Left thumb looks almost normal, no questions now

You know how it is when you’re a kid — especially stinky little ol’ boys — and someone has something just a little different about them, little ol’ boys will tease the dickens out of the odd duck.

Being the oldest of four boys (three at the time of this story), I was charged with keeping an eye on the others. And, of course, it was your bound and duty to prevent any harm coming their way. Sort of like an Old West movie…protect the good guys from any and all harm.


Museum says thanks

Dear Mayor Hill,

We greatly appreciate the assistance given to the Freestone County Historical Museum today by the Fairfield City Parks Department (Jerry Hughes) and the workers from the TDC Boyd Unit as supervised by Officer Mike Gaskin. The maintenance chores they completed are greatly appreciated and go a long way in providing for the continuing upkeep needs of our county museum's buildings and grounds. The preservation and maintenance of Freestone County history for public display and enjoyment would be difficult without this valuable support.



What makes someone a Texas barbecue aficionado?

What’s the best barbecue “joint” in Texas? (I’m a language purist and won’t use bar-b-q unless it’s part of the establishment’s name.)

Of course, I don’t have the answer. Thousands of Lone Star wannabe aficionados do not either. I can state one thing with a certainty: Texas barbecue beats Louisiana’s version all hollow.


Confession: Columnists can be guilty of gallows humor

It is said that confession is good for the soul. Columnists can be guilty of gallow humor. The origin of that bit of wisdom about confession is unknown to me. Perhaps it was an early pope. Or, maybe it was a fundamentalist evangelical preacher seeking souls to come pouring down the aisle, tears flowing, guilt grabbing hold, ready to pledge their life and pocketbook

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Prison process progresses in punishment, preparation

Over the years, several factors have influenced my interest in our Texas prison system. 
A close proximity at times to the system, some friendships and a newsman’s natural curiosity (sometimes morbid) are among those factors bringing the process into my occasional view in a six-decade exposure to news events and newsmakers. 
It has often been fascinating viewing. 
Naturally, major events — executions, prison breakout 

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Wichita Falls a tough magazine cover story assignment

In one of my brief departures from country newspaper editing, I spent two years as associate editor of a business association’s monthly magazine. It was merely seasoning for the much tastier livelihood of editing small town newspapers.
Texas Industry magazine was the official publication of the-then Texas Manufacturers Association, now the Texas Association of Business.
Texas Industry was a slick publication and ceased to exist years ago.
Half of the issues were devoted to specific business-industry categories such


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Not remembering a date is symptom of CRS disease

Memory is a big deal as we age. Some of us in the septuagenarian generation can handle long term/long ago remembrance, while others do well with short term recollection, things that happened in the recent past.
What prompted this examination of memory is a recent mistake with a special date, my youngest brother’s birthday.
I called to issue a “have a happy day,” and caught him just as he was walking into a business meeting.
He informed me it was not his birthday but rather our


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First ‘interview’ was ‘lady’ wrestler, Leapin’ Leatha

Anyone just starting out in reality’s work-a-day world is going to make mistakes...some of them real lulus.
As a kid, a teenager and, briefly, as a young man, I was a bit on the bashful, shy side.
Those who have known me from middle age to now, will laugh at the idea of my shyness.
Naturally, parents and their personalities —   both their familial and public — greatly influence most youngsters.
My folks were so shy that when they married on


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Saw it all: Kodak Brownies to ‘smart phone’ cameras

Cameras have always been a puzzle to me.
If it isn’t a “point-and-shoot,” my ability to discuss the photo capabilities of any of those instruments is extremely limited.
After all, what can a guy do since he knows that when he says “mechanical,” he’s told you all he knows.
I mean, really, I’m supposed to be the creative sort, not some engineering miracle worker.
When the professor handed me a


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Criteria we use to define a ‘Texiz cuss word’?

Cursing is not a flattering form of speech for the speaker and certainly not for any intended or even incidental target.
Of course, in Texiz and much of the Old South, we don’t say “cursing,” we refer to the vile verbal bile as “cussin’.”
My mother’s list of unacceptable words was endless.
On the other hand, Dad’s raising was more hard-scrabble. He was a cowboy-rancher-farmer, who was orphaned at 11 and destined to a boyhood and pre-teen years as an unwanted Depression cast-off by his relatives.
His youth knew little tenderness or refinement. His language could be salty.
However, Dad knew better


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