Thursday, April 30, 2009

For some reason, an old song from the '40s popped into my mind today. When I was 11 years old, in 1943 a song came out on the country/western amd pop music stations called "Pistol Packin' Mama". I remember when we would listen to this song on the radio on the farm in Wilson County Texas. It was about the same time the REA brought us electricity. But we already had a battery radio we listened to. The song was written by a man from East Texas name Al Dexter. In 1939 there was a shootout in Cherokee County when the sheriff Bill Brunt was killed by a bootlegger Red Creel. This happened near Rusk. Creel also died. Brunt's wife, Mary was appointed sheriff. Mary put on her pistol and took over her husband's duties. That's when Dexter wrote "Pistol Packin' Mama" and recorded the song with Gene Autry's band as backup.

The song was released in June 1943 and though controversial because of the lyrics, went straight to #1 on county and western juke boxes and #2 on the pop charts. Billboard rated it #1 for three weeks in 1944 and it sold a million copies the first six months.. People never got tired of the song.

I listened to the Hit Parade on Saturday Nights back in the 1940's, and I can still remember this recording from those days - Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters singing it on the Hit Parade. I loved the Grand Ole Opry and the Hit Parade on Saturday nights. Things were so simple back then. Now this song would be called "politically incorrect, and Al Dexter might be sued for talking bad about women carrying guns. Here is the song on Youtube!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I went to the "TEA Party" the other night. I went to the Veteran's Home to visit my husband, then dropped by the Wilson County Courthouse to see what was happening. I was pleasantly surprised. The crowd was not rowdy, angry or rude. People were sitting around the grassy lawn on quilts and in lawn chairs, or standing. Everyone was listening intently to each speaker, who were not politicians but just plain old folks. Every once in awhile applause went up. It was not a happy, fun group. It was a serious, worried, concerned group of plain old country folks wondering what was happening to our nation.
I saw a spattering of signs like "Congress hasn't earned a pay raise" and "No more bailouts". I saw children sitting quietly with their parents on the grass, behaving and obedient, quiet but sometimes giggling like kids do.
These appeared to be middle class Americans who went to work every day and came home to their families and were trying to make a living. They were not expecting the government to bail them out every time they couldn't pay their bills. Mothers pushing baby strollers and grandmas and grandpas holding on to each other as they slowly stumbled to their cars as the night grew dark, the street lights came on and the speakers wound down for the night.
To me this was freedom in America. All these people were hoping and praying for Texas and our country. I could see tiredness in many faces. I sat on a bench and rested and listened to the speakers and everyone who walked by me smiled as they headed for their homes. This was small town America.
When I walked to my car as the darkness set in, I felt content and blessed, but a little sad. How much longer would our country be free? Only God knows.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Town With Diverse Cultures

I was just thinking today about the difference in towns in this county. When I drive through Poth, Stockdale, Lavernia, Sutherland Springs or Floresville I get a different feeling in each town. It is something I can't really place. Each town is so different. There are good things and bad things about each one, just like any city or town in the USA. I think a town reflects the people that live there. The buildings might be different, but when you drive around town, you can tell if the town is dying or growing or just sitting there. If the homes in the towns are well kept, the yards are neat, with flowering trees and bushes everywhere, even if they are small that gives you a good feeling.
But if you see trash piled up in the driveways and junk cars, and garbage stacked in the front and the back yards, and grass needing mowed, no flower beds, it is a sad looking town. It reflects the people who live there. It is depressing.
If I see businesses that are neat, and some with even a flowerpot in front, it makes me want to go in. It is something that draws me there.
What I see is Lavernia is growing, it is a busy little town, and so is Floresville, with more new businesses opening up. Stockdale, Sutherland Springs, and Poth are growing slowly but with more people not businesses. Poth and Stockdale's schools are what are keeping them on the map. Both have great schools, and the schools are the focal point of the towns, especially the sports programs. The people in the town always support the schools. It makes them a closely-knit town. It reminds me of the Kasper community in Southwest Wilson County back in the 30's and 40's. That community had no church, community center, grocery story, filling station or post office, but we had Kasper School. That was the place where things "happened". It it was the focal point of the community. Dances, school programs, parties, elections, all were held there. When the school closed, the community was lost. It was no more!
So, I guess my point is when a new business opens up everyone in the town must support the business. Encourage them; make suggestions if they see things aren't going good. Pray for them. A good chamber of commerce really helps a town. But any organization is only as good as it's people and how dedicated they are.
I was thinking about the different cultures we have in Texas. There are the Hispanic, the African-American, and the Anglo, which include German and Polish. All have different cultures. Study those cultures, and you will see such a difference. What is culture? Websters says: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also: the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life}.
I am learning a lot about different cultures. That's because I have several different nationalities in my own family: Anglo, Hispanic, and African-American. It is pretty interesting! And funny, too! We were integrated before there was integration!
By studying and actually living with those differences, I have seen that our beliefs, social forms, material traits are all different. But we must all live together amiably and lovingly in one household, and one family, and in our one town even though we are all of different race, religion, or social group.
We are such a diverse county. We can integrate our talents and gifts and business expertise together and use them to encourage one another, our businesses, our neighbors, our city governments our schools and churches. There should be no prejudice.
When people drive through our towns in Wilson County, do they say, "Oh, this is such a pretty town?”
I wonder if they say, “The houses are so well kept and pretty, and the businesses look interesting, and exciting and busy. And I don't see any junkyards or trash anywhere. There are so many pretty trees and flowers. And look how friendly the people are. They wave at you as you drive past! I would love to live here!"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yesterday my son and daughter-in-law and I sat together and talked about how our freedoms in this country are slowly being taken away. Now they are in their forties and I am in my seventies, so we have lived over 100 years together. They can remember when they had so much more freedom and I can really remember! I can remember when everyone living in the country could carry a rifle or shotgun in their pickup all the time. It was for for shooting a rabbit, or skunk, or rattlesnake or 'possum if they wanted to. No one ever thought about taking a gun and going to a school and killing everyone in it! You didn't hear about someone going into a restaurant and killing a dozen people. Oh, maybe two men got in an argument and one shot the other. But just random drive-by shootings? What?
We also talked about how the government is so controlling that a new experimental drug for cancer that is showing such great prospects is not OK'd by the FDA, and the parents of a local boy named Luke Pollok who has brain cancer cannot get it for him for that reason. It seems everything has to go through the government now! Where are the people's rights?
It would be fine if the men and women in government were honest and cared about the people. But everyone is out for gain! It is each man for himself. And to heck with the people. And both parties are guilty! I think I am going to be an Independent!
There may have been corruption and greed in the men the government back in the '40s, but we the people had much more freedom to do what we wanted.
When you got married you married for life. There were few divorces, And most young men and women didn't have sex before marriage, they waited. Well, most of them. The moral standard was much higher back then. Believe me - I lived it! Now young girls are having babies so fast, when they reach 17, some already have three! And most are not married. I think that came in with the "if it feels good do it", was that the hippie generation?
I was just thinking things got really bad after they took prayer out of schools. I was there. I know. I remember how it was before that! Now there is no prayer and the government controls the schools. And a teacher is not allowed to pray for a student? Is that right?
So what I was thinking is this. It is the moral decay of our country that has caused the mess our country is in. Our country was based on Christian principals, now look! I wonder how much longer till we become a Muslim or atheistic nation? Because all we hear is that we must accept all religions. I don't know about that....
I had a dream last night, where I was so outraged with the way things were going to pot in our country, that I organized a coalition of people and we all said, "Enough is enough."
It was just a dream. But I pray for our country because I love our country. And I pray that God gives me 20 more years and during that time we will see our country somehow return to the Lord.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Reasons for Living in a Small Town

Ten reasons to live in a small town (Floresville):

1. Everywhere you go you see one someone you know, who smiles and waves at you or stops to talk
2. You don't feel lonely
3. While driving nearby in the country, on a country road, friendly people wave at you (in the city they give you the "finger")
4. At night it is quiet and you can sit on your front porch or deck and listen to the night sounds of frogs, cicadas or an occasional dark barking in the distance
5. You are not woken in the night with sirens from ambulance, firetrucks, or police cars going down your street
6. Friendly people ask how your husband or your daughter is doing all the time
7. There are no traffic jams
8. It takes five minutes to get to the Supermarket (HEB) or Wal Mart
9. If you like you can have home made breakfast tacos with home made tortillas delivered to your door every morning for only $1.50 each (Jeanette Herrera our pastor's wife!) Yummm
10. There are only three red lights in the whole town

I left this Texas county nearly 60 years ago, and I have been back nearly two years. I was only 17 then. I was glad to leave the farm. But now I am back "driving in the slow lane" and I wouldn't take this life for any other. It's a peaceful life. I wish I would have appreciated it more back then.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Drought in South Texas

I am trying out this new blog which I ran across this morning. Since I love to write and I think a lot this way I can write about all kinds of things that are on my mind. Some people may not think it interesting, but I don't care. Just getting things off my mind sometimes, writing it down, will help me. I don't intend to offend anyone, but if I do, I am sorry, just don't write and tell me! I don't take criticism well! And that's a fact!

What I am writing about this morning is the drought in Texas. I just read about the drought all over the USA, mostly west of the Mississippi River. Including Texas, where I live...South Texas!
When I drive down the highway and the streets of this small Texas town - it is dry, dreary, brown and scary! Why? Because I grew up here during the 30's and 40's - graduated and moved away, but saw my parents lose their 100 acre farm in the 50's due to the drought. I saw what it was like those years in the early 50's. I looks like that now. It is not a pretty sight.

Being raised on a farm but living in big cities for nearly 60 years, I was away from what it feels like to live in the country. I was glad to leave the farm, and hoped to never come back. Now I am back living in this county and in Floresville, and experiencing the feeling of a drought. It is on everyone's mind - everywhere you go. It is what people talk about. The farmers are hurting.
I also study history, especially Texas history. I have read about the struggles back at the turn of the 20th century, of living in Wilson County where there was no rain, no lakes, no water, not many wells. People took their wagons and mules 5 to 10 miles just to get water to water their livestock and to drink for themselves and cook, and bathe.

Even in the 1930's and '40's my daddy did the same for us, because the windmill pumped up the worst tasting water, hard as rock as my Daddy would say, and we could not drink it or cook with it. Or even wash clothes with it. When it was a drought and we had no water in our cistern by the front porch from the water pouring off the roof when it rained, Daddy took the old pick up truck with two water barrels to an artesian well on someone's ranch miles away to get us drinking water. We hoarded that water like it was gold.

I also remember the dust storms sometimes during the depression years and the sand seeping into our house through the cracks and it was hard to breathe, and we put handkerchiefs over our faces to keep the sand out of our nostrils and mouths and even eyes. Yes I do remember.
So, living in a drought area is a scary thing.

At least now I have an airtight house, and air conditioning and running water out of a faucet and a water filter to make this awful tasting water in the city taste better! I am grateful for many things.

But S. Texas is desperate for rain. It has not rained in 7 months. We watch the skies for storm clouds just like my daddy did back then. He would stand on the edge of the field and watch and talk and mutter to himself and cuss especially when the clouds would begin to rain and then stop and go the other way just as they got to the edge of his farm.

He would come in after dark and go to bed in a really bad mood. We stayed clear of him and tried not irritate him. I remember thinking how some day I would live where it rained and I would never live in such a dry country. Never say never!