Big Country Ce ntr al Texas E d i t i o n

Volume 6 Issue 73

National News and Opinions mixed with Local Small Town History and Story Telling. Representing the Small-Town Conservative Viewpoint, Values & Patriotism!

~Mike Norris, Owner & Publisher

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Monthly Issue


On The Cover Growing Up Small Town Texas Conservative Michael Ramirez Home Is Where the Heart Is Tumbleweed Smith Good Neighbors Treasure Hunters Love Lessons Huddle Up! Breckenridge Wall Distribution Map Word Search Cisco Loboes Territory Welcome to Rising Star This Week In Texas History B.C. The Wizard of ID In Sickness & In Health


Opuntia engelmannii is a prickly pear common across the southcentral and Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It goes by a variety of common names, including “cow’s tongue cactus”, “desert prickly pear”, “discus prickly pear”, “Engelmann’s prickly pear”, and “Texas prickly pear” in the US, and “nopal”, “abrojo”, “joconostle”, and “vela de coyote” in Mexico. ~Photo by Mike Norris

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. B:510-152550100200



Please Visit Our Website vol.6 Issue 73

On The Cover: The Texas State Plant The prickly pear cactus was designated the official plant symbol of Texas in 1995. Found in the deserts of the American southwest, the fruits of most prickly pear cacti are edible, and have been a source of food to native Americans for thousands of years. Cacti in general (and the fruits in particular) are still staple foods for some residents of Mexico and Latin America and the prickly pear cactus is raised commercially. The fruit is sold under the name “Tuna”; the branches or pads are eaten as a vegetable, called “nopalito” or “nopales.” The name cactus is derived from the Greek word “kaktos”, which means prickly plant. Cacti and other succulents face a variety of threats in their natural environment. They are easily propagated from seeds and cuttings, so removing plants from their natural habitat is unnecessary and harmful to the delicate desert ecosystem. The fruit of prickly pears, commonly called cactus fruit, cactus fig, Indian fig or tuna in Spanish, is edible, although it has to be peeled carefully to remove the small spines on the outer skin before consumption. If the outer layer is not properly removed, glochids can be ingested, causing discomfort of the throat, lips, and tongue, as the small spines are easily lodged in the skin. Native Americans, like the Tequesta, would roll the fruit around in a suitable medium to “sand” off the glochids. Alternatively, rotating the fruit in the flame of a campfire or torch has been used to remove the glochids. Today, parthenocarpic (seedless) cultivars are also available. Cactus figs are often used to make candies, jelly, or drinks such as vodka or lemonade. The prickly pear fruit is also used as the main ingredient of a popular Christmas beverage in the British Virgin Islands, called “Miss Blyden”.

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3Growing Up Small Town

3 ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, Mike W. Norris

Why Should I Even Care

What If There Is War In Syria? by Mike W. Norris

Damascus, Syria has a general population closely resembling that of Houston, Texas, which is to say in the neighborhood of 2-million people. The site has been occupied for approximately 9,000 years but may not have been considered a central settlement up until around 1200 BC when the Hittites and the Egyptians warred over the area until the year 1259 BC. Damascus then benefitted from the transition from the “Bronze Age” to the “Iron Age” and became more influential in the area. Even though Damascus may or may not have been pivotal to the Middle East at the time, it is, however, mentioned by name in the Bible in Genesis 14 where Abram rescues Lot from the invading kings who sacked Sodom and Gomorrah. And it is notably interesting that Damascus is also one of the topics of end time prophecy in Isaiah: Isaiah 17: A Prophecy Against Damascus: 1 “See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. 2 The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid. 3 The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and royal power from Damascus; the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the Israelites,” declares the Lord Almighty. 4 “In that day the glory of Jacob will fade; the fat of his body will waste away. 5 It will be as when reapers harvest the standing grain, gathering the grain in their arms—as when someone gleans heads of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. 6 Yet some gleanings will remain, as when an olive tree is beaten, leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches, four or five on the fruitful boughs,” declares the Lord, the God of Israel. 7 In that day people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. 8 They will not look to the altars,the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made. 9 In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation. 10 You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, 11 though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain.

12 Woe to the many nations that rage—they rage like the raging sea! Woe to the peoples who roar—they roar like the roaring of great waters! 13 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters, when he rebukes them they flee far away, driven before the wind like chaff on the hills, like tumbleweed before a gale. 14 In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! This is the portion of those who loot us, the lot of those who plunder us. Jeremiah 49:23 Concerning Damascus: “Hamath and Arpad are dismayed, for they have heard bad news. They are disheartened, troubled like the restless sea. 24 Damascus has become feeble, she has turned to flee and panic has gripped her; anguish and pain have seized her, pain like that of a woman in labor. 25 Why has the city of renown not been abandoned, the town in which I delight? 26 Surely, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,” declares the Lord Almighty.

27 “I will set fire to the walls of Damascus; it will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.” Depending on who you talk to, opinions differ as to whether or not Damascus has already fulfilled these prophecies due to it being the point of contention and invasion numerous times throughout history. But there are those who say that the prophecy has yet to be satisfied as Damascus has never been so utterly destroyed that it was left a “heap of ruins” and deserted. The city is currently recognized as perhaps the oldest city in existence that has been continuously populated since its founding approximately 9,000 years ago. That hardly sounds like other such settlements and centers of population that have suffered God’s wrath in Biblical times. So I’m inclined to believe that the future of Damascus is still foretold and its destruction has yet to be revealed. If I lived there today, I think I would be packing up my stuff and gassing up my mule, cause things don’t look pretty for that area of the world right now. Now, that brings me to wonder why on God’s green Earth does an American President want Continued on page 11...

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4Texas Conservative ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, Chuck Norris - The Man


In God We Trust United We Stand

By Chuck Norris

Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook’s “Official Chuck Norris Page.” He blogs at What If Assad Wants the US to Bomb Syria? September 10, 2013

While President Barack Obama and Congress pontificate over whether Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on his own people and whether a limited U.S. attack on Syria would be justified, what Washington needs to realize is this: Assad launched sarin on its citizens in hopes of moving the U.S. like a chess piece into his civil war and deeper onto the Middle East war map. According to New York University political scientist Alastair Smith, Assad’s use of chemical weapons is in reality “a brilliant play internationally” on the global field of politics and power -- if, of course, you’re viewing it from the psychotic dictator’s position. Smith and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita co-authored “The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics,” which is an examination of why autocrats do what they do. Joshua Keating, staff writer for Slate, recently talked to Smith and reported that “he thinks (Assad’s) use of chemical weapons was a risky but shrewd move that had less to do with punishing the rebels than with sending a signal to his core supporters -- predominantly members of the Alawite religious sect -- and his most important international allies.” In his own words, Smith elaborated: “First of all, using chemical weapons has absolutely cemented that for Assad there can be no soft landing. That has two effects: Domestically, it has signaled to his coalition that they should stick with him. He’s there for the long run and there’s no easy way out for him, so they know he won’t desert them. These crimes against humanity have also made ... very clear that it’s going to be very bad for the Alawites if there’s any political transition, which makes them even more loyal to him. They have nowhere else to go.” Smith added: “It’s also been a brilliant play internationally. The extent of the chemical weapons has not been so much that Obama’s willing to put ground forces in. The airstrikes they are discussing are unlikely to be a decisive military factor. And Russia and Iran would love to snub the nose of the U.S., and this is a perfect way to do it. The U.S. is going to have to go it alone if they do it, and this is a great way for Russia and Iran to make the U.S. look impotent and pathetic. Russia’s going to continue supplying (Assad) with weapons, and Iran’s going to keep supplying him with money. So this was actually a brilliant play from him.” The problem in this Syrian saga is that the White House isn’t examining the situation according to power paradigms of dictators -- particularly Assad. It is responding to it according to the typical model of Western imperialism, and Assad knows it. That’s why he continues to play to his theater and taunt Goliath by poking his chest with words such as “Obama is weak.” Herein lies the rub. On Saturday, BBC ran a story titled “Syria crisis raises question of US role in the world.” According to the article, “in the details of the debate over Syria, the biggest questions and the larger picture are in danger of being lost. In essence, it’s whether the world needs a super cop. And whether the US should simply assume that role.” If I were one of our lawmakers, I would emphatically tell the president: Quit taking the bait! If all the evidence about chemical weapons points straight to

Assad’s front door, that doesn’t mean we check in our brains at the door of war and bow down to a Middle Eastern dictator’s mindset. Proof of the president’s shortsightedness can be found in his naive strategy of a “limited” military campaign in Syria. What a joke and mockery to any opponent and to any rational mind! What professional fighter says, “I’m going to go into the ring and throw a series of blows and then get out”? Does the opponent have no bearing on countermeasures? You can’t limit an attack when you’re kicking hornets’ nests or throwing matches on gasoline! And it’s not merely Assad waiting in the ring to counter the U.S. hits but also Iran, Russia, Hezbollah, Hamas, alQaida, et al. And with our ally Israel -which already is hated by most -- in the region, there’s no telling the outcome. It is no exaggeration to say that a single, unilateral U.S. strike on Syria could spark fires that lead to the inferno of World War III. Obama needs to ratchet down his and his Cabinet’s need for speed in this Syrian matter, review the entire matter from Assad’s autocratic mindset, seek counsel from the greatest experts on the Middle East and then refuse to engage in action in Syria without congressional and international support. Only then should the coalition decide on the best course of action against Syria -- whether that’s a multinational attack on various hot spots or further arming and enabling pro-democracy resistance groups in the country or utilizing some covert actions against the regime that the world never connects to the U.S. or the international community. The president already has confessed that the Syrian mission is “not timesensitive” and that Assad’s actions pose “no imminent, direct threat” to the U.S. The only threat there is for the U.S. at

this point is to the president’s pride, ego and willingness to humble himself for the sake of our military, our country’s future, our standing in the world and especially our not getting entangled further in Middle Eastern affairs. As a six-time world karate champion, I know something about fighting, winning and losing. Sometimes one has to lose a battle to win a war, if only in appearance before certain others. And the truth is, Mr. President, sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn. My advice is to learn it now before it’s too late for all of us. Assad placed Obama (and, hence, America) in checkmate when he launched chemical weapons upon his people. The temptation is to blow up his chess pieces. But the right and wise move is to step away from the table, quit playing his game and form our own. The Syrian crisis is all the more reason to call up America’s spiritual reserves by observing the Day of Prayer and Repentance on Sept. 11. You can register your intent to participate and help spread the word by going to And on Sept. 12, join thousands of businesses across the U.S. in showing appreciation for U.S. military forces by providing free goods and services. To see a complete list of offers from business participants in your state, go to http:// Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook’s “Official Chuck Norris Page.” He blogs at http://chucknorrisnews. 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.

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5Michael Ramirez ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, Political Cartoonist

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6 ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~


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7Home Is Where the Heart Is ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, Monica Payne


By Monica Payne Monica has home schooled all of her five children after making the switch from career educator to at-home family educator. We Homeschool. Do You?

My husband and I are happily married and have been blessed with five beautiful children. God has been gracious to us and kept us strong through years of refining fires. We are not completed works just yet, and continuously make many mistakes. We hope that through the retelling of our journey, you may be encouraged on yours; whatever your personal journey may be. We are parents. We are homeschoolers. We are the Payne’s. Are you aware that there are three different options for making sure your children receive a good education? My husband and I were aware, but we had very little knowledge of our options when we began. We knew that there were private schools, but we weren’t encouraged to learn more about them from the little we did know. We knew that some families home-schooled their children, but it carried a degree of taboo-ism that we never thought to explore. Both of us were public-schooled. We enjoyed learning and excelled at academics. We considered the social issues we faced to be normal and would only make our children stronger. I even have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Our family was fully immersed in the public school only mentality. So how did we become homeschoolers? We never set out to be homeschoolers. It just happened. Neither our oldest daughter, nor her younger brother, was the type of student that fits into the public school mold. The entire Payne Homeschool Class, from left to right: Sean, Shanie, Shealee, Sherylan and Shannen. They were labeled early in their schooling career: ADD, ADHD, Withdrawn, Daydreamer, and Learning Disabled (just to name a few). We just can’t live without our labels, can we? But the labels weren’t the problem. Our daughter came home from school with headaches and piles of homework that was taking us hours to complete together. (I will admit to being tempted to doing it for her quite often.) In the mornings, she would cry and complain of stomach aches, begging to stay home. This wasn’t the occasional happening. These events happened daily, year after year. And then our son entered school. He seemed to pick up on reading exceptionally well. He seemed to be top of his class in preschool and kindergarten. I say “seemed” because it was an illusion. One day I realized that he could only read certain books. And he could read them without even having them in hand! However, he couldn’t read the same words in another book. This was a problem his teachers didn’t take seriously. He was doing great on tests and in class, so why was I worried? Everything continued in this manner until he went to another school for a short time, and a teacher I loved and admired (she had been my teacher growing up) failed him in Reading. What happened? Well it took months before we figured it out, and then years to figure out what to do about it and get it reversed. There is much more that happened in the public school, even some good things. My son’s second grade teacher was a very good teacher. She worked with me; and he was making progress by leaps and bounds in both his reading and speech difficulties. Then politics stepped in and said we could no longer attend that school without paying a substantial fee per child for living out-of-county. The Continued on page 8...

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8Home Is Where the Heart Is ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, Monica Payne

children would have to change schools. Because of our son’s learning disabilities he was placed in the “low-level” class, with the teacher who had taught him to read the wrong way in the first place. I had worked in this school as a teacher myself, but the teachers didn’t really want parental involvement and discounted everything I had to say about how he had been making progress and what we were doing in the other school. And even worse, he was bullied to the point of eventually needing surgery to correct the damage that had been done to his knee that year. Something had to change. Once we finally realized that our children were not getting the education or socialization we wanted for them, we began exploring the options we had never took the time to notice before. There are three choices: public school, private school, and home school. We had spent many years already pouring ourselves into the public school system, and it was hard to deny the benefits. We never had to worry that they were getting the knowledge base they needed. They had built in socializing. Others kept up with the grading and recordkeeping. It was easy. We just got them ready for school, sent them off and fed them when they came home. The rest was up to their teachers. We could give more, but it wasn’t required. Easy. But, this system had failed our children. They weren’t getting the knowledge base they needed. They weren’t getting the socialization we wanted them to have. The easy approach turned out to be not so easy. Private school offered many of the same benefits, except it was much more expensive. A luxury we couldn’t afford. And there was no guarantee they would teach our children in the way they needed to be able to succeed. What if we paid all that money and our children still fell through the cracks? So, reluctantly, we began to explore the homeschooling option. We were already teaching our children when they came home from school and we found that we could purchase the same curriculum the private schools use. And it would be much less expensive. Think of all the money we would be saving. Just on new school clothes alone! We looked into the laws; wasn’t homeschooling illegal? To our amazement, it wasn’t. Not everyone around us was convinced. Even my husband wasn’t entirely on board (a fact I didn’t learn about until he apologized for doubting me years later). We didn’t know enough, and we didn’t have all the answers yet. However, after many discussions, and numerous question and answer sessions; we did the unthinkable. We left the public school. Sure, there have been times we questioned the decision. Times we struggled with missing out on what we each loved about public school: football games, new clothes each year, school supplies, band, cheerleading, basketball, and so much more. But there have also been wonderful, amazing adventures that we would have missed out on had we never homeschooled. And the things we missed, well, we don’t miss them

anymore. We found other homeschoolers, who led us to support groups. And these groups offer all the activities we could ask for and more. That is what homeschooling has given our family---- more. More time to be together as a family. More opportunities to do something meaningful. More shared lightbulb moments. More of our children’s lives. More of our children’s hearts. The story doesn’t end there, it’s only the beginning. Our family has now been homeschooling full time for nine years. We didn’t know much when we started and we’ve made many mistakes along the way. We’ve had our ups. We’ve had our downs. As we begin our tenth year in just a few days, we are strong in the knowledge that we will never return. We will never go back to endless days filled with tears, homework, stomach aches, headaches, bullying, and rushing to get somewhere we had to be. We can relax, take it easy and sip our tea as we watch our children learn and grow right in front of us. We can enjoy our time as a family and take breaks when we need it. Though the journey is full of joy, we know there will be tears. (Learning takes passion, and where there is passion, there will be tears.) We know there will be homework. (All of our work is done at home, or in the car, or at the library, or at Nana’s, or with a group of other homeschooler’s in a workshop, or at the grocery store, or at the museum… but there will be work that we do at home.) We know there will be stomach aches. (Not being around as much sickness on a daily basis has left our immunity less likely to fend off disease before we have symptoms.) There will be headaches. (Lots and lots of headaches.) There will be bullying. (You’d be surprised to know that homeschooled siblings do


bully each other on occasion.) There will be rushing to get somewhere we have to be. (Did I mention homeschool support group co-ops?) But in the end, it’s all worth it. This is how our story began, yet the journey isn’t over. Come by again. You can relax, take it easy and sip your tea as our family shares more adventures with you.... Have you heard about the time the science experiment exploded? We homeschool. Do you? ~mp

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9 ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

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10Tumbleweed Smith ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, Bob Lewis


By Bob Lewis An Ultra Bike Race In The Mountains

Dex Tooke of Del Rio is an ultra marathon bicycle racer. In 2011 he successfully completed the most grueling bicycle race in the world, the Race Across America (RAAM). He rode from California to Maryland, a distance of 3,000 miles in just twelve days. “It’s practically non-stop,” says Dex. “I averaged two hours of sleep a day during those twelve days. I was on the bike most of the time.” He was only the 6th person in his age category to finish the race. Dex is 63. He wrote a book about his experience titled UNFINISHED BUSINESS. It chronicles both his 2010 and 2011 races. In 2010,he was 180 miles short of the finish line when the mandatory time limit ran out. Less than 300 people in the world have completed the race within the time limit. Dex does five or six ultra marathons a year, most of which require riders to ride 500 miles in one day. To stay in shape he rides between seventeen and twenty thousand miles a year. To do that he has to average fifty miles every day. I interviewed Dex on a Saturday morning after he had ridden fifty miles. He was going to ride another fifty miles later that day. When he was twenty-eight, Dex was out of shape. He started exercising and running half marathons, then full marathons, then triathlons. “Then I discovered the ultra world and can’t seem to get out of it,” says Dex. He is fully employed, by the way, working for a company that manufactures heating elements. This October, Dex is going to be the race director of an ultra bike race called NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. It’s a 383-mile race through the Big Bend country that has a 32-hour time limit (383 was his race number in RAAM). He says the Texas mountain country is the best place in the state to ride bikes. “It’s a race made for the elite few that can tackle something like this,” he says, “because there’s not many people who can ride 383 miles in one day. Last year the winner finished in twenty hours. “It has some tough climbing,” says Dex, “and temperatures range from 95 down in the park to 40 degrees at night in the mountains.”

The race begins October 12th in Alpine, then goes to Study Butte, then to Panther Junction in the Big Bend National Park, then up to Marathon, back to Alpine, then to Fort Davis, where racers will ride the scenic loop (74 miles), then to Marfa and finally back to Alpine. Riders may enter solo or as a team. The cost is around $90 (go to There is also a 200 mile version where riders will leave Alpine, go to Study Butte, where they will turn right and go to Lajitas, then turn around and go back to Alpine. This version, also, can have solo riders or a team of riders. Dex wants to set a new record for riding a bicycle across Texas. On November 11, he’ll leave Brownsville at 3:30 AM and hopes to reach the Oklahoma border 850 miles away within 75 hours. Cleaning Up Can Be Profitable

coins and bills in it. I took the bag to my wife and we started looking at its contents. We were surprised to find silver dollars, half dollars, some Indian head pennies, V nickels and some coins that dated back to 1866. The more we looked, the more curious we became. I have never collected coins, but I may start now. When I was growing up, every time we’d visit my grandparents, my grandfather would give me either a silver dollar or a fifty-cent piece. Of course I don’t know where those coins are today. My grandfather had a meat market and grocery store and handled lots of coins. So did my father, who was also in the grocery business. When we got married, my dad gave us a bag of silver coins, the real stuff. Rather than put them up for safekeeping, we put them in a bowl in a living room bookcase and used out of it to buy incidentals. Not too smart. Some of the one-dollar bills in the bag have an interesting history, like the 1928 funnyback dollar, the first effort by the US treasury to standardize design and size of dollar bills. The treasury wanted to streamline currency for the Roaring Twenties. The 1928 series red seal one-dollar bill was not printed until 1933 and didn’t get released for circulation until 1948. To make things even stranger, when the bills were finally released into circulation, Puerto Rico was chosen as the location of distribution. Research indicated 1.8 million of the one-year design notes were printed and the first 4,000 were snatched up by collectors, many buying packs of 100 consecutive notes. Some of those packs are occasionally still available fully intact. An uncirculated 1928 series funnyback red seal one-dollar bill can bring more than $1,000. It is a relic of he Jazz Age and is popular with collectors. Interesting stuff. I may have to do some more cleaning up around the place.

I noticed our office had one too many stacks of stuff on file cabinets and tables, giving the place a cluttered look. I decided it was time to do something about it. Fortunately, our second hand store downtown had just started accepting magazines. I took two stacks of them down. It was just the beginning of a purge of unused and unwanted items. Usually when people start a big cleaning job they start with an area that no visitor ever sees, like a closet. I started with a desk drawer. I emptied it into a plastic storage box. I discovered I had at least two dozen pens and that many pencils. Plus candy, gum, rulers, scissors, magnifying glasses, scratch pads, business cards, paper clips, rubber bands and other stuff. I started taking things out of the storage box and putting the essential things back in the drawer. I threw away more than half the items that were in the drawer originally. My wife was in the process of organizing some of our family photos. For some reason I went to an old file cabinet in a seldom used closet and Tumbleweed lives in Big Spring and produces pulled out an old briefcase. I thought THE SOUND OF TEXAS syndicated radio I might find some old photos in it, series. His website is since that’s where I had put some of my parents’ legal papers. I didn’t find any photos, but I found a little sandwich bag that had some old

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11Growing Up Small Town ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, Continued...

to go to war in Syria? Let’s not forget how hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of belligerent, leftist, ideological Democrats cursed George W. Bush every chance they got for the Iraq War, for our interests in Afghanistan; and basically for anything that happened within 1,000 miles of a Middle Eastern oil rig!!! These twofaced, double-standard idiots are now willing to support this President and this Administration over 1,400 poor souls who happened to die because of a poisonous gas attack that frankly, we have no true idea WHO carried out the attack, but man, oh, man... are we hellbound to make sure Assad pays for it! What about the 100,000 other people who have died in Syria over the last three years while this President and this Administration was busy trying to make tracks and high tail it out of the Middle East at every corner??? If this President was so sure that his strategy of early withdrawal was going to keep any hostilities from taking root in the region, then I can only imagine the excuses he’s offering Michelle to avoid claiming fatherhood over this little Syrian bundle of joy. Sorry, Barry. Government-funded mandates for birth control and free clinical services won’t help you abort this one. You pulled out early and now you’re trying to run back in to save face and control the situation, and look like the responsible guy. But guess what, We The People aren’t going for it, Barry O. No, sir. You see, folks, this Administration is untrustworthy. A year ago, our ambassador was killed in a full-on frontal attack by radical Muslim instigators and this Administration

lied to us. It lied to the American People and it lied to the International Community. This Administration lied to the entire world about what actually happened in Benghazi, Libya and to this day, it refuses to offer We The People any aspect of the truth as to how or why it was allowed to happen. Virginia Republican Representative, Frank Wolf, said today that whatever the State Department and CIA were doing in Benghazi likely “had a direct connection to U.S. policy in Syria.” Gee, Frank....ya think? It’s been a full year and we are just hours away from the anniversary of that attack---not to mention the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001---and has this Administration even hinted at speaking to We The People to reassure us that our fellow citizens and patriots will be protected with ANY measurable preparations this year? No, but I hear that by this time tomorrow, Mr. President Obarry is going to go on national TV and plead his case to the American people why we need to go kick over a mole hill in Syria instead of fortifying our resolve that no American interests anywhere in the world better come under any kind of attack on Wednesday. We can’t talk about TRUE national security around these people, no. These jokers think we have no memory, that our attention span is so short-sighted that we can’t even look at a simple calendar and remember back 365 days, or 12-years, and realize that this Administration dropped the ball last year and four Americans died. But of course, “What difference does it make now?” I’ll tell you what difference it makes. This Administration is so busy trying

to stand up to Syria that it’s completely ignoring the REAL threats to our nation’s sovereignty! And because of that, this Administration does not have the confidence of the American People and therefore if President Obammy wants to go to war in Syria, he’s going to have to go out on that ledge all by himself. The American People don’t want to have anything to do with bringing about the end of the world. I think that it is hilarious that the Russians announced a plan to allow Assad to turn over control of his chemical weapon stores to Russian authorities---which basically would bring the Syrian chemical weapon stockpiles under the restraints of standing United Nations regulations. Frankly, Putin over in Russia is spitting in this Administration’s eyes for working out this makes the Russians look like they are more peaceful and well intentioned than we Americans. And I will gladly wear that black eye for now because that is going to be a HUGE issue for the Democrats come election time. You better believe that we won’t forget how this President and this Administration continues to fumble the ball at every opportunity on the international playground: Gaddafi’s Overthrow in Libya which gave us the Libyan General National Congress and Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf who was in office at this time last year as Libya’s head of state when our embassy was attacked and our ambassador was murdered, Mubarak’s Ouster from Egypt which gave us the Muslim Brotherhood puppet President Morsi, last year’s despicable attack and murder of U.S. Ambassador Stevens and his staff


in Benghazi, Libya, not to mention protests in no less than thirteen Middle Eastern countries, resulting in the collapse of at least five governments--two of those in Egypt alone! Morsi served in Egypt as president for just over one year! Oh, and did I mention that this Administration allowed the first American Ambassador in over thirty years to die in the field without providing -ANY- support! Oh, but I forgot....”What difference does that make now?” The Obama Administration looks good in the American press strictly because the American press is in love with the Obama Administration. Period. If this were a football team and a championship playoff was on the line, Quarterback Obama would be sitting the rest of the season on the bench and the entire offensive line of this Administration would be on suspension! It’s pretty sad when Americans take their football more seriously than they do the direction of their country but there you go. Professional football organizations will fire a coach in a heartbeat and they are getting serious about cracking down on rowdy players who can’t keep their private lives out of the limelight. But let a bunch of incompetents get elected to the White House with “D’s” beside their names and they can do no wrong! That’s not being racist, that’s being factual. Unfortunately, there are many Americans who just can’t handle the truth. Maybe they’re “D”-lusional! ~mwnorris

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12Good Neighbors ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, Clint Coffee CLU ChFC State Farm Insurance® Agent


What’s Changed About Driving?

If you’ve been driving for 20 or more years, you know how to teach your teenager how to drive, right? Maybe. Things have changed a bit since you took driver’s ed. Here’s a quick look at what to keep in mind: Lower your hands. You probably learned to keep your hands at the “10 and 2 o’clock” positions on the steering wheel. Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends drivers put their hands at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions. One reason for the change? It potentially keeps hands out of the way if the airbag deploys. Turn everything off. It’s likely your teen will have a cell phone when he or she drives. Remind your teen to never text while driving, and encourage him or her to pull over before making a call. Even with hands-free devices,

taking or making phone calls, searching for tunes on a media player or playing the radio too loudly all contribute to heightened risks for teen drivers. Gradually learn to drive. Familiarize yourself with the graduated license rules in your state. Today’s new drivers have limits for such things as the age at which they can get their learner’s permit or license, the hours they can drive and the number of passengers they can carry. These limits allow teens to gain valuable on-the-road experience before being given an unrestricted license—and according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, have reduced teen crashes from 10 to 30 percent. Keep your distance. You may have been taught to keep one car length per every 10 mph between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. Today, instructors recommend a simpler threesecond rule: Keeping an eye on the car in front of you, spot a fixed object that’s even with that car. Then count how long it takes for your vehicle to reach the same object. If it’s less than three seconds, allow more space between vehicles. Don’t cross over. Drivers used to learn a hand-over-hand crossover method for turning the steering wheel. Now to execute a turn, your teen will be advised to “push up” on one side of the wheel while “pulling down” on the other. Remember the basics. Today’s vehicles are far more “intelligent” than the cars you grew up driving. And while many of the features are designed to keep drivers safer—anti-skid controls, automated parallel parking and sensors that stop a car before collision—it’s always a good idea for teen drivers to learn to make their own decisions and react to different driving situations. If you’re teaching a teen to drive review these resources from State Farm®. And learn more ways to support safe driving through the Celebrate My Drive program from State Farm. - See more at: http://learningcenter. whats-changed-about-driving/#sthash. HTKf87za.dpuf

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13Treasure Hunters

13 ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, Jerry Eckhart

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

Our Vanishing Treasure Symbols Mysterious carved symbols abound all across the nation. They have been found carved into trees, but those are disappearing, as the old trees die and fall to the ground where they rot. There are a few, old, old trees which remain, and still have a few symbols carved into them. Other symbols are carved into stone, but even those are disappearing as they fall victim to wind and weather.. Erstwhile treasure hunters have either carried the smaller ones to their homes or obliterated them with chisels in order to keep others from finding what they consider waybills to treasure. It is a shame, because those old symbols are part of our history. Those who went before us put them there for a reason. Unfortunately, many of those who seek treasure think that every carved symbol is a map leading to buried treasure. If that were true, it seems there would be buried treasure all over the place. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Early day travelers, as well as the Native American Indian carved many symbols as trail markers, or as a way to honor their gods. Once moved, the carvings lose all their meaning. Here in my hometown, there was an old stone fence which had a number of asterisks carved into one of the stone. The asterisk usually denotes a star. I looked at that old stone fence many times and wondered just where the stars came from and what they meant. Were they an astronomical chart, a waybill to treasure, or perhaps just idle doodles? The stones in that fence came from somewhere, we just don’t know where. The property has changed hands several times and no one knows where the stones came from. Recently, the old stone fence was torn down and the stones carted away. In the treasure room at the Lela Lloyd Museum in Cisco, Texas, there are several stones with carvings on them that have been either loaned or donated. Most of them seem to be authentic carvings from the Spanish explorations. Many visitors have photographed them and attempted to decipher them. Again, they don’t have a lot of meaning because they were removed from their original site. Once removed from the original site, they basically lose most of their significance because they are no longer oriented in their original positions..

Over the years, I have studied a number of signs and symbols and still am not sure what they are saying. It’s confusing because there are so many different interpretations. Most assume the carvings are of Spanish origin, and try to interpret them according to the many books available concerning Spanish symbols. Many of the signs can also be attributed to the KKK and to other organizations associated with the revival of the Confederacy. These groups are often lumped into one organization known as the Knights of the Golden Circle. It is very possible that the KGC is associated with some because the Circle was active in a number of states after the Civil War. Pioneers and Indians often carved symbols into stone and tree as trail markers. They would use them to mark the way for others to follow. Some signs point to good campgrounds and available water. Others are simply doodling. It is common to come across such carvings which carry no meaning other than to say “I was here.” I have seen dates and initials carved in many places, sometimes intermixed with true ancient symbols. From Atlantic to Pacific Native Americans gouged symbols into rock to honor their gods and to offer prayers. These too are being misinterpreted as being treasure signs. One must study all possibilities

before reaching a conclusion. Not only are petroglyphs (stone carvings) found everywhere, but pictographs (painted signs and pictures)are hidden in caves and beneath overhangs. Sadly, these are fading away as well. A few miles north of my home, there is an overhang with a number of pictographs. It has been badly damaged by vandals with spray paint. Most of these locations are no longer divulged because of vandalism. They have been scratched out, painted out or cut away and carried off. Soon, there will be none left. The stone carvings are suffering also. Many which were once clear a few years ago are now almost unreadable. As they vanish, so does a part of our history. With good cameras so readily available, I would suggest that treasure hunters make photos rather than carry the actual rock home. Of course, it all boils down to the paranoia that many treasure hunters suffer from. I have hunted treasure for more than fifty years, but have never felt the urge to lug a map rock to my house, just to keep someone else from seeing it. I know of map rocks that are buried under houses, hidden in basements and cellars, and mixed in with piles of Continued on page 17...

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14Love Lessons Learned So Far ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, Vicki Stiefer


By Vicki Stiefer The Down Hill Race to Christmas

Fall is quickly approaching and while the temperature outside offers little relief, I already see Christmas decorations at many stores. School just got back into the swing of things for crying out loud! I am starting to understand though because people have a budget and you have to plan for things. My Mom passed away some years ago and just recently in a box, I found a small spiral notebook that turned out to be her Christmas budget! I was shocked to find every Christmas from my childhood with its own page. Santa Claus had even submitted his list and budget as well. Mom and Dad went crazy for Christmas! They loved it! Dad was the goofy guy in the elf hat popping sausage balls every ten minutes and Mom was happily in the kitchen with her Christmas Apron singing carols and timing out the bird just right. I still will never get the knack for putting everything on the table hot. Don’t let anyone fool you when they disregard cooking for the holidays, it’s not just “woman’s work” as they say; it’s a science brother! If you think you can do better step up to the plate and take a swing. That same “woman” will pick you up, dust you off and give you a good swift kick out of the kitchen. Now, a lot of men cook the turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas and with the onslaught of cooking shows coming at us from every direction men are starting to find cooking fun so I have to give them the thumbs up for that. I just don’t remember growing up getting excited about Christmas until after Thanksgiving. As an adult that has definitely changed. I am not ashamed to tell you that every year when I am buying my scarecrow for the front yard I am thrilled to buy new hay and brush off my porcelain nativity scene. The nativity is my New Year. It’s a chance for reflection and more than that it’s a new beginning. The baby in that manager is so special to me. Nativity aside, for me, back to school and the beginning of fall means I should think about dusting off my plastic jack-o-lantern and start considering my Thanksgiving menu. And on days where my husband watches endless sports and I zone out from hearing all the whistles and buzzers; thoughts start to creep into my mind about family gatherings. My Mom died when I was in my late 20’s so before that the holidays were a no brainer. No matter what I was doing in my life I was present and accounted for around the holiday season. I helped with everything and was totally oblivious to any outside world stimuli that might dampen the spirit. To my knowledge everyone was just as excited as I was when they converged on our house for dinner and presents. From back to school time until January, every single year was familial bliss. That was the way holidays should go. It was a big whooville love fest and I never wanted the train to derail. So when it did I was devastated. My Mom died in February and then my maternal grandmother followed suit that same year in October.

My maternal grandfather moved in with my aunt and was never the same. He died a couple of years later. My paternal grandfather was already gone so it turned into a really small group overnight. Christmas was still salvaged every year because almost the same feelings happened when we moved everything to my Aunt’s house. I gladly trudged out of town each year excited to feel that same big ball of family love and new beginnings from the nativity that I did every year. And I did for a little while but the void of emptiness crept in where my Mom would have sat and the potatoes didn’t taste as good as the ones my maternal grandmother brought every year. My Dad eventually got remarried so I had to deal with all of those feelings rolling around inside my head. Christmas officially became a chore. All of the merriment and happiness I was supposed to feel was exchanged for bitterness and lack of enthusiasm. A couple of years went by where I just gave gift cards TO EVERYBODY because I felt shopping was a waste of time. There were years that I didn’t decorate, which is a shock because that is my thing! Christmas for me was like a rock band who started out with all the right members and as God took them home the band dwindled down to just 3 “original” members.

some dynamics that new brides have to go through and I just got angrier and angrier. I told God he slighted me on Christmas yet again and after all the questions about what I was doing wrong and the endless flow of tears I just simply shut down. I could no longer afford to let the yearly disappointments of family gatherings weigh me down. Again, I dreaded the holiday season. I decorated out of necessity and with each placement of the nativity in the hay I cried more.

As always the nativity showed me a bigger piece of the puzzle and I made it out to the other side. In the coming months I have some good articles for you about what do, how to handle, where to go, etc...Trust me when I say that I’ve read every book on how to feel better after a parent dies but all of the answers in those books didn’t help. I finally just took a big breath and came to grips with the realization that the Christmas feelings I had before my Mom died are very precious and special but they are memories now. I can never get those feelings back. I can never recreate them. I can, however, choose to make new ones in new ways. I have learned that every morning I can get up and make a choice to be happy or sad. So get with it! Buy a Christmas ornament the same time you buy your ghosts for By the time my husband came the front yard Halloween decorations. along I was not a Christmas person. It’s a downhill race to Christmas! ~vs Wasn’t excited about it, didn’t want to think about it and had started filling in for people at work during the fall holiday season. We started dating in December and he was thrilled for Christmas to come around. I rode his coat tails with cautious optimism. When we married I had the crazy notion that Christmas was back. I had a family again and everything would be great! I would feel all of those old feelings again and life would be back on track. But his family was blended and that has its own setbacks. There were new traditions to be learned and

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15Huddle Up! ■ ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~ , Matt Swinney


By Matt Swinney The Rise and Fall of Johnny Football

With the cooler months around the corner, we should be excited about the start of college football. But, are we excited? NOOOOOO!!!!! When we think of the college gridiron, we think of two words, JOHNNY FOOTBALL!!!! Johnny Manziel, or you may know him by his SUPERHERO persona “Johnny Football” is the sophomore starting quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies. This offseason he acted like a fool when he was accused of not attending the Manning Passing Academy because he too tired. He was so tired that he overslept. If you’re that tired, GO TO BED EARLY!!! But, that’s not all. He got drunk and acted crazy at a fraternity party thrown at the University of Texas at Austin. He got so out of control that he got kicked out of the party. He also got front row tickets to go to the NBA Finals and got to visit with LeBron James, and even played golf at Pebble Beach, one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world. And just recently, ESPN reported that the NCAA was investigating whether Manziel accepted payments from autographs that he had signed in January 2013. The NCAA did not find any evidence that Manziel accepted money for the autographs, but suspended him for the first half of the season opener against Rice. Serious punishment coming from the NCAA. If only they were my Dad when I was growing up. The relationship I had with his thick black belt would have been a lot less love hate. Sports today is two-fold. Athletes are paid to do their job while fans look on with anticipation for the “W” in the win column. However, athletes today are also role models to young people. I think that is just plain silly. When I was growing up I wanted to be an astronaut. Buzz Aldrin was my hero. My sister wanted to be a veterinarian. Yes, I did watch sports with my Dad and take part in sports most of my life starting with tee ball, but each time I read about Babe Ruth I never found myself wanting to become a womanizing alcoholic who played great baseball. And before you say it, Buzz Aldrin didn’t punch that reporter until I was an adult. His malfunctioning happened well after his career. So, why am I saying all these things about Johnny Manziel? Because he is a role model for young kids. Some college football insiders think that we should give Manziel a break because he’s the reigning Heisman trophy winner and he’s only 20 years old. I agree that he should enjoy his college experience, but not at the expense of Texas A&M University. When you go out in public, you need to realize that not only are you representing yourself, but, if you are a college athlete, you are also representing the college or university you are currently attending. When you win the

Heisman at 20, you give up the “normal” college experience. You are not normal at this point. You absolutely are being held to a higher standard. I hear some people say that college athletes should get paid just like the pros do and that way they might be better controlled, but, that’s a BIG NO-NO in my book. When you give a kid a couple mil to play college athletics do you think he will be responsible for that money? Is he going to drive on over to Fidelity and start a retirement fund? Of course not! He’s only 20 years old! 9 times out of 10 he’s partying with his buds and blowing money hand over fist. If you don’t believe me, how many Colt McCoy’s and Tim Tebow’s have you seen come out of college versus broke, maybe criminal, players. How about Vince Young or JaMarcus Russell? If we do allow college athletes to get paid, that’s exactly what will happen. Because winning games is more important than the education they are in college to get. Friday Night Lights is not just a Texas thing. It’s a nation thing. Besides, not every Jimmy, Bobby or Billy will even play in the NFL. According to the NCAA, 1.7% of the college athletes will play professionally. Not every player can be the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. So, who is at fault? In Johnny Manziel’s case, I think two things have happened

here. I think it’s Manziel’s home life and the NCAA. Johnny’s father, Paul, has amassed an oil fortune. So, to say Johnny doesn’t have to worry about money is a no-brainer. If he screws up maybe he feels like his Dad will simply bail him out. Money solves everything. Maybe he feels a little untouchable because of his status. But hasn’t he seen some of the greats fall? Pete Rose, Roy Tarpley, Lamar Odom or Lance Armstrong? Lance Armstrong was sure he was untouchable...until he wasn’t. The NCAA, on the other hand, should be ashamed of themselves. They know that A&M will play the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide in their 3rd game of the year, but do they suspend him up to that game, Nope! They suspend only a half of their first game against Rice. The reason that they suspended at all was for a minor rules violation. To me, that’s only a slap on the wrist, saying, “Now Johnny don’t do again, you’re the face of the NCAA.” You can’t tell me that he didn’t take any money for signing autographs. There’s photographic evidence for crying out loud! If you believe that he didn’t take any money, then I have some Ocean Front Property in Arizona I can sell you really cheap. ~ms

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16 ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

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17 ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~ ■ Treasure

Hunters, Continued...


junk rock at the back of someone’s barn, all to prevent others from seeing them. Weather also takes a toll on carvings. Those cut into sandstone erode quickly and within a decade or two start to fade. There may be some that are no longer visible and no one knows it. Sandstorms contribute to the erosion of carvings, as does freeze and rain. Although many have lasted for centuries, they may not be around much longer. As time passes, so will these wonderful reminders of our early history. Carvings in stone are always fascinating and over the past 20 some years I have purchased just about every treasure symbol book on the market and looked at hundreds of real and imagined carved symbols. The books will give you a general idea as to what symbols are supposed to mean, however those printed meanings may have no pertinence to a particular map rock. You may find a particular carved map rock and attempt to decipher it according to what your books say, only to find it doesn’t make sense. That is because each carving is individual to the one who carved it. For example; a carved turtle could be a sign for treasure, a directional symbol, or whatever else the map maker intended for it to mean. The same thing can hold true for any other symbol you might find carved into something. In order to have any success with interpreting maps, you must put yourself into the mind of who made the map. This is an almost impossible job if you don’t have any background to base your assessment on. If there is even a hint of a story, you might be able to do it, but it takes time and research and numerous visits to the site before you can really feel confident. Ask yourself this question. How does the carving tie in with the story? Do you even know a story or is the carving one which has no associated story? Try reading histories of the area. If a date exists, study historical accounts related to that time period. Having done all that with no success, throw the books out the window and strike out on your own. You might just hit it lucky with your own interpretation. Carved treasure symbols are vanishing daily and it is a shame, because once they are gone, so will a part of our history. ~JEckhart Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ●

18The County Line ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

■ , Mike W. Norris The County Line Distribution Area

■ The

County Line Word Search

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


19 ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~


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20This Week In Texas History ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, by Bartee Haile


By Bartee Haile Amputated Limb Gave Santa Anna A Leg Up

Back in business after the disgrace at San Jacinto, Santa Anna oversaw the bizarre burial of his own amputated leg on Sep. 27, 1842. For the third-rate Napoleon, not even a grotesque funeral for a shriveled limb was too crude a gimmick if it helped him stay in power. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna at age 42 looked like a hopeless has-been after the humiliation of 1836. Losing a province to the ragtag Texans was bad enough, but far worse in the eyes of his countrymen was his signing of the treaties that legitimized Lone Star independence. Mexicans could forgive defeat but never dishonor. During the stormy months following the Texans’ triumph, Andrew Jackson preached against putting the prisoner Santa Anna to death. In a stroke of diplomatic genius, Sam Houston dumped the problem in the lap of his meddlesome mentor by shipping the hated captive off to Washington. At the earliest opportunity, President Jackson sent home the uninvited guest, who went into comfortable seclusion at his plush hacienda. Confident the chronic chaos which cursed Mexican politics would eventually pave the way for his comeback, Santa Anna merely bided his time. He did not have long to wait. In 1838 a French fleet showed up off Veracruz to collect an old debt. For ten years, Mexican officials had ignored 600,000 pesos in damage claims from French residents for property destroyed in a riot. The shelling of coastal communities by the warships started “The Pastry War,” so called because one of the petitioners was a pastry cook. Oblivious to the fact that he had not the slightest shred of authority, Santa Anna rushed out of retirement to take command of the Mexican troops at Veracruz. He succeeded only in stopping a cannonball with his leg, which was sawed off on the spot, but the grandstand play catapulted the outcast back into the spotlight. Promises of full payment ended The Pastry War, but the departure of the French navy did not delay the disintegration of the fragile republic. Torn apart by selfish factions in the capital and separatist movements in the countryside, the doomed regime dissolved into anarchy. Soured on representative rule, Mexicans turned in desperation to strongman Santa Anna to save them from themselves. He was happy to oblige for a price. Santa Anna did not bother with the facade of democracy preferring instead a naked dictatorship. If he wanted to call all the shots, that was just fine with most Mexicans, who were sick and tired of the incessant strife. It was like old times for El Presidente and his pals. With unprecedented extravagance he spent the already destitute nation into the poorhouse. While distracting the masses with parades and fiestas reminiscent of the Roman empire, he handed out fat contracts to his cronies, who shared the wealth with their corrupt benefactor. Reaching new heights of megalomania, Santa Anna commissioned a giant

statue of his humble self with an arm pointing north toward Texas. A symbol of his hollow pledge to retake the liberated land from the detested gringos, the tough-talking tyrant shied away from making good the threat. He was not about to tempt fate a second time by stepping onto a battlefield against an army of Texans. Santa Anna did realize public opinion had to be appeased and okayed two hit-and-run seizures of San Antonio in 1842. Though militarily meaningless, these escapades restored a measure of national selfrespect and prolonged the Mexican fantasy of taking back Texas. Exhuming the mummified remains of his missing leg, Santa Anna ordered it entombed with full military honors in a marble vault in the Mexico City cathedral. He hoped to mystically transform the limb into a revered national relic. Soon after 20,000 hired mourners grieved at the passing of his first wife, Santa Anna scandalized every stratum of society by taking a 15 year old girl for his new bride. Naturally the marriage did not interfere with his philandering, and all Mexico enjoyed a good laugh at the expense of the pompous dictator when one of his lady friends made off with his medals. By 1845 Santa Anna was back in the doghouse. The same fickle mobs that had cheered his return to power now hailed his successor, demolished his beautiful statue and tossed his

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, c.1853 Source: Wikimedia Commons

rotten leg in the sewer. Lucky to escape with his life, Santa Anna wisely sailed into exile rather than put up a fight. The risky thought of resisting the verdict never crossed his mind for he knew full well that the setback was strictly temporary. After all, it was merely a matter of time until his critics changed their minds and welcomed him home with open arms. Like quarrelsome lovers, Mexico and Santa Anna always kissed and made up. Bartee Haile welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions at P.O. Box 152, Friendswood, TX 77549 or haile@ and invites you to visit his new web site at

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21B.C. ■ ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~ , by Mastroianni & Hart

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22 ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

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23The Wizard of ID ~ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 v6.73 ~

, by Parker & Hart

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


Slight Detour to Fort Worth

Monday, September 16th Monday started off with me dragging myself out of bed after only 3-hours of sleep. As usual, I was alone in the bedroom as Ruthie generally wakes up before I do and has gotten quite confident in transferring from the bed to her wheelchair and making her way around the house. So I was not surprised that she was not anywhere to be seen. As I stepped around the corner, I immediately saw that Ruth was sitting in the living room floor. Her back was to me and she was positioned between her wheelchair and the recliner. My immediate thought was that she had been in the recliner and probably needed to go to the bathroom and had to try to get back into her wheelchair...but somehow ended up on the floor. I rushed over to her and asked her if she was OK? No response. I knelt down beside her and could tell by looking at her that she was probably suffering from low blood sugar, so I quickly got her glucose meter and checked her sugar. As I waited for the machine to give me a reading, I asked her, “Is your sugar low?” She responded by nodding and barely said, “Yes.” But it wasn’t. According to the tester, her sugar was fine...something else was seriously wrong, but what? I asked her to look at me, and when she lifted her head up a little bit, I could see that her eyes were involuntarily twitching back and forth. I asked her if she could look at me again, but obviously she couldn’t get her eyes to focus on me. I guessed that she had experienced a seizure, and by the look of things, it was a pretty bad one --- or it had hit her at a really bad time as she was transferring from chair to chair and obviously had fallen down. I made the decision to call 9-1-1 and I reported to the dispatcher that I needed paramedics. As I waited for them to arrive, I got Ruthie a pillow and moved everything out of the way so she could lay down. I

covered her up in case she was in shocl and I laid there with her on the floor, talking to her and telling her that it was going to be alright until help arrived. The paramedics showed up and after evaluating her, they loaded her on a back brace board and secured her neck in case she had suffered an injury when she fell. They transported her to Eastland Memorial but it was decided to take advantage of the new chopper service and transport her to the nearest facility to receive a neurological evaluation for seizure and possibly a new stroke event. In this case, the facility chosen was Harris-Methodist in Fort Worth. Shortly after the helicopter took off, mom and I were on our way to Fort was running ahead of us and he arrived at the hospital a little before we did. By the time we tracked down her emergency room, her trauma nurse came in with Ruthie as they were bringing her back from a CT scan. First report indicated that there was no “new stroke” or “new damage” but her bloodwork indicated an extremely high level of potassium in her bloodstream. Her nurse barely got all this information out of her mouth when the nephrologist (kidney specialist) came in and took over. He had her transported to the dialysis floor where they could start emergency dialysis to remove the potassium which was causing her heart beat wildly out of control....if they could not get the potassium out of her blood in time, she could die from cardiac arrest. Everything I just described to you happened between 9:30am and 11:30am --- an emotional 2-hours if ever there was such a thing. If the course of those events had taken any other turn, or had I hesitated to make

the call to is very likely that Ruthie would not have survived the day. However....everything worked out in the end. Ruthie spent one week in Fort Worth, 5 days in the ICU and about 2-1/2 days on the dialysis floor. She was released after dialysis on Monday, September 23rd. Since coming home, she has had some pretty good days. So I hope that this potassium episode was a one-time thing. We are watching her diet a little more closely and really trying to take things a bit slower. Time will tell, but we count our blessings every day, regardless. October 1st will be 1-year since her heart attack...even one day at a time, this past year has flown by.

Donations may be made to: Farmers & Merchants Bank

Ruth Norris Benefit Fund

930 East Main Eastland, TX 76448 (254) 629-3282 Credit Card donations can be made online at: Follow Ruthie’s Progress online:

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Published by Mike W. Norris dba Wolverine Design ● PO Box 1156 ● Eastland, Texas 76448 ● September/October 2013 v6i73 September/October 2013 v6i73  

National News and Opinions mixed with Local Small Town History and Story Telling. Representing the small-town conservative viewpoint of what...