Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bricks, Blankets, and Two-Dog Nights

After putting up with cold sheets for most of the winter this year, it dawned on us to add an electric blanket to our linen collection. Why didn’t we think of this sooner? It has been a while since we have had an electric blanket; over the years they would quit working, get torn up or worn out, lose their controls, whatever, and over time were not replaced. This winter has been especially icy, and since our two-dog heating system was a bit spotty and unpredictable, a spiffy new blanket was just the ticket. I have heard that a person can gain a much as eight pounds a year using one of these modern conveniences instead of producing their own body heat under the covers. After this winter, I am willing to take my chances.

Comparing the warm bed to icy sheets brought back memories of Christmas trips to Olney to see Grandmother and Grandaddy. We would leave after Daddy closed the shop on Christmas Eve, drive all night from Rosenberg to Olney and get there in the wee small hours when the night had had time to drop to ridiculously low temps. My sister and I were always the ones who got to sleep in the screened-in back porch, which had no heater. This room was in the back corner of the house and had two walls that were, literally, made of great big sheets of window screen with rolls of canvas that could be raised and lowered inside the room, of precious little use in warding off the cold outside.

But Grandmother was a resourceful woman and had her own way of dealing with the situation. By the time we arrived, unpacked, and were ready to get in that glacier of a bed, she had a brick heated and wrapped in a dish towel and had tucked it into the foot of the bed for us. We would gingerly crawl into that iceberg, giggling and gasping as our feet searched for that toasty brick. Then, of course, we wouldn’t move until we had that spot warmed up and would inch over to warm up a bigger area and so forth until the bed was tolerable and we had drifted off to sleep.

If it was windy, the canvas covers would bang around all night and more cold air would make its way into the room. But we were snuggled up with our brick, happy and content and made it through the night just fine, thank you very much.

So if your electric blanket is on the fritz or the dogs aren't cooperating, if all else fails, heat a brick. And make a memory.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ronnie Jones 1941-2014

The Voice of the Mules on Friday nights will not be the same next football season; half of the Bob and Ronnie team will be watching from the clouds. Ronnie Jones passed away January 22, 2014.

Ronnie grew up in Oklahoma and briefly in Texas, moving back to Texas and Muleshoe from Synder, Oklahoma, in 1964, which explains his devotion of the OU Sooners. After all, he is from Oklahoma…

But he was also a Muleshoe Mule faithful, having taught and coached in the Muleshoe ISD system for 37 years, also serving as assistant principal at Watson Junior High. I worked with Ronnie when I taught at the junior high. He taught Texas history, which tied in nicely with his interest in cowboys, the West, and western movies.

I guess next to the Sooners and football, his favorite things in life were John Wayne movies and history. His collection of John Wayne movies and memorabilia is legendary and his ability to retell the plots and share details about them was also amazing. As I took my seat in the First Baptist sanctuary before the service began, I was almost surprised that we weren’t watching a John Wayne movie on the video screen; after all , it would have been fitting. Maybe that didn’t happen because it was too hard to narrow the choices to what Ronnie would have chosen, had he had the chance.

As stories were told of Ronnie’s and his Uncle Bob’s (Bob Graves, the other half of the Voice of the Mules) penchant for being, as Stacy Conner put it, the worst best fans of the Sooners, heads nodded in agreement as chuckles of recognition filled the air. The Sooners always needed another quarterback, a new coach, a stronger defense, whatever. And yet Bob and Ronnie would defend them to the end.

So as we filed by Ronnie’s casket, covered with Sooner red and white flowers, to pay our last respects, and Willie Nelson was singing “ My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys,” it was only right that in his hands was an OU cap.

So, to  borrow a phrase from another old cowboy,

                                                                Happy Trails, Ronnie.

                                                                           -and give our regards to John

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

And Speaking of Texas Aggie Traditions…

When the Aggies lose a football game, another way the 12th Man supports the team is hanging around for a yell practice, since apparently we didn’t yell enough during the game. The Yell Leaders choose appropriate yells, lead the singing of “Spirit” instead of the “War Hymn” since the game is over and we didn’t wage enough war,  and then we leave.

From time to time this causes problems, like it did one year after Texas Tech managed to run up the score before we ran out of time….and in their shock of winning the game, some overzealous Tech fans stormed the field, pulled down the goal posts-which I have never understood-seems like vandalizing your own field. And no matter how big the game we might win, at Kyle Field or not, Aggies just don’t do that. But I digress. Anyway, the goal post came down, the fans managed to drag it over to the Aggie student section, flopped it into the crowd, and all hell broke loose. All we wanted was a little respect and the chance to finish the Yell Practice, but tempers flared, punches were thrown, disagreement ensued over who started the brouhaha, and the TV sports talking heads had a field day with it.

I don’t think the controversy was ever solved to anyone’s satisfaction, but the tone was set, and the rivalry continued until A&M moved to the SEC.

So if you ever attend an A&M game and see the Aggies lose but fans remain in the in the stands, please remember your sportsmanship and give us a hard time after Yell Practice.