Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Seventy Years is a Lifetime

newspaper article

When the invitation came, I told Colten to not make any plans for July 28, as we would be going to Graham, Texas, to help celebrate Dick and Loreda’s seventieth wedding anniversary. He stood there a minute and thought.

“Seventy years,” he said. “Seventy years. That’s a long time.”

Yes, it is. A lifetime. And for them it has been a good lifetime.

Dick is my mother’s little brother whom she loved very much. Seems like I remember her refer to him fondly as Dickie Boy from time to time. Dick grew up in Olney; Loreda moved there from Archer County. They met on a blind date at Halloween. So maybe blind dates aren’t always such a bad thing! After graduating from Olney High School, he in 1937 and she in 1939, the romance continued.


Dick had joined the army in 1940, later switching to the air force. But then came Pearl Harbor. Even though he figured he would be involved in the war, knowing the uncertainties in wartime, the couple decided to go ahead and get married and let the story unfold. They were married on July 31, 1942, in Fort Worth, Texas, and they lived in Houston where Dick was stationed at Ellington Field.  Only a year had passed when the orders came in for Dick to leave  for further training in St. Louis and San Francisco. He was shipped out and served in Hawaii, Guam, Okinawa, and Funi Island of the Ellis Group Islands. His MOS was communications. Loreda went to live with family. She was pregnant with their first son, Richard, who was born on November 3, 1943.


When the war ended in 1945, Dick was one of the lucky ones who made it back home. They were living in Walters, Oklahoma, when second son Gary was born on July 22, 1949. They lived there for about three years where Dick had taken a job with General American Oil (which later sold to Conoco Phillips) and was transferred to Anson, Texas, and later to Crane, Texas. He worked for them for 35 years before retiring and opening his own shoe repair business in Crane. When they were in Houston, Loreda worked as a cashier in the new Sears store that had just been built downtown. After the boys were born, she added to her mother duties with jobs in town. In Anson she worked as bookkeeper for Heidenheimer’s Department Store, and later for Pittard’s Drug Store. She then was an assistant clerk at the draft board and was a postal carrier at the Post Office. When they moved to Crane, she continued the post office job until she bought the Sears catalog store.


IMG_8630Richard and his wife Jane live in Boerne, Texas. Gary and his wife Julie live in Spring, Texas.

Time passed. Dick decided to quit the shoe repair business, and Loreda had sold the Sears store and was making numerous trips back to Olney (no short trip) to care for family when they realized they were ready to go back to what, deep down, still  felt like home. Dick had no family left in Olney, and Loreda also had family in Graham, which is only a short distance from Olney. They liked the town, so in 1991 they moved to Graham. In September it will have been 21 happy years there.

In Graham Dick rekindled his love for the guitar and took up playing again. Loreda became a master quilter. As the years have passed in Graham, they have watched their three granddaughters become adults and have taken part in their great-grandchildren’s  lives. They made lasting friends everywhere they have lived and made many more in Graham.

IMG_8635We managed to pull the family together and keep the kids still long enough for this family shot.

IMG_8647Dick will be 93 in September; Loreda turned 91 in April.

So it was no surprise that they had a large turnout of well-wishers to help them celebrate their seventy years together at the anniversary party. Good friends from Anson and Crane even made the drive, After all, as Colten pointed out, seventy years is a long time and deserves recognition.


Happy Anniversary,  Mr. and Mrs. Drum!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

KCBD Comes to Muleshoe

IMG_8563About this time every year KCBD Channel 11 in Lubbock sponsors an event they call Community Coverage and run away from the offices in Lubbock for a round of road trips to visit five towns in their viewing area as a way of saying thank you for watching. This year it was Muleshoe’s turn again, having been visited the first time in 2006. The news crew and their whole entourage were here on July 23rd for the 6 o’clock and 10 o’clock newscasts live from the Muleshoe Heritage Center.


IMG_8605Abner Euresti and Benji Snead. Sorry about the windmill growing out of your head, Benji. I knew I should have taken another shot.

I asked Benji Snead, news director for the past 17 years, how this road trip concept came about. It all happened, he said, when they lost their main tower antenna to a fire 11 years ago, which caused them to have to broadcast on low power, which didn’t seem like a big deal, until they found out they would have to do that for the next six months and that viewers 20-30 minutes away would not be able to receive programming unless they were on cable. Bill de Tournillon, then general manager, called a meeting to discuss how the station was going to deal with this temporary dilemma. Out of that discussion came the idea of going on the road to assure small town viewers that they were not forgotten and were important to the station. So they tried it and were amazed at the positive reaction the visits received. And as Benji put it, the decision to make it an annual affair was a “no-brainer.” They have done it every year since then.


Small towns are visited on a rotating basis, five a year, always during the last week of July. This year the crew  will also be traveling to Abernathy, Denver City, Post, and Levelland, as listed here on Stephanie Thomason’s shirt. She was in charge of the teleprompter and passing out t-shirts as mementoes of the evening.

IMG_8584Kasey Coker, director of Muleshoe Economic Development, Gina Wilkerson, Chamber of Commerce president, and Rosa Davis, Chamber of Commerce board member, were instrumental in coordinating with KCBD for the day to be a success.

IMG_8595Clay Erwin, ad executive, and Josh Young, marketing, were my contacts at the station and graciously answered my questions and let me get in the way.


The purpose of these visits, of course, is to spotlight the town and its citizens, so after a quick look at a couple of lead news stories about Lubbock, the rest of the news centered on Muleshoe. The six o’clock broadcast included short stories about JK and Margaret Adams, who recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, a look around some of the buildings in the Muleshoe Heritage Center, and  Kenneth Henry at the newly relocated Yellow Jacket Inn. Maureen Hooten, a seventh-generation Muleshoe resident, talked about her family in the early days.


Anderson Brothers Jewelers in Lubbock participate in Community Coverage by giving away a piece of jewelry  in each town visited with a treasure hunt involving clues to find the treasure.  I missed clues two and three on the KCBD website, and Sharon Burris beat me and others to the certificate for a diamond necklace that was hidden on the section of old railroad tracks behind the Santa Fe Depot in the Heritage Center. Todd Fields and Ann Winegar from Anderson Bros. made the presentation along with Karin and Abner.


Magann and Jack Rennels and son Gilrobert were spotlighted for their continued dedication in covering local news and events on Channel 6 and Gil Lamb Advertising all these years. Pete Christy interviewed Jay Gorman on the boys basketball season last year and his new job as girls basketball coach for this season. And of course, John Robison gave the weather report.

IMG_8585Carpet Tech out of Lubbock brought their tailgating-equipped semi to the party, out of which hot dogs, chips, drinks, and ice cream sandwiches were served, all provided by United, Gandy’s Dairy, and Pepsi. The food was free but donations were accepted for Muleshoe Meals on Wheels.

IMG_8583The crew from United in Muleshoe and from Channel 11  who helped with the food: left to right; Angie Castello, April Castello, Rosa Davis, Nellie Ramirez, Danny Owens, George Guerrero, Kim Owens; back, left to right: Esteban Vidana, Jeff Ocanas.



Between the two broadcasts, many people hung around and visited. Some had brought lawn chairs and chairs had been brought out from the Depot. Ryan Johnson and the Calvary Baptist Church quartet sang, and I think some members of the Muleshoe High School choir came out and sang as well. Texas Tech Athletics Marketing and Promotions gave away a jersey-Luke Leal was the winner- game tickets, prizes from spinning a wheel of fortune, and brought a jump house for the kids to use. Bingo was even played before time to start again with the ten o’clock news.


IMG_8603I visited with Karin about the Janes ranch house, with John about trout fishing in New Mexico, and with Pete about his I Beat Pete challenge that involved a shark and a somewhat faulty shark tank. Abner and I reflected on how long my family had watched Channel 11 news and the fact that the time frame matched his, John, and Karin’s tenure at the station. We decided they all had to retire at the same time or not at all.


At 10 o’clock Karin and Abner discussed the role agriculture plays in Muleshoe, citing the growth of the dairy industry in the area. About 12 dairies have sprung up, housing an estimated 350,000 dairy cows and employing around 35 people per dairy. Mark Morton talked about the economic impact the dairies have had on the community. Muleshoe ISD and the Tolk Station were also mentioned as vital to the economy of the town. Gary Skaggs’ new business, Touched by the Cross, was introduced as one of the new businesses in town. and Laura Anzola presented her friend Maria Ramirez $300 in the Pay It Forward segment.

IMG_8613Tiffany Pelt reported on the Muleshoe Wildlife Refuge. She also reported on some segments in the 6 o’clock edition.


John Robison and Chris Timms from Ray Lee/John Deere Equipment Company drew the name of Ryan Johnson as the semi-finalist from Muleshoe for the John Deere Gator to be given away Friday after a semi-finalist is chosen from each city. John then went on to give the weather report, even as thunder and lightning appeared to the south of town.

Karin even worked Muleshoe into her Health Wise segment by talking to Dr. Robert Lepard about proper fluoride levels in well water for healthy teeth and recognized Dr. Bruce Purdy in his 30 years here as one of our main doctors and shared an interview with his son Tyson who is now practicing medicine with his dad. As one of Tyson’s former teachers, I had to smile when he mentioned having teachers as patients.

IMG_8619AAnd what would a visit to Muleshoe be without talking about football? So Pete interviewed Coach David Wood for Muleshoe’s Pigskin Preview and talked about the upcoming season as well as taking a nostalgic look at winning the state title in 2008 when his son Wes was the quarterback.

IMG_8622Ruben Villarreal, assignments manager, manned one of the cameras used that night. It was interesting to see all the different equipment besides cameras  they had to bring to stage the show.

IMG_8623Kids were invited in for the parting shot, thank yous and good-byes were said, and then it was all over. All but the loading up to go home.  I asked Josh Young how long it would take them to get everything loaded for the return trip. After all, they had been there all afternoon setting things up, He laughed and said that tonight, being the first night, about 45 minutes, but by Friday they would have it down to 15 minutes. Then he went on to say that it didn’t matter; it was worth it because this is always the best week of the year. Everyone enjoys the break in routine, visiting with people, and getting to know the surrounding towns. And he was not the only Channel 11 person to tell me that, and they did all seem to enjoy the night as much as we did.

So if you missed the festivities this year, wait about six years, and I think our turn will come up again. And next time I am going to find the hidden treasure…

Tuesday, July 17, 2012




Last summer we traveled to South Padre Island; this year it was Galveston Island’s turn. Those of you who have had the pleasure to play on both beaches will probably agree with me that Padre is the prettier beach, hands down. But the island has history on its side, and we decided to introduce Maya and Ben and their mother to some Texas history and let them experience another Texas beach.

So off we went, in two vehicles, no less, since we wound up with a few too many of us to comfortably fit into the Yukon. Plus, since we had two teenagers-Colten and his girl friend Stormi-and two younger ones-Maya and Ben-and four adults with varying interests-we figured having two cars which would allow us to check out different destinations might not be a bad thing,

After breaking up the trip with a night at the lake, the four of us  picked up AJ, Erin, and the kids at Kyle and were on our way. The plan was to brave the traffic and take 610 Loop right down into the historic belly of the Houston beast, which we missed since TXDOT decided to block the downtown exit for road work, showing absolutely no consideration for our vacation plans, and we had no choice but to zoom along with the metro version of NASCAR to I-45 until we were able to take the correct exit to the San Jacinto Monument and the Battleship Texas for our first history lesson.

IMG_8131San Jacinto Monument

IMG_8136The U.S.S. Texas sits in its berth with the Ship Channel behind it.

San Jacinto Monument, which, at 570 feet,  is taller than the Washington Monument, opened in 1939. It is a war memorial honoring those who fought in the decisive battle in the Texas revolution when General Santa Anna and his army were defeated. Located on the Houston Ship Channel, it and the battleship  U.S.S. Texas, are on the way to Galveston, so the state park housing them both was a logical stop along the way. We went up to the top for the view, checked out the museum at the base of the monument, but just drove by the battleship, to my dismay, as everyone was getting hungry by that time. The battleship is worth the time, however, if you are ever in the neighborhood. It turned 100 years old this year, the oldest surviving ship to have seen action in both world wars, and one of the few surviving ships build in the dreadnought style, which means it is equipped with the largest and deadliest guns of its era.

IMG_8145This is one view from the top of the monument, showing the refineries and industry at the edge of the battleground.

IMG_8134In this view from the top of the monument, you can see the Ship Channel and more refineries, and in the distance is the skyline of downtown Houston.

IMG_8152Colten and Stormi posed next to this poster at the top of the monument giving the history of the Port of Houston. You can also see on the poster a picture of the star on top of the monument.

After eating piles of shrimp at the Monument Inn, which was the San Jacinto Inn before it burned down years ago, we headed for the beach. The drive was interesting in that it takes you past all the oil refineries, some of which had taken it upon themselves to paint scenes from Texas history on the oil storage tanks along the way.



Upon arrival we cruised the Sea Wall, checked into the hotel, and hit the beach, which, unfortunately for us, was thickly littered with seaweed. I was told there had been a couple of high wind days which always churns up more seaweed, but being close to the mouth of the Ship Channel tends to create conditions that make the water darker and the beach a bit dirtier than beaches away from the activity. That didn’t seem to keep swimmers away, and our crew jumped right in anyway.





IMG_8328Note the ships in the distance waiting their turn to enter the Ship Channel.

While we did not make all the historical sites the city has to offer, and they are numerous, we did check out the Strand, the downtown area that was the hub of activity in the heyday of the city, the beautiful old Victorian homes, Moody Gardens, and the old cemetery that sits quietly in the middle of the city.










We also sampled the rides at the Pleasure Pier, a new attraction that went up as part of the clean-up and restoration after Hurricane Ike.



IMG_8364IMG_8205We also made a short visit to the Texas A&M Galveston campus on Pelican Island so Colten and Stormi could see one more college option, where we found a lovely line of oleanders, for which Galveston is well-known.

IMG_8330This sculpture  on the Sea Wall is in memory of those who died in the Great Storm, the hurricane that hit in 1900 and still stands as the worst natural disaster in American history. Isaac’s Storm: A Man, A Time, and The Deadliest Hurricane in History, by Erik Larson, Random House, is an engrossing account of this storm and how they actually raised the sea level of the entire island and built the protective Sea Wall after the storm.

Rather than go back through Houston, we chose to take the county road that goes the length of the island to the south, through San Luis Pass and comes out at Surfside Beach at Freeport, where I swam many times in my youth, and then drove up highway 36 to Rosenberg, a nostalgic trip for me and a pretty and unruffled drive for everyone else, and then eventually  back home.


So even though Galveston’s beach may not be found in one of those top ten pretty beaches lists, the beach is still worth the trip,  and there are many other things to do and see on the island. Give yourself plenty of time to see everything.

And eat lots of shrimp.