Company platted the land and drew off streets. Standing on the corner of Main and Austin streets on Sept. 23, 1872, an official of the townsite company auctioned off 31 lots for $4,791, an average of $154.50 each.
The first business in town was an outdoor saloon which its owner created by nailing a one-by-twelve plank between two trees and selling liquor during the auction.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Maybe they really are listening in out there

May 31, 2017
Maybe they really are listening in out there

The world is full of conspiracy theorists for sure. And until last week I never thought I’d be amongst their ranks, but I am very close to jumping on that bandwagon.
Just go ahead and fit me for a tinfoil hat.
Remember when Facebook forced everyone to download the messenger app rather than sending messages through the regular social media app and there was a bunch of hubbub over the number of permissions the app required?
If you don’t remember, just trust me, it happened.
People were worried about the fact that Facebook Messenger wanted access to their camera, microphone, contacts, etc.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Lea: A legacy of second chances

May 31, 2017
Lea: A legacy of second chances

I wish my nephew had met Dr. Ray Lea.
Because of a friend’s broken BB gun found in his car after school one day, Cody was cuffed and later sent to the district’s discipline program. Several lost credits later, he had a decision to make: go back to school and try to make up the lost credits – or quit and pursue a GED. He chose the latter. There simply wasn’t a good third option.
But like the voice of calm reason in a rowdy classroom, Dr. Lea changed all that.
A school superintendent at Whitesboro, Dr. Lea had this far-fetched idea that young people had a right to something more.… Read the rest

Continue Reading