Page 1 --- December 2011

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Volume 4 Issue 55

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

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vol.4 Issue 55

In This Issue:

The County Line

Growing Up Small Town

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design

by Mike W. Norris

Texas Conservative by Chuck Norris

PO Box 1156 Eastland, Texas 76448 Phone: (254)433-2693

@Ranger Library

by Diana McCullough

Good Neighbors by Clint Coffee

Visit Our Website:

Star Pride

by Ginger Tobin and Laura Quinn

Advertising inquiries, article submissions, news releases, comments, please email:

Tumbleweed Smith by Bob Lewis

Love Lessons

by Vicki Stiefer

Thanks to our readers in:

Treasure Hunters

Abilene Albany Baird Breckenridge Brownwood Carbon Cisco Comanche Cross Plains DeLeon Desdemona Dublin Eastland El Paso Gordon Gorman Irving Olden Lingleville Lubbock Ranger Rising Star Stephenville Strawn Thurber Weatherford

by Jerry Eckhart

The Breckenridge Wall Local Advertisers

What’s Cooking?

by Selected Holiday Recipe’s

Rising Star Bulletin Board Local Advertisers

This Week In Texas History by Bartee Haile

From the Backside

by Henry J. Clevicepin

Ruthie’s Page

by Ruth Norris

Texas, New Mexico & Georgia cir.1950’s Saturday Evening Post ad,

Through much of the 1950s, the T&P conducted a very successful advertising and public relations campaign, placing ads in major national magazines. These ads promoted pro- Christian and pro-American values and the Free Enterprise system, and received various advertising awards.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.

We appreciate your support! Mike &rris Ruth No

Readers of the ads were invited to write to T&P for brochures by railroad president W.G. Vollmer; one was “Our Four Great Faiths,” another was “The Four Pillars of Freedom.” The booklet “Toward a Better World” contained small-sized reprints of the ads. William G. Vollmer, President of the T&P from 1945-1958, was a prolific writer of articles, many of which appeared in the employee magazine, Topics. He also gave many speeches. As with the “God and Country” ads, the themes generally dealt with pro-Christian, pro-American values, anti-Communist observations and promoting good railroad PR. ~ from ©Dusty Garison, member Abilene Society of Model Railroaders

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

3Growing Up Small Town ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, Mike W. Norris

Look yonder what’s coming down that railroad track... by Mike W. Norris

Have you ever heard of The Sunshine Special, The Texan, or The Louisiana Limited? How about The Tin Can or The Peanut Line? Maybe, kinda...but not sure what I’m talking about? Well, I’m talking about a little bit of Texas history so stick with me and I hope you enjoy the ride! The Texas and Pacific Railroad



It’s Like a Whole Other Country. and other revenue of $2,721,000. The discovery of oil along the T&P line in West Texas during the late 1920s and later in East Texas had a major impact on the company. In 1928 crude oil accounted for 22 percent of all freight tonnage. During the years of peak crude oil movement the physical condition of the railroad was significantly improved, and the Texas and Pacific was able to weather the Great Depression better than many of the other railroads in its region. Other than the abandonment of the Cisco and Northeastern on March 9, 1942, and the sale of the Pecos Valley Southern on November 30, 1946, there was little change in the mileage of the Texas and Pacific until the 1960s. In 1974, T&P owned 1,982 miles of main track in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Of the total, 1,109 miles were in Texas. The railroad also owned a total of 153 diesel units and 3,629 freight cars. Freight revenues in 1974 were $149,073,000. In addition, the Texas and Pacific continued to control the Abilene and Southern, Fort Worth Belt, Texas-New Mexico, and Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern lines. American financier Jay Gould had acquired an interest in the T&P railroad in 1879. Gould also controlled the Missouri Pacific Railroad which leased the T&P from 1881 to 1885 and continued a cooperative relationship with the T&P after the lease ended. Missouri Pacific gained majority ownership of the Texas and Pacific Railway’s stock in 1928 but allowed it to continue operation as a separate entity until the T&P was eventually merged into the Missouri Pacific on October 15, 1976.

On January 8, 1980, the Missouri Pacific Railroad was purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad. Because of lawsuits filed by competing railroads, the merger was not approved until September 13, 1982. But due to outstanding bonds of the Missouri Pacific, the merger with the Union Pacific Railroad wasn’t finalized until January 1, 1997. So basically, the T&P railroad existed from 1871 until 1976, for a running time of about 105 years. For a while, we saw the Missouri Pacific railroad in its place and the Union Pacific Railroad has been the name behind those familiar train whistles that pass through our area of Central Texas ever since. But the T&P railroad legacy still lives on. Following a bankruptcy claim in 1888, the Texas Pacific Land Trust (TPL) was created in order to provide an efficient and orderly way to sell the railroad’s unused land -- at the time in excess of 3.5 million acres. As of 2006, TPL was the largest private land owner in the State of Texas and today still owns approximately 965,000 acres located in twenty different Texas counties. TPL is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and derives revenue from all avenues of managing the land, such as oil and gas royalties, grazing leases, easements, sundry and specialty leases, and land sales. The TPL has a perpetual oil and gas royalty interest in approximately 387,000 acres. The Texas Central Railroad

The Texas and Pacific Railway Company was the only railroad The Texas Central Railway Company was in Texas, and one of the few in the United States, to operate under chartered on May 30, 1879, to serve as a feeder a federal charter. The Texas and Pacific Railway Company (known Continued on next page... as the T&P) was created by federal charter in 1871 with the purpose of building a southern transcontinental railroad between Marshall, Texas, and San Diego, California. The company was granted a federal land grant of twenty sections of land per mile through California and forty sections through what is now Arizona and New Mexico and a state land grant of twenty sections in Texas. The Texas Legislature recognized the federal charter in 1871 and the company began acquiring and constructing sections of rail. Up until the 1880’s the Texas and Pacific railroad had constructed 972 miles of track and was entitled to 12,441,600 acres of land. During the 1880’s new track construction by the company almost halted except for the six miles of track between Mingus and the coal mines at Thurber in 1888. Otherwise, the company continued to be active in acquiring or financing the construction of short lines to serve as feeders. These included the Denison and Pacific Suburban Railway Company, which was acquired in 1895, and the Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern Railway Company, acquired in 1903. In 1927 the Texas and Pacific acquired the Cisco and Northeastern, the Abilene and Southern, and the Pecos Valley Southern Railway companies. In 1928 the Texas-New Mexico Railway Company was organized to build from Monahans to Lovington, New Mexico, and in 1929 the Texas Short Line Railway Company was purchased. The Texas and Pacific acquired a 60 percent interest in the Fort Worth Belt Railway Company in 1932. All of these short line railroads maintained their separate corporate identities apart from T&P. By the 1930’s, the T&P owned 365 locomotives, 236 passenger cars, and 9,816 freight cars, and earned $24,000,000 in freight revenue, $3,282,000 in passenger revenue, Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

4Growing Up Small Town ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, Mike W. Norris

line to the Houston and Texas Central Railway Company. Although originally chartered to run from Ross Station, near Waco, in McLennan County to the center of Eastland County, the Texas Central charter was subsequently amended to authorize the company to extend to the state line in Sherman County with the ultimate destination as the state of Colorado, and also to build a line from near Ennis to Paris. Between 1879 and 1882 the Texas Central completed 177 miles between Ross and Albany. On April 4, 1885, the Texas Central entered receivership and was sold at foreclosure on April 22, 1891, to a committee representing the bondholders of the railroad. A new company, the Texas Central Railroad Company, was chartered on December 16, 1892, and acquired the property on January 23, 1893. In the early 1890s the now independent Texas Central projected extensions westward to Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory, and eastward from Waco to New Orleans. However, the only construction undertaken by the company was a thirty-eight-mile line between Albany and Stamford, completed in 1900, with an additional forty-two-mile extension from Stamford to Rotan built during 1906–07. The company also completed its own line from Ross to Waco in 1905 and built a forty-mile branch from De Leon to Cross Plains in 1910 and 1911, giving the Texas Central a total of 309 miles of main track. The Texas Central was acquired by the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company (known as Katy) in 1910, but continued to be operated by its own organization until April 30, 1914. For the next 30yrs not much changed until in 1944 the branch between De Leon and Cross Plains was abandoned. By 1967 much of the remaining traffic originated at the far end of the line, and the Katy received authority to abandon the Texas Central east of Stamford. The last Katy train arrived in Waco on November 29, 1967. On November 30, 1967, a new Texas Central Railroad Company, organized under the 1892 charter, began to operate the twenty-five miles between Dublin and Gorman. The track between Stamford and Rotan was sold and the balance of the line was dismantled. Since 1994 operations of the Texas Central have been conducted by Cen-Tex Rail Link. During its early years the Texas Central was commonly called the Tin Can, although the company in its pre-Katy days formally adopted nicknames and slogans such as the Lone Star Line or the Great Daylight Route. In recent years the railroad has been known as the Peanut Line. Local Impact of the Railroads

By 1881 the Texas and Pacific and the Texas Central railroads had reached Eastland county. A new town was organized at the intersection of the two railways when residents of Red Gap, a mile away, moved and


Kokomo, Mangum, and Shin Oak Springs. These new towns helped to diversify the local economy and provided opportunities for a variety of professions: dry goods stores, livery stables, saddleries, boardinghouses, drugstores, real estate agencies, and one nursery were advertising in local newspapers by 1890. The population of the county more than tripled between 1880 and 1900, rising to 17,971 by the turn of the century. During the oil boom of the early 1900’s, additional railroads were extended into the area to take advantage of the growing market for goods and freight. All of which helped support the population and economic growth of the period. The Railroad Today

renamed their town Cisco. Also in 1881 the first lot in Carbon, Texas was sold to N. S. Haynes, who put up a small business house. Located along the Texas Central Railway, between Gorman and Cisco, Carbon sprung into being and was quickly able to rival Eastland and Cisco in size and economic opportunity. An intense rivalry grew between Eastland and Cisco, and in August 1881 a second county-seat election took place; Eastland won by 354 to 324. Carbon came in at third place. The railroads encouraged immigration and helped to open the area to commercial farming and trade. During the last twenty years of the nineteenth century the number of farms in Eastland County increased from 549 to 2,510, and numerous settlements were established such as Ranger, Rising Star, Ellison Springs, Pioneer, Red Gap, Rustler, Howard, Jewell, New Hope, Tiffin, Chaney, Delmar, Morton Valley, Okra, Olden, Staff, Romney, Nimrod, Scranton,

In 1980, the Missouri Pacific Railroad was purchased by the Union Pacific Railroad. This purchase transferred the original T&P line to Union Pacific. The purchase was held up for 2 years due to legal procedures and Missouri Pacific continued to operate until 1997. As part of its homage to its heritage, Union Pacific maintains several locomotives with commemorative paint schemes honoring their original railroad lines. The Missouri Pacific Heritage locomotive was unveiled in Omaha, Neb., on July 30, 2005. The MoPac heritage locomotive is a two-tone blue and white color scheme that harkens back to the streamliner days and combines the MoPac buzz saw logo with the screaming eagle graphic introduced in the 1960s. Across the front is an eagle with outstretched wings and the MoPac logo in the center. The design implies both power and speed. The last days of the T&P passenger liners of the 60’s and 70’s featured the same eagle across the front and the T&P liners were commonly called “The Eagles” in the company’s advertising. Today Union Pacific operates over 6,300 miles of track in the state of Texas which accounts for almost 20% of the total Union Pacific rail system. For 2010, Union Pacific reported over 2.2million railcars either originating from or terminating in the state of Texas with almost 50% of their volume being wholesale goods and products. 40% of their volume is relatively evenly split between coal, plastics and sand/gravel/stone. The remaining 10% is generally made up of automobile shippments. The Union Pacific track system that runs from Fort Worth to Sierra Blanca, Tx is still called “The TP Line” and has a gross weight capacity of 143-tons per railcar. Next time you’re counting railcars while you watch a train go by, just think about how the railroad continues to play a huge role in our area’s economy and how it helped shape our history. As you imagine how many other people have counted those same railcars and wondered where do they come from and where are they going and you can smile to yourself and share this little bit of history with your kiddo’s while those cars go clanking by. ~mwnorris

All T&P related photos and advertisements are reprinted under fair use and with permission where possible. All copyrights remain that of their respective owners. Sources including:,, Union Pacific website (,,, Texas State Historical Association (,

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

5Texas Conservative ■

5 ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, Chuck Norris - The Man

GOP Creating Fuel for Obama By Chuck Norris

In God We Trust United We Stand

Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook’s “Official Chuck Norris Page.” He blogs at

Casey Stengel, a baseball legend who played on five teams and managed four, said: “It’s easy to get good players. Getting them to play together, that’s the hard part.” What’s true in sports is definitely true in politics -- even more so. Many say that ‘tis the season for GOP rivalry, but when does inference turn to infighting? When does public debate abandon solidarity? And when does friendly bantering turn into friendly fire that is fuel for our foes? I know that we are in a GOP presidential race. I understand the tactics to win a regular election, but this is no typical run for the presidency. There is a progressive insurrection under way, and at the heart of progressives’ political warfare is the lack of conservative consensus. GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, told an audience in Iowa last week, “President Obama is legitimately and authentically a Saul Alinsky radical.” I completely agree, and so do most people who truly understand Obama’s origins and political philosophies. Even The New York Times, back in August 2009, wrote, “Saul Alinsky (was a) Chicago activist and writer whose street-smart tactics influenced generations of community organizers, most famously the current president.” Alinsky’s bible for community organizers is “Rules for Radicals,” the principles of which can be viewed in almost every action of the left, including the present White House. For example, in the chapter on “power tactics,” the fourth tactic is: “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.” Whereas conservatives regard congruity as commendable, Alinsky considers it an opportunity for raising disdain among the public and infighting among enemies, because no one can perfectly live up to his or her own message. This is where Alinsky’s fifth rule follows and applies: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” And the best missile in that arsenal is the friendly fire (ridicule) caused within the enemies’ own camps. The goal is “conflict among themselves” -- what Alinsky calls “power cannibalism,” “a road from which there is no turning back” because it “permits only temporary truces.” Indeed, according to Alinsky, they will suffer a form of selfish implosion while attempting to appear selfless as “individual units attempt to exploit the general threat for their own special benefit.” Alinsky concludes, “Here is the vulnerable belly of the status quo.” Tragically, by their infighting, the GOP candidates are playing right into Obama and Alinsky’s hands. The fact is that while the majority of GOP candidates think they merely are competing for the prize of the nomination, they are running exact plays from Alinsky’s playbook, often pitted by the mainstream media and the White House, who are playing them like pawns, with their questions, accusations and innuendoes. Consider how the Alinsky scorecard has read just recently.

According to The Associated Press, last week, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s camp “announced a $3.1 million TV ad campaign in Iowa beginning (Dec. 9) that includes the new commercial assailing Gingrich on a host of fronts.” On the other hand, look at what Gingrich said at a Nov. 28 town hall meeting in Charleston, S.C.: “I do approach this whole campaign, I think, differently from everybody else. We have a number of friends who are also running. We have no opponents except Barack Obama. I think that’s very important. I think (Abraham) Lincoln was very wise, as was captured in a book called ‘Team of Rivals.’ ... Literally everybody who was his opponent ended up in the Cabinet because he needed all of them in order to be able to put together the political power during the crisis that we faced. I would say the same thing. I don’t know of a single person currently running who wouldn’t be a very effective member of an administrative team and who doesn’t have real talent and, in some way ... a unique strength. So I don’t have any opponents on the Republican side.” Now, you tell me, which type of leadership is going to win us back the White House, one that rallies the country or one that divides the house? The Republican presidential candidates are not the only ones being duped to Alinsky’s schemes; many of the conservative media and much of the public are, too. While we slander our own presidential candidates within the borders of our First Amendment rights, we inadvertently abandon the strategy to win the White House.

Every conservative I know agrees that any GOP candidate would bring better leadership than that which we currently have in the White House. I firmly believe that our candidates’ positive attributes outweigh any of their negatives. With about three weeks until the Iowa caucuses, it’s high time that we quit allowing the left and even our own preferences and prejudice to polarize us any further. It’s time we lay down our egos and our innate bent and fight to unify for our republic’s sake. It’s time we elevate our own preferred candidate without trashing the others. It’s time we turn the tables and beat the progressives at their own game by overturning their own rules -- Alinsky’s “rules”! If we are going to win the war for the White House, it’s going to be solely in our ability to rally together and keep our scopes on the current occupant of the White House, not by aiming at one another. So let’s flood the media and blogosphere with discussion about the strengths each candidate possesses. Let’s keep the focus on real solutions to get this country back on track. Let’s live out the acronym TEAM and show progressives and the world that “together everyone achieves more,” namely winning back the White House and Senate and maintaining a majority in the House of Representatives, which would save our republic. United we stand; divided we most certainly will fall.

©2011 CHUCK NORRIS DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM - Reprinted under license by Mike Norris

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

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6 ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●


7@The Ranger Library

7 ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, Diana McCullough

Never a Dull Moment By Diana McCullough

“There’s never a dull moment at the Ranger Library!” Vicky Gerdes laughed and said as I recounted what had just transpired at our library and that she had barely missed. I wish I was a good storyteller, but I’m not. But here goes, I’ll try. We have new neighbors on Pine Street, I met them at City Hall, just briefly, but they were real friendly and I was real friendly. When the lady called yesterday, asking for a referral about Internet Providers, I answered the best I could, including giving her a phone number. A short time later, a couple came in, and they were real friendly, and needed to use our Internet. Why in the world did I think this was the same couple as the ones I’d met last week in City Hall? I think it was the big, friendly smile on the lady’s face. I had a pot pie cooking in the microwave and I didn’t want them to find me unhelpful, so I carried my business card over to the lady, and said I was going to eat my lunch “Right over in the kitchen, just holler if you need anything.” As they were leaving, I welcomed them to our neighborhood and the man said, “Oh, I’m from Strawn.” Imagine my discomfiture! And he added, “And she’s actually from Chicago, Illinois.” I admitted I had mistakenly identified them as being our new neighbors, although I will admit HE didn’t look like the HE I’d met at City Hall. Anyway, we all laughed, and SHE said that she’d emailed me already, since I’d given her my card. She liked my friendliness. Then they left. Then they immediately returned. They had found a cell phone out front in the gravel driveway in front of our building. It was in a nice case that said ARMY and it was a phone similar to my last phone, a kind that I am no longer used to using. But all the same I did, with the two of them so close and watching, giving directions. First we went into Contacts and looked for ICE (“In Case of Emergency”) there was no ICE. Then we went into Recent Calls and I called a total stranger and said, “This is Diana at the Ranger Library and a phone was found. Do you recognize this number?” “Oh yeah, this is JW’s.” “Can you contact him somehow and tell him his phone is at the Ranger Library?” “Sure I can.” “Thanks!” And I hung up. Two seconds later, this stranger’s phone in my hand rings. So I answer, “This is Diana at the Ranger Library.” Of course. And the total stranger realizes he’s calling his buddy on his LOST PHONE that was just reported LOST. The two strangers (from Strawn and Chicago) and I laughed pretty hard. Maybe you had to have been here. Vicky Gerdes wasn’t but she laughed, too. Before much longer, Larry Monroe arrived for the phone, it belonged to a veteran who had been at our building earlier in the day. So even if the story isn’t told well, it DOES have a happy ending! Today’s story includes the tale of two sixth-grade boys entering the library after an early release from school, on a day when our sidewalks needed to be swept. I asked, “Who wants to make a dollar?” One boy was agreeable and the other boy was not. I asked the boy who did not want to sweep if he wanted to use our computers and he said YES. So I told him that if he wanted to use our PUBLIC LIBRARY computers he should help out! A

young mom interjected, “And you’ll make a dollar!” Another young mother was quiet, and I noticed. But both boys swept a porch and a sidewalk that needed sweeping and both boys received a dollar with a sticky note saying “Thank You”. Maybe I was wrong, maybe I wasn’t. Someone told me, “He’ll always remember making that dollar.” We have three new books this week! Despite the downfall of the Texas economy! Hunter Squyres has taken home the newest Wimpy Kid book, called Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney. Although I have never personally met this author, I was once in a large audience of his and he seems to be a great guy! A year ago, despite his fame, he was still getting some of his best ideas mowing his grass—and he’s a very likeable, humble person. His books are probably the most popular books in the Children’s section. We also have Shock Wave by John Sandford, a special request for my favorite substitute, Bob Davis; AND The Drop by Michael Connelly which is to be released on November 28th.

Shh…don’t tell, but I’m on page 26. I read “Who Moved My Cheese?” yesterday and I was ready for Michael Connelly, another favorite author. Two nights ago, I finally finished “The Best of Me” by Nicholas Sparks. Nicholas Sparks is a WONDERFUL author, especially if you don’t mind shedding a few tears. I mind! I prefer laughing, it’s my favorite exercise! Here’s a suitable quote, especially to me who tends to embarrass herself: “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” Credit Lord Byron. Hope YOU have had something to laugh about lately, and as always… ENJOY READING!

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

8 ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~ ■ Good

Neighbors, Clint Coffee CLU ChFC State Farm Insurance® Agent


Sharing the Moments of Life

Families share the moments of life. Moving into your first home. Picking up your son from school. Walking your daughter down the aisle. But, what if something were to happen to a member of your family? You or your spouse. Would you be able to pay the bills? Your family’s other provider. Who would care for your family? Your children. How would you cover their future needs? Life insurance can help you protect the most important people in your life – your family. Family term insurance can help you provide protection for your entire family under a single policy. Now, getting that life insurance coverage has never been easier or more affordable. You can save on premiums, while everyone gets the coverage they need. Initially, term life insurance may fit your

family needs. You and your spouse can purchase term insurance and pay the same low premium for the term of the policy. As your life circumstances change, you and your spouse have the opportunity to convert your coverage to permanent insurance that may last as long as you live. Optional coverages or riders to help protect other members of your family may be available. Instead of dealing with separate policies, you can get life coverage for your whole family with just one policy. And, the cost of the riders is more affordable than purchasing separate policies for each family member. When sharing the moments of life, it’s comforting to know your whole family is protected. Talk with an insurance professional to help ensure you have the coverage you need and the protection your family deserves. Send Comments to:

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

9Inspired Advertising ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, Mike W. Norris The Texas and Pacific Railway dedicated to promoting the “four great Company ran a series of “God & Faiths” of America; Faith in God, Country” advertising throughout the Faith in Ourselves, Faith in Our Fellow 1950’s. This campaign was inspired Man, and Faith in Freedom. by the company’s president, William G. Vollmer, who was an articulate writer and passionately religious patriot. Each of the ads invited the reader to contact the company to receive a free booklet written by Vollmer

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●


10Inspired Advertising ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, Mike W. Norris

More of the T&P “God & Country” advertising campaign series, cir. 1950’s

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●


11Star Pride ■ ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, by Ginger Tobin & Laura Quinn


Lighting Up December

Star Pride is a group of local and area citizens who are committed to volunteering and working to improve Rising Star and make it a more beautiful and pleasant town in which to live. The wonderful support which local citizens have given Star Pride in its mission is greatly appreciated by members. Anyone who wishes to become a member is welcome to attend meetings which are usually held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Rising Star Library at 4:00 p.m. By Ginger Tobin & Laura Quinn

be nice to be able to blame this snafu on someone else, maybe the Grinch or even the leprechauns; however, this Star Pride reporter will have to acknowledge the error and blame it on no one else! The only excuse is that writing an article at 8:30 PM after a long day of decorating Christmas trees and stringing lights around town is NOT the greatest idea. So, here’s the correct scoop on the commercial window decorating contest as well as the residential outside yard/ house decorating contest. First prize in each category is $50 and second prize in until 9PM, then a DJ took over and played each category is $25…sounds a lot more a mix of popular, country, and Christmas reasonable, doesn’t it? tunes. The “Chicken Dance” was a hit Star Pride is urging owners of with the kids (some of those “kids” were commercial buildings and storefronts in their 60’s). Star Pride provided home to decorate a window and homeowners/ baked refreshments, and there was punch, renters to decorate the outside of their water, tea and coffee to drink. Watch yard and house in preparation for the for future events in this special building. December 15 judging by OUT OF TOWN THANKS to Jo Sledge for her efforts to anonymous judges, a panel of three, who bring back an icon to our local history will circulate throughout our town and here in Rising Star. Contact Ms. Sledge determine the winners. at 325-643-1580 if there is an event you Please keep your outside lights on need to book. Ms. Sledge stated that she the week of December 11-17 and even would love to have a public event in the through December 25 in the evening so building at least once a month, for the that residents and visitors can see our enjoyment of the community. ~ LQ Christmas spirit and how we love to make our town look beautiful. It really Bake Sale Huge Success; helps to have a timer on your lights so Reporter Not So Great Dec. 5th -- With my laptop open and you don’t have to unplug them all each my front yard full of light snow, it sounds night and can even leave them on when like a perfect Rising Star morning; only you are absent from home, secure in the looking its usual best! The tall Christmas one problem exists after Star Pride’s knowledge that they will come on and go tree inside is decorated in the school colors and is spectacular. There’s a bit huge success at their mega bake sale on off at the scheduled times. Lighting up Rising Star is going well; of malfunctioning with the light strings December 3 at the 1st Annual Rising Star the Star Police (Ha Ha) travel the streets outside; but we are hoping that will be Hometown Country Christmas. The bake sale was fantastic; Star Pride of downtown nightly replacing burned out corrected soon. The trees and the reindeer had a place of honor at the Higginbotham bulbs and checking that all the decorations were donated to Star Pride; and we are Building, for which we thank the and lights are on…help us make THIS thrilled to be using them. Steel’s Tire is glowing brightly at night organizers. Star Pride members really YEAR the best ever for Rising Star. Several additions have sprung up around with the beautifully decorated tree and came through for this sale; and each and every baker is so appreciated. A bevy of town as merchants and individuals finish shiny lights on the window. Browning’s Car Sales on College Street selections awaited the buyers last Saturday their Christmas decorating. The Rising morning. This reporter rushed inside Star Museum has a very colorful tree in next to the Rising Star Library now has a to find that Mike McGinn’s homemade their side window next to the Post Office lighted tree and window decorations; very bread was history; well, I should have and the lights on the front make a perfect festive! Two new commercial size snowflakes reported for duty earlier! There were frame for Mr. and Mrs. Santa displayed in cakes and pies galore and once again, our the front window. We anxiously await the were purchased this year by Star Pride; wonderful public has enabled Star Pride scenes that will grace the windows of the one has been mounted in front of the Higginbotham Building and one is still to continue with our “beautification” of Higginbotham Building soon. We really appreciate Jo Sledge lighting waiting for that “perfect spot” to shine our glorious hometown. Thanks to all buyers who helped us bank a tidy sum for up Star Pride’s “rising star” at the Market over the town. It’s still early in December, so there Building. It looks wonderful to see the our treasury. Waking up to a ringing telephone historic building restored and being used is plenty of time to start decorating; and your neighbors will notice and appreciate recently, this reporter was informed by for community functions again. City Hall is looking beautiful too with your efforts. So, “light up, Rising Star.” our hardworking Star Pride President, Barbara Medley, that she did NOT two Christmas trees lighted up by the ~ GT say that 1st prize for window and yard front door and a tiny reindeer atop the decorating contests would be $25 for first flower bed out front. Star Pride’s huge prize and $50 for second prize as reported wreath with the three candles found in last week’s Star Pride article! It would a new spot this year at City Hall; it is Send Comments to: Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

“Light Up Rising Star” Illuminates Our Town Dec. 19th --Selections for Best Overall Decorations have been made! This year the judges (all from out of town) chose: $50 First place Commercial window-Kenny Rutledge, for the sleigh and reindeer display, which he gives full credit to his wife for both idea and effort. $25 Second place Commercial window-FullDraw Ledgends Taxidermy, owned by Robby and Connie Harding, for the skiing snowmen and Christmas tree ( Robby ALSO gives his wife credit for the display). $50 First place residential-- Rodney and Amy Helmuth. $25 Second place residential--Patricia Hutchinson. If you haven’t been out after dark lately--do so-there are a lot of really nice displays to view.. There was evidence of great effort and care in all of the decorations viewed, which was appreciated. Overall the “tour of lights” was enjoyed, and decisions were not arrived at easily. Comments of “Gee, there are some very creative people here”, and “Wow---look at that”, were heard during the drive through the streets. There were several other decorations which made the decision making difficult and deserve “Honorable Mention”. Those are: Betty and Jim Fisher, who had a unique display of colored lights, Christmas trees and a “rising star”. Jerry and Rhonda Lunceford, with several items made of lights, cutout silhouettes of a cowboy kneeling with his horse, the Nativity, and Santa Claus. Ginger Tobin, had lighted trees, candy canes, angels, and lights in the trees as well as on the house. Gary and Denise Westerman who had Santa in a hot air balloon as well as several other air filled characters. Efforts of those who did (and are) participating in this spirit of Christmas are showing. Hopefully we will all have a joyful, peaceful, and prosperous season. Star Pride wishes to thank everyone who participated in this venture, which was to have fun and bring out the community spirit here in Rising Star. WE WISH EVERYONE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! ~LQ Lighting the Market Building Star! Dec. 9th -- Friday evening marked a special event for Rising Star. The old market building on Main Street in downtown Rising Star is once again a gathering place for social events and special occasions. The star on top of the market building was lit at 7PM. A benefit musical was held to mark this event. The “Class of ‘57” band played live music

12 ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

The T&P railroad operated a lucrative passenger service throughout its lifetime. Many ads from the 1950’s claimed that service from California to Texas or from Texas to St. Louis, Missouri was little more than an over-night excursion. Today, passengers still use the 1931 T&P Train Station in Fort Worth as the western end-point of the TRE (Trinity Rail Express) commuter train which services the D/FW Metroplex. For about $10, you can ride the TRE all day long from Fort Worth, to the D/FW Airport, to Union Station in downtown Dallas and back again as many times as you like. For information about the TRE, you can visit their website:

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●


13Tumbleweed Smith ■ ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, Bob Lewis


An Aggie Tree Produces Scholarships By Bob Lewis

Andy Duffie of Vernon is 100% Aggie. He thinks everybody ought to love A & M. He did well while he was a student there and carries the spirit of Aggieland with him wherever he goes. He manages a farm store in Vernon and knows agriculture. He has joined his two loves: A & M and watching things grow, and has embarked on a unique way to raise money for scholarships to his beloved school. It has to do with a famous tree on the A & M campus. He explains: “There is live oak tree in an area called the Academic Plaza that has been there since the beginning of Texas A & M. It’s referred to as the Century Tree. The limbs have extended out way beyond their natural boundaries and have created a huge canopy the size of a large house. Over the years it has become a sweetheart tree. Hundreds, if not thousands, of marriage proposals and several weddings have taken place under the tree. Every student who ever attended A & M knows about this tree.” Andy gathered acorns from the tree and has planted them under ideal conditions in an effort to start an endowed scholarship fund. “Actually I planted 3,000 acorns,” says Andy. “The problem with an old, large oak tree is it produces massive quantities of acorns, but they are relatively infertile due to insect damage or immaturity or one reason or another. I knew going in I would get a low germination rate. From the 3,000 acorns that I harvested and planted, I have about 500 trees growing. They’re about eight inches tall now. In two more years, they’ll be about six feet tall. That’s when I plan to offer these for sale in an effort to create a $100,000 President’s endowed scholarship to A & M called the Century Tree Scholarship. I will make these trees available to other Aggies who will think it’s cool to have one of these trees growing in their yard.” He is not making any money from the project, calling it a labor of love. “I’ll be asking for a $250 donation per tree and can accept your reservations by email at”

Andy says the tree dates back to 1900 when there weren’t any trees on campus. Legend says it was planted over an old cistern that collected rainwater for use in the main building, so it has its own underground water supply that has caused it to grow so well over the years. The trees are now staked, pruned and growing at Andy’s residence in Vernon. He plans to transport them to the A & M campus on three home football weekends in the fall of 2013. He is expecting some of the Aggies to buy a tree and make a donation to the scholarship fund. “These are some of the healthiest trees you’ll ever buy because of the containers and soil I’m growing them in and the special tender loving care they receive from me. I’ll probably sell 400 of them. Multiply that number by the price of $250 and you get $100,000.00, the amount of my endowment. “ Send Comments to:

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

14Love Lessons Learned So Far ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, Vicki Stiefer


Last Man Standing at Christmas By Vicki Stiefer

In my last article I wrote about how you as the in-law or new addition to the family needed to stand with dignity and grace because the rest of them are the ones acting like silly fools. I told you it would be the hardest thing you ever did. I was absolutely, without a doubt correct! I can safely say this because of what I have experienced this Holiday Season. I know at one point in your life you have dealt with the same. However, when we put up our Christmas decorations we also include a nativity scene. It’s my favorite decoration. The whole set belonged to my mother and its bright beautiful colors remind me of what the Holiday Season is really all about. A baby who was born in a manger 2000 years ago. Whose story is still so powerful it is still being told today. The words that he spoke made such an impact that we have built a country around them. We’ve built our lives around them. It speaks volumes to my heart and goes a long way to soothe my soul from the aches and pains that family brings around the holidays. Yes, there will be stress. Yes, you will question yourself and your morals and values. Hold fast! It’s over in a matter of weeks and you can rest in your cocoon of normalcy and things will get back to their usual schedule. It will take you a week or so once everything is done. The decorations will be safely tucked away and you can begin again. Never doubt yourself. You are an intelligent, wonderful, strong and loving person. It is absolutely not you. They are acting like silly fools. Yes, I said they were acting like silly fools. Sometimes you do not want to give a name to the situation but isn’t that really what it is? You live your whole year without major problems and issues and then BAM! The holidays come and you are a complete mess. Is it you? Not quite. Grin and bear it, respect your elders and keep on moving. They won’t be there forever right??? I know, that was wrong to say, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is that little tiny baby in your manger scene. Trust him. Trust what he said and store it away in your heart. When I put up my nativity scene I often stand there and just take in the scene. The colorful robes the wise men wear standing next to the shepherd and his precious sheep who look on so lovingly. The peaceful parents who kneel on either side of that precious baby and look on as if they know he will change the world. And continues to do so today. No matter what life throws our way we always have a place to go for rest. He said come to him with your burdens and he does listen. He has been there for me this Holiday Season and when the Season is over he will still be there. And he will still listen. That is why it is called the Christmas Season, because he is the Christ. The trees and presents and holiday dinners that people in your family think need a pinch of this or that will fade away. As much as I dislike the nontraditional Christmas songs they are right when they sing Christmas is in your heart all year round. Hug and love up to the family members that care about you and even extend a hand to those that do not think too highly of

you. This is what families do for the Christmas Season. They get together at Thanksgiving and fight like cats and dogs. Then they get together a month later and do it all over again. Do not give in to pressure and always do what is right for your family. Remember when you pass by the nativity that you remember the real reason that you are here. When all of the family has been tucked in for the night there is only one man standing beside you. That is Jesus. Merry Christmas.

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

15Treasure Hunters ■ ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, Jerry Eckhart


Dikon’s Dog By Jerry Eckhart To see more of Jerry’s treasure finds, search Facebook for “Jerry Eckhart”

Christmas will soon be here, and most of us will be producing traditional Christmas messages for our columns. Being of a serious mind (right!) I wanted to do something different this year. Instead of just writing about the joys of Christmas, I wanted to present a story that might just remind everyone of what happens when you perhaps give your loved one a pet for Christmas, only to find you can no longer care for it or don’t want to care for it. Although this is a fictionalized account of a true story that happened twenty years ago, it emphasizes a problem that exists today among farmers and ranchers. Ross Dikon was cutting his toenails with a butcher knife when he heard the car stop. “Who the devil is that?” he growled. He shuffled toward the window, then heard the car speed away. As the sound of the motor faded, the barking began. “Cowards!” he snorted. “They drive way out in the country to dump a dog. Ain’t got the guts to kill it themselves, or find a home for it. They think some soft-hearted rancher is going to give it a place to stay.” Dikon talked to himself a lot. He had fallen into the habit years ago while working cattle on the open Texas range. “It can wait ‘til morning.” Dikon said. “Maybe the darn dog will wander off somewhere else.” The dog did not wander off. The first thing the old man saw when he hobbled out the next morning was the dog. It sat just inside his front gate and watched the road. “It ain’t an ugly dog,” he muttered. “Matter of fact, it’s kind of purty with them big black spots on all that white. That long hair’s gonna be full of burrs if it stays around here.” Ross Dikon bent and picked up a handful of rocks. “Get outta here!” he yelled and heaved a stone. It missed. He threw another. The rock bounced in front of the dog. The animal barked and came toward the old man. Dikon gathered more rocks and they flew as fast as his skinny arm could throw. He didn’t hit the dog but it turned and ran from the yard. “And don’t come back! I don’t want any dogs.” The old man had to see to his cattle and the dog was soon forgotten. At 75, Dikon could still do a full day of work, either horseback or on foot. It was just a little harder to climb into the saddle and his bones ached more at night. He lived alone and liked it that way. He didn’t like to hire help even during the busy times, not if he could avoid it. A thousand acres wasn’t too much for a man. Matter of fact, Dikon was thinking of buying the place next to his. Several times that week, the rancher caught brief glimpses of the abandoned dog between the river and his north pasture. The animal had thinned considerably and its long, spotted coat was tangled and matted. “I wonder what he’s eatin’, “ he mused. “Coyotes got most of the jackrabbits.” The next Monday, he found the calf. It had been pulled down, killed and partially eaten. Dog tracks circled the carcass. Dikon’s horse shifted and stamped nervously at the scent of blood. The rancher pulled him still and sat for a long time studying the scene. “Dang sure no coyote done this. There’d be more tracks and not a scrap left. Now I’ve got to go dog huntin’. Blasted dog dumpers!” Ross followed the tracks until they disappeared in the thick grass. “Let’s check the fence line, Roan,” he said to his horse. “They’ll show up in the sand where he crossed under the fence.” Dikon had hunted, trapped, and tracked for more than sixty years and he knew what most wild animals were going to do before they did it. A domestic animal gone wild had many of the same habits, except it had no fear of humans. A wild dog was a danger to other animals as well as humans. He searched halfway around the pasture before

spotting the tracks under the fence. “That rascal is holin’ up by the water. He probably won’t move before morning. Has his belly full of my calf.” At sunrise, he rode for the brush bordering the river. He carried a rifle. Crossing the pasture, he saw the dog running away and as he rode nearer, Dikon found another calf, this one freshly killed. He forgot about the fence and spurred the horse after the killer dog. Dikon may have forgotten the fence, but Old Roan didn’t. At the wire, the horse slid to a stop and threw Dikon from the saddle. The rancher cartwheeled past the horse’s neck and landed in front of him. He lay for a moment before forcing himself erect and back to the saddle. He saw the dog fifty yards away, watching. Dikon jerked the rifle from its boot, swung it up and fired. “Missed! I can’t see so good anymore.” The dog disappeared. Dikon wiped the dirt from his face. “I don’t know how come I didn’t kill myself,” he said. He remounted Roan and rode to the gate, passed through and returned to the spot he had seen the dog. He cradled the rifle at the ready but found no sign. He booted Roan into a trot and worked his way toward the river. “I don’t know, Roan. This one ain’t done much what I expected. Likely as not, he’s off some place laughing at me.” Ross worked the brush along the river bank for several hours with no luck. Finally, beside a thick cactus patch, he found a pile of fresh dog droppings. He dismounted painfully. His head ached and one shoulder was turning sore from the fall. When he bent to look closer, his head reeled and he almost fell. Dikon knew if he did not find the dog today, he might not at all. He was certain that by tomorrow he would be laid up and unable to do anything. The rancher circled the droppings until

he found the tracks. He checked every brush pile, every clump of grass, every bit of possible cover. He stared at a patch of white beside a fallen tree. The white disappeared. Dikon froze. He got off his horse, tied it and moved forward silently. His palms were sweating. He felt as if the dog’s eyes were on him. The dog seemed to be stalking him now. He caught a glimpse of brush moving to one side. He turned once and saw a flash of white behind him. Dikon moved into a small clearing. His heart pounded and sweat streamed down his weathered face. It stung the scratches from his fall. He grounded his rifle and reached for his bandana. Dikon was wiping his face when the dog attacked. The old man jumped back and fell. That fall saved him, for the dog sailed over, hit the ground and rolled. Dikon, still clinging to his rifle, rolled onto his belly, then triggered a wild shot in the dog’s direction. Ross struggled to his knees. The dog was crouching for another leap when Dikon’s second shot slammed into its hindquarters. The animal yelped and snapped at the thing that had hurt him. The bullet had ranged upward, apparently severing the spine. The dog’s hind legs were useless. After several moments, the dog began dragging itself forward with its forelegs. It growled. Ross Dikon, now on his feet, raised the rifle, took aim, then lowered the weapon. There was a tightness in his throat as he looked at the dog. “I’m sorry, dog. It ain’t your fault, but it ain’t mine either.” The dog bared his teeth and growled. Dikon raised the rifle again and whispered. “Oh,Lord.” A heavy silence followed the final shot. Ross Dikon stood and stared at the still, bloody form. “Damn dog dumpers!” he spat, then turned and limped to his horse.

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

16 ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

If you do business in Breckenridge, contact The County Line to advertise here for an unbeatable low, monthly cost!

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●


17 ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~


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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●


18 ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

What’s Cooking?

Seasoned Saltines courtesy Ruth Norris

1 pkg Dry Ranch Dressing Mix 1 1/2 cup Canola oil 2 tbsp crushed Red Peppers 1 tsp dill weed 1/2 tsp Tony’s Creole Seasoning 1 box of Saltine Crackers

Whipper Doodles from Linda Norris

1 lb. melting chocolate

1 (12 oz.) bag vanilla chips or white chocolate chips

4-6 c. corn flakes cereal

Whisk together dry ingredients and Canola oil and pour over box of saltine crackers in airtight container.

In large bowl, melt 1 pound chocolate according to the directions on the bag. While stirring, slowly pour in the cereal (add more cereal if necessary). The mixture will become very think. Take spoonfuls of mixture and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Place in freezer for 5 minutes.

Roll, shake, and tumble crackers occasionaly until oil is absorbed...aprox. 2 to 4 hrs.

In a separate bowl, melt the vanilla or white chocolate chips according to directions.

Serve with or without your favorite dip.

Remove the other chocolate mixture from the freezer. Holding 1 side of the frozen chocolate; dip into melted white chocolate. Place back on wax paper & put back in freezer. Serve frozen or refrigerated.

Spiced Pineapple Rum courtesy Vicki Stiefer

1 can (6oz) or ¾ cup pineapple juice 2 TSP brown sugar 1 TSP butter 1/2oz rum, optional Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg Heat pineapple juice, brown sugar, and butter in a saucepan until simmering. Stir in rum. Pour into heated mug. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Makes 1 serving From: Coolers, Cocktail & Punches from Dole Booklet, 1985

Peanut Patties courtesy Mike Norris

2 ½ c. sugar 1 c. milk

½ c. white Karo 3 c. raw peanuts

Mmmmm Fudge courtesy Linda Norris

2 c. sugar 3 tbsp. cocoa ¾ c. milk 1 tbsp. Karo

1 tbsp. butter ½ tsp. vanilla ½ to 1 c. pecans

Mix sugar, cocoa, milk & Karo in a pan Cook until it will form a soft ball when dropped into cold water Add pecans, vanilla & butter without stirring Set pan in cool water & allow to cool Beat until smooth & pour into buttered pan Set until cool and form enough to cut into squares. Serve with milk

Put all the ingredients in a large iron skillet. Bring to a boil; lower heat to lowest setting. Cook for 1 hour; stir occasionally. Remove from heat. Add 1 tbsp. butter 2 drops red food coloring 2 tsp. vanilla Beat until thick. Spoon out on waxed paper or drop into greased muffin tins. PS: I LOVE these things!!! If you make some, send me one or two! ~MikeN

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

19 ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●


20Ol’ Doc’s Homespun Yarns ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, Luther & Pat Gohlke

Merry Christmas!!

A Little Selection From the Gohlke Email Inbox By Luther Gohlke

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn’t been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn’t hate Christmas, just couldn’t find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through. Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. “Thank you, but I don’t mean to intrude,” said the stranger. “I see you’re busy, I’ll just go.” “Not without something hot in your belly.” George said. He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. “It ain’t much, but it’s hot and tasty. Stew .... Made it myself. When you’re done, there’s coffee and it’s fresh.” Just at that moment he heard the “ding” of the driveway bell. “Excuse me, be right back,” George said. There in the driveway was an old ‘53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked. “Mister can you help me!” said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. “My wife is with child and my car is broken.” George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead. “You ain’t going in this thing,” George said as he turned away. “But Mister, please help ...” The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. “Here, take my truck,” he said. “She ain’t the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good.” George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. “Glad I gave ‘em the truck, their tires were shot too. That ‘ol truck has brand new.” George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. “Well, at least he got something in his belly,” George thought. George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the block hadn’t cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. “Well, shoot, I can fix this,” he said to himself. So he put a new one on. “Those tires ain’t gonna get ‘em through the winter either.” He took the snow treads off of his wife’s old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn’t going to drive the car anyway. As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, “Please help me.” George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. “Pressure to stop the bleeding,” he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. “Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin’,” he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease. “Something for pain,” George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. “These ought to work.” He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. “You hang in there, I’m going to get you an ambulance.” The phone was dead. “Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car.” He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio. He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. “Thanks,” said the officer. “You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area.” George sat down beside him, “I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain’t gonna leave you.” George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. “Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through ‘ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain.” George got up and poured a cup of coffee. “How do you take it?” he asked. “None for me,” said the officer. “Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain’t got no donuts.” The officer laughed and winced at the same time. The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. “Give me all your cash! Do it now!” the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before. “That’s the guy that shot me!” exclaimed the officer. “Son, why are you doing this?” asked George, “You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt.” The young man was confused. “Shut up old man, or I’ll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!” The cop was reaching for his gun. “Put that thing away,” George said to the cop, “we got one too many in here now.”

He turned his attention to the young man. “Son, it’s Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain’t much but it’s all I got. Now put that pea shooter away.” George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. “I’m not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son,” he went on. “I’ve lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week.” George handed the gun to the cop. “Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can.” He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. “Sometimes we do stupid things.” George handed the young man a cup of coffee. “Bein’ stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin’ in here with a gun ain’t the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we’ll sort this thing out.” The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. “Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I’m sorry officer.” “Shut up and drink your coffee “ the cop said. George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. “Chuck! You ok?” one of the cops asked the wounded officer. “Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?” “GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?” the other cop asked as he approached the young man. Chuck answered him, “I don’t know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran.” George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other. “That guy work here?” the wounded cop continued. “Yep,” George said, “just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job.” The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, “Why?” Chuck just said, “Merry Christmas boy ... and you too, George, and thanks for everything.” “Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems.” George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. “Here you go, something for the little woman. I don’t think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day.” The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. “I can’t take this,” said the young man. “It means something to you.” “And now it means something to you,” replied George. “I got my memories. That’s all I need.” George reached into the


box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. “Here’s something for that little man of yours.” The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier. “And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that too,” George said. “Now git home to your family.” The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. “I’ll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good.” “Nope. I’m closed Christmas day,” George said. “See ya the day after.” George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. “Where’d you come from? I thought you left?” “I have been here. I have always been here,” said the stranger. “You say you don’t celebrate Christmas. Why?” “Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn’t see what all the bother was. Puttin’ up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin’ cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn’t the same by myself and besides I was gettin’ a little chubby.” The stranger put his hand on George’s shoulder. “But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor. The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. “That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man.” George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. “And how do you know all this?” asked the old man. “Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again.” The stranger moved toward the door. “If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned.” George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room. “You see, George ... it’s My birthday. Merry Christmas.” George fell to his knees and replied, “Happy Birthday, Lord Jesus” Merry Christmas!!

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

21This Week In Texas History ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

, by Bartee Haile

Coyotes Conspire to Carve Up Texas By Bartee Haile

Edmund J. Davis and six other Radical Republicans began writing in strict secrecy the constitution for the “State of West Texas” on Dec. 16, 1868, but the overconfident Coyotes were getting ahead of themselves. The second round of the Republican controlled constitutional convention had been gaveled to order eight days earlier in Austin. Although the official task of the rowdy assembly was to rewrite the Lone Star charter, at the top of the agenda was a Radical proposal to carve up Texas like a Christmas turkey. As any Texan worth his or her salt knows, the state was admitted to the Union with the right to subdivide into as many as four new domains. Not as well known is how often the idea was entertained and how close the Lone Star State came to being dismembered during Reconstruction. Division was first recommended in 1844 during the heated debate over annexation. Sen. Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri suggested bisecting the giant applicant, making one state free and the other slave in order to maintain the delicate balance between North and South. Over the next decade, various schemes were put forth for cutting Texas down to size by spiteful spokesmen from envious locales. However, in 1852 a native politician unveiled his own controversial plan. Hoping to exploit the perennial rivalry of East and West Texas, James W. Flanagan, a Rusk County representative, called for partitioning along the Brazos River. “Who will be willing to give up the name of Texas?” a leading newspaper asked. “Who will give up the bloodstained walls of the Alamo?” By a margin of 35-15, the state house of representatives put the unpopular plan out of its misery. Delegates to the 1868 constitutional convention met on Jun. 1 to recast the Texas foundation in the Reconstruction mold. Only a handful of Democrats were present because the vast majority of their supporters were barred from the ballot box for having fought for the Confederacy. Hoping to halt the Radical crusade for a divided Texas, the pragmatic Democrats sided with the moderate wing of the GOP. Kingpins of the Radical fraction were Edmund J. Davis, former judge and future governor, James P. Newcomb, a San Antonio newspaper editor and G.T. Ruby, leader of the black Union League. These ambitious firebrands envisioned a separate state encompassing all of South Texas and a sizable southern chunk of the West. The trio’s strategy was to isolate die-hard Rebs in their traditional eastern stronghold, while consolidating Radical influence in a staunchly Republican state with San Antonio as the capital. The plan was favored by the Germans of Central Texas, most of whom remained pro-Union throughout the Civil War, and residents of the Alamo City hungry for the prestige and prosperity the change would bring. The Radicals had the votes to elect Davis presiding officer but not enough to pass their program. After weeks of contentious stalemate, the faction fight turned violent as delegates duked it out of the convention floor. Brawls and shouting matches made exciting copy for the daily newspapers and gave the gathering a chaotic carnival

atmosphere. The exhausted delegates finally demanded a break and forced a recess on Aug. 31. But a threemonth hiatus failed to cool tempers on either side. When the body reconvened on Dec. 8, a state of war existed between the Radicals and their moderate foes. To make matters worse, the convention was 11 delegates short. Three had died, four had resigned and four others did not bother to return. On Dec. 18, Chairman Davis declared the question of division to be in order, and the wild debate resumed. Meanwhile, Davis, Newcomb and five cronies spent their nights secretly drafting the State of West Texas constitution. Copies of the bylaws of the unapproved creation were distributed to the delegates on Jan. 6, 1869. This high-handed maneuver alienated potential converts and earned for the Davis clique the contemptuous nickname Coyotes. In a fiery speech, Davis defended division as a necessary measure for keeping former Confederates powerless. Branding “magnanimity to rebels” as “weakness or stupidity,” he roared, “They are not fit to govern, and they shall not govern again!” Despite countermoves by the moderates, the State of West Texas resolution passed in late January. Following adjournment of the convention, both factions sent emissaries to Washington to plead their respective cases. The incoming administration of President U.S. Grant realized the Coyotes were provoking a crisis certain to aggravate an already serious situation. It was tough enough to impose Reconstruction rule on one Texas, but two? Davis and his disappointed comrades were told in no uncertain terms to shelve their risky scheme, and the Lone Star State stayed intact. Last chance to get “Tornadoes, Hurricanes & Other Disasters,” the latest “Best of This Week in Texas History” column collection, in time for Christmas! Order today at or mail a check for $14.20 to Bartee Haile, P.O. Box 152, Friendswood, TX 77549. Send Comments to:

Bartee Haile lives in Friendswood, TX and is the author of one of the most long established Texas History newspaper columns in the state. Column collections available at or request list from Bartee Haile, P.O. Box 152, Friendswood, TX 7754

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●


22 ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●


23From The Backside ■

23 ~ December 2011 v4.55 ~ , Henry J. Clevicepin

Christmas Dog Food Diet Idiots In Washington By Henry J. Clevicepin Collaborated by Nellie Frecklebelly and Agnes & Ophilia Fudpucker

Well, old man Winter is about to set in around Buzzard Roost. But we did get a little moisture with it. It’s about time to get out them overcoats and start being a little nicer to ol Nellie Frecklebelly and them Fudpucker sisters, cause you may need to huddle up on the South side of one’em…… as I’ve told you before….they’re big ol gals and can knock that North wind off of you. As ol Estee K. Bibbles, my mulebarn partner says…… there ain’t nothing better than a good shot of whiskey and a big ol fat gal to keep you warm in the winter !!!!! And Christmas is gonna be here before a cat can kiss his butt….so me and ol Estee K. and all of the gang want to wish all of you a very Merry CHRISTMAS !!!!!! Yeah, I said Christmas….not any of that political correct BS about Happy Holidays or having a Holiday Tree or can’t have a scene with the baby Jesus in it in public. I would like for one of those idiots to tell me just who in the cornbread world’s birthday do they think we are celebrating….it sure ain’t ol Saint Nick….it’s Jesus Christ birthday…as the saying goes…. it’s the reason for the season!!!!! Now ol Estee K. came across a little diddy that I think puts it kinda in perspective……………..

what does she think I’ve got…an elephant??? Being a quick thinker, Bubba told the lady, “no I don’t have a dog…..I’m getting back on that Dog Food diet” and added that he probably shouldn’t because he had ended up in the hospital the last time he was on it. But that he had lost 20 pounds before he woke up in the intensive care unit, but it was essentially the perfect diet since all you do is fill your pockets with dog food nuggets and simply eat one every time you feel hungry. Horrified, the lady ask if he ended up in intensive care from dog food poisoning??? Ol Bubba, looked her straight in the eye and said” • A mother asked President George W. Bush, why did my son have to die No, after I had been on it awhile in Iraq? I got to acting a little strange and • A mother asked President Clinton, why did my son have to die in Saudi I ran out into the street to sniff a Arabia? poodles butt and a car ran over me • A mother asked President Bush, why did my son have to die in Kuwait? !!!!!!!!!!!!!! As ol Bill Engval says “where’s your sign “????? • A mother asked President Johnson, why did my son have to die in Viet Nam? I hope some of the lamebrain • A mother asked President Truman, why did my son have to die in morons in Washington ask Santa Korea? to bring them a new brain, cause • A mother asked President Roosevelt, why did my son have to die at Iwo the ones they got ain’t working Jima? !!!! Have you heard some of the latest things them idiots have come • A mother asked President Wilson, why did my son have to die in up with? The EPA has been trying France? to get a law passed that they can • A mother asked President Lincoln, why did my son have to die at control dust out in the country…. Gettysburg? as in farmers plowing their fields • A mother asked President Washington, why did my son have to die at or vehicles driving down a dirt Valley Forge? road. I ain’t kiddin folks….they • And long, long ago a mother asked “Heavenly Father….why did my Son are wanting to fine farmers for have to die on a cross outside of Jerusalem ?????? stirring up to much dust plowing their fields….now folks, that is The answer has always been the same….. about like trying to control a fart So others may live in peace, happiness & freedom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! out of an antelope.

So when you are out there bumping butts with the fat ladies at WalAnd if that ain’t bad enough, Mart try to remember the real reason for Christmas !!!! here is one you shore ain’t gonna believe. The Labor Dept has Now speaking of Wally World, ol Buzzard Roost Bubba was down proposed 50 pages of new rules there the other day and was in the checkout line with a big bag of dog food including one that would prohibit when a woman behind him ask if he had a dog ????? Ol Bubba, thought

anyone under the age of 16 from working on a farm or ranch that is occupied by a stud horse, a bull, a sow with suckling pigs or a cow with a newborn calf….. WHAT….GO BACK AND READ THAT AGAIN !!!!!!. Now, if that don’t make you want to call your congressman…then you are brain dead !!!! That pretty well keeps a kid from working anywhere but a petting zoo. They had rather tubby butt little Johnny set on the couch and play video games and drink those 32 oz. big gulps….if they want to outlaw something…that is what they should outlaw!!!! Whew !!!! Me and ol Estee K. got to go down the Buzzard Roost Bar & Grill and get us a little Christmas cheer !!!!!!!! Words of Wisdom from Henry J : Do not fear the enemy for they can only take your life…..Fear the Media for they can destroy your honor !!!!! Might ask ol Herman Cain about that one !!!! You can contact Henry J at :

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● --- December 2011

Merry Christmas To Everyone!!

Volume 4 Issue 55

life that we should cherish the most!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all your support this year.

Once these holidays are behind us, I am gearing up to having several fundraisers next year. It may seem that the worst (fingers crossed, hopefully!) is Wow, what a year this has been! medical S pmy e aBetween k u p expenses ,myj omonthly i n are the discussion, take part! w w w. yC o umyndouble-organ t y - L i n e . cbehind mme, but January 7th,M 2011 I had anoongoing thing. transplant. I’ve been able to eat anything medications and all the driving back and I want! At first, chocolate was yukky... forth to Abilene and Dallas -- without all but it’s started to taste better to me now. the help that we have received from our Sometimes I crave for ice cream and family, friends and community, none of it’s so cool to just run to Sonic or Dairy this would have been possible!!! I can Queen and get one. never thank you all enough! At this time of year, the donor family But to get things started, I am going is on my mind. With the holidays, this to organize a BAKE SALE in January family is without their 17-year old to start off the new year! Since I can daughter -- and Sherrie (our daughter) enjoy all the wonderful treats and pies just turned 17 in November. I hope and cakes and...mmmmm....I just want to they know how much me and my family share that with everyone! You guys have appreciate their gift to me. And I pray no idea!!! that they have a Merry Christmas, too. And Thank You. This will be the first fundraiser of 2012 and Michael and I plan to have many Donations may be made to: As most of you know, in October, my throughout the year. And I would like to Farmers & kidney started rejecting. I spent most of take this time and ask our readers and our Merchants Bank the month of October in the hospital in friends -- If you have any suggestions or Ruth Norris Benefit Fund Dallas at Baylor while the doctors tried to ideas for fundraisers or would be willing 930 East Main reverse the rejection. They say that most to help with our organizing, please call me Eastland, TX 76448 rejections are recoverable when they at 254-433-2695 or stop by and see me at (254) 629-3282 caught soon enough and the patient is the Eastland Goodwill. We will especially following protocols. So I was very lucky be looking for an organization to sponsor to have my doctors be able to catch the another raffle in 2012. The raffle that rejection so quickly. We are still waiting we held in 2010 was sponsored by the for more tests to know exactly how much Eastland Volunteer Fire Department and Follow Ruthie’s Progress online: damage was caused to the kidney, and I it was the most successful effort that we may still have some further complications held that year! Follow Mike & The County Line: down the road...but for now, I am enjoying my time with my family, friends and coWe can talk more about that after workers without insulin dependence or the New Year -- for now, let me wrap without daily dialysis treatments! this up with a hug and a Thank You. For everything. It’s hard to imagine that this is my very first Thanksgiving/Christmas Holidays And I’m wishing you all a... that I’ve ever been able to enjoy the simple pleasures of the holiday meals!!! I love to cook, but this is the first time that I actually get to enjoy ALL the joys of the holidays! It truly is the simple things in


Take One!

! s a m t s i r h C Merry ew Year! Happy N Love, Ruthie

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

The County Line - December 2011, v4i55 Speak up, join the discussion, take part! --- The County Line Business Community Journal ● P.O....

The County Line - December 2011, v4i55 Speak up, join the discussion, take part! --- The County Line Business Community Journal ● P.O....