Today is the 19th anniversary of my being in the birthing room of Houston's Memorial City Hospital observing the arrival of my son. Ryan has grown from 20 1/2 inches to 6'4" and now has to bend over to allow his father to hug him. Happy birthday Ryan.
The first time I ever saw a calculator I was eleven years old. One of my friend's father worked as a chemist at Dow Chemical and they had provided it for his job. It was stunning in its capabilities, and put an end to my upcoming need to learn the functions of the slide rule. It cost $250.00, which in today's dollar figures would be over $1300.00. It could add, subtract, multiply and divide with total accuracy. The four-function calculator now selling for $2.97 at Dollar General was an amazement to behold in 1968.
Our chances for rain are dwindling over the next week. Not being a meteorologist/weather expert, I do not know if the highly-publicized global warming issue is scientifically valid or not. From personal observation it does appear our winters in Kosse are shorter and less severe than in previous decades.
I can remember visiting my Groesbeck-area grandparents in the early to-mid 1960's during the winter months. My grandmother would be up early adding wood to the fireplace and wood-burning heater. As often as not there would be a white snow-covered glaze blanketing the ground outside. You could blow smoke with each breath taken inside the house. We would be shivering while waiting for her to finish cooking her made-from-scratch biscuits. They would then be covered in ribbon-cane syrup and devoured.
A former mayor of Kosse has passed away. Ruth Null lived to be 96, and was the mother of another former mayor, the late Woodie Null. You always knew where you stood with Mrs. Null. She would call me periodically to express critiques of whichever of my businesses she was concerned about at that moment. For the most part it involved the grocery store. The first time or two it happened I reacted defensively, but I soon realized the suggestions Mrs. Null was offering were valid and helpful, and I came to the point where I generally heeded her advice. I don't know if she ever knew that or not.
I've been spending a couple of hours each day working on this website. My latest project is a World War II History section and I am coming across some very interesting material. Tonight I added a page devoted to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Click here to read. I can remember Bill Parker, Mary Graeber's brother, telling me of the attack as an on-site observer. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor on that day of infamy in 1941, and personally participated in one of the most significant events of American history. It struck me as how matter-of-fact his Pearl Harbor anecdotes were (considering the gravity of its effects). I have read that most veterans of World War II served their wartime duties, came home, and did not realize the significance of their collective accomplishments. I think Bill was among this group.
I am watching the Don Imus Show. They are mentioning a current Internet conspiracy theory involving the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes baby. According to this theory, the baby has not been seen by anyone and there is a possibility that there is no baby at all. The highly-publicized pregnancy and birth was supposedly a ploy to gain attention. Reminds me of 1969 when rumors were rampant that Paul McCartney was dead and had been replaced by a look-alike Beatle. Click here for article. There were supposedly many clues indicating this, everything from his being barefoot on the "Abbey Road" album to hearing "dead man" if you played the song "Revolution 9" backwards on your 33 1/3 r.p.m. stereophonic turntable.
The school's summer vacation is already half over. When I was in school the vacations lasted a full three months, and it was my favorite quarter of the year. It was also my favorite time of the year when I spent seven years during my 20's teaching in Houston at an inner-city middle school. That was a tough environment.
Kenneth Lay, recently-convicted founder of Enron, died yesterday of a heart attack. According to Yahoo News, his pastor was Steve Wende of the Houston First United Methodist Church. Wende is extensively quoted in the article. Click here for article. The Kosse First United Methodist Church is having their summer revival beginning Sunday week. Steve Wende, the quoted pastor, is going to be the Tuesday evening speaker.
Tonight's news is highlighting the North Korean missile launch story. In the early 1980's I was in graduate school at Sam Houston State University. One of my history professors was Dr. James Hagerty, a former White House aide during the John Kennedy administration. He told us that during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, some of the top military officials were advocating a preemptive nuclear strike against the Soviets. At the time I was attending Elizabet Ney Elementary School and we began having weekly civil defense drills. We practiced getting underneath our desks or crouching against the wall with our hands folded over our head. As a five year old I did not give much thought to this activity and just thought it was part of being in kindergarten.
The fireworks show at the city park was quite entertaining. I put a photo of one display in the Kosse Courier. I remember a July 4th in the mid-70's when some friends and I were shooting off fireworks outside of Thornton. This was during the days when bottle rockets were legal, and there was one friend who kept trying to shoot the rest of us with a flaming bottle rocket. He would stick it in a glass Coke bottle, take aim, and light the fuse. He was relatively adept at this so was proving to be a hazardous nuisance. He had come to the gathering with his girlfriend in her father's car. It was a hot summer evening and she had the window of the car rolled down. The bothersome pyromaniac suddenly set off an errant bottle rocket shot which proceeded to go through her open car window, land in the front seat, and leave a nice burn hole on the cloth seat. Needless to say we were all most amused at this unusual turn of events.
I drove from Bremond to Kosse about an hour ago. There were two cows out of their fences and on the side of the highway about a mile south of town. Hopefully they will be put back before dark. It's dangerous enough driving in this area at night due to the wildlife without also adding our domesticated animals to the mix. I think I have run over just about every animal imaginable over the course of living in this area. Victims have included armadillos, possums, skunks, raccoons, squirrels, felines, snakes, rabbits, deer, horses, cows, feral hogs, rats and mice, birds, frogs, buzzards, chickens, guineas, owls, and a garbage can.
I've been trying to get my yard mowed for a couple of days. My professional landscaper is Don Porch and he's been busy doing community service this week. He committed the offense of burning rubber in front of Paul a few weeks ago. He was driving one of my cars at the time so I told him next time this happened I would burn some rubber on his noggin.
World peace appears forever elusive. Until the past few months I did not personally know anyone on the front-lines of Iraq or Afghanistan, and the war seemed in the abstract to a large degree. A few months ago Ryan's cousin, Wayne, was sent to Iraq. Wayne enlisted in the Marines a year or so ago. He signed up for the infantry knowing this put the odds of front-line combat at virtually 100%. The first week he was there his armored truck was struck by an IED. He was injured but survived and was soon back on duty. I think he has about six months remaining in his deployment time, and has told his mother, Cathy, the situation involves a significant risk of injury or death every day. I will not proselytize on the politics of the war. I just wish circumstances were such that Cathy and 130,000 other mothers did not have to wake up and worry everyday.
The Drudge Report is one of the internet's most popular websites with over 12,000,000 viewers per day. Limestone County is featured on today's Drudge Report but in a very unfortunate way. The featured story is titled "Central Texas woman run off road, raped by illegals..." and refers to last week's assault of the Tehuacana girl who was stabbed, raped, and left for dead. Click for article. This is one of the most viciously-disgusting incidents that has happened in my thirty-two years of Limestone County residency. The accused have confessed and I would think most any judge or jury would give them their wish to remain in the USA for the remainder of their lives-- in a prison cell.
According to Weather.com, Kosse has a chance of rain as high as 60% for the next ten days. That is generally good news this time of year, and 2006 is no exception. The farmers and gardeners will be hoping the forecasted precipitation does indeed occur.
I have never had much success with gardening so for years have lived with the "If you can't mow it, don't grow it" philosophy. The Rasco Business Group Restaurants Division buys enough farm and ranch products to keep a number of agrarian workers employed, so I suppose that is my contribution to the American farming industry. The last time I had a green thumb was when my grandparent's dog, Prince, clamped down on my right thumb in 1965. I never did figure out why that otherwise docile canine decided to bite me that day, but to this day my right thumb is slightly flatter than my left.
2006 is half over after today. I can remember in my youth the old geezers over 40 saying how quickly time went by and I never understood how they could think that. Now that my previous old geezer threshold is only a faint memory, I can personally attest to the wisdom of that observation. It's amazing how many things I never heeded from those older and wiser than me have actually come to pass.
My mother finally got the furniture moved from her home in Groesbeck to her new domicile in Lake Jackson. She will now be staying with my sister Katy. My youngest sister, Lee Ann, also lives in Lake Jackson so Mother will be well-cared for. As mentioned before in the Kosse Blog, I was born and raised in this Gulf Coast community. In fact, my father has a school named for him there, the Grady B. Rasco Middle School. We moved to Limestone County in 1974 where I was converted from a Brazoswood Buccaneer to a Groesbeck Goat.
One of the wisest people I ever knew was Brann Hamilton, the patriarch of a family which is still well-represented in this area. Brann was in his 80's when I first made his acquaintance. At the time we owned a grocery store in Thornton. Each day like clockwork Brann would come into the store to read the various newspapers I subscribed to, and after reading them we would discuss our views on the world. He would regale me with stories of prohibition, the Great Depression, World War II, and John Kennedy. He was still operating a bulldozer each day and was stouter than those a half-century younger. I remember one day he came in and announced he would be having surgery the following day to remove a brain tumor. I thought Brann's days were finally numbered and the surgery would undoubtedly immobilize him for an extended period of time. Much to my surprise I saw Brann driving up in his truck three days later. His head was shaved and he had a long incision across his scalp. He was acting like nothing had happened. I asked him how he was feeling, he replied fine, and that was the end of his conversation regarding the subject of having part of his inner head removed two days earlier. He lived for a few years thereafter and eventually passed away from old age. There have been many times in the ensuing quarter-century when I wished I had Brann's sage counsel and advice.