Saturday, December 26, 2009

Family Reunion

Katrinka and Michael have rented a house in New Braunfels. Jamie is with them. They are holding open house today. Bob and Cindy are coming, and John and Nancy. Also Karen is coming, and perhaps Reagan and Katie. This is a rare event, a family reunion. Tomorrow we go to visit the

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Here it is, Christmas Eve, and the sun is shining. I remember when I was 5 years old and we moved to California, and I worried because our house did not have a fireplace, much less a chimney. Daddy told me he would leave the back door unlocked. There has been a strong cold wind here today, but now it has died down, thank goodness. Nancy is coming tomorrow to cook a turkey, AND i HAVE MADE A FRUIT SALAD. tRINKA, MIKE AND jAMIE WILL BE HERE ABOUT 8 pm. sATURDAY WE WILL HAVE AN OPEN HOUSE.

Monday, December 21, 2009


The sun is shining and this promises to be a beautiful day. Up North, around the Great Lakes, there is a blizzard and it extends to the Atlantic Ocean. We hope that Trinka, Mike and Jamie can excape by air as they are coming to Austin for Christmas. They will find the weather much better here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Music

I am off to the chapel to hear Christmas Music. This is the time of year when one hears the traditional songs. I can remember when we had limited choir at the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Friendswood. Even so, the Christmas music was inspiring.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Nancy called and wants to sell our two diamond rings which are on deposit. I told her to go for it. She has talked to Trinka. It seems unnecessary to keep paying the bank. She and I will go Christmas shopping Sunday. Love, Daddy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

snow forecast

A little bit of snow is forecast, followed by a freeze. Yes, winter is here in the Hill Country. Even the deer are taking cover in the woods. Some of us are going to a Democratic Party gathering tonight. I am one of those who has warm clothes to wear. I see people scurrying about, trying to keep warm.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Weather Report

Cold weather has finally arrived. The forecast is for all week. Fortunately I have some winter clothes to wear. This is the holiday season. I am looking forward to celebrating Christmas with family members. Love to all, John.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Looking forward to Christmas

Jamie, our grandson, has been overseas for two years. We are looking forward to seeing him at Christmas time. He will come with his parents, Michael and Katrinka. Nancy will join us from Austin. We also will visit with Arnold and Dorothy Snygg and Cathy and her husband. We will be joined by Bob and Cindy Peterman and Karen and Jack. All in all it will be a family Christmas. Verna will join us on New Year's Day. Love, John.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Verna invited a group of us to Austin for Thanksgiving Dinner. Nancy went with me and when we got there Karen and her son Jack were there, and Tania and her daughter. It was a magnificent feast. After it was over I realized that Verna had not eaten any turkey. I asked her about it and she said that she had become a vegetarian. Then I realized that she had cooked the turkey only for us meat eaters. Think about it! She cooked a big meal for us meat eaters.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Santa Elena Canyon

Touring the Big Bend Park is mind blowing, but there is one part of it that is truly unique. That is Santa Elena Canyon. This canyon is a narrow rift between two towering cliffs and is eight miles long. It is 1300 feet deep and still getting deeper. The first group to go through this canyon in a boat was a special expedition in 1875. Several people have died since then while attempting to navigate this narrow canyon. We went down and looked at the entrance, but decided against trying to navigate it. The Rio Grande runs thru this canyon from west to east. This does not keep the river from flowing to the Atlantic. This canyon is thousands of years old.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back Home

This is Monday night and we just got back from Big Bend. Bob and Cindy Peterman, O.L. Peterman from Maryland and myself. We went on a Star trek at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis and then went into the Big Bend Park. The chili cookoff in Terlingua was over. I will report on the Observatory and then on the Big Bend. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fort Davis

We are off to Fort Davis. The main objective is to visit the McDonald Observatory. They now have four telescopes you can look through. The night tour will accomodate about 12 people at a time. Jupiter still has one volcano that is erupting. You will also be able to see a landscape of Mars and a closeup of our moon. After that we will tour the Big Bend Park, stopping en route to sample some of the chili at the cookoff in Terlingua.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Across the Trinity River

Another time when I was horseback I went on a fox hunt. We were hard pressed to keep up with the dogs who were hot in pursuit of a fox. Then we came to the Trinity River. The dogs ran up and down the bank, baying. It was obvious the fox had swam across the river. So I plunged in and swam my horse across the Trinity, but first I took off my boots and hung them around my neck. The dogs followed. But the fox had gained enough time to reach his nest. The dogs circled around an opening in the forest but it was too small for them to enter. The fox escaped to run another day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


During my horseback tour of Southeast Texas I went to the Sidewalk Cattlemen's annual meeting at Madisonville. To provoke the cattlemen I rode with an English saddle and wore knee britches, a derby, and a jersey. Sure enough the cattlemen threw me in a horse trough. After that we all got a plate of barbecue and ate.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Downtown Parade

We rolled into Memorial Park in Houston and spent the night. Early the next morning the Salt Grass Trail riders began to saddle up and get ready for the big downtown parade. I was attached to the Port City wagon which included Vernon Frost Jr. and John Mecom Jr. As we moved through the middle of Houston I was right behind the chuck wagon on the Port City covered wagon. I looked up and saw a chilling sight. A young woman on the sixth floor of one of the downtown office building was getting ready to throw a large wreath right on top of me. I got a firm grip on my horse's reins and moved close to the wagon. The wreath landed right on top of us and my horse bolted. I looked to the right and there were children on the sidewalk enjoying the parade. I looked to the left and there was a mass of people on the other sidewalk. I did not want to trample anyone. And so, I gripped my reins firmly and headed my horse straight for the chuck wagon. The impact knocked my mount to his knees and I stepped off and grabbed his head. John Mecom jumped out of the wagon with a rope in his hand. We tied the rope around the horse's head and jumped in the wagon. At first we had to drag him, but then he began to trot along behind. As we moved down the street the chuck wagon door broke open and pots and pans began to fall into the street. Babe, the Port City cook, ran along behind the wagon, picking up pots and pan and cursing. At the end of the parade we went down a quiet thoroughfare and made it to the Port City Stockyards, about six miles away. My horse continued to trot along behind. The crisis was over.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

John Moore's column

While I was working for the Houston Post I wrote a territorial column. I visited the towns and cities in 50 counties of Southeast Texas. It was during this time that I helped create the Salt Grass Trail. Reese Lockett of Brenham was chosen to be the boss of this trail, which originated in Brenham and arrived in Houston to open the annual Fat Stock and Livestock Show. I rode horseback on this trail ride for six years. We started out with a handful of riders and one wagon, this was the LH7 covered wagon furnished by E. H. Marks of Barker. Within three years we grew to more than 2,000 riders and 65 wagons and we jammed some of the highways. At that point we had to post some rules, such as only so many riders to a wagon. After it was organized it was not as much fun, but it had to be controlled.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I have always loved horses. Some people like cats and others like dogs but horses are my thing. When I was younger and living on my ranch I once raised a horse from a colt to a mature mount. This horse would follow me around like a dog. Sometimes I would get on top of this horse and ride around without a saddle. I would use a rope halter, no bits. Then the war came along and I sold out, including this horse. It almost broke my heart. After the war I bought a horse for every member of the family, including my wife and each of my daughters.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Growth of San Antonio

While I was working at the Institute of Texan Cultures I watched the Hilton Hotel del Rio being built. It was built by H.B. Zachary, an early developer, who then sold it to the Hilton chain. Being of a generation which drove nails and cemented bricks from the ground up, I was amazed at the new construction techniques. First they assembled an entire floor on ground level. Then they raised it to the heighth required and put it into place. This saved a lot of time and money. In order to develop the area along the river for Hemisphere the power structure of San Antonio condemned a large tract of land which was basically a slum. They also moved the Coca Cola plant. When they drilled a shaft in the old Coca Cola building they struck water. It made me wonder why the Coca Cola people hadn"t taken advantage of this location to water down their original formula.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

San Antonio River Walk

I would start my day at the Institute of Texan Cultures by going down to the River Walk. Early in the morning you would encounter doctors, lawyers, and professional men wearing a suit of clothes on their way to their offices. I would walk down one side and come back on the other. Then I would stop at a nearby restaurant and have breakfast. After that I would go to my office and see what was in store for me. It was a great way to start your day.

Monday, October 19, 2009


While I was working at the Institute ofTexan Cultures under the supervision of Henderson Shuffler he called me in and told me to take a Roman Catholic nun from the nearby convent to lunch. "By the way, take George Washington with you," he said. We went to the Driskill Hotel dining room, one white man and one black man, and we met the mother superior, who was large and overweight) and one of the sisters, who was much younger. At the front desk we ran into some confusion as the host tried to separate is. It is unusual for the dining room to serve such a mixed group. The nuns were wearing black gowns, of course. When we ordered the mother superior ordered a large meal. Henderson had given me some money but it was not enough but fortunately I had enough in my own wallet to take care of the bill. It turned out that George's wife, Emma Lois, had attended the convent. George and I were Episcopalians but Emma Lois had once been catholic. The mother superior had contacted Emma Lois who had referred her to the Institute, and Henderson Shuffler had assigned us to talk to them. They wanted to be sure that we were not going to offend the Roman Catholic church and I assured them that we were not.

Friday, October 16, 2009


One of our readers wrote that I need to recall a happening that was publicized here a long time ago. This involved a time when I was working for the Institute of Texan Cultures at Hemisphere. The governor had been involved with some hustlers in California and now he had turned the program over to Henderson Shuffler and his staff. We were getting ready for Hemisphere and then one of the California hustlers notified us that he was coming to investigate us. I took fellow associate George Washington out to lunch and we discussed the problem. We went down to a department store and purchased a large knitting needle and then we bought a boy toy, a model which looked like our future visitor. We went back to the office and laid out the model on the table and stuck the needle in his leg. George mumbled some African mumbo jumbo. Well, the California hustler was driving down a boulevard in Los Angeles, a little too fast, and he turned over and broke his leg. This was the same day. About a week later this character showed up at our office in a wheel chair. The model was still in plain sight. When he saw it he screamed and left to return to L.A. I do not believe in voodoo, but this character did.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Bob and Cindy Peterman, who run Star Awards, are being audited by the State of Texas. This is their first audit. They have kept books, but their methods are not the same as the state. They have not made a lot of money but the state insists on auditing them. There should be a limit to these audits.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Flu Shots

I went over to the chapel early to get my flu shot. There were a lot of people there, some on crutches and some in wheel chairs. The nurse who stabbed me did not hurt a bit. She said she had experienced a lot of shots.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Midnight Vigil

Last night I got up to go to the bathroom about midnight. I looked out the window and there was a fat doe deer eating grass in the back yard. The drouth appears to be over. This morning I said hello to Dorothy, my next door neighbor, who was sitting on her front porch. She is handicapped. We will all line up for flu shots tomorrow. The weather is cool, which suits me fine. It rained yesterday which also suits me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Weather

At last the weather is great. It is cooler, sunshiny and we have had enough rain. It has been two years since one could say that. Forecast is for more rain. I say let it rain every day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Flu Shots

Everyone in Eden Home and Eden Village will receive the flu vaccine on Oct. 13. This is the regular flu vaccine and ignores Swine Flu. Those who want a Swine Flu shot will have to go elsewhere. Meanwhile the Swine Flu vaccine is not yet available here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Weather Report

The creeks are flowing and it is cooler. Joy! Joy! The forecast is for more rain this week. John.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rain at last

We received more than 5 inches of rain over the week end. I was due at Bob and Cindy's for dinner and I had to take the long way around. Barricades were put up at several roads. People were rescued from their cars. Dry creek beds are flowing. The drouth is all but ended. More rain is forecast. So far as I am concerned it can rain every day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Deer Recovering

Last night, just about dark, I almost ran over about six deer. The rain has freshened up the grass and they looked good. WHAT WE NEED IS MORE RAIN. LOVE, JOHN.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I have been having weird dreams. Some of them date back to my school days. Others date back to War experiences. When I wake up I have trouble going back to sleep. Alas! People talk to me in my dreams. And all this time I have the feeling that my wife, Marie, who died two years ago, is in the next bed. Then I wake up and she is not there. Is this commonplace? Likely this is commonplace, but I wish it would go away. The war dreams are vivid.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Some people like cats and others like dogs. I am one of those who likes horses. I had my first horse when I was 6 years old. Back in my ranch days I had a horse who followed me around. After the war I managed to buy 15 acres and I bought four horses, one for each of us, Marie, Nancy, Trinka and myself. At that time I had a buckskin gelding who was about 15 hands tall. I not only rode him around the property but I rode him on the Salt Grass Trail. This is the first time in many years when I have not had a horse. I can go down the road and see a horse grazing in the pasture next to the road. I will pull over and say hello to him. We had a cavalry during World War I, but World War II became mechanized thanks to the Germans. General Rommel crossed North Africa with tanks and trucks, no horses.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall is here at last

Fall arrived and not a moment too soon. It has been a long hot and dry summer. The drouth is not over yet but it is greatly diminished. We have had enough rain to help. Now the only thing we have to fear is flu. The Peterman family has had flu raging thru the entire group. I have missed the flu so far because I have not been in circulation. Now with a bit of luck I will get my flu shot next week.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Please Forgive Me

Contributions to this blog were suspended and I am sorry. I deeply apologize. I have not been feeling well. Now that I am better I will try to be more regular with my contributions. Since this is Sunday, my blogs will resume Monday. The good news is that we got a lot of rain, the deer are surviving and the weather is cooler. Love, John.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It looks like rain

All morning long this Friday it was overcast and looked like rain, but so far nothing has happened. I guess we are being teased. I heard from Cousin Laura in Missouri and she said they have received lots of rain. I know that excessive amounts of rain will bring a flood, but I am willing to risk it. Of course I am on high ground. Lots of rain would make the grass grow and the deer would get fat. I refuse to believe that this drouth is permanent.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dental Visit

I went to the dentist today. It was painful. I am unable to blog. Maybe tomorrow. John.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


A woman reported in the Eden Villager newspaper that she had trapped five raccoons. However, she captured them in a device which merely contains them, and she plans to release them to a location as far away as possible. I like raccoons, but many people living here do not like them because they eat their plants and molest their pets. Meanwhile, the deer still come up in the back yard but they are thin. We had two rains last week but not much moisture. The grass is not growing. The drouth is still with us.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Goodbye to the Chicken Ranch

The time has come to say goodbye to the Chicken Ranch. Texas A&M has become coeducational. The Chicken Ranch has long been closed. I drove by it not long ago. It has been boarded up for a long time now and is weatherbeaten. It looks like a lot of other abandoned farm houses. In a way, it is sad. The girls who worked there had escaped from a life elsewhere which did not agree with them. Not a one of the girls who worked there was originally from LaGrange. So long to the Chicken Ranch. It existed in a time which is long gone (except for Las Vegas).

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Marie and I were in New York so we went to see "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" on Broadway. It was a good play, not entirely accurate, but amusing. The scene I liked best was when the Texas A&M football team won a game and a wealthy alumni showed up to congratulate them. They were seated on board seats in the locker room, still wearing their uniforms and cleats. This fat cat told them he had a bus outside and as a reward was going to take them to the Chicken Ranch. The choreography was marvelous. With flashing lights, the Aggies shed their cleats and put on street clothes and ran out to board the bus in minutes. I understand there is a movie but I have not seen it. I know that Miss Jessie is in a rest home in Austin and that Sheriff Loessin is dead and the new sheriff is named Flournoy. All this is taking place after the Chicken Ranch was closed, and after A&M became coeducational. As the saying goes, don't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Marvin Zindler and the Chicken Ranch

The next thing you know, Marvin Zindler popped up. Marvin was trying to build a rep. He wrote for a newspaper and appeared on television. He also wore a large wig. Marvin showed up at the Chicken Ranch with a camera. Things had changed. Miss Jessie was in a rest home in Austin. Sheriff Loessin had died and the new sheriff was named Flournoy. Marvin confronted Sheriff Flournoy in downtown LaGrange. The sheriff jerked off his wig and stomped on it and told Marvin to get out of town. What Marvin did was to go to Austin and complain to the governor. At that time the governor was Dolph Briscoe, who did not like to rock the boat, but under this much pressure he called the sheriff and told him to close the whorehouse. The girls packed their bags and left. Marvin went on the air with his slogan, "Marvin Zindler, Eyewitness News." You would have thought that was the end of it, but that was just the beginning. An Austin writer wrote a magazine story entitled "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." This soon was expanded to a play which appeared on Broadway in New York. And after that was a movie.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Reese Lockett and the Chicken Ranch.

Reese Lockett called me and said to meet him in Brenham about 4 AM. I said I would be there. I was writing a roving column for The Houston Post and had a lot of leeway. Lockett was mayor of Brenham and boss of the Salt Grass Trail. My columns about the trail had pushed us ahead of the Houston Chronicle. He also called Buddy Fisher, his and my insurance agent, and told him to be ready at 5 AM. Buddy said "Yessuh Mr. Lockett." We all got in Buddy's car and drove to Port Lavaca where Reese addressed the trail riders there. They were not riding to Houston, they were riding to San Antonio. Reese had become will known across Texas. Buddy was sulking because he did not like being ordered around. On the way back he suggested we stop at the Chicken Ranch. Reese did not want to stop but Buddy kept arguing with him so Reese finally agreed "as long as we do not stay too long." We pulled up to the Chicken Ranch, a weatherbeaten farm house, and got out and went in. Buddy went up and introduced himself to Miss Jessie, the madam, and I reminded her that I had met her before. Lockett gave a false name. It was sort of ridiculous for him to do so as he had been on television and was well known. Buddy offered to buy a drink and pretty soon about five young women wearing shorts joined us. When Buddy went to pay Miss Jessie he whispered to her that the other man was Reese Lockett. Miss Jessie stood up in front of Reese and said: "You are Reese Lockett." Reese stood up and took off his big hat and said: "Yes, Miss Jessie, but I have to be careful because I am in public life now." Miss Jessie snorted and said: "You know we would never talk about you Reese." Then she said: "Milly is still here." She turned to one of the girls and told her to summon Milly. Well, Milly had gotten too old to hustle, she was in her late 50s, and she was the towel girl. The towel girl delivers a towel to one of the girls when they have a customer. Milly was wearing a house dress, she was gray haired and had a large hearing aid. She came into the room with a bunch of towels on her arm. Miss Jessie pointed at Reese and said: "Look who's here." Milly screamed "Reeeese" and threw down the towels and ran over and hugged and kissed him. The room became extremely quiet. Reese shoved Milly away, said to Buddy "We have got to go" and strode out the door. Buddy knew when he had made his point and he thanked Miss Jessie for her hospitality and I told her it was nice to see her and he and I went out and got in the car. Reese was already sprawled out on the back seat with his hat over his face. It was about 60 miles to Brenham and no one said a word during the trip home.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Chicken Ranch

There has been a lot of publicity about the Chicken Ranch, the country whorehouse at LaGrange, including a magazine article, a play and a movie. It was the favorite destination of students from Texas A&M when the college was all male. I first visited the Chicken Ranch a number of years ago when a murder trial was transferred from Houston to LaGrange by a district judge. The sheriff was Will Loessin, a popular man who served as sheriff for 20 years. During a recess in the trial, the jurors appeared to be divided. The sheriff called us together -- six journalists from the major newspapers of Texas -- and told us he was going to take us on a tour of the area. The tour was a visit to the Chicken Ranch. Those of us who made the trip included Margaret Mayer of the Austin American, Dawson Duncan of the Dallas Morning News, myself and several others. We were introduced to Miss Jessie, the madam of the whorehouse, who told us her life story. Shehad started out hustling in the oil boom at Longview, where she was robbed and beaten. She had been madam at the Chicken Ranch for a long time. The sheriff bought us a round of drinks while she told her story, and about five young women, wearing shorts, joined our group. In the beginning, during the Depression, money was scarce, and the farmers brought several chickens to pay for their visit. That is where the name Chicken Ranch came from.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How about a travelogue?

Lets look at New Braunfels, Austin and San Antonio.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Had some problems, particularly with the Internet, and so I enlisted the help of Jim Flournoy, the local expert. Jim seems to have cleared up the problem. This morning I was ready to give up, the computer was talking back to me. It appears to be working fine at the moment. My daughter, Nancy, will be down on Sunday, and I would like to confer with her on the internet on Saturday. It is more convenient than the telephone.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dinner Meeting

We had a dinner meeting during which a film was shown featuring a Caribbean cruise. It was an interesting show but I am not interested in a cruise ship. If I were going to the Caribbean I would prefer to fly to a specify location.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

San Antonio

I have been out of town. We went to San Antonio on business. When we got off Highway 35 we fell into a trap. The whole area was under contruction. We wandered around and came back and started over. Finally we got where we were going. My advice is to stay out of San Antonio until construction is over, but that may be impossible. The city is growing so fast that construction probably will last for years.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Drouth News

There are at least three ways to spell drouth, but any way you spell it, it is bad news. It rained in Austin yesterday but not here. We are hot and dry. Some people say it is because we do not go to church often enough. I say humbug, because the churches are full here. No, it has to do with the geology of the area. However, when it DOES rain, we probably will have a flood. Since I am living on top of a hill I am willing to risk that.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Dental Work

I am still recovering from treatment at the dentist. This is painful but necessary. During this time I am playing chess on the computer. Bob installed the chess game and it is provoking. When I am feeling better I will play Bob in person. Meanwhile Bob and Cindy are in New Mexico with her parents, Bill and Polly. They are going to be in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. In some ways I wish I was with them. I like New Mexico.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Bob and I are playing chess. I am a bit rusty. It can be played on a checkerboard but is not anything like checkers. I once played the West Coast champion. He beat me. I played chess when I was in grade school and in high school. I played against some of my professors. During the war I played against some of the East Coast soldiers. Chess is an ancient game. It has a king, a queen, two bishops, a castle called a rook, a knight with the head of a horse and a lot of pawns, the foot soldiers. The only thing about chess is that it takes time to play a game.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Way out West

Daughter Nancy is out in West Texas at Fort Davis. It reminds me of a time when my friend, J.E. Carroll and I were on the Rio Grande south of Sierra Blanca about 50 miles east of El Paso. We spent a lot of time turning over rocks, looking for the pistol that Shorty Mexican had buried when he cross the river many years ago. Shorty Mexican, whose real name was Roberto Zubia Sr., worked for my father in Big Lake, the county seat of Reagan County. He told us that he buried the pistol when he came to Texas for fear of being arrested. He was a member of the revolutionary army under Diego Rivera. When Diego was killed he fled Mexico and ended up in Big Lake. Diego was known as Pancho Villa, and once ruled most of Northern Mexico. Those were interesting and turbulent days in Mexico.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Electric Cars

President Obama is advocating the manufacture of electric powered automobiles. This would suit me fine. Imagine not having to pay for gasoline. At this time you would have to have a recharge facility. Just remember to plug in before you go to bed. Other complaints are that these cars do not go fast enough. Bah humbug! We would cut down on traffic fatalities. Those who want speed could go to the automobile races. As time went by, these vehicles could be greatly improved.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Braunfels

People ask me about New Braunfels. This is a charming community, although it is still growing. Some of the houses are masterpieces of a by-gone era. The city of Gruene, which is now part of New Braunfels, is filled with old fashioned stores. When Gruene was established, it was thought that this would be a cotton growing center but it did not work out that way. Now the cotton gin is a restaurant. In the summertime New Braunfels is filled with tourists, mostly young, who are going to ride an inflated tube in the Guadalupe River. The river is low but the tube riders keep coming. New Braunfels is located about halfway between San Antonio and Austin on Highway 35. You have a choice, go to San Antonio to see a ball game or go to Austin to see the Legislature.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I went to the dentist today. Help! The young woman who worked on me was strong and diligent. I came home completely exhausted. My advice to anyone thinking about going to the dentist is this: Have another drink and forget the dentist. !!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Drouths and Floods

I remember a time during the l950s when the Rio Grande dried up. I walked out in the middle of it and took a picture. About two weeks later it started to rain and the Rio Grande was at flood stage. I hired a crop dusting plane and flew over it for contrast pictures. We ran a full page of contrast photographs in the Houston Post. And so my message is have faith. Perhaps we will be at flood stage in a few days.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rain at last!

Yesterday a group in New Braunfels held a public service praying for rain. Their prayers were answered, although the rain was only a fraction. What we need is at least two weeks of rain. The drouth is the worst in 50 years.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Night Vistas

Last night about midnight I awoke to a noise and opened the front door. There were the same three deer again, two does and a buck, eating the grass in the front yard. It is pleasant having them as visitors although some of my neighbors resent the deer eating their flowers. This morning I am getting ready to go to Bob and Cindy's house. The occasion is Bob's 75th birthday. Yes, Bob is 75 and I am 90. The sky is overcast but there is no prospect of rain. Nor is there any prospect of rain in the future. This is the worst drouth in 50 years. Trinka is at their place in Pennsylvania. She says it rains every day. Beavers are daming up the lake in front of her house. Do they know something we need to know? Old timers say that once it starts to rain we will get a flood. Since I am living on top of a hill I am willing to risk it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Magnolia Trees

There are two large Magnolia trees in my front yard. They are 40 feet tall. The problem is that they shade the yard and the grass does not grow. Also during this dry spell they shed some of their leaves which adds to the diminishing grass. What would I give up if I had a choice: the trees or the grass? I am sorry to say that I would give up the grass. The Magnolia is a beautiful tree. It takes a long time for one of these trees to reach the size of these.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back in Business

To my faithful readers, sorry for the interruption. Nancy came and fixed my computer. Last night there were three deer in my back yard -- two does and a buck. Call them survivors. And call me a survivor. This morning I read in the Express News that dust from Africa was causing our drouth. It underlines the fact that our planet (Earth) is really closely aligned. What can we do about it? Here in South Texas we can stop using so much water. I bet we can cut our water usage by about two thirds if we put our mind to it. John.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

George Burns and Gracie

Once upon a time there was a radio show featuring George Burns and Gracie. After a while it dawned on me that George was the straight man and Gracie was the star of the show. Now I am going to a program where someone will read from a memoir which Burns has written about hisformer associate Gracie. I takes a lot of work to produce a successful comedy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

More Drouth News

This morning Forrest Mims, a columnist for the San Antonio Express News, said that this was the worst drouth in this area in 45 years. He also reminded his readers that the Guadalupe River was prone to flooding at times as well as responding to a drouth. And so, instead of moderation, we can expect to go from dry to wet. Given a choice, I would choose wet. Once upon a time during a war I was stationed in the San Francisco area. That is the climate I would choose, day after day and year after year. Of course one sometimes experiences an earthquake in that area. So far we have not had any earthquakes here. Along the Mediterranean the climate is nice. I was stationed on both sides of the Mediterranean during that Old War. The Gulf Coast of Texas has a lot of good weather, and the island nations in the Gulf enjoy good climate. But that area is vulnerable to hurricanes. What I am saying is that there is no perfect climate in these United States. But the changes give us something to talk about.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rain at last

It rained about one inch yesterday here in New Braunfels. Although we are still in a drouth, it was a welcome respite. We have gone through many months without rainfall. We all hope that this is a change in the weather that will continue.

Friday, July 3, 2009

July Fourth

I am willing to go to the park and hear patriotic songs and celebrate our nation's independence, but I am opposed to fireworks. It is much to dry for fireworks, at least here in New Braunfels. The temperature is about 110 degrees and it is dry and dusty. A fire could spread quickly and cause a lot of damage. The fireworks vendors are crying foul and want to sell their fireworks everywhere. Tough shit! Let them sell flags instead.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Braunfels is Cursed

I heard from both my daughters. The one in Pennsylvania complaining about too much rain, and the one in Austin bragging about a great rain. New Braunfels is still dry as a bone. What is the cause of this? Where have we failed? Alas and alack, we have failed somewhere.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


The local greeting is "Are you hot enough." It has reached 110 this week. My daughter who is enjoying a few days in Pennsylvania complains that it rains every day. It has not rained every day here and in fact it has not rained at all. The Guadalupe River is low. A report today said that Comal Springs might go dry. Help!

Monday, June 29, 2009


Now we have a record dry spell, called a drouth, with no rain forecast and high temperatures of l00 degrees, even 105. The lawns are becoming brown and watering restrictions are in force. I do not see any relief for a while. What can I say? Not much. Elsewhkere in the United States there are reports of excessive rain. Alas! It would be nice to share. I am surviving by staying indoors during the heat of the day, but the deer are dying.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Democrat Party

The Democrats of Comal County will hold a gathering Friday night at the home of Bob and Cindy Peterman in New Braunfels. Saturday there will be an auction of various items contributed to the party, also at the Peterman address. The items range from personal to corporate, from ties to stoves, from clothing to furniture. They have filled the Peterman garage. The Democrats of Comal County have grown from a handful of members to a force. Comal has been considered Republican for a long time but now the Democrats are dividing the county to the extent that it is a close race.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tornadoes in Missouri

Heard from my Cousin Laura in Missouri. They have been having rain and hail and yes, tornadoes. One such twister passed in the edge of her town and destroyed a house. Laura said there have been tornadoes all around in Missouri. Much as I would like rain I do not really want any tornadoes. Laura says every house in her neighborhood had either a storm cellar or a basement. I guess I prefer drouth to twisters, although it is a touch choice.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Comal River

The shortest river in Texas is the Comal. It is spring fed and flows from a hillside into the Guadalupe River. It makes a bend in the middle of Landa Park. So far it has not gone dry, thank goodness. On these summer afternoons one will find large families having a barbecue in the middle of the park. Usually the children are wearing bathing suits and are splashing in the river near the barbecue site. One can understand why the early settlers chose this site for development. It is one of the most beautiful spots in Texas.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Father's Day

Father's Day is coming up. I have never been excited about Father's Day. Now I am excited about Mother's Day. Fathers come and go but mothers have to clothe and educate the youngsters. I hope that I have been a good father, but I think that a good mother is superior to a father. That being said, I am fortunate in that my two daughters have respected me and have always been helpful. My older daughter is taking me to dinner on Father's Day. The daughter in New York has called me to offer best wishes. It is heartwarming to have two daughters who try to be good to the old man.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

family visit

Went by Bob and Cindy Peterman's house here in New Braunfels and picked up the newspapers out of the front yard. I also emptied the mail box. They are in Amarillo visiting her parents. They run the Trophy Shop here in the city. There are many types of trophies which can be ordered, such as for a sporting event, and they turn them out. They will be home today. It is a long drive to Amarillo.

Monday, June 15, 2009

San Antonio Visit

Off to San Antonio to visit with Bob Richter, associate editor of the San Antonio Express News. We had a good visit and Bob said he would get in touch with Charles Kilpatrick, former editor of the Express News and maybe we could all get together. I first knew Charles in the Houston area before he went to San Antonio. His niece married Steve Weaver, who was once a newspaper reporter. Steve went on to law school. Charles was editor of the Express News when it was purchased by Murdoch. Charles said being an editor for Murdoch was a dream job. Only two or three things were compulsory and everything else was up to Charles. Of course, Charles long since retired, and Murdoch sold the Express News to the Hearst Corporation. There have been a lot of changes in thie newspaper world since then.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Remember that old song from Porgy and Bess, "Summertime?" The refrain went "summertime and the living is easy..." Well, maybe we are moving a bit slower, but I do not find the living to be easier. In this area we are in a drouth and the sun beats down on us unmercifully. If you do not wear a hat you will be blistered. It makes it easier to put things off until later. The only thing I can recommend is the ole swimming hole. The quicker summer is over, the better.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


You have heard that old expression, "It's not the heat it's the humidity." Well, I used to snigger about that but not any more. It is indeed the humidity. Add humidity to the heat index and you get the intolerable conditions we are experiencing. Not only are we in a douth but no rain is forecast. However, there is enough cloud cover to provide humidity. How long will this last? It already has lasted too long.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We are having a record drouth in South Texas. The deer are getting thin and I fear that some of them may die. This is an area where the deer wander through subdivisions and sometimes eat the flowers. Although that is not popular, the deer are protected. But that protection does not extend to a drouth. I sit on my back porch at night and watch the deer come in. They are pretty tame. I guess this is the law of supply and demand.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Gruene

One of the major attractions in Gruene is Gruene Hall, a longtime music center where major bands often play and patrons dance. The floor is a bit warped. This hall will seat several hundred people at a time. It is a family place. Many well known musicians have played here over the years. Gruene Hall is surrounded by stores, many of them antique shops, which offer a variety of goods. There also are restaurants. One of the most popular restaurants is the Grist Mill, which is in a former factory building which has been remodeled. Gruene was formed as an agricultural center, but this soon proved to be unprofitable. However, the stores have survived and even thrived.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Boom in Gruene

Not just new houses but new apartment buildings are springing up in Gruene, the former tourist beat of New Braunfels. Also, factories and warehouses. However, the tourist trade is still going on. During a weekend, the sheriffs" department deploys a deputy sheriff at the main intersection to regulate traffic. There are many shops displaying goods, clothes and accessories, household items and novelties. Gruene Hall, the music center, features at least one out of town band on a weekend. The restaurants attract many visitors. There is no end to this.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Interest Rates

Interest rates are terribly low. Some experts say we have hit bottom. At any rate, it would be nice to have a decent interest rate. I am not calling for inflation, just an adjustment. Former Vice President Cheney is sounding off again. I would like to punch him in the mouth. He represents everything I am against. I hate to say it but a few more bank failures might be good for the economy. Do I sound gloomy. Yes, I do.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Natural Gas Drilling

Big news today. The Democrats in the House of Representatives are fighting the current drilling by the oil companies. They are drilling for natural gas in a process known as fracturing. The problem is that the process damages the water table. Water is a precious commodity and a major problem in half the United States. The oil companies have had their way for many years. It is time for strong regulation. If we run out of water we will be in a serious condition. Take the Edwards Acquifer, for example. This water supply serves much of South Texas. If it is destroyed we will have a new desert. The lack of rain is a worrisome matter. One cannot rely on the Texas Legislature to protect us. The Legislature has seldom done anything worthwhile in years. Unfortunately, citizens do not get upset until too late.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


This is the worst dry spell we have had in years. The drouth is one reason the deer are restless, they need water to drink. What we need is a week of sustained rain. Water restrictions call for using water in the yard only once a week. This is not enough to save a garden. Ad to this the smoke coming from the fires in Mexico. Most of them are set by farmers who are clearing their land for a new planting.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Listen to the Mockingbird

I have a mockingbird in my back yard. He is a noisy little devil. I suspect he has a nest nearby. There are at least six different specie in the back yard. There are a lot of cats, some of them wild, but no dogs. A few people keep dogs inside their apartments. We need rain, lots of rain. Deer wander thru this subdivision, mostly at sundown but sometimes all night. This is basically a quiet neighborhood. One thing we do not have is speeding automobiles. Those who drive here hold their speed to a minimum. Love, Daddy.

Friday, May 22, 2009


New Braunfels and vicinity is filled with wildlife: deer, raccoons, squirrels, snakes, skunks, and teenagers. Most of the deer who wander across the area are does and fawns. They are in search of drinking water as it is dry around here. They invade residents' gardens and lawns. The raccoons generally show up after dark. The squirrels are in the trees. The temperature is in the 90s and approaching 100. I would like to give my address: 3A Eden Drive in Eden Village, 631 Lakeview Blvd., New Braunfels, TX, 78130. My telephone number is 830-629- 9016. Now that I moved I will resume my reports on local problems, national affairs and World events. When I read the morning paper I find that there is violence nearly everywhere. Mankind cannot accept peace and unity, and the acceptance of a different point of view. I am an Episcopalian. The church here in New Braunfels has entered into a fight with the national group. Along with Rev. Joe Turner, a retired minister, I am attending Presbyterian services in the area near Landa Park.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


A vital part of New Braunfels is called Gruene, and it seems to be a tourist center without parallel. One needs to drive carefully in Gruene for fear of running over a tourist. There are old tourists, young tourists, family tourists and a few local visitors. Some of the younger girl tourists wear shorts so skimpy that you would not believe it. This time of year even middleaged men wear shorts. There are several attractions. One of the major attractions is Gruene Hall, which is showing signs of age. On a weekend with a well known band performing it is almost impossible to find a place to sit inside Gruene Hall. Then there are several good restaurants, of which the Grist Mill appears to be the most popular. It is located on the river, and the interior has been remodeled. On a weekend you may have to wait to be seated. Last but not least are the stores. Some of them are antique outlets. It is possible to spend a lot of time in Gruene, and even a lot of money. It is a tourist center de luxe.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Different World

New Braunfels reminds me of Brenham, where I once was acquainted. Eden Village is close to the culture of Brenham. I attended a meeting of about 30 residents today. We were entertained by an ommpah band. I know that New Braunfels is growing, but the growth does not affect Eden Village, which is growing but at a more conservative pace. The only problem I can single out is the possibility that we will run out of water. This is because San Antonio is being greedy. This is a good time for water conservation but the people who are running San Antonio want to get bigger and bigger. Alas, I no longer have a newspaper so my voice will not be heard. I can only hope that we have some excessive rain within the next few weeks.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eden Village

I have now moved into Eden Village, which is a historic site in New Braunfels. I have a back porch where I can watch the deer eat my neighbors flowers. I also can watch the raccoons and other wild life. There are a lot of trees and flowers and this is a beautiful place. This started out as a rest home, which is still here, but apartments have been constructed for those of us who can manage our affairs. I have a mockingbird which must have a nest near here. This bird fights with the cats and squirrels. This is a quiet neighborhood. To the south is San Antonio, which is noisiy, and Austin which is growing larger.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I am busy packing to move. Within thirty days I will be back. Thank you. John.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Salt Grass Trail

I started out riding in the Salt Grass Trail as a whim, but it soon grew to be a major event. The number of city dudes who wanted to ride in the trail was unbelievable. For seven years I rode with the Port City Stockyards every year. We ate well and slept in bedrolls. The ride was orignally devised to publicize the Houston Fat Stock Show. It became as big as the stock show itself. About halfway through the seven years we had to make some rules. The ride had become a mob scene and riders got hurt. Now you had to sign up with an organized trail group. At its peak the ride featured 50 wagons and about 3,000 riders. It was an experience.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I have always loved horses. When we moved to Friendswood I bought four horses: One for Marie and One each for Nancy and Trinka. Marie used to run barrel races. I used to swim the river horseback. But it turned out that the rider in our family was Trinka. From the time she was five years old Trinka rode horseback, with or without a saddle. By the time she was twelve Trinka was an accomplished rider. Eventually, Trinka went to New York and formed a ballet company, but she still loved horses. One day she called me from New York. Daddy, she said, will you bring me a horse. I replied that I would bring her a horse with a new saddle and all I needed was the address of the stable where she was going to lodge the horse. That was the end of that, I am sorry to say. She could not afford the rent of the stable in Manhattan. I also could not afford the price of the rent.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Friendswood was a Quaker community located halfway between Galveston and Houston. It was a little on the dull side but a great place to raise two daughters. I commuted to Houston which took about an hour. You could not buy alcoholic liquor in Friendswood and there was only one church -- the Friends Church. Eventually we established an Episcopal Church which we named Good Shepherd. After a while, NASA was established nearby and many lifelong Episcopalians moved to Friendswood. You still could not buy liquor, but we had weekend dances. The culture of Friendswood was changed. All this took place while NASA was developing. Then came the visit to the Moon. This not only changed Friendswood but the United States.



Monday, April 20, 2009

A Big Wedding

Marie Peterman and I were married in the Episcopal Church in my home town of San Angelo in front of about 500 people. We resigned from the Standard Times and took the summer off by going to Ruidoso, New Mexico. Later on we ended up in Houston, with me working for the Houston Post and Marie working for the Houston Chronicle. At various times I was an editor, a news reporter, a TV personality and a daily columnist. Marie was an editor at the Chronicle. We were married for 60 years. We were the parents of two daughters, Nancy, who is a lawyer in Austin and Katrinka, who is a publishers assistant in New York. kEventually we published a chain of weekly newspapers between Galveston and Houston known as the Journal newspapers.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Marie Peterman Moore

I had gone to work for the San Angelo Standard Times and was beginning to be comfortable with my new life. One morning I was sitting at my desk when Marie Peterman came in. She had been to the swimming pool before coming to work. Her hair was braided. She went to her desk with a great deal of confidence. She was slender and stood erect while checking the papers on her desk. It hit me between the eyes. I had not met her and yet I knew she was the one. My Uncle Max came in and said to me: What is going on?" I replied: "Do you see that girl over there?" He looked and replied: "What about her?" I told him: "I am going to marry her." He took another look and said: "What is her name?" I replied: "What difference does that make?"

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Now I was happy. I had a small ranch west of San Angelo with sheep and cattle. I was making money. One day I went about 20 miles west to buy some registered rams so I could upgrade my flock. On the way home I was flagged down by a neighbor. "Have you heard about Pearl Harbor," he asked me. I thought maybe he was talking about a woman named Pearl. Then he explained he was talking about the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. All of a sudden my life was changed. Soon all the young men in the United States were being called up for military service. A year later I began to sell out and then I enlisted in the U.S.Army Air Corps.This tied me up for four years. Finally the war was over. We had defeated Germany and Japan. But I had changed. I now decided to be a journalist. >s

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Great Depression

Daddy was killed in a fatal crash with a truck in a duststorm west of Big Lake. He was driving a V8, probably at a high rate of speed. This was in 1930, during the Great Depression. We had been living in the largest house in town, with servants and two cars. I was in high school. All of a sudden we moved into a small apartment with no servants and no cars. It took me a while to adjust. Meanwhile, mother had taken job as a sales person in a clothing store. She was a strong woman and determined to survive. The only real blow had been when she had to sell her grand piano which she really loved to play. I was a difficult teen ager. However, I soon got a job working after school, but it did not pay a lot of money. There were stories about all the people who were out of work, many of then riding freight cars from town to town. Some of them were called hoboes. Also, crime increased, and the robbers were called hijackers. The bank had a sign: "$500 for a dead bank robber. Nothing for a live one." The cashier had a pistol underneath his window. You had to live during those days to understand what was going on. Armadilloes were called Hoover Hogs after the unpopular president. Actually the meat was good. Finally, Franklin Roosevelt was elected president, but it still was a long time before the country showed signs of recovery.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Daddy the Ball Player

My daddy's ambition was to be a major league baseball player. He joined a minor league club in San Angelo and was doing well. In those days the game was played during daylight hours. One day while he was playing in center field the sun got in his eyes and a hard ball hit him right between the eyes. It knocked him cold and he was out for hours. This was the end of his playing days but he still enjoyed watching the game. It was several years later when a tumor developed behind the spot where the ball had hit him. We were in California when he developed headaches, and eventually we came back to Texas where he had surgery to remove the tumor. Fortunately the tumor was benign. Then Grandpa Sam financed Daddy to start over. Daddy established a Ford agency west of San Angelo at Big Lake. This was at the beginning of the Permian Basin which at one time was the largest oil and gas development in the United States. The Permian reached from Big Lake across hundreds of miles to New Mexico and from the caprock at Big Spring to the Big Bend. The discovery well had been drilled two miles west of Big Lake. Daddy sold Model A Fords and later V8 Fords from Big Lake for 300 miles, on to Ozona and Odessa and the towns in between, such as McCamey. He prospered. He carried a big roll of bills. He was successful. I hated Big Lake. It was the opposite of California. There were not many trees and those were mesquites. It was a semi arid land, hot and dry.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Family memories

Daddy drove us from San Angelo to California in a Model T Ford in l923 when I was five years old. There were no freeways, only graded dirt roads, and no motels. We slept in bedrolls. When we got to California we rented a house which had fruit trees growing in the front yard. We went to the beach and splashed in the Pacific. It was like living in Paradise. Then Daddy began having headaches. California did not have good doctors in the early days and the ones he went to merely gave him pain killers. Some of these shots were a little narotic. I remember one night when Daddy was hallucinating and refused to go to bed because he said it was crawling with ants. Mother was proud but she finally gave in and called Grandpa Sam Moore in Dallas. Grandpa Sam not only was rich, and owned downtown property in Dallas, but he also was on the board of Methodist Hospital. "Hell, Mega, bring him home to Texas. We have the best doctors in the United States here in Dallas," he said. We boarded the train and took Daddy to San Angelo where Grandpa Sam met us and carried him off to Dallas. The surgeons at Dallas removed a tumor from Daddy's brain. It was benign. Within two weeks, Daddy was well again.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

San Diego

During World War II I was contacted by Uncle Henry who told me that his nephew, Charles, was in San Diego. I was stationed nearby, having returned from service in North Africa. So Charles and I went out into the city. He was just out of boot camp but I had ribbons on my chest. We went into one of the big hotel dining rooms and waited to be seated. After a long wait it became obvious that they were not going to serve us. So we went down the street and ate a hamburger. To make matters worse, the burger was scorched. Several years later I was on a junket and we approached San Diego. The hotel that had snubbed me was on the list for a luncheon. I talked to the tour boss and told him my story. He was sympathetic and cancelled the luncheon at the hotel. We went down to the waterfront and ate seafood. I felt vindicated.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Washington's Birthday

Down at Laredo there was a combined celebration of George Washington's Birthday. The one I attended was at the airport and included some guests from Mexico, including Governor Horacio Teran and a number of generals. As part of the program some high school girls performed a dance routine. One of the generals with Gov. Teran apparently was used to seeing such performances in one of the whorehouses of Mexico. He was a little bit drunk and staggered as he approached the stage apparently to fondle one of the dancers. It looked as if an international incident was about to happen, but Gov. Teran intervened. He grabbed the general, returned him to his seat and hissed in his ear. The timely intervention was well received by the local guests, who included the governor of Texas and other dignitaries.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Salvador Pena

Down in Nuevo Laredo was Dr. Salvador Pena, who delivered more than 8,000 babies over a period of time. When I met him he was 80 years old and still practicing medicine. Women of Mexican descent living in Laredo would go to Nuevo Laredo to have their babies delivered by Dr. Pena and then would rush back to Laredo to register them as U.S. citizens. Dr. Pena was a believer in the principle of the siesta. He would take two hours off in the early afternoon and usually was to be found in a men only cantina, where he and the other leaders of the community met to eat and drink and exchange viewpoints. Frequently he would leave the cantina and have a tryst with a young woman. He recommended this practice as a method of prolonging life. He pointed out that he was 80 years old and still healthy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Alexander Chee

Down the coast from Belize is Punta Gorda, a peninsula. Here is a country store operated by Alexander Chee. He told an interesting story. When he was a young boy in China his province was invaded by Mao. He came from a family of aristocrats. They decided to flee. His mother sewed gold coins into a frayed jacket and he wore this garment to Hong Kong. There he was joined by his father and uncle. Later on they divided the gold and he went to Mexico and then to Punta Gorda where he opened this store. You could buy almost anything in his store. He added Chinese culture in a country which had native Indians, Spanish speaking whites, black residents and mixed races. During the time of Sir Walter Raleigh Belize was invaded by English pirates. From these raids came mixed races. The Indians still lived in nearby villages. The blacks were descended from former slaves. The primary languages were English and Spanish. This was an interesting mix of cultures.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Provines Davenport

One thing about being a traveling reporter is that you meet some interesting people. Out of a clear blue sky such a person showed up. She said her name was Provines Davenport. That was not her original name but one that she had chosen. She dressed like a man with matching shirt and pants, a big hat with a wide brim and cowboy boots. She was rich. One time she took a group of us to Matamoros, Mexico, and we ate venison and drank tequila at her expense. But the time that I remember best was at an international festival in Laredo, Texas. The governor of Tamalupis, Horacio Teran, showed up with a delegation. Then Provines showed up. She wanted to dance with the governor. We had a mariachi band and they were already playing. Governor Teran graciously agreed to dance with her. He was not married and was a tall and dignified man. Provines was much shorter. The band struck up and a space was cleared in the middle of the festival. This is a little hard to visualize. Teran was deeply serious and Provines was trying to be dignified. I shall never forget this experience.

The Salt Grass Trail

The Salt Grass Trail got out of control after a few years. It was not well organized and in one particular year it took nearly five hours to cross the Brazos River Bridge on the highway. One stubborn old timer said he was not going to yield at the gate leading from the bridge. A group of rowdy riders pushed him and his horse into a barbed wire fence. We took him to the emergency room where they had to stitch up a bad cut which took nine stitches. Then, as we went through Hempstead some reckless rider threw an empty beer car into a front year. Unfortunately, the Baptist deacon lived there. He complained. And so we passed some rules. All riders would have to be affiliated with a wagon. The wagon boss would be responsible for their behavior. Whiskey bottles would have to be kept out of sight. This worked. The Trail moved with precision. More family groups showed up.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Memories of Madisonville

Madisonville is best known as the home of the Madisonville Sidewalk Cattlemen's Association. One year I decided to put them to the test. Instead of riding a western horse with a ranch saddle and cowboy boots and a big hat I arrived riding a mule and wearing a derby and an English style coat and some high topped boots. Sure enough they threw me into the water, but not into the trough at the courthouse, because this all took place at the fairgrounds. Theythrew me into a tank that contained ice water for the ice tea drinkers. When I sloshed out of this tank I could see an unsavory clump of mud, hair and fecal matter floating on top of the ice water. People were still lining up to drink ice tea, using water from this tank. But I decided that I would have a beer instead. One of the cattlemen told me I was lucky. "Some of us wanted to throw you and the mule into the Trinity River," he said.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Early Texas Anglo History

And so, Texas north of the Rio Grande became part of the United States. Santa Anna returned to Mexico and was still in power. It took a while for the state to dev elop. The teritory west of the Colorado River still belonged to some of the Indian tribes, and the land south of San Antonio was still open. Later on, this land to the South became the King Ranch. The Northington Family in Wharton County not only raised cattle but they also raised some fine horses. Later on, George Northington III took over the operation of the Red Brick Ranch. Texas became to home of Longhorn cattle, which were driven to market by the thousands, and sold in the stockyards at Kansas City. It was the King Ranch which developed a new breed of cattle, known as Santa Gertrudis, which were peculiar to South Texas. All this wide open cattle business was supplanted in the 1920s by the oil companies. The discovery well of the Permian Basin was drilled a bout two miles west of Big Lake, Texas, in Reagan County. Since then the Permian Basin has reached to New Mexico and to the Big Bend and north to Big Spring, thousands of acres leased first to the ranchers and then to the oil companies. The royalties from the Permian Basin have made it possible to create a major university, the Universit of Texas at Austin, and to upgrade Texas A@M university at College Station.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Red Brick Ranch

One of the landmarks of early Texas is Red Brick Ranch at Egypt, Texas, in Wharton County. This ranch was established by the Northington family in 1842. George Northington Jr. set up a museum near the ranch house. The first mention of Red Brick Ranch involves something known as the Runaway Scrape. This happened when the Mexican Army invaded Texas. People fled in wagons, buggies, horseback and on foot. The Mexican Army, headed by General Lopez de Santa Anna, met little resistance as it marched through Texas. The history of the Battle of the Alamo is well documented. From there the Mexicans marched on to the LaPorte area, and set up a large camp at a place known as San Jacinto. At this point the Mexicans were relaxed. They had captured a mulatto woman, a freed slave, at a plantation near LaPorte. This woman was turned over to Santa Anna. It was then that Sam Houston and a ragged army of Texans invaded the Mexican camp during the siesta hour. Santa Anna was in bed with the mulatto woman. He made a soldier give him a uniform worn by peasants. This disguise did not save him and he was captured by the Texans. Many in Sam Houston's army wanted to hang Santa Anna, but Houston thought it was better to have him as a captive so he could be used as a bargaining tool. That was what happened, and Texas was declared free of Mexico. Santa Anna was released and sent back to Mexico.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


We were all working hard at the Institute, getting ready for Hemisphere, and things were going well. The leader of the California hustlers had called on the governor who rejected him. Then we got word that Bulthius (yes, that is his name) was coming to Austin to check on us. He was the one who called George Washington an Uncle Tom. So I talked George into buying a doll at the variety store that looked like Bulthius. Then we went to the department store and bought a hat pin. We put this doll on a table in our lobby and stuck the pin in his leg. A few days later we heard that Bulthius had been speeding down the boulevard in Los Angeles in his sports car and had turned over and broken his leg. But he was still coming to Austin, although with his leg in a cast. It sort of shook us up, but in the press of business we forgot all that and went on with our program. Bulthius arrived and was transported to our offices. No one was there but the secretaries. He was wheeled into the lobby and when he saw our voodoo doll he went into hysterics. He called for a taxi and went to the airport to fly back to Los Angeles, never to return to Texas. Apparently he believed in voodoo stronger than we did.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More About George

So we came back to Hemisphere and George Washington regained his confidence. He bought a yellow Mustang and started being a man about town. He lined up some people for the black exhibit. One of them, of course, was Barbara Jordan, who was in the Texas Senate. He and I went to Prairie View University where we ran into some opposition from a faculty member. Finally we went on without him. Meanwhile I went to Red Brick Ranch in Wharton County and lined up some early Texas stuff. It was a busy time. Boss Shuffler was tied up with some of the higher ups so we had to improvise. Considering the time involved I think we did a good job.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lightning Hopkins

Lightning Hopkins was born in Crockett, Texas. He could strum a guitar like no one else. He came down to Houston and began performing in the Third Ward. He was sucked into a deal to go to the West Coast. When he found out he had been screwed he became bitter and also suspicious of all white agents. I persuaded Lightning to play for a movie I was making at the Institute of Texan Cultures. This led to performances at Rice University and the University of Houston. His wife was only five feet tall. She had long hair. She became jealous when Lightning began getting calls from other women. In order to keep her happy, Lightning had the phone disconnected. To reach him you had to go down into the Fifth Ward in person. I remember watching Lightning perform at Rice University. He gave a noisy performance which was unique. There was no one quite like Lightning. His material was home grown, peculiar to him.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mance Lipscomb

Mance was living on a plantation in Central Texas and not getting ahead. His wife suggested he ought to try the real world. Mance decided to do so and he began playing and singing everywhere, including the East Coast festival. Mance made enough money to buy a house in Navasota. I brought Mance to the Texas Pavilion in San Antonio during Hemisphere. He had a distinctive style and he played songs that went way back. We put Mance up at the Texas Pavilion because he did not want to rent a hotel room. Mance really enjoyed strumming his guitar and singing old songs. There was no musician in Texas quite like Mance. When he came to Hemisphere he was wearing an overcoat. Someone made fun of the coat and he replied: "You are just jealous because you don't have an overcoat. Actually, he was getting old and the coat kept him warm. Mance would play for hours. He lived for music.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw had settled down into a bourgeois existence in the Austin area, but after talking to him for a while he agreed to show me some videos. In his youth he had been on the whorehouse circuit, playing the piano in the lobby where visitors came to pick out one of the girls. After the doors were closed and it was time for the music to stop two or more of the girls would fight over who got to sleep with Robert for the rest of the night. He asked me to be careful about what I wrote because he was now living a respected life. I told him we would send him to Washington, D.C. to represent a part of Texas life on the mall there. It was Shaw who told me about night life in Kansas City. "This would be an eight story building," he said. On the first floor you could walk in and buy a beer and look around for a girl." As you went higher up you had to be recommended in order to enter. The top floor was really exclusive. Shaw played me some of his music. It was not at all rowdy, it was sort of dreamy. Shaw went on up the circuit, from Texas to Chicago, paying his way by playing the piano. Finally he came back to Austin and settled down. He was the only man I ever met who really did play the piano in a whorehouse.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Los Angeles Hustlers

One of the first things we did was to cancel the contract that some Los Angeles hustlers had negotiated to handle the black exhibit at Hemisphere. Shuffler had told the governor he was going to fire these people, and it was part of his deal. Shuffler sent me and George Washington Jr. to California to fire them in person. George and I checked into a downtown hotel and went to see the hustlers. Right away I realized that George was on tranquilizers. He took several pills when he first woke up in the morning and was agreeable all day long. It was like he was floating on a cloud. We met with these people and they started entertaining us royally. One morning Shuffler called me and asked for a progress report. I told him I would take care of it. I did something that was highly irregular. While George was asleep I stole his pills and threw them down the fire escape. When he woke up he could not find them. I asked him what was the matter and he said "nothing." We went to meet with these people. George was cold sober and business like. I notified the group that they were terminated and then called on George. He pulled out a document and said that he had studied this from a legal point of view and that the contract was invalid. One of the hustlers called him an Uncle Tom. I told them the meeting was over and if they wanted to sue us they would need to consult the Secretary of State in Texas as he was our legal representative. Then we went out and hailed a taxi. George began breathing heavily and I was afraid he was going to have a heart attack. The taxi driver became nervous, so I told him to pull over to the nearest tavern. We went inside and I had a bourbon and bought one for the driver, and a double bourbon for George. After a second bourbon, George recovered. We went back to the hotel and began packing for our return trip. I called Shuffler and told him that everything had been accomplished.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Henderson Shuffler came to see me. He had been appointed director of the Texas exhibit at Hemisphere in San Antonio in the Sixties and he needed to build a staff in a hurry. There would be 26 different categories. I agreed and accepted the black exhibit plus four others. Money was available and time was short. I went to Dallas and recruited George Washington Jr., the first black man to graduate from the University of Texas law school. Then I went to Austin and talked to Barbara Jordan, who had been elected to the senate of the Texas Legislature. Then I went to Prairie View A&M in Waller County, the black branch of A&M University. It was a time of change in race relations. To give you an example, I was in Dr. E. B. Evans office at Prairie View and asked to use the rest room. He sent for a freshman to escort me to the white restroom on the other side of the campus. After that I just helped myself to the rest room in the administration building. There was opposition from some white groups but on the whole the state was being integrated. The people we chose were what you would call bourgeois, blacks who had a college degree and were either teaching school or practicing law or appearing in public ventures such as sports.

Friday, March 13, 2009

There will always be an England

While I was in England I decided to fade into the crowd and listen to the talk around me, so I went into a pub and lowered my voice and ordered a beer. While I was sipping this beer I noticed that most of the people around me were looking at me. Finally a man nearby said to me: "Hello Yank, what part of the States are you from." I told him Texas and then I asked him: "How did you know I was from the United States?" He laughed and said: "It's your four-in-hand tie, mate." I looked around and noticed that some people did not have a tie and others had a bow tie. But no one else had on a tie like mine.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fancy Dress in England

While I was in England I was invited to a formal gathering in Manchester, which is a primative society. I had a tux, but it was a bit oldfashioned compared to some of the guests. We were joined by some government representatives from London. I was chatting with one of the government men, who was quite proper, when a gushy and overdressed matron from Manchester approached our group and addressed us. "We are so happy that you are here from the States," she gushed. The gentleman from London flushed up. "Madam," he replied frostily, "I am an Englishman." The woman disappeared in the crowd.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jolly Old England

The boss sent me on a junket to England. The plane was filled with rival reporters, so when we got to Manchester I played sick. Then I met my escort, furnished by the British government, and we went to the airplane manufacturing plant. I was met with some hostility but I confirmed that the Rolls Royce engines were not to blame -- it was the weakness of the fuselage that had exploded over Rome, killing 200 people. It was this disaster that prompted Eddie Rickenbacher, the president of Eastern Airlines, to cancel a contract for planes. I rejoined the tour and suffered through some embarassment about my weak stomach. But I had my story. When I got back to Houston I called Rickenbacher and he confirmed the cancellation. Then, to my chagrin, the lawyers for the newspaper cancelled the story, saying it was unsafe. All that time wasted. Six months later, a New York newspaper published the story. All of this led to reinforced fuselages on airplanes. It made it safer to fly.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

La Grange

Once upon a time there was a whorehouse at LaGrange, Texas, which served the students at Texas A&M University, which was not far away. After a football game, particularly if the Aggies had won the game, the students would load up a bus and head for LaGrange. Outside this popular brothel the Aggies would line up and wait for their turn. The slogan was "Get up, get on, get off and get gone." After the weekend rush the prostitutes would get a little rest on Mondays. The story goes that an urbanite went to the LaGrange house on a Monday and complained to the girl that she had not done enough for him. "I'm sorry Buster, but those Aggies were here this weekend," she told him, "and they damn near fucked me to death." This house, which was one of the best known secrets in Texas, was exposed to the world by Marvin Zindler, an investigative reporter in Houston. The sheriff was furious, but the governor intervened, and the house was closed, at least for a while. This led to a Broadway play, "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." I took my wife to see it in New York. The only flaw was that the madam was portrayed as the sheriff's lover. I suspect that the sheriff loved only the payoff money.

Monday, March 9, 2009

More Casablanca

I really enjoyed being in Casablanca during World War II, in spite of the fact that I did not see Ingrid Bergman or Humphrey Bogart. You could stand on the sidewalk in downtown Casablanca and hear 18 different languages being spoken. The city was a refuge from the Nazis. However, like most soldiers, I enjoyed the sex that was available there. There were all sorts of women, natives, European refugees, black, brown, white and half breed, young and old. It was a mixtof cultures. On one occasion about 12 of us soldiers helped outselves to a bus and went on the outskirts of the city. Here was a native bordello and the women were young. Try to visualize a large room with five or six soldiers and an equal number of young women, all young and uninhibited. A few dollars would buy a lot of sex. I did not see the movie until several years after the war. I hate to say this, but the movie underestimated the terrain.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wartime Memories

I was stationed at Victorville Air Force Base during World War II. I was not married and I had been overseas in England, North Africa, Sicily and Italy. I had good luck at this California Air Base and was assigned a building with an office, a teletype, an Associated Press machine, and a bedroom. I also was assigned a WAC secretary. Her name was Phyllis. After she had been with me for several weeks, helping me get organized, I smuggled in a bottle of whiskey and offered her a drink. One thing led to another and she ended up spending the night with me. When it came to sexual relations Phyllis just could not get enough. During the months that lasted until the end of the war Phyllis and I had sex nearly every night. Because of the war I was confined to the base and so was Phyllis. I expected to be shipped overseas into the Pacific Islands and so I decided to enjoy Phyllis while I could. When the war ended I chose to go home and Phyllis chose to stay in the military. And so we parted.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Visit to a Prison Farm

On our way home after taking my grandmother, Kate, on a tour, I stopped off to rent a trailer and buy a load of hay. As we approached Richmond, a large dark cloud blew up. My grandmother was not afraid of anything except storms. I decided to take refuge with my friend, Byron Frierson, formerly of San Angelo, who was now assistant prison director of the rural farms in the state penitentiary system. We pulled up and explained the problem and Frierson had my trailer load of hay pulled inside a barn. We then went inside and had lunch with Byron and his wife, which had been cooked by inmates and was served by other prisoners. The food was good and the service was excellent. Later on, the storm blew itself out and I hooked my trailer up again and started home. My grandmother said, "Son I believe you must know everyone in Texas." This was not true, of course, but I did know thousands of people.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Partlow Family

A fine oldfashioned family named Partlow lived in Liberty, Texas. They kept milk cows and chickens laying eggs and although they lived in the city limits they were exempt from regulation because they had been there before annexation. At noon they served anywhere from 12 to 24 people for lunch. Mr. Partlow was the official surveyor for the county. I met his son, Sam, on the Salt Grass Trail. I was in Liberty with my grandmother, Katie Mims, and she refused to eat at the local cafe. And so I went over and invited us to join the Partlows for lunch. They graciously accepted us, and we joined more than 20 other people. The meal was properly blessed and was up to my grandmother's standard.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Personal Comment

I skipped a day and the reason was that I had a tooth pulled. Like nearly everyone else I hate dentists. However, the tooth had to come out and so I went ahead. The visit to the dentist office was a study in human nature. There were young people and old people, there were men and there were women, there were married couples and in some of the married cases there were wives accompanying their husbands, and vice versa. Needless to say I am glad this is over.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Curtis Garner

Livingston is the capital of Polk County and the home of some of my ancestors. One of the more interesting citizens was Curtis Garner, the owner of the local motel. Curtis was a well known practical joker. One time I was called to testify in a Polk County case. It was not popular and I received some threats. The case was continued overnight and I managed to share a motel room with the Texas Ranger assigned to the case. We went to bed and about midnight I heard a noise and turned on the light. Fast as I was the Texas Ranger was even faster. When the light came on I found Garner holding an alligator in both hands with the Ranger's pistol at his forehead. The Ranger had jumped out of bed and put the gun to his head. Garner had intended to turn the alligator loose in our bedroom. It was a small alligator. After I explained that Garner was a practical joker the Ranger turned him loose but stipulated he had to take the gator with him. We went back to sleep and I slept soundly knowing that I was in safe hands.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Texas Southern University

Later on, George Washington Jr. returned to Houston to teach law at Texas Southern University. By that time the social atmosphere had changed. George had helped put together a program at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio which featured 26 different cultures in the development of Texas. However, while he was still at the Institute there was a development which should be reported. It was announced that a California hustler named Bulthius was coming to Texas to talk to the Institute about Hemisfair. This young man, who drove a sports car, had turned over on a Los Angeles Freeway and was in a wheelchair. Meanwhile, George had found a dummy which looked like this young man, the same one who had called him an Uncle Tom. George put this dummy on display and stuck a couple of pins in it. By coincidence, the pins in the leg and forehead were in the same place where Bulthius was injured in the California car crash. When Bulthius was wheeled into the Institute lobby the dummy and pins were still on display. When Bulthius saw the exhibit he went into a frenzy and had to be rolled away. He left town immediately.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

California Journey

The California hustlers met us in Los Angeles and set about giving us a snow job. They were helped in this by George Washington Jr., who agreed with everything they proposed. I realized that George was taking a pill every morning which made the world seem rosy. Then Boss Shuffler called and said it was time for us to cancel the Southern California group's contract. I knew that George would have to play a key part in this. So I got up early one morning and stole his pill bottle and threw it down the fire escape. George woke up and began looking for it, but when I asked him what was the matter, he replied nothing. By the time we got to our meeting with the California group George was sharp and business like. I opened the meeting by telling the group that the contract was cancelled. Then I called on George. He told them that under the laws of Texas that they did not have any rights at all. One of the hustlers asked him about recourse and he told them to contact the Attorney General of Texas. Then another one called him an "uncle Tom." I told George if he would punch this man in the face that I would post his bond. This hustler left the room. Then I told the group goodbye and went out to the front desk and called for a taxi. As we started downtown George began breathing heavily and I worried that he might be having a heart attack. The taxicab driver became nervous and I needed to do something. So I asked the driver to go to the nearest bar so we could get a drink. We went inside and the driver and I had a highball and I ordered a double shot for George. After another double shot George calmed down and we returned to our hotel room. I felt guilty about throwing the pill bottle away but in the long run it restored George. We returned to Texas and went on with our program.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More About George

Henderson Shuffler hired me to work at the Institute of Texan Cultures and I began to research the American Indians, the Spanish, the Mexican interests and other groups. I realized that I needed help with the African Americans and I told Shuffler that I would like to hire George Washington Jr. He agreed. I flew to Dallas where George had taken refuge after his effort to save the Freedom Riders had resulted in costly litigation. Emma Lois told me not to do it "Because George will kill himself." I told her that to waste the talent that George possessed would be bad and he might be better off dead. George agreed to go to work in our program. George began to assemble the bourgeois blacks and we produced some sketches of Blacks like Barbara Jordan, who was the first black in the Texas Legislature and now was headed for Congress, and various black athletes, such as the first one in baseball in the major league. George prospered. Then we ran into a problem with the California public relations people who had been hired to promote the forthcoming Hemisphere. Shuffler told me to go to Los Angeles and take George with me and cancel the arrangement with these hustlers. Next I will tell you about the California trip.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

George Washington Jr.

While I was covering the court house for the Houston Post I ran into a black attorney named George Washington Jr. George had graduated from the University of Texas law school, in fact, he was the second black man to graduate there in the Sixties. George was a remarkable scholar, but he still had some hangups about race. He married a black school teacher named Emma Lois and they had three children, all boys. George was doing well, drawing wills and filing probate, but he got mixed up in the turmoil of the Sixties. He decided to defend the Freedom Riders, a mixed group of black and white students from the University of California who rode a train from Los Angeles to Houston to protest segregation. These students were arrested at Union Station in Houston. Moderate black business men posted bond for the students and they were housed in black homes in the Third Ward awaiting trial in the County Court at Law. This aroused more emotion than I can describe becaused Houston was still filled with residents with East Texas attitudes. The result was that the students were convicted of violation of the laws which defined racism. Once again the business men posted bond and the students were free on this bail. The case eventually was overturned in the higher courts. However, George collapsed during this time and had a nervous breakdown. He had received threatening telephone calls and sometimes he got a call at his office that his wife had been killed. Finally, George gave up and moved to Dallas, where he got a job selling real estate. I will tell you more about George before long.

Monday, February 23, 2009

FDR takes charge

Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Hoover, and immediately closed all the banks. Those who reopened had to pass a test and be insured by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. However, it was several years before FDR was able to restore the nation's economy. By that time we were on the verge of war. The Japanese pecepitated our decision by attacking Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. This led to our declaring war on both Japan and Germany. When I entered the Army I was issued a uniform which dated back to World War I and a rifle which also dated back. In other words we were not prepared to go to war. It took two years to gear up factory production so that we were ready to bomb Germany into compliance. It looked like it would take several years to subdue Japan and then HarryTruman dropped the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima. By that time I had been to England, North Africa, Sicily, Italy and a few side trips and had been overseas for two years. I was back in the United States, at Victorville Air Force Base in Southern California when the Bomb was dropped. It was a while before we understood what an Atomic Bomb was and how it had been developed. Ever since then we have been confronted with the possibility that some other nation will develop an 'Atomic Bomb,' and there have been reports that this has happened in NorthKorea and Iran. The world changed with the Bomb.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Great Depression

Daddy was killed in a car crash on the highway. He always drove too fast. Our world changed substancially as a result. We lost the automobile agency and our house, including the grand piano which mother never forgot. We moved into a smaller house. Mother took a job as a clerk which did not pay very much. I worked after school for peanuts. We were not the only ones hurt by the economy. The Great Depression was on in the 1930s. Millions of people were out of work. One of those who prospered was Andrew Mellon, the secretary of the treasury under Herbert Hoover. A populist from Texas who was serving in the U.S. House, Wright Patman, sued Mellon and forced him out of office. He went to England where he wore kneebritches as ambassador to Great Britain, appointed by Hoover. Nowadays he is regarded as a philanthropist because of the museum he left behind in Washington, D.C. I always thought of him as a Tory. I really did not get my head on straight until I served in the Army during World War II. I came home to be a journalist. Mother was upset because she wanted me to do something that would make money. She finally became reconciled.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Permian Basin

We ended up in Big Lake, a frontier town, which was a semi arid neighborhood with few trees. The attraction was that the discovery well of the Permian Basin had been drilled about three miles from downtown. Now there was excitement about the oil boom. At Best, about five miles away, which once had about three residents, now there were about 3,000 residents living in tents. Soon Best reached a population exceeding 30,000 and had a number of bars and brothels and a violent group of people with murders occurring every week. The Permian Basin eventually extended for several hundred miles into New Mexico. Daddy sold automobiles as fast as the factory could ship them. He was making a lot of money. I hated Big Lake because I compared it to California, which was a beautful land. My Daddy did not have time to worry about me because he was selling automobiles in all directions. Even the Big Lake was dry. On westward where the drilling was taking place, McCamey which once had maybe 10 residents now had 50,000. This was the late 1920s and it looked like prosperity would last forever.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Riding the Southern Pacific

Daddy started coming home with a severe headache. He went to see a doctor. This was in the early days in California and some of the doctors were incompetent. His doctor gave him a strong narcotic which caused him to hallucinate. I was standing at the foot of the bed when Daddy refused to get in it. "There are ants all over the bed," he said. I could not see any ants and neither could my mother. She was a proud woman but finally she swallowed her pride and called Grandpa Sam Moore in Dallas. "Hell, Omega, bring him to Dallas. We have the best doctors in the world," he told her. Grandpa Sam owned some valuable property in Dallas and was on the board of the hospital. We got on the Southern Pacific and went to Texas. Grandpa Sam met us at the station and took Daddy to the hospital. The doctors said it was a tumor and they would have to have a signed release before they would operate. It was located between his eyes and in the middle of his forehead. When Daddy was younger he played baseball with a minor league team in San Angelo. In those days baseball was played in the afternoon. He was playing center field when the sun got in his eyes and a baseball hit him in the forehead, knocking him cold. Later he seemed to have recovered. But this was the origin of the tumor. The doctors removed the tumor and it was benign. Within a few days Daddy was his old self. Grandpa Sam gave him $25,000 and he used the money to establish an automobile agency at Big Lake, 75 miles west of San Angelo.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Daddy Moore

My father was a restless man. When I was five years old we left San Angelo in a Model T Ford and set out for California. There were no major highways and we traveled across the country on dirt roads. There were no motels, so we slept in bedrolls. At night in New Mexico and Arizona we could hear the coyotes howl. Finally we arrived in Southern California and my daddy went to work for an automobile company. The climate was great, since it never froze, and we slept with screen doors. When Christmas came I was worried because we did not have a chimney for Santa Claus to come down. My Daddy told me we would leave the back door unlocked so Santa could come into the house. This part of California had fruit and vegetables. It was a delightful place to live. Why did we leave there? I will explain in the next article.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Farewell to the Balinese Room

During its heyday the Balinese Room was the most glamorous night club in Texas. But Will Wilson, the attorney general, did not go to night clubs and he wanted the prestige of closing it.
He sent the Texas Rangers. Christie Mitchell, the Galveston publicity man, took an Associated Press writer to the Balinese Room and told him how when the Rangers arrived the front desk set off a buzzer which alerted the game room. When they arrived at the game room they found men playing billiards. The gaming equipment had been dumped in the Gulf. The AP man wrote a story about the red-faced Rangers and this caused a flurry in Austin. The chief of the Rangers sent an undercover man into the club. When the buzzer went off the undercover man fired a shot into the ceiling and arrested everyone and then the other Rangers made it into the gambling room and took them away in handcuffs. This slowed down the B-Room, but eventually the game room reopened. However, finally all the gamblers moved to Las Vegas and the B-Room ws shuttered. Then a wealthy Houston man opened it for dining only. But the final blow occurred a couple of years ago when a Hurricane blew the B-Room away. It is sad to drive by and see a vacant spot on Seawall Boulevard where the B-Room presided for so many years.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Galveston before the Texas Legislature

A couple of Texas representatives who wanted to be governor saw an opportunity to score by calling the key government officials before the House Investigating Committee. They called Sam Serio, who was one of the key Mafia figures. He pleaded the Fifth Amendment. They called Mayor Herbert Cartwright. He told them that people do not come to Galveston to go to church. They called Sheriff Frank Biaggne and he told them he went to investigate the Balinese Room but they would not let him in because he was not a member. The hearing became a circus. I wrote an article making fun of Biaggne and he became angry at me. He called me up and told me to kiss his ass. I went down to his office at the Galveston Court House and he refused to talk to me and then left the court house. Nothing happened as a result of the investigation but the publicity reflected on the Texas Rangers. The man who was head of the Rangers decided that he would send an undercover agent into Galveston. In a few days I will tell you what happened.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Salt Grass Trail

Reese Lockett agreed to organize the Salt Grass Trail ride to publicize the Houston Fat Stock Show. He drafted E.H. Marks who lived near Houston and who furnished a covered wagon. A total of 7 riders made the first ride. The next year it grew to about 30 riders and 2 wagons. We slept on the ground, using bedrolls. It was a nice interlude. After that the Salt Grass Trail grew out of control. At its peak, riders got hurt, one woman got raped, and thousands of riders showed up. The climax occurred when someone threw an empty beer can into the front yard of a Baptist preacher near Hempstead. That was the year that more than 2,000 riders were counted, and an elderly rider was shoved into a barbed wire post, creating a gash that required nine stitches. At an emergency meeting it was ruled that riders must be assigned to a wagon, that the Harris County Sheriff's posse would provide law and order, and that large campgrounds would be provided. A total of 40 wagons showed up, and the trail ride became organized. The popularity of a three day ride from Brenham to Houston appealed to a lot of riders who had a horse but were not in great shape for riding. Politicians showed up, enticed by the publicity. The ride struck a chord in people's hearts. One year a couple got married on the trail.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Reese Lockett

Reese Lockett was the owner of a clothing store in Brenham. He also was the mayor of Brenham and the boss of the Salt Grass Trail, a ride to publicize the Houston Fat Stock Show. Lockett was tall but walked with a limp because of a horseback accident. He refused to allow the leg to be amputated, and it was stretched tight. This gave him a peculiar walk. In his youth Lockett had been involved in rodeo, and once rode on the circuit, and also in London, England. He also had developed a demanding personality, and had been known to call me and tell me to meet him in Brenham at 8 o'clock the next morning. He still kept horses at a stable on the outskirts of his city. If I drove him anywhere he would stretch out on the back seat so that he could rest his leg. I would say that Lockett was the prototype of a native Texan in the days when Texas still had a distinct personality. It was Lockett who developed the Salt Grass Trail, a movement which I joined and was actively involved with for eight years. The other character involved in the Salt Grass Trail was E. H. Marks, who raised cattle, including longhorns, on his ranch west of Houston. These two men were opposite in personality, but together they represented the basic spirit of Texas.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Foreman Brothers

I was at Lufkin and it was time to go home but I decided to go by the Trinity County Court House where Percy Foreman and his brother Zimmie were defending a man who was a client of both of them. When I drove into the court house parking lot there was Zimmie. He came up to me and said: "Are you by any chance going to Livingston?" That was his home office. I replied: "I can do that, but first I want to know about the verdict in your case." At that point Percy came out of the court house and grabbed his brother. These were big men, tall and heavy. The only difference was that Zimmie had an artificial leg. Percy grabbed Zimmie and spun him around. "We came over here together and I am going to drive us home together," he said. With that he dragged Zimmie off to his car and they drove off. I went in the court house and talked to one of the clerks. It seems that Percy had dominated the presentation of their case and that his vociferous style had offended Zimmie. Nevertheless, the client had been exonerated. Zimmie had stalked out of the court house but Percy followed and took him back to their home town. The moral of this story is do not get between two brothers. However, that was the only time they joined forces in court.

The Foreman Brothers

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Foreman Brothers

Percy Foreman was a dynamic character, a voluble defense attorney who could charm a jury. He had a brother in their home town of Livingston who was named Zimmie. He was older than Percy but also was a lawyer, and never lost a case in his part of East Texas. Zimmie did not deal in grandiose deliveries, but he knew his juries. Both the Foreman brothers were over six feet tall, and were imposing in person. The big difference in appearance was that Zimmie had an artificial leg. This was the result of a riot at Camp Logan in Houston during World War I. Zimmie was in the Military Police unit of the U.S. Army and he drove a Model T Ford which was the forerunner of the Jeep. Camp Logan was on the outskirts of Houston and to leave this outpost and go to the Negro section of Houston, which was referred to as the "colored" section, you had to go through the best neighborhoods in the city. During this old war the black soldiers at Camp Logan were forbidden to pass through the affluent white neighborhoods. Many of them had girl friends and relatives in the "colored" section. This led to a riot at Camp Logan and it was during this unrest that Zimmie drove into a violent part of the outpost and a black soldier threw a grenade at his vehicle. Zimmie was in the hospital for a long time and ended up with an artificial leg. In spite of that he graduated from law school, but he chose to practice in his home town where he was widely respected. Zimmie had his clients and Percy had a different bunch of clients, and they only joined together to represent a client one time in their existence. Next I will tell you about this case and the outcome of their representation.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More About Buckshot Lane

As you leave Houston and go down Highway 59 you eventually will enter Wharton County. Once that county was the headquarters of T.W. (Buckshot) Lane, who was the colorful sheriff of Whartpn County. Early in his career he had a problem on Highway 59. This was a narrow bridge which stacked traffic up for miles and generally caused at least one wreck a day. Sheriff Lane called the highway department and wanted a new bridge but nothing happened. One day this ancient bridge caught on fire and was completely destroyed. The Texas Highway Department had no choice but to build a new bridge, which it did, a beautful two lane concrete affair which solved one of Buck"s traffic problems. When you asked Buck about this fire he always laughed. There was a strong suspicion that he had set the fire.

Monday, February 2, 2009

More Buckshot Lane

herOne of the most interesting characters whom I met in Texas was Buckshot Lane, the sheriff of Wharton County. One time a longtime resident of Wharton called Buck and told him that he had a problem. His niece, who had been living in Galveston, was living with him and his wife for their protection. She had been singled out by a Mafia character who wanted her and was stalking her. Buck said to leave it to him. He had the man pick him up and he laid down in the back seat and went to the house. He had a shotgun with him. Then he told the man and his wife to leave thie niece there and drive away. They did and not long after they left the phone rang. Buck told her to answer it. She did and she told the man to leave her alone. He told her she belonged to him. She hung up, in tears. Then Buck told her when the man came to the door to open it and let him in. Buck said he would be behind the door with his shotgun. Time went by and nothing happened. Finally, Buck decided the man had given up and gone back to Galveston. How the man found out that Buck was waiting for him remained a mystery.