Commentary

Fri
19
Jul
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What is West of 98?

Essays from West of 98

As you know, my essays are identified as “from West of 98.” You’ve also no doubt seen that my bio promises the “forthcoming ‘West of 98’ podcast and website.” Occasionally, I receive questions about the meaning behind “West of 98.” Today, I want to share that meaning in this space and also share with you my coming plans.

Fri
12
Jul
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Faces & Places

““Each new day is a blank page in the diary of your life. The secret of success is in turning that diary into the best story you possibly can.” ~ Douglas Pagels

My second-grade teacher, Mrs. Carr, was always glad to see me, except that one time in early spring, when she told the class not to bring her any Pussy Willows. She said she was allergic. Since I didn’t know what allergic meant, all I heard was, “bring me some Pussy Willows.” All I could think about all day was being the first one to find a bush filled with the soft, fuzzy little gray nubs. I crashed through the door as soon as the bell rang.

Fri
12
Jul
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A Bigger Parking Lot

One year ago, I used this space to summarize the history of Stamford’s Texas Cowboy Reunion and the importance of its legacy. I wrote how the legendary Will Rogers visited the TCR in 1935 and described it as a “real cowboy reunion…in a real cowtown.” I wrote how the TCR was designed ss something more than a rodeo. It was an all-around, multi-generation celebration of the Texas cowboy. I wrote that, in my humble opinion, this was why the TCR has persevered as many small-town rodeos have struggled or disappeared entirely.

Wed
03
Jul
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Communities that Work Together, Win Together

Freedom, independence, self-sufficiency: these are great and glorious concepts. We celebrate them this time of year, whether we process it that way or not, because they're so deeply engrained in our image of America. We see ourselves as a nation of rugged individualists: seizing the bull by the horns, charting our own course, walking alone into the forest with an axe slung over our shoulder.

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Wed
03
Jul
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2 Cents Worth

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CAROL GREENWAY-HOLLAND

Beautiful day in Aspermont, Texas, this morning, we've already been to Rotan, and picked Jay's and Lance's gardens. Jay has been trying to get that cotton planted so he's been working from daylight to dark, and Lance said, "Mom I can just eat so much, so I told him to start giving it to all his neighbors." Our neighbors are already saying we don't need any more squash and cucumbers. Joe's garden because of

all the rain has just taken off.

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Wed
03
Jul
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Faces & Places

I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn't sorry, and accept and an apology I never received.” ~ Anonymous

Forgiveness is a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. ... Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing or becoming reconciled.

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Thu
27
Jun
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What is your passion?

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What is your passion?

My youth was spent with two pieces of wood in my hands. If you ask anyone who knew me during my school years what they remember about

me, they’ll most likely remember that I always had a pair of drumsticks in my back pocket. As kids my age were dreaming of major league stardom, I was dreaming of playing drums with Stan Kenton’s big jazz band.

My obsessive passion began when the veterans of the American Legion placed my first pair of wooden sticks in my little hands at age ten. I had no idea what was happening, but these inanimate objects came to life and quickly became a defining part of my personality. Drumsticks became a part of my body as much as my fingers and toes. Like a child, carrying their favorite teddy bear, my sticks became an inseparable extension of me. Wherever I was, so were my sticks.

Thu
27
Jun
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Faces & Places

“Each time a woman stands up for herself she stands up for all women.” ~ Maya Angelou

Writer’s block is worse than acid reflux. I would know because I’ve had it for about two weeks, so I went back to one of my books about writing and got some ideas to free myself. One of the suggestions said to write about what I know. Ok, I tried that and probably have hacked off about half the Southern Baptist Convention in my story last week about sexual abuse. Having been a Southern Baptist for over 40 years, I thought that might give me an edge or at best some forgiveness and appreciation for my honesty.

Thu
27
Jun
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Governor orders guard troops to border to assist feds

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STATE CAPITAL HIGHLIGHTS

AUSTIN — On June 21, the day before President Trump called off a national sweep to find and detain undocumented non-citizens, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the deployment of 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Rio Grande.

Accompanied by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Adjutant General Tracy Norris in a state Capitol news conference, Abbott said the deployment would assist the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol with the “escalating humanitarian crisis” at the Texas-Mexico border.

"In the past three weeks alone," Abbott said, "more than 45,000 individuals from 52 different countries have been apprehended illegally crossing the border into Texas. The crisis at our southern border is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before and has put an enormous strain on the existing resources we have in place.”

Thu
20
Jun
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Eating Without Agendas, Reprise

Over the last couple of essays, I’ve written about public spaces that unify our communities. I’ve also written about the need to overcome the social divisions in our communities (whether those divisions are obvious or latent). If our communities are to grow, then they need to grow in a way that benefits the community at large, not just certain factions or segments.

Funnily enough, I was thinking about community unity about this time last year, too. As such, I would like to re-share that essay from last year. Community unity is of the utmost importance to me and it requires open, honest, raw conversation. Last year, I wrote about unity through food. I quoted the late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who once said that a shared meal can “break barriers, challenge assumptions, and build bridges.” Bourdain said there is no better way for people to understand each other than over a meal together.

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