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Volume 5 Issue 58

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


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2012

In This Issue: 3  Growing Up Small Town

4  Texas Conservative 7  @The Ranger Library

8  MWCC Calendar 8  Good Neighbors 9  Treasure Hunters: History Series

10  Tumbleweed Smith 12  Treasure Hunters 14  Love Lessons Learned So Far

15  Star Pride 16  Breckenridge

Community Page

18  Puzzle Club 19  Rising Star

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20  Out of the Box 21  This Week In Texas History

23  From The Backside 24  Ruthie’s Page

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


3Growing Up Small Town

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www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

, Mike W. Norris

A DREAM OF OBAMA

Texas

by Mike W. Norris

March 7, 2012 I had a dream last night. It was very foretelling in nature, so let me jump right into it... I dreamed that Obama won reelection this November. In my dream, during his second term as president, he instituted several new policies via executive orders and policy mandates. After cutting back on our military funding, Obama’s most drastic mandate comes after Iran test detonates it’s first nuclear weapon. The administration issues a broad requirement to serve in the United States Military. This mandatory requirement results in the United States Military no longer being a volunteer force. All high school drop-outs and anyone under 25 not enrolled in full-time college courses, suddenly find themselves required to enter into military service. This new military force finds themselves serving their country here at home as a concession to the American people to the policy change. This seems like a reaction to public opinion, but turns out to be the plans of the administration all along. As it turns out, over the course of the president’s second term, these new recruits become the president’s enforcement arm upon the people of the United States – eventually enforcing his policies on the people here at home. As a result of the military requirement and a rush on college applications, tuition rates for the nation’s universities and colleges spike to unimaginable amounts. The select few students who actually make it into our universities to avoid the military requirement, find themselves shackled to Obama’s administration through relentless student loan programs and escalating educational costs. In the unfolding of these events our nation’s youth falls victim to the the president’s new agenda. Parents find themselves helpless to influence their kids’ perception of these overwhelming sweeping changes of our government’s policies. Those of us who are informed and aware of the overall scope of the president’s plans begin calling for Congressional moves against these policies. As the issues come to a head, the president enacts his second wave of attacks on the American people through a perceived threat to discontinue Social Security in a bill introduced by left-leaning Republican allies. Over the course of a few months, the nation is divided into four major voting groups: • The elderly who are dependent on the government for their Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid programs • The youth who are forced into government service through the military or under the boot of heavy financial

It’s Like a Whole Other Country. burden from student loans • The unemployed middle class who are finding themselves unable to find work due to a struggling economy and are being subsidized through government wellfare programs. • Finally, the working middle class, who struggle every day to make ends meet while barely being able to stay informed in the events of the day due to overwhelming media bias that pretends all is well intentioned and improving. That leaves the upper middle class and the independently wealthy in the vast minority when it comes to political power – the demonized top 1% to 2% of all Americans. By the end of the president’s second term of office, three years of growing tension with a nuclear Iran results in a shooting ground war in the Middle East. Supported by a flurry of misinformation here at home, Progressives push through a Constitutional Amendment that removes the term limitations on the presidency. In the midst of an Iran-Israeli War, Obama wins a third term of office.

Under the crippling economy brought on by the threat of nuclear war in the Middle East, Iran’s allies in South America begin a ground assault into Mexico. The demand for oil catches the eyes of the Mexican drug lords along the United States border and they band with Iran and her socialist allies in sweeping the Mexican oil-producing regions and succeed in cutting off America’s oil flow through the Gulf of Mexico by blocking the passage of oil tankers in and out of the Gulf. America’s Gulf Oil production comes to a stand still as offshore drilling platforms fall prey to Iran-supported terrorist attacks staged out of Mexico. Without setting foot on American soil, the terrorists are able to break the economic engine of the United States! As Iran’s forces position themselves across the border from the southern United States, Obama’s leadership takes a new turn and the administration opens up government lands for oil production – not to save the economy, but as a last resort to support the build-up of ground forces along the Mexican border. Our Continued on page 11...

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


4Texas Conservative ■

www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

, Chuck Norris - The Man

Get Off Your Gas! Drill & Vote! By Chuck Norris

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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 http://chucknorrisnews.blogspot.com.

Since Jan. 1, the price of gas has soared 45 cents a gallon -- the highest on record for this time of year. AAA reported this past week that the national average of unleaded gasoline climbed from Feb. 28’s $3.71 per gallon to March 2’s $3.73 per gallon and then up again to $3.76 per gallon over the weekend -- the 25th straight increase in the past month. According to The Associated Press, the nationwide price of gas is expected to reach $4.25 by the end of April. But in many cities across the nation, people don’t have to wait for April showers to bring May’s misfortunes. Consider what gas prices are right now in just these few cities: Los Angeles, $4.33; San Francisco, $4.35; Honolulu, $4.20; Anchorage, Alaska, $3.99; New York, $3.99; Medford, Ore., $3.98; Seattle, $3.96; Bridgeport, Conn., $3.96. In my wife’s hometown in California, gas is already a staggering $4.59 a gallon for regular. (By the way, the average price for regular gas when President Barack Obama took office, in January 2009, was $1.79. But who’s counting?) And the reason for soaring gas prices? According to The Christian Science Monitor, Obama -- instead of admitting to a string of mea culpas -- is “blaming recent increases on a mix of factors beyond his control, including tensions with Iran, hot demand from China, India and other emerging economies, and Wall Street speculators taking advantage of the uncertainty.” Obama’s Democratic cronies and his mainstream media minions are trying to come to his aid by saying that the rise in gas prices is “really complicated,” with “no one person ... to blame for pricing.” Yet Forbes ran recent articles saying that the “primary reason” for the spike in oil prices is “the dollar has lost value” and that the Fed has announced an explicit goal “to devalue the dollar by 33 percent over the next 20 years.” But the Obama administration doesn’t bear any responsibility in the spike of gas prices? This administration is a crashing currency culprit via its disastrous recovery plan -- borrowing astronomical amounts of money from countries with which we are already in vassalage relationships (such as China), bailing out corporations that should have gone bankrupt, bamboozling the American public with Obamacare, and placing our posterity in bondage with more than $15 trillion of national debt. And what about Obama’s further oil restrictions, regulations and intentional avoidances to increase petroleum production and supplies here in the U.S.? The fact is, as U.S. News & World Report noted, “even tiny disruptions to supply can cause a spike in prices when consumers fill their gas tanks.” Secretary of Energy Steven Chu confessed in February 2011 to Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday,” “The price of gasoline over the long haul should be expected to go up just because of supply and demand issues.” So therefore, couldn’t the price likewise go down if U.S. production were increased? In November, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that “unlocking vast reserves of shale gas could solve the energy crisis, the jobs crisis, and the deficit.” Proof again came just last week, when a three-university study revealed that drilling into Ohio’s Utica shale will create more than 65,000 jobs and

$9.6 billion of related economic development by 2014, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Increasing U.S. production of petroleum-based energy (not restricting and reducing it, as Obama’s administration has done) is key not only to lowering our gas prices but also to restoring our economy. And that is exactly what former speaker of the House and current GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is proposing. Gingrich’s plan? It is the polar opposite of Obama’s. Newt is ready on day one of his presidency to begin to expand leasing of federal lands for oil and gas development, condense regulations to make it easier for companies to build new extraction sites, tap more shale reservoirs, start building the Keystone XL pipeline, release (at least some of) the oil in the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (as even some congressional Democrats have advocated), replace the Environmental Protection Agency with a new, economically rational Environmental Solutions Agency, and tell the Iranians to take a flying leap across the Strait of Hormuz. With these bold solutions, America would end our dependency on foreign oil, reduce the cost of gas, increase millions of domestic American jobs, and bring in billions of dollars of new revenue for the U.S. by becoming one of the largest global exporters of various fuels. You can review many more details of Newt’s energy-, economy- and job-building plan by watching his 30-minute address at http://bit.ly/ xcKGuT. I believe that what we need this week of Super Tuesday is a super energy solution, and only Newt has the bold

solutions that would actually change Washington, restore our republic, and offer us economic answers that would add millions of jobs and even could lower gas to $2.50 a gallon. Don’t misunderstand me. My endorsing Newt and his strategies is not my saying that I agree with every decision he ever has made (because I don’t). Conservative columnist Thomas Sowell (who is also a Newt supporter) said last week, “Does Gingrich have political ‘baggage’? More than you could carry on a commercial airliner.” But Sowell and I (and many other conservatives, including former GOP presidential candidates Rick Perry and Herman Cain) also believe that Newt’s the only real Reagan conservative left on the battlefield who has the experience, strategy and staying power to bring real change to Washington. If you are ready for that real change -- if you want to stabilize our economy, restore our republic and lower gas prices simultaneously -- then shout it out to Washington and the nation: “Get off your gas! Drill and vote.” March 13, 2012 President Barack Obama’s energy plan involves radically increasing gas prices to the European rate of about $10 a gallon. And he’s well on his way, as gas prices have more than doubled since he took office in January 2009, when gasoline was only $1.79 per gallon. And he’s scheming to double prices again in his second term, with you footing the bill. It’s no secret that we’re being gouged at the pumps. The reason for soaring gas prices? According to Obama, it’s not because of anything he has done -- not his devaluing the

©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 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


5Texas Conservative ■

www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

, Chuck Norris - The Man

dollar via his disastrous economic decisions, his closing federal lands for oil production opened by his predecessor, his passing cap-and-trade legislation in the middle of the worst economy since the Great Depression or his refusing to stand strong against the regime in Iran, which controls 20 percent of the world’s oil supply via the Strait of Hormuz. President Obama would do well to take his own advice; in regard to the possibility of $3-a-gallon gas in 2006, the then senator said, “The time for excuses is over.” To add insult to injury, Obama has appointed some petroleum-pillaging politicians, such as Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who, according to The Wall Street Journal, said in 2008 that in order to wean Americans off gasoline, the administration should make them punitively pay at the pump: “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” And just two weeks ago, as reported by Politico, Chu told Congress that Obama’s Department of Energy “isn’t working to lower gasoline prices directly” but “is working to promote alternatives such as biofuels and electric vehicles.” When Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., specifically asked Chu whether the Obama administration’s goal is to lower gas prices, he emphatically

replied, “No.” (Out of the horse’s mouth!) But I suppose the views of Obamaappointed officials such as Chu don’t have any bearing on soaring gas prices, right? Chu again embraced the strategy to raise gas prices in order to increase green alternatives to Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday,” in February 2011, when he said: “The price of gasoline over the long haul should be expected to go up just because of supply and demand issues. And so we see this in the buying habits of Americans as they make choices for the next car they buy.” Increasing gas prices in order to wean us off gasoline and onto biofuel alternatives is a ruse -- a deceptive strategy laid on the backs of American citizens. This is what Obama meant two weeks ago when he repackaged and re-pitched his “new energy policy” from a gas station in Indianapolis. The words on his podium were “Investing in Energy Independence.” Notice he didn’t say who is doing the investing or with whose money he is investing. It might seem as if spending -- I mean investing -- your money is Obama’s forte, but to me, it smells like more capitalism-crushing B.O. (See http:// www.spreadingbo.com.) This president has mastered cloaking the truth in oratory rhetoric.

In last Saturday’s presidential address, Obama hailed his oft-repeated petroleum apologetic: “While we consume 20 percent of the world’s oil, we only have 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.” The problem is that 2 percent to which he refers is extant reserves, not what we could produce. That’s deceptive! Speaking of misleading, this past week, Chu was at it again as he testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Dodging a question about whether he practices what he preaches by owning an electric car, Chu replied sheepishly, “No, I don’t own a car at the moment.” (Before you commend him for his bio-walking, it should be noted that he’s chauffeured in U.S. government Cadillac Esplanades, which, of course, run on fossil fuels like his wife’s BMW.) If you are ready for real hope and change, then I have the option for you. I believe we can continue to seek alternative energy solutions while lowering gas prices by implementing a super energy solution, the one that former speaker of the House and current GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has proposed. Gingrich’s plan? As I noted last week, it is the polar opposite of Obama’s. Newt is ready on day one of his presidency to begin to implement his plan to expand leasing of federal lands for oil and gas development, condense regulations to make it easier for companies to build new extraction sites, tap shale reservoirs, start building the Keystone XL pipeline, replace the Environmental Protection Agency with a new, economically rational Environmental Solutions Agency, and, as a result of these bold solutions, end our dependency on foreign oil, reduce the cost of gas (to $2.50 per gallon),

5

create millions of domestic American jobs, and bring in billions of dollars of new revenue for the U.S. by making us one of the largest global exporters of various fuels. You can get many more details of Newt’s energy- and job-building plan by watching his 30-minute address at http://bit.ly/xcKGuT. Newt and I, as well as millions of other American patriots, believe in aggressively pursuing renewable energy alternatives and development, but not at the risk of losing our petroleum and economic shorts while we’re doing it. As is often the case in life and politics, the answer is “both... and...” It bears repeating that Bloomberg Businessweek reported in November that “unlocking vast reserves of shale gas could solve the energy crisis, the jobs crisis, and the deficit.” If you are ready for real change -if you want to stabilize our economy, increase jobs, lower gas prices and restore our republic simultaneously -- then shout it out to Washington and the nation: “Get off your gas! Drill, and vote Newt Gingrich!” For many more ways in which the Obama administration is contributing to higher gas prices, see The Heritage Foundation’s February 2011 report “10 Things You Need to Know About High Gas Prices and Obama’s Oil Policy.” In my next article, I’m going to reveal a video more incriminating than Andrew Breitbart’s.

Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook’s “Official Chuck Norris Page.” He blogs at http://chucknorrisnews.blogspot.com. To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

©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 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com

Send Comments to: chuck@mycounty-line.com


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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


7@The Ranger Library

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www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

, Diana McCullough

PRIDDY PEARL’s By Diana McCullough

Today our library is $1,000.00 richer, and that is just ONE of our checks. Back when I was in college, we learned about “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” rewards. That $1,000.00 check I brought back to Ranger today is an “extrinsic” reward—we can see it and we can hold it and we can spend it. But sometimes… “intrinsic” rewards are even more valuable. A great big “Thank you” to Bob Davis for subbing for me these past two days as I attended the PEARL Project Spring Orientation Workshop in Denton. “PEARL” is an acronym for “Promoting & Enhancing the Advancement of Rural Libraries” which is a grant that was funded by a huge donation from the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust. For the record, Mr. Priddy is about 93 years old, and what an influential man he must be. Back at the origination of this grant, I believe the Priddy Foundation was willing to give a number of small, rural libraries $5,000 each to help them along; but somehow became convinced to “educate” us instead. You know the little lesson, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; TEACH him how to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” This is the concept that was strived for with this grant. It was in the fall of 2010 that the PEARL Outreach Coordinator, Barbara Blake, called our library and offered this wonderful opportunity. If our library agreed to participate, I would attend two workshops in Denton—one in 2011 and one in 2012; I would attend the Texas State Library Association Conference for two years (all expenses paid); and our library would complete an approved project and upon the completion of all associated paperwork, receive $1,000.00. This sounded like a good deal to me, and our mayor signed the contract. Little did I know how TIME CONSUMING all of this would turn out to be! Or how much I’d depend on Barbara Blake and my mentor, Connie Moss, to see me through it. Our schedules were full during our workshop. Our library was one of 12 that were selected and accepted last spring. The “incoming class” had 32 participants—a considerably bigger group. Mainly because of my affiliation with the Big Country Library System, which will cease to exist on August 31st, I already knew Dana Brinkman from Jayton, Sue Dossey from Coleman, Linda Jones from Snyder, and Linda Burns from the outstanding, award-winning Cross Plains Public Library who picked me up yesterday at Ranger’s Dairy Queen and returned me back, safe and sound, late this afternoon. Because of the Priddy Foundation, I got to know Christina Beam—a young mama and a hoot from Kimble County, Brigada Hiser from Mitchell County, and Adina Dunn from Dublin who still laughs with me about our walk down 6th street in Austin last April. These extraordinary women, who I spent the last two days with, are part of the “intrinsic” rewards to which I boast. They are priceless. You may already know that our library’s project was a “Basic Computer Skills Class”, taught by warm and witty Wendy Rodgers, and you MAY know that more classes are being considered in the future—AS IN AFTER the completion of our dreaded Annual Report to the Texas State Library. And if you know ME, you know I really

don’t want to stand up in front of 50 people and talk for five minutes about my project…but I did! How hard could talking for five minutes be? I talk all the time! I was next-to-last, going in alphabetical order, which could be a disadvantage. I stated my name and where I was from—“Ranger— half-way between Abilene and Weatherford” and briefly explained the origin of my project’s idea. Because of the Priddy Foundation paying ALL of my expenses to the TLA Conference, our library had some designated funds that required reassignment. More than enough for one new computer, but not enough for two. And although our library does not have an official “Friends of the Library” group—our library DOES have friends. I called David Pickrell and he came by the next morning and wrote us a check and those two newest computers are most-welcomed at our library. We needed them! While David was here he told me, “You know what I’d like the library to do?” Tell me. “Have some computer classes.” It sounded like a good idea to me,

good enough that I think we should do it again. It was a learning curve for me, too! Then…I held up that Library Program Report and told those incoming 32 participants that they too would be required to complete this narrative and that every single one of them would be different, but this is what I wrote…and I proceeded to read my little report that I’d written like a story. Just five paragraphs, “thank you”, and sat down. Our library has more than one check to deposit tomorrow! On a LOCAL SUPPORT LEVEL, Wade Driskell and Studio 254 have made ANOTHER nice cash gift to our library! Folks, this means MORE new books. Oh and that $1,000? Think computers! Our technician is checking on the cost of FOUR new computers. Wasn’t our rain WONDERFUL? And with the time change, our days are longer and we have more time to read outside! Please take care, and as always…ENJOY READING! Send Comments to: rangerlibrary@mycounty-line.com

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


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www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

■ Good

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Neighbors, Clint Coffee CLU ChFC State Farm Insurance® Agent

The Tough Conversation All Couples Should Have If asked, most couples would say it’s important Talk before you’re in a financial crisis. Pick a to protect the financial future of their families in time when you’re not stressed, and treat the topic the event of a spouse’s unexpected death. as you would any other aspect of your financial planning. Yet 74 percent of couples rarely or never discuss the topic of life insurance as part of their Make a plan that incorporates life insurance as financial planning strategy, according to a 2010 a primary component of your overall financial State Farm® Life Insurance Study. A 2011 study strategy. Having a plan in place can be reassuring from finance research firm LIMRA revealed that if your circumstances change. 41 percent of U.S. adults don’t even have life Set a monthly budget and learn what options insurance. you can afford. Schedule follow-up evaluations That doesn’t mean it’s not on their minds. Sixty- and adjust your coverage as your needs, family two percent of respondents said uncertainty in situation and income change. the economy makes having life insurance even Consult an insurance expert who can provide more important than it had previously been. an outside perspective and make the discussion Bringing up the subject can be difficult. It less stressful. may be that discussing the unexpected death of Focus your discussion on the love you have a spouse is awkward. Or that one spouse already for your family and your desire to protect it from feels the pressure of being the primary wage financial burdens, rather than on the possible earner. Or that a spouse who has recently lost a death of a spouse. job will react negatively to the topic. Contact your State Farm agent to learn more But whatever the obstacles, talking about life about the life insurance options that protect your insurance is critical to both partners -- even if one family’s future. earns substantially more than the other, or one doesn’t earn an income. To start the discussion, try these tips: Send Comments to: neighbors@mycounty-line.com Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


9Treasure Hunters: History Series

www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

, Jerry Eckhart

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TRAILING TREASURE FOR FIFTY YEARS Chapter 1: How It All Began By Jerry Eckhart To see more of Jerry’s treasure finds, search Facebook for “Jerry Eckhart”

It seems as if I have been on the treasure trail for most of my life. Like most youngsters, I was fascinated with lost treasure and pirate treasure stories. Because I was born in 1940 and raised on the barren plains of southwestern Oklahoma there wasn’t much of a chance to hunt for pirate treasure. On the other hand, Oklahoma was filled with stories of bandits, Spaniards and lost treasure from both. As a scrawny, thirteen-year-old, I roamed all over the place, as far as I could walk. We lived on an 80 acre dirt farm just a little east of Lawton, Oklahoma. We were lulled to sleep at night by the boom of artillery fire from the cannons at nearby Fort Sill. They would practice fire those cannons until way up into the night. Although we lived about 12 miles from the firing range, they still rattled our house. Mother used to complain about the cracks in our windows by their concussions, but I imagined them still fighting the Civil War. I didn’t know too much about the Civil War, but did know enough to think it must have been an exciting time. I know differently now, but kids’ imaginations run wild. The countryside around our farm was mostly prairie land with tall native grass that grew higher than my head. There were a few creeks and small ravines to the south and west of us. As I roamed, I paid no attention to fences but went where I wished. Everything was interesting to me. I found a few arrowheads along the creek banks, caught catfish in the deeper pools and always had my eyes open for treasure. Many of the farmers used the ravines in their pastures as dumps. Just about any one of them held what we would consider treasure today. In one, I found an old arched top trunk filled with letters and bank statements. That trunk would have been valuable even in 1953, but it was too heavy for a scrawny kid to drag a mile back home. Other dumps yielded old whiskey and medicine bottles, all sporting cork tops. They fell victim to my slingshot. Just think how much history and collectibles I busted.

The Wichita Mountains hold a mystery all their own as one of the oldest mountain ranges in the US. They are visible for miles.

I remember back when I was about nine years old, an old man came to Lawton, Oklahoma. His name was J. Frank Dalton, but he claimed to be Jesse James. The newspapers printed a series of articles about him. He stayed in what was then called a tourist court instead of a motel. He claimed to be more than 100 years old and his pictures certainly looked like it. My Uncle Slim (which I will tell more about later) talked to him

and claimed that he was really Jesse James. Uncle Slim said all the scars were in the right places on his body and that he knew things that only Jesse James could have known. My uncle was quite an authority on the James Gang. About 1955, I stumbled onto a cluster of large boulders behind a neighbor’s pond. I knew they were always there, but never really inspected them until then. As I went over them closely, I discovered a number of carved symbols, some initials and dates. Fortunately, I had the sense to copy and save them. I still have a copy today. There was one symbol that looked like a cocked pistol. I looked in the direction the pistol was pointing and saw a halfburied boulder. On that was an arrow pointing to the southwest. I tried to follow that arrow, but never found another carving. I always wished I had known better how to read them back then. Later, I told my Uncle Slim about these carvings and he became very interested. To Be Continued Next Month.....

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


10Tumbleweed Smith ■

www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

, Bob Lewis

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A BIG DAY IN BORDEN COUNTY By Bob Lewis

When I got to Gail, the county seat of Borden County, I saw a fleet of law enforcement vehicles and a cadre of uniformed lawmen, all gathered in the small town to provide security for the arrival of some important guests. I stopped at the courthouse to visit with County Judge Ross Sharp and he was as excited as the other residents of the county (population 641). He told me that Nolan Ryan was coming to Gail to throw out the first pitch to dedicate the school district’s brand new baseball field. Just building the field was a big deal in itself, since Borden County High School had previously had to play its baseball games out of town. The mascot of the school is a Coyote, pronounced kai-oat, not kai-oatey. If you pronounce it the wrong way, Borden County people are going to think less of you. As students and others filled the bleachers in the new stadium, a pickup drove up and out stepped Nolan Ryan, Rangers left outfielder David Murphy and Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddox. They were greeted by school officials, then entered the playing field to an enthusiastic chorus of screams and applause. Nolan walked to the pitcher’s mound and joined some pitchers on the Coyote baseball team. They all threw baseballs toward home plate simultaneously. I asked Nolan Ryan how it felt to pitch a baseball and he replied, “Strange.” During his 27 year playing career he threw nearly 6,000 strikeouts. An elementary school teacher, Sue Jane Mayes told me how the

event came about. “In 2010 my sixth graders were working on letter-writing. It’s a lost art, you know. We wrote letters to Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers to congratulate them on being in the World Series. We wanted to say thank you for a great season. We sent along a photo of the class all wearing Ranger t-shirts and caps. I think he was very touched and said he would come to Gail. And here we are two years later and he’s here. We could say all this began with a letter. I really want the kids to make a memory today. But this just isn’t for the school. It’s for the whole county.” The Rangers have a pre-season public relations program called a Caravan in which members of the team visit towns to get fans excited about the upcoming games. Not many get Nolan Ryan, the owner, president and CEO of the Rangers. “It’s always good to come out and be in an environment like this and say thank you to the people who make the effort to come to our ball games,” he said. “Dedicating the new field was real special. That shows a big commitment on the part of the students, coaches and school administrators.” Coyote baseball coach Trey Richey said, “ To be able to stand next to Nolan Ryan is a genuine honor.” From the baseball field everyone adjourned to the school auditorium where the trio of Rangers received proclamations and the key to the

county. Then Nolan Ryan made a presentation of his own to Bertie Copeland, owner of The Coyote Country Store, the only place in Gail where you can buy a meal. She had told someone she wanted a picture of Nolan Ryan. Nolan gave her a Rangers jersey. “We’re gonna have it framed and hang it on the wall,” Bertie told me. THE NATIONAL VIETNAM WAR MUSEUM Ever since he took helicopter pilot training at Fort Wolters near Mineral Wells, Jim Messinger thought there should be some kind of museum to honor helicopter pilots who fought in Vietnam. “It was called the helicopter war,” says Jim, who is treasurer of the National Vietnam War Museum board of directors and overseas the facility, located just outside Mineral Wells. “We worked with museum professionals and they said if you’re going to build a museum about anything it needs to be built someplace where it relates to the story. Ninety percent or more of the helicopter pilots in Vietnam trained here.” The museum got started in 1994 as a result of a bunch of those pilots getting together and wanting to do something meaningful besides party. So they raised money, bought a 12acre tract of land and set about to build a great museum. It’ll be housed inside a 50,000 square feet building with eleven galleries showing different aspects of the war. One display on the drawing board is a replica of the rooftop rescues of people in Saigon. Visitors will walk up a ramp and see and hear helicopters picking up people and getting airborne. Another exhibit will

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


11Tumbleweed Smith ■

www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline ■ Growing

, Continued...

feature a street scene in a Vietnam village. The visitor’s center, open eighteen months, had people last year from 36 states and 3 countries. Many of the 40,000 pilots who trained at Fort Wolters come back to see the fort. Now they have another place to visit. Presently, the museum has a Huey helicopter atop a tall pole, a series of memorial gardens, a transport vehicle, and a half scale replica of the Vietnam Wall. A temporary building that houses the headquarters and visitors center was once on President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, acquired through a federal surplus property program. The museum probes the question, “Did we win the war?” Jim and the others realized there was no national venue dedicated to examining the Vietnam era. The museum hopes to put the experience in broad perspective and present historical facts and consequences of the war. Jim flew helicopters in Vietnam and later taught pilots at Fort Wolters. Prior to the service, he was

on academic probation at Northern Illinois University and joined the Army to avoid the draft. After the military he graduated cum laude with two bachelors degrees in math and education, then earned a masters and doctorate in management science (the use of computers and math to solve business problems). He worked for a while in computer programming. When he learned about the museum, he jumped on board to help raise some $25,000,000 to build the museum. The Friends of th Museum organization will have its annual fund raiser on March 31st. I’m honored to be the keynote speaker. The museum sends out a newsletter three times a year. Its website is nationalvnwarmuseum. org. “We think it’s the first war that was blamed on the soldier,” says Jim. “Wars are won, lost and fought by politicians.”

Send Comments to: tumbleweed@mycounty-line.com

Up Small Town, Continued...

military forces require fuel in order to support the fight and the Obama administration begins to realize the dire consequences of the situation they have placed the country in. But it’s gone too far and it’s too little, too late... When radical environmentalists march on Washington DC to protest the exploitation of protected lands, the Obama Administration is forced to issue a state of emergency and the capitol falls into military rule under Marshall Law. Protests erupt around the country and the United States military is forced to turn on its own people to maintain order. I dreamed of tanks roaming our streets and military personnel enforcing Obama’s laws on American citizens deprived of their Liberties and Freedoms. I dreamed of living in the fear of hostile invasion from across our southern border. I dreamed of attending community meetings held on the town square surrounded by armed military personnel and armored vehicles. Citizens were required to listen without being able to speak out in opposition. All elections have been suspended. Public offices are frozen and the current officials hold office until they resign. All open office seats are filled through appointments of entrenched council members and legislatures. America’s Democratic Republic dies a silent death and is forever lost. The United States of America has fallen into Military Despotism. Our Freedoms are lost. Our Liberties,

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gone. Our grandchildren are born into a country that you and I have never known; a country that our grandparents never saw coming and certainly never fought for or died for. As if it couldn’t get any worse, my dream ended when Iran’s forces launched a series of nuclear missiles from warships located in the Gulf of Mexico. The nuclear warheads found their way to each of our country’s major oil refineries, destroying our ability to refine even our own oil into useable fuels. In a sudden flash of light, millions of Gulf residents from Houston to the Mississippi Delta are slaughtered at the hands of a radical Islamic regime and the U.S.A. wakes to a nuclear dawn without any natural resources to stave off an overwhelming invasion force.... That’s where I woke up this morning and I shook myself back into reality. Is this completely out of the question? Could any of this actually happen? Could the United States fall to a nuclear-armed Iran? Could we be that close to the edge of a world gone mad? Since writing this article several days ago, I’m not happy with the ending. I think the question is no longer whether or not these things could happen. I believe the more important question is:

“What are we going to do to make sure these things DON’T happen?” ~mwnorris

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


12Treasure Hunters ■

www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

, Jerry Eckhart

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THE CAMP By Jerry Eckhart To see more of Jerry’s treasure finds, search Facebook for “Jerry Eckhart” Author’s Note: Much of Texas history has gone unrecorded. Those involved may never have made it home, or those who did simply did not want to talk about it. Often, a weathered skeleton washes out of the side of a ravine, or an old pistol is found in the middle of a pasture. No one knows who or why such things are there. They are simply a part of our unknown Texas history. The following fictional version combines several such events I am personally familiar with. There is no Snort McGee other than in my own imagination. Poor old Snort has been subjected to stampedes, digging post holes, stepping in cow pies, and sore feet. He has a hundred different stories to tell and I am afraid I have really run him through the mesquite. Here, he is killed off, but I have this feeling he will be resurrected in some other of my wild imaginatings.

Snort McGee hunkered down beside his drying buffalo hides and finished the last few bites of beans. Only the muted voices of the other buffalo hunters disturbed the late afternoon hum of bees and scattered bird chatter. He balanced his tin plate on his folded legs keeping it firmly anchored with the stump of his left arm and methodically scraped the remaining few beans into a pile in the middle of his plate. That made it easier to pick them up with his one-handed eating utensil. It was a new invention and one he was grateful for ever since he lost his left hand in the war. One end held a spoon, the other a fork. The fork end had one edge sharpened so a one-handed man could use it to cut his meat, then spear it with the tines of the fork. That made it a lot easier to use. He had found it in a store back in East Texas while making his way home after the war ended. As he finished the last bite, he noticed that everything had fallen quiet. No birds chattered, and even the locusts had stopped buzzing. The sudden quiet was unusual and it rang warning bells in Snort’s brain. Something was wrong, deadly wrong, and Snort knew exactly what the quiet meant. The camp was about to be attacked. Although it was 1875, and Indian hostilities had ended in most places, the danger was ever present on the buffalo hunting grounds. He rolled away from his seat on a big rock and grabbed for his Henry rifle at the same time. Lying flat behind the rock, Snort propped the rifle on it, and warily looked around. Snort, so named for his unusual way of letting out a snort when disturbed, did so just then. A shot rang out. The bullet clipped the top of his rock then spun away with a deadly buzzing sound. It wasn’t the first time Snort had been shot at. He had seen a lot of action during the Civil War and knew to stay still until he spotted a target. Scattered firing broke out all over the camp. He heard the heavy boom of John Landers’ Sharps 50/90, followed by some fire from the lighter .50/70’s. Henry and Spencer rifles were firing throughout the camp, and from the east. McGee could tell the difference between the heavy crack of the Spencer and the lighter report of the Henry. He preferred the Henry because it was a lighter

that he could fire more shots than he could if he had one of the old single shot weapons. It also loaded quickly and he had plenty of cartridges for the Henry, as well as a spare cylinder for the pistol. The only problem was that his sack of cartridges lay ten feet Apparently, the Indians had rifles away. as well, because he could hear firing The buffalo hunter had seen enough from in front of him and that bullet that almost took his head off certainly action in the past to know the likelihood didn’t come from behind. It wasn’t of making it through this attack was unusual for the Indians to have slim. Mighty slim. He snorted again firearms. The Comanche and Kiowa and said, “I’ll take a few more with both picked them up just about every me before I go.” Snort settled down time they made a raid into Texas. for a long fight. The Indians continued Many were as good a shot as any to rush out of the brush. There was a white man. They had also learned the small ravine about a hundred yards to art of reloading and as long as they the east, and he knew that was where had the cartridges and equipment to they were hiding. He waited and occasionally risked a shot at a likely reload there was no problem at all. target. Whether he hit anything or not, “Funny,” Snort muttered. “Sure is he couldn’t tell. The Indians made funny the things you think of during their advance in a series of short, quick battle.” rushes. They would raise up, dart a short distance and drop behind any Snort spotted what looked like a little bit of cover they could find. They Kiowa heading full straight toward never stayed where they dropped, but him. He carefully drew a bead and wriggled to a different position the squeezed the trigger. The Indian minute they dropped. It took a sharp folded. It was hard to jack another eye to spot them and try to nail them cartridge into the Henry with one when they moved. There was one out hand, and it meant raising up from there now, not 30 yards away. Snort his prone position but Snort managed had seen him when he made his it. He also drew his old Walker Colt last rush and watched as the Indian and laid it beside his good hand. In worked his way into better cover. The spite of being one-handed, he knew than the other buffalo guns. Although, not specifically designed for buffalo hunting, it would do the job if the bullet were placed in the right place and the distance wasn’t more than 300 yards.

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


13Treasure Hunters ■

www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

, Jerry Eckhart

Indian had made one mistake. He had failed to draw one leg behind cover and Snort spotted it. McGee took careful aim at the meaty part of the leg just below the knee and squeezed the trigger. The .44 caliber bullet plowed into flesh and seemed to tear the leg apart. The Indian screamed and raised into full view. Another round from Snort’s Henry hit the Indian square in the chest. He fell backwards with a thud. The Indian’s arms flailed for a moment, then his body stiffened and he lay still. .Snort McGee found his thoughts wandering again. They went back to when the team had selected this spot for their main camp. It was a good camp. The hunter teams had selected it because it had plenty of clear places to stake their hides, and the ground was literally covered with them. Each hunter chose his piece of ground so there would be no confusion as to whom each set of hides belonged. Snort had 32 hides staked out, each one covering about a ten foot square of ground. If he made it through this, he would stand to make some good money. Each hide was worth from 3 to 4 dollars each so he would stand to make over a hundred dollars for just one day’s work. He had hoped to spend another two weeks out here, but now those hopes were shattered. In the center of the camp was the cooking fire, and several of the skinners had been elected to do the camp duties. That freed the actual hunters to take care of their hides, and eliminated the need for a number of fires. In this dry, grassy country, wildfire was an ever present danger. That didn’t seem to matter now, because several small fires had already broken out where stacks of empty wooden crates were located. The Indian raiders took advantage of those crates. They burned them which created smoke they could hide in to draw ever closer.

Snort heard a high pitched scream that seemed to come from where Captain Weems was forted up. Weems was proud of his military background and kept his old sword belt with its fancy buckle shined up all the time. Snort had often warned him, saying that the shiny buckle made an excellent target. Weems ignored him, but that didn’t matter now. That scream spelled the end of the conceited captain. “Him and his fancy buckle. Bet it don’t look so fancy now,” McGee said. Fifty feet in front of the buffalo hunter stood his horse and wagon. He knew it was his, because he could still see the shiny US rosette on its bridle. He had bought that horse and wagon from a returning veteran, who most likely had stolen it when he left the service. The harness came with it. The horse was pulling against the tie rope that was looped around the trunk of a sturdy oak, but the rope was too strong for him to break loose and the horse was trapped along with the buffalo hunters.

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making a good job of it. The trouble warriors were ceremoniously loaded was that the weapons were falling onto horses. They would take them back to their home camp across the silent all too quickly. Red River where they would be Snort McGee knew he didn’t have buried with full honors. It had been much longer. His Henry was empty a successful raid. The hunters were and his ammunition bag ten feet away. dead, the booty was plentiful and It might have as well been a mile only six of their number killed. They away because it would be suicide to quietly rode away. try to retrieve it. He had also emptied Later, far away in their temporary the cylinder on his Walker Colt. As the shooting in front of him slowed, camp, there would be celebrations, McGee decided to make a try for the war whoops and tales of what each ammo bag. Maybe he would get lucky. man had done. For now, it was time to get far away just in case the noise of It didn’t seem to matter either way. battle had been heard. Lying flat on his belly, the buffalo No one knew what happened to hunter wormed his way toward the cartridge sack. He drew closer and the twenty buffalo hunters. They closer until he could almost lay his just disappeared. It wasn’t unusual hand on it. Then the bullet struck. in that day for groups as large as that Snort never heard the shot that killed to simply disappear. Campsites were him. All he felt was a tremendous seldom reported as to location and blow that took away the back of his search parties ventured not far from head. Snort McGee died, his fingers civilization for fear the same thing still flexing to grab the cartridge sack. would happen to them. The bodies of the buffalo hunters lay where they fell, The camp grew quiet. The firing picked over by coyotes and buzzards stopped as the Indians emerged from until only bones remained. Then, the their concealed positions and slowly bones were carried off by scavengers approached each fallen figure. Those of all kinds, to lie in some hidden place not dead were quickly killed. All were for later consumption. Only the camp scalped and the prizes distributed remained but showed little sign of the among the raiders. Those hunters who battle. The staked out hides rotted, were bald, had their beards scalped metal objects were covered by grass from their face as well. Snort McGee and dirt, until only an occasional nail was one of those. The Indians walked or piece of a broken pot showed that through the camp, picking up rifles, man had been there. It would be five ammunition and whatever else would years more before white men felt safe be of use. One brave peered into a enough to move back into the area single skillet sitting on a fire. He fished with their herds of Longhorn cattle. out three slices of burned bacon, ate Until then, it was simply an open them, the flung the skillet at a nearby boulder. The hot iron shattered into expanse of prairie. It was just an pieces. Whatever the raiders did not empty, forgotten camp. want, they stacked into several piles, dumped hot coals over them and let To see more of Jerry’s treasure finds, or to them burn.

As he watched, the horse staggered and fell to its knees, then over onto its side. Snort couldn’t hear the shot that killed it because so much gunfire was going off around him, but he sure saw the effect of it. He was worried now. The shooting from inside the camp was becoming less and less. During some of the pauses, he could hear moans of wounded and dying hunters. The entire attack seemed to have taken hours, but Snort knew it had only been a few minutes. The hunters had been surprised and overwhelmed. Some were away from their guns and were struck down as they dashed for them. Others died as they reloaded their single shot weapons. Only the Henrys and Spencers kept up a more or less steady fire. The Henry held Some of the buffalo hunters’ horses fourteen shots and the Spencer seven. Both were rapid firing and dependable that had not been killed in the battle weapons. Those who used them knew were loaded with booty and led back the damage they could do and were to the rendezvous point. The dead

follow the writer on Facebook, just search for “Jerry Eckhart”.

Send Comments to: treasure@mycounty-line.com

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


14Love Lessons Learned So Far

www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

, Vicki Stiefer

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THE GUILT TRIPPERS AND THE CONE OF SILENCE By Vicki Stiefer

How many times has your sweet and loving mate for life turned their back on you during a fight? Instead of communication you get thrust into the cone of silence! No more talking, no more conversation, not even a “what do you want for dinner?” It’s tough when the one you love would rather be angry than just simply speak. Take my forever hunny-bunny, the man I pledged my love to forever; when we first got married his favorite form of punishment was the silent treatment. We sit on either end of the couch and I endure late night sports because he doesn’t respond to anything I say. What is the cone of silence anyway, but punishment. It’s a technique meant to break you down. To make you feel guilty and beg for forgiveness or just sulk away broken, waiting and hoping for some kind of redemption. It gives the person doing the ignoring a boost of control over their life and the people in it. The silent treatment is horrid and you should never use it for any reason!! Of course marriages fight! I do realize there’s no such thing as a fair fight, but there is respect in a marriage. Even out of a marriage the silent treatment should be banned for use among normal human beings. At least human beings who care for the person they are temporarily unhappy with. As adults it is time to stand up and say what you want. It’s not a big deal to tell your snookie-ukums you want this or that. You have to be prepared for the consequences and that may be the rub. If I tell my forever hunny-bunny I want to have an affair I have to be prepared for the anger that comes and be able to watch him walk away from the marriage. So maybe the silent treatment is not so much about the person to be punished, it is about the person doing the punishment. Staying silent may be a defense mechanism, and if that is the case-THEN GET YOURSELF FIXED! One sunny day a couple of years ago I listened to a radio show called Dr. Laura (drlaura.com) and what she said made a great impact on my life. She simply said “The truth is never wrong.”

I would venture to say that there is a time and place for the truth and the way it comes down makes a difference but she is exactly right. Does a doctor tell a cancer patient, “I’m not sure if your stage 4 cancer will respond to chemo. Now here’s a lollipop and I’ll see you 2 weeks.” No, they tell the truth and say things like they just don’t know or this is the best we can hope for right now. The truth is never wrong. Staying silent for whatever reason just doesn’t make sense. I have friends who need the silence to regroup and think the matter through. Some will then discuss the fight and make amends while others will simply try to move forward and pretend things didn’t happen. So if you are a thinker and then discuss that is fine, but communicate before the silent treatment begins. Leaving someone in limbo because you have to think it through is cruel by anyone’s standards. What people seem to forget is when you are done with the silent treatment you really do not have control. The minute you open your mouth you lose that power because the person being punished now has the authority that you craved and it becomes their decision to turn away from you or forgive you. The silent treatment is right up there with what I call the guilt trippers. Ladies, how many times have you heard this from a man, “If you love me, you’d do this for me...” Disgraceful!

While it may be cute when you are playing around the comments designed to manipulate you under the guise of love are just as wrong as giving someone the silent treatment. As a matter of fact, they are worse. I know what you are thinkingVicki says manipulation in marriage is OK, well yes and no. Bargaining for chores is one thing. If I dangle a prize out in front of my man because I want to get the trash taken out, that is manipulation, however I am more than ready and willing to pay up the debt. It’s the manipulations that come when, for example you wish someone would go somewhere with you and instead of taking their no and moving on, you say something like, “I really wish you would come today” or “I was really hoping we could do this today”. Your friend or your spouse is not trying to hurt you and if you guilt them into going are you really going to have a good time? Be honest with one another and communicate. It’s what sets us apart from the animals. If they are communicating better than you are there is a problem. Send Comments to: lovelessons@mycounty-line.com

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


15Star Pride ■

www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

, by Ginger Tobin & Laura Quinn

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HISTORY OF HIGGINBOTHAM BROTHERS

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

The Saturday Club of Rising Star met on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm at the Rising Star Library. Hostess Sherry Alford introduced the day’s speaker, Ginger Yates of Round Rock, Texas. Ginger is an avid fan of historical things… it seems just recently she spent quite a lot of time in the office of Higginbotham Brothers in nearby Comanche, looking at their old paperwork, and generally just enjoying digging around in whatever history the store had to offer. Ginger says that they just gave her a chair and table to work on in their conference room and left her to peruse whatever she wanted. The history of Higginbotham Brothers began in late 1880 when J. M. Higginbotham, along with his family, moved from Water Valley, Mississippi to Dublin, TX to make their home. According to recorded documents, the trees were just being cleared for the town-site and the Central Texas Railroad had just made its advent in the area, when two brothers decided to open a 25 X 90 frame general mercantile in DeLeon, TX. So began the first link in the Higginbotham Brothers chain. By the early 1900’s the brothers, along with other relatives opened 8 other general stores in towns such as Ballinger, Comanche, Dublin, Rising Star, and Stephenville. In the early years, the stores did a tremendous amount of credit business. Many times they would carry the farmers from early spring to fall when the crops were harvested. The stores either bought the crops or saw to it that the farmers were paid full market prices for what they had to sell. There were some notably tough years with drought, the Great Depression, and boll weevils, but the company adjusted and continued to prosper. Ginger said that as she dug her way through the historical archive, that it was easy to become emotionally involved; she kept thinking “This would make a great movie!” It can be said that in most towns, Higginbotham Brothers served the customers from their birth to the grave. All locations sold dry goods and clothing and most also operated an undertaking department, along with, of course, lumber and the above; the company even dabbled for a time in the automotive industry as well as farm implements. Ginger related several humorous stories involving one of the family, Rufus. A traveling salesman talked Rufus into buying eleven (yes, eleven) boxcars of unassembled wagons. They had to hire people to put them together and actually sold all of them! She told another story about Rufus getting a bill for a side saddle…well, he did not know who had ordered it or who had picked it up. He decided to bill all the customers who had “charge” accounts with them; incredibly, so the story goes…all of them paid except one! (There’s more to that story, I’m sure.) Ginger’s story about the bells may be the best. Mrs. Higginbotham started a church in a log cabin, possibly before they had a school. Her husband decided to build a new

church and to order a bell for the church. have changed. They have replaced dry The freight delivery company from Waco goods with a notable hardware department. delivered Mrs. Higginbotham’s bell for In addition to the core of lumber and free to Dublin and further decided they building materials, they have added lines would ring the bell the last few miles into and departments such as RadioShack, Dublin! That must have made a huge Husqvarna, and Stihl to fit the growing needs of the communities served. impression! Ginger was very impressed with The existence and continued success Higginbotham’s policy of “take care of of Higginbotham Brothers is due to their people honestly” and” be loyal to your dedicated and hardworking staff and the employees.” communities that have supported their That same enduring spirit that began stores since 1881. They proudly say almost 130 years ago is still alive and that Higginbotham Brothers has served well in the Higginbotham Brothers Texas communities for 130 years and will Company. In October, 1999 Rufus H continue to do so. Duncan, Jr., a great grandson of one of Ginger told the group that she has plans the founders, purchased the existing to research other hardware stores in Texas Higginbotham Brothers stores, adding over 100 years old and possibly publish this to the Big Tin Barn locations of East the story in Texas Highways magazine. Texas that he already owned. In 2001, the Sources: Ginger Yates; Higginbotham Higginbotham-Bartlett’s of West Texas Brothers website were added to the Higginbotham family. Higginbotham Brothers today operates 34 locations within Texas. Through the years, many components of the business Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


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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 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com

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For Sale $1000 CHEAP!

1987 Jeep Wrangler YJ 4x4, 4cyl

Perfect PROJECT or DONOR VEHICLE. INCLUDES: Black Steel Horse 3” Dual-Tube Bumpers F&R w/ Rear Hitch, Custom 300lb Rear Cargo Carrier, Rubicon Black Olympic Sports Rack, Front-Bumper mounted Hi-Lift® Jack, Bestop® Black Upper Doors w/ Sliding Glass, Olympic Safari Tube Doors, Bestop® Supertop® frames and strips ready for new canvas and windows! A bargain with over $1,500 in bolt-on accessories!!! Needs a new home and more tinkering than I can give her, but she’s not ready for the scrap yard just yet. Serious Inquiries Only, you’ll need a trailer to haul it or a set of tires to tow it. She’s been sitting for years, if I tinker with it until it starts then my price is going to triple!!! Clear title. Cash on Pick-Up. Don’t let this one get away!!! See More Pictures:

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


18The County Line ■

www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline ■ www.puzzle-club.com

, Mike W. Norris

The County Line 2011 Circulation Figures

Published by Michael W. Norris d.b.a. Wolverine Design P.O. Box 1156 Eastland, Texas 76448 http://www.MyCounty-Line.com info@mycounty-line.com

Print Circulation:

2011 Total Printed Circulation: Print Frequency: Issues Printed (2011): Circulation per Issue: Estimated Average Readership:

Digital Circulation:

2011 Total Website Traffic: Average Visitors Per Month: Average Visitors Per Month (2010): Year-Over-Year Traffic Increase: Google® Verified Unique Visitors: Traffic Sources: Search Engines (Google®, Yahoo®, Bing®) Direct Traffic (mycounty-line.com) Social Media (Facebook®) Other Sources Facebook® Friends (www.facebook.com/mycountyline) Twitter® Followers (www.twitter.com/durfea)

Demographics: Male: 30% Female: 70%

Age Group 45 + Age Group 25-44 Age Group < 25

36,000 Monthly 12 3,000 2,805* 7,380 615 406 +51% 834 43.3% 32.0% 10.3% 14.4% 1,157 282

44% 47% 9%

*Readership estimate based on average uncirculated copies per issue. Uncirculated copies are collected with each printing, counted, and delivered to a collection center for recycling or donated for use as packing material by area businesses.

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com

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20Out of the Box ■

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www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline , Joellen Hodge

MISSING GRAVITY By Joellen Hodge

I am a surfer…of the Internet variety that is. Sitting at the kitchen table with my HP laptop looking for bits of totally useless information is acceptable in this day and age. Well, just to clarify, it is acceptable as long as I bathe, eat and sleep, which I am doing…for now. There does not seem to be a reason for any kind of intervention at this point. In the event you see me giving up any of the afore-mentioned or start surfing in the bathroom, let me know. There has got to be a 12-step program for the affliction.

I could give up Cross Your Heart bras as well as the Spanx underwear meant to compact, constrict and otherwise generally condense my thighs into longer leaner and tighter version of the present ham shapes riding above my chubby, but cute knees.

Anyway, I am surfing the net over morning coffee this week, checking the news all over the world, as well as a couple of videos on the sun flares. These, by the way, are not going to take us all out just yet since, according to the Mayan Calendar, the end is near, but not actually knocking at the front door. This leads to that weird place, where you begin to randomly hit a few links on the screen because the tag looks “interesting.”

Who knows, I might even weigh less there! I might be younger there! There is always the possibility that walking around the town square with my extra poundage floating behind me might look out of place, but from the front, I might look pretty good. There is always duct tape to strap down the odd bits and pieces of me. A coat of Spackle and lipstick would give the old girl a bit of polish. Who knows, I might be riding around with Horatio by the end of the week, solving crimes and talking sideways myself.

This is how I came to discover that gravity is missing in Canada, precisely in the Hudson Bay area. You think I am kidding you, but this was discovered in the 1960’s because a group of scientists were mapping the earth’s gravity fields. This entire line of investigation, declaration and the finality of gravity theft left these scholars standing about scratching their collective heads. Maybe, when they realized this, one jumped and yelled, “Nobody leaves this room!” and started checking pockets and purses to discover just who was trying to slip gravity past security. I have three trains of thought here. The first is: Do you suppose any of these gravitymeasuring people ever dated? How many second dates can you actually expect to get to when your dinner conversation centers around the amount of gravity you weighed this last week? You are never going to hear some sweet young thing sigh, flutter her lashes, look up into your eyes and say: “Golly, Stephen, I have always been fascinated by the way gravity keeps me from falling off the planet and spinning into space. Tell me more!’

In the meantime…I will be sitting here, surfing the net, trying to catch another wave of pointless data to fill my brain. Beats the heck out of watching the primaries…

Check out this article about missing gravity: http://science.howstuffworks. com/environmental/earth/geophysics/ Secondly, who do you call about this kind of thievery? My vote is Horatio from CSI Miami. He slips in, looks at the scene sideways, (and he looks at everything and missing-gravity.htm everyone sideways), and says something like, “Nothing is going to hold us down Send Comments to: outofthebox@mycounty-line.com from finding gravity.” He then slips on his designer sunglasses and slides back to his Hummer, looking all cool and in control. Maybe he floats back, as the gravitational pull is less at the crime scene than it is back at the lab. Would Horatio look as cool floating as he does sliding…not so sure.

the area around Hudson Bay has less mass because some of the Earth was pushed to the sides by the Laurentide Ice Sheet which melted about 10,000yrs ago! Less mass means less gravity. Duh!

www.wallbase.cc/user/profile/66439

The third train I am riding through my brain is that I might be moving to the Hudson Bay area in Canada to live out my life in a low weight gravitational apartment. Parts of me that are responding to gravity in a not so gentle way, might respond well to that particular environment. Maybe

Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


21This Week In Texas History

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www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline

, by Bartee Haile

SENATOR GIVES UP SEAT TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR By Bartee Haile

On Mar. 14, 1956, Sen. Price Daniel went on statewide television to offer his services as governor. If 25,000 viewers encouraged him to leave Washington, he would happily hop the next train home. A donnybrook was brewing over which Democrat would top the ticket in 1956. The ballot brawl promised to be a free-swinging affair, which once again would prove the Lone Star State had a two-party system after all. The only hitch was, of course, that both parties were made up of Democrats. Except for the recent election to congress of Dallasite Bruce Alger, the first Republican face in the Texas delegation in more than 20 years, the GOP was still an outcast minority. Ninety years after the Civil War, Republicans had yet to shed their carpetbagger stigma. Although Texans deserted Adlai Stevenson by the thousands for Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and would do so again four years later, state and local offices were still offlimits to the party of Lincoln. In fact, since 1931 not a single Republican had served in the state legislature. But with the quarrelsome Democrats always at each other’s throats, no one could accuse Lone Star politics of being dull. Price Daniel returned to the airwaves two weeks later with the results of his straw poll. Twenty-nine thousand prospective voters had responded in the affirmative versus 400 that preferred he stay put on the Potomac. Clutching the grass-root sampling, the senator announced his candidacy and proudly proclaimed, “I consider the office of the governor of Texas as the greatest honor that can be bestowed on any man.” Three hopefuls from divergent points on the political compass threw their hats in the ring: W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel, Ralph Yarborough and J. Evetts Haley. From the beginning, Texans knew this would be a campaign to remember. A generation after pulling off the biggest electoral upset of the century, “Pappy” O’Daniel came out of retirement to reclaim his old job. The homespun radio personality, who baffled the experts back in 1938, retained a nostalgic popularity among farmers and small-town voters. Perennial contender Ralph Yarborough was once described as “that loneliest of all Texas creatures, the liberal.” After successive losses to departing governor Allan Shivers, many believed a third attempt only proved he was a glutton for punishment. A West Texas rancher and respected historian, J. Evetts Haley was more concerned with making his ultra-conservative point than attracting votes. Infuriated by Yarborough’s unflagging devotion to New Deal doctrine, the zealot often forgot his other two adversaries. Although Haley was a sure bet to bring up the rear, the remaining spots were a real horse race. While most prognosticators considered Daniel the favorite, his chances of winning the nomination without a runoff were rated slim to none. Meanwhile, Yarborough and O’Daniel, both dependent upon strong rural followings, fought toothand-nail for the playoff berth. Daniel as predicted polled the most votes, but his 41 percent did not come close

to settling the issue. Also as anticipated, Haley finished a distant fourth with less than six percent. In the duel for second place, Yarborough swamped ex-governor O’Daniel but trailed the front runner by a seemingly insurmountable 165,000 ballots. The subsequent sudden-death was an honest-to-goodness cliffhanger. Capturing almost two out of every three counties, Yarborough gained ground in dramatic fashion yet failed to catch his foe, who swept the big cities. In a photo finish, Price Daniel eked out a 3,171-vote victory from a huge turnout of 1,390,000 Texans. The Yarborough camp complained loud and long citing a rash of alleged irregularities, but their protests were shrugged off as standard sour grapes. Besides, ballot-box tampering was nothing new in Lone Star elections and widely regarded as part of the game. With only the Republicans’ sacrificial lamb standing between him and the mansion, nominee Daniel submitted a post-dated resignation to Gov. Shivers. His unorthodox refusal to vacate the

senate premises before inauguration day infuriated the incumbent. Shivers charged in a scathing letter to Daniel, “In spite of your promises to the contrary, you now seek to control both offices -- Governor of Texas and the U.S. Senate -- and plan to appoint your own successor.” However, on the morning before Daniel was sworn in, Shivers had the last word by naming Bill Blakely to the still warm senate seat. A special winner-take-all scramble in April 1957 picked a permanent occupant. Relieved of the majority-vote requirement, Ralph Yarborough whipped 17 rivals with a modest 37-percent showing. Even for a Texan who would have given his eyeteeth to be governor, the United States Senate was not a bad consolation prize. Bartee Haile welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions at P.O. Box 152, Friendswood, TX 77549 Send Comments to: texashistory@mycounty-line.com

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 twith.com 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 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com

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23From The Backside ■

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www.MyCounty-Line.com ~ March 2012 v5.58 ~ www.Facebook.com/mycountyline , Henry J. Clevicepin

NUNS RUN OUT OF GAS, GAS HIGHER THAN A ROOSTER ON A WINDMILL & IS OBAMA CALLING HIMSELF UNPATRIOTIC By Henry J. Clevicepin Collaborated by Nellie Frecklebelly and Agnes & Ophilia Fudpucker

Well, now I’m tellin you things are shore lookin good around Buzzard Roost with all of this rain we have had. Now if it will just keep it up and Spring will hurry up & get here, we’re gonna be lookin good. An ol boy told us the other day that it rains on the “just” & the “unjust” alike….ol Estee K. told that ol boy if it would it just rain on the “unjust”, that he would water the “just” with a tomater can !!! Now, ol Nellie Frecklebelly hadn’t had to do any rain dancing lately so she has been working on her body & she ain ‘t lookin bad for an ol fat gal…..course that is after about 2 six packs of beer !!!!! Now ol Estee K. bibbles, my mule barn partner, was tellin me the other day a couple of nuns was passin through Buzzard Roost & ran out of gas. They walked down the street of the local gas station but they didn’t have a gas can. So the nuns, since they did home health care on the side, walked back to their car & got one them stainless steel bed pans & walked back to the station & filled it with gas. Well, about the time they got back to their car with that bed pan, a couple of the local drunks came walking by. They stood & watched as the nuns unscrewed the gas cap & tilted the bed pan up & started pouring the gas in…one of them drunks looked over at the other one & said…“if that dang car starts, I am gonna be in church Sunday” !!!! Speaking of gas prices…they’re higher than a rooster on a windmill ain’t they???? Before long, Obama is going to have everybody ridin a mule. And I don’t wanna hear you sapsuckers that voted for Obama hollering like a pig hung under a gate either….his own Energy Secretary Steven Chu back in 2008 said “high gas prices was good for you”!!!! He even said “that we have to figure out a way to boost gas prices to European levels & that we hadn’t quite reached Europe’s $10 per gallon level , but we were on the way”. And me & ol Estee K. don’t need some idiot, that’s got a name that sounds like a Chinaman, tellin us what is good for us. Gas was $1.83 the day Obama took office & now it is $3.58….that is almost a 200 % increase. And then Obama has the cahonnies to make a speech last week & tell us the American people aren’t stupid, that they are not going to listen to the politicians that are using the same ol bumper sticker talk of drill, drill, drill. Now, a lot of us ain’t stupid, but there are some stupid idiots that probably gonna vote for that sapsucker again, but as for me & ol Estee K. …we hope he has that bumper sticker stuck on his butt when he is leaving Washington in January….if it won’t fit on his, it shore will on ol Mooshell’s…her’s is about 2 axe handles wide…and she is tryin to tell us what to eat !!!!! Let’s play that little game of what he said back then & what he has done…..now, I know you suckers that voted for him in 2008 hate this little game, cause it makes you look dumber than a box of rocks. But your main man said back in 2008 while campaigning that Bush had

increased the national debt 4 trillion in 8 years & that was “unpatriotic” & “irresponsible” to saddle future generations with such a large debt….and I shore think he was right!!!! Do you realize that the first 42 Presidents had only borrowed 5 trillion….Bush jumped it to 9 trillion….but then here comes the “CHAMP”…Obama has drove it up 16.2 trillion & he gotter done in only 3 years…at that rate if you idiots vote for him again & he gets re-elected we will be well over 20 trillion by the end of his next term …which is way more than the Gross Domestic Product ( for you slow people, that means we owe way to hell more than the income we have comin in !!!) Now I shore would like for one of you lamebrains that voted for Obama to explain to me how we are gonna survive that train wreck? Wheeww !!! Me & ol Estee K. are goin down to the Buzzard Roost Bar & Grill and see if we can figure out how many zeros are in 20 trillion…. hope ol Bolivar Kegass has a lot of beer down there….this is gonna take some figuring !!!! Words of Wisdom from Henry J : Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing, and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even. You can email Henry J. at : henryjclevicepin@aol.com From the Backside Sponsor

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


www.MyCounty-Line.com --- March 2012

Ruth Norris was diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure due to type-1 diabetes in October 2009 (the same month that she and her husband purchased the County Line newspaper and took over the business) Ruthie spent the rest of 2009 undergoing dialysis treatments 3-times a week in Abilene. During the spring of 2010, she was approved for a home treatment dialysis called “peritoneal dialysis” which required her to be hooked to an auto-cycler machine every night while she slept. This allowed her to mostly return to a normal schedule, while still dealing with the physical burdens of kidney failure. In the fall of 2010 she completed her evaluation and qualification for organ transplantation and was placed on the waiting list for both a kidney and a pancreas. Being a dual-organ candidate, the waiting list is rather short and we were completely surprised when she received the transplant call on January 6th, 2011. She underwent her transplant surgery on the morning of January 7th, 2011 at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. We spent over 3-months living in an on-campus apartment next-door to the medical complex while she underwent her new transplant recipient treatments. She had several complications which required additional hospitalization during that time. Those first few months were especially difficult. The summer of 2011 was a breath of fresh air. Most everything went very well and for the first time in her life, Ruthie enjoyed the simple pleasures we all take for granted -- like homemade ice cream on a summer day! That was until October rolled around and Ruthie’s transplant organs went into rejection. She spent the entire month of October in the hospital in Baylor.

Volume 5 Issue 58

Since October 2011, she has had routine follow-ups with her doctors every 2-weeks in Dallas and Abilene. She continues to suffer from reduced kidney function due to the rejection in October and we are actually in Dallas again this week for another biopsy test as a result of her last follow-up visit. Meanwhile, Ruthie mostly feels good every day, with sporadic bouts of yukiness. She has continued to work full time as the manager of the Eastland Goodwill store (at least when her doctors let her) and she pretty much leads a normal life, which is still new for her. Unfortunately, we are always at the discretion of her doctors and whatever her latest test results are regardless of how good she feels at the time. As most of you know, we conduct fund raising periodically to help offset our new love for medical bills and our traveling expenses, not to mention the cost of the 20-some-odd medications that she is required to take every day since the transplant. In addition to our own circumstances, Ruthie is also interested with the new dialysis center that is in the works for the Eastland area and she already helps other local area people who are dealing with living with dialysis or diabetes. Ruthie advocates for organ donation and encourages all of our readers to learn more about Donate Life of Texas, the Dallas Transplant Institute and the American Kidney Foundation. She has also spoken at local schools and with area officials to help raise awareness of these topics and how they have impacted our lives.

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“I thank you with all of my heart for what you have done for me and my family. God Bless You!”

Love, Ruthie

Donations may be made to:

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Ruth Norris Benefit Fund 930 East Main Eastland, TX 76448 (254) 629-3282

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● http://www.mycounty-line.com


The County Line - March 2012 v5i58