Columns/Opinions

Wed
17
Dec

The way yew pernounce words yew must be frum…

Texas’ regional accents are a source of fascination. Trying to study them is difficult, probably even for an English professor.
If you’ve read my missives more than occasionally, you know I love Texas, I love Texans and I love Texas lingo.
When encountering a different sound than one you hear every day, it pays to listen. If you can identify it and reveal that to the speaker, it will often amaze them.
It’s also a great door opener with a new acquaintance.
For purposes of this bit of examination, a couple of things need to be established.
First, I’m no expert.

 

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Wed
10
Dec

Tough guy attitude: ‘Ain’t gonna hurt none of me’

Being raised in a small town where most people didn’t have much, forced many to scrape and scramble to make a living.
Pride in supporting yourself and your family was a strong motivation for most folks I knew in my growing up years.
Standing on your own two feet was the mantra of that period I am inclined to describe as “hard-scrabble” times.
This promoted an attitude, from childhood on, of “Don’t mess with me.
“I’m the Lone Ranger and I can take care of me and Tonto.”
Perhaps that’s a poor example since Tonto often took care of the Lone Ranger, but I digress.
Withstanding pain was a

 

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Wed
03
Dec

‘We shoulda been halfway to town drinkin’ a Coca…’

“Will-a—, git yo a— down off that ladder. We shoulda been halfway to town drinking a Coca Cola.”— Squibb Geppert, electrician, circa 1951.
It was the nature and intent of some adults in my growing-up years to embarrass youngsters, particularly younger teen boys.
As a 15-year-old between my freshman and sophomore years in high school, I worked for an electrician in Teague by the name of Squibb Geppert.
He was sort of loud and boisterous and kept to the code of the day — embarrassing me.
Squibb wouldn’t have done it if he hadn’t liked me, and I knew that.
It didn’t slow down my

 

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Tue
25
Nov

‘Big time’ columnist pulled wool over my young eyes

Most of us are enamored of “celebrity.”
Even those of us in the hardened press corps find big names somewhat intriguing although, after a lengthy servitude, we tend to do so with a great many reservations.
In the early years of my newspapering life, when I began my “orbit” of the Houston metropolitan area as an editor-publisher of small town newspapers near there.
Of course, I managed to read “the metros” regularly, which I found helped me produce stories from big city events that held relevance for “the country papers.”
As I mentioned last week, one of many that I followed

 

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Wed
19
Nov

Stories of Houston’s 3-newspaper era pique memories

Since I spent more than half my 70-plus years in the Texas Gulf Coast area, in or near Houston, I maintain my readership in the Houston Chronicle.
My first two years of college were spent in Huntsville, less than two hours north of the metropolis, then the final two in Houston.
I worked there a couple of years before my rural raising sparked a yen to return to those climes.
Being drawn back to my country raising derailed my goal to be the world’s greatest sportswriter onto the rail line “local” or “doodlebug” trains through small towns and weekly papers.
All aboard for Teague, Rosenberg, Cleveland,

 

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Wed
12
Nov

How competitive are you? I want to trounce Ol’ Sol’!

There’s something about Americans. We’ve convinced ourselves that we’re The Best.
I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with that.
Over the nearly two and a half centuries since we kicked ol’ King George’s tail and turned “the colonies” into the U.S. of A., we’ve developed this winner’s mentality… “We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1!” “Knock that chip off my shoulder! I dare you!”
We saw to it that Good triumphed over Evil in WW’s I and II. Never mind Korea (a truce), Viet Nam (a debacle) and lesser aberrations.
Ol’ Abner Doubleday came up with a bat and ball, so baseball has

 

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Wed
05
Nov

Volunteer football officiating challenged my fairness

Once — JUST once — I was “volunteered” to officiate a junior high school football game.
Thank the good Lord I was spared that indignity ever again, but I couldn’t refuse that time.
The head coach of those Teague Junior High Lions was one Jack Meredith, my family’s next-door neighbor and absolutely one of the best guys I’ve ever known.
Jack went to Stanford University where he was a three-year starter at end.
He married a Teague girl (Norita Keils) and wound up coaching there in both the high school and the junior high. There are much

 

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Wed
29
Oct

Are there truly six people with whom you can be in love?

Somewhere I read that there are six people in your lifetime in this world that you can truly be in love with. Can that be true?
I’ve never professed to be an expert on women and I certainly would never begin to make decisions or predictions in their behalf.
And, I won’t make decisions in behalf of the male gender either, but being of the old-hairy-legged legions I make some assumptions and observations about our all too often blindly proud group.
So, “in love” has to, in simple terms, be someone about whom you have romantic notions.
Alright, down boys, I

 

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Wed
22
Oct

Membership in the ‘Old Coots’ is distinct honor for me

There are a number of advantages to growing older.
One, of course, is that you are indeed growing older.
And, as I always say: “Beats the heck out of the alternative.”
Another “advantage” to me is being a proud member of the Old Coots, but as a mere 70ish guy, I’m still a “fresh young whippersnapper” to the more seasoned of that erstwhile group.
One of the privileges, however, is particularly useful to those who pen a column: “That reminds me of the time…”
Not long ago, I was talking to Rebecca Toney Hutchinson about one of the newspapers she edits, The Gulf Coast Tribune in Needville, and that triggered that Old Coot handle in my mind.
Those Needville memories involve my days as a college student at then-Sam Houston State Teachers College in

 

Wed
15
Oct

Football sidelines, press boxes provide ‘adventures’

One of my columns on football press box conversations drew a lot of comments from editor-publishers before it ever hit their papers’ pages.
Community newspapers are often not large enough to have a “sports” editor or a staff photographer, so the job(s) become(s) a one-man-show.
Everyone has a story or two to tell about some adventures or misadventures, as it were.
In hearing some of the tales by my contemporaries, it prompted me to resurrect some past experiences in that vein.
Staffing on small newspapers often precludes having a true “professional” photographer.
Most weekly newspapers don’t have anyone whose job is strictly photography, so whoever is the designated editor-newshound-paparazzi gets to shoot sports, particularly football.
Of course, football is the Holy Grail in Texas small towns.
So, Bub, suck it up, hoist that camera bag over your shoulder, drape the 35-mm’s strap around your neck and hit the field.

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