Monday, February 11, 2019


Having just watched "The Whole Truth" on PBS with David Eisenhower, a discussion of developments energy in this great land of ours, I was attracted to the varying attitudes about the time required to develop renewable energy as a viable replacement for fossil fuels. 

I can recall that in the early years of the automobile, electric and external combustion power was tried for automobiles, but was probably politically discouraged in favor of internal combustion. 

Without the plentiful and cheaper fuel with prices limited by law, I think it is likely that development of alternative fuels could have come much further along.  When the price limits were removed, the "traditional" vehicles had b
become habitual.

By the time I began driving legally, at age fourteen, no one was considering anyrhing other than a gasoline powered passenger vehicle.  Diesel was for long-haul trucks.

ABOUT "the time required" for changes...

During the half a year before I became four years old, my family lived in four different places in four different towns.  It seemed to me that we were in each place for a long time.

We then returned to live in the city of my nativity for what I have often deemed "the longest year of my life" (which was actually no more than three-quarters of an actual year, but experienced as a four-year-old).

Now that I am significantly older than four, and my mind is filled with joyous experiences of many, many years, I read of the battle of Little Bighorn and think of it as {slightly) less than sixty years before I was born.  The last of the Indian-fighter solders left Fort Davis only forty-five years before I began my earthly visit.  In the context of the years I have witnessed, the passage of time seems so trivial now.

A lady lies in our old town cemetery, who was born when George Washington was President, and died less than forty-four years before my birth.  I will always wonder how she felt about all that happened to our country within her ninety-eight years.

But most of all, I ponder my own life, and all that has transpired through the years.

Thursday, January 3, 2019


No photo description available.This is the first of the silly damyankee "Border Memes" that has failed to transform my normal sweet gentle nature.  The significant word is 1836.

In NO WAY do I see our neighboring country of Mexico agreeing to pay for any monument to Trump.  The wall, if such a gimmick transpires, will be completely funded by Taxpayers of The United States, not Los Estados Unidos de Mexico!  And it will be built, at least at Texas,' not on The Border, but on dry land on the US side, effectively, if not statutorily, ceding part of Texas to Mexico.

When I lived in New Mexico for a few blissful years, in a time before neither Mexicans nor Palestinians had invented their "racial identity", I asked a question of my co-workers.  As a recent arrival from Texas, I was filled with a yearning for learning.  The question I asked was, "Why do ALL of the Mexicans here call themselves 'Spanish'?"  The answer, from those with tenure, was, "Because they never really had much to do with Mexico."  The land had been governed by Spain for 300 years before it was taken over in a revolution by Mexico, and held for a mere 34 years before it was ceded to the USA."

That seemed reasonable to me,...Mexico was a "flash-in-the pan"  to the old families, and native New Mexicans.

Knowing more now about Texas history than we were taught in Texas schools, and firmly believing that "history is a matter of opinion", I still endorse the legitimacy of the Texas Revolution, which was fought against the dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna,  not really the upstart country of Mexico.
 Image result for alamo flag

Saturday, December 29, 2018

"The House That Bung Built"

Before Christmas, while trying to confirm the pronunciation of "Marit", I thought about "The House That Bung Built".

Bung did not actually build the house with his own hands, but no one could deny that it was his house, conceived and executed with all the loving care and skill of any dedicated craftsman.

Soon after the firm had completed a substantial  project  for the University of New Mexico, Bung (sometimes known as Edward O. Holien) felt he could swing the "dream house".

His daughter Sigtid Marit Holien, was now married, and her younger brother Tommy was still living at home.  A smaller house could suffice for Bung, his wife "Prebbie", and Tommy.

Assuming that it would take at least a year to sell his "old" residence at a favorable price, he listed it with a realtor, and it sold immediately.  That put the new place into "emergency" status. which led to a number of anecdotal consequences, which will not be detailed.

To make what could be a long story tolerable,  I will report only that Bung spent many an hour at the drawing board and the place virtually across the street, which was being designed and built simultaneously.  He had a very understanding and tolerant contractor.

After the numbers, which included some commissioned artistic craftsmanship were all assembled, Bung announced, "My house cost TWENTY DOLLARS a square foot!"  We all thought it quite exorbitant, but it was 1962, long before Nixon-Friedman Dollars, which were as yet not imagined.

Bung passed on after only five years, which left "Prebbie" (Louise Predle Holien) and Tommy in the house, and after that, only Tommy, then Tommy and his wife Elaine, until they relocated in Florida, and Siggie and her husband John Marlow occupied The House That Bung Built.

Since Siggie's passing in 2015, John continued in the cozy, durable masterpiece.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Another rambling recollection...

Today, on another whim inspired by a Facebook posting, I was reminded that Dan Rather was a graduate of Sam Houston State University.

I am familiar with that Institution of Higher Learning, and know that when Dan attended, before every institution beyond high school wanted to be a "University", it was known as Sam Houston State Teachers College. The assistant director of our church choir, who also studied Sam Houston, said that many students thought Sam Houston Institute of Technology would have a nice ring to it. My mother, long before she became my mother, took classes at Steven F. Austin State Teachers College. the original Steven F Austin State University. My sister and her husband attended Southwest Texas State Teachers College, but when Rie, Donna, and The Matriarch attended, it had become Southwest Texas State University, but later someone had the brilliant revelation that since the Texas once recognized by Mexico was from a distant past, it was unfitting to call it "southwest" in the great wide state of Texas, so it is now Texas State University, a pretentious, and moderately confusing title.

I have similar thoughts about banking, health care, and business in general, but at this very moment in time, I wonder if perhaps delusions of grandeur are a significant contributor to the cost of higher education?
Will the ever-expanding Austin Community College soon want to be "The Capital of Texas Grande University"???

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Today, on a whim,...

I recalled a burning question from my second day of work in Santa Fe, a number of decades ago, when I was the father of an only child, but with word from a wife who has never missed yet in her prognostications.

On the first day, I learned that everyone in the office was invited to the wedding of the daughter of the Holien partner of Holien & Buckley, my brand new employers.

So the next day, I commuted "churchily attired"  from Albuquerque, where I was staying with In-law relatives until I could collect my family in south Texas and return to settle in Santa Fe.

I was married in a Roman Catholic edifice and have visited many, including the cathedral in Austin, but was not prepared for the grandeur of Saint Francis.

Not yet having met the boss's daughter, but knowing that her dad called her "Siggie", I could not grasp why, from my position well back from the action, , I heard the priest consistently refer to "Secret Mary".  I had never noticed any similar appellation assigned to my own bride, or any other in my experience.

I learned rather quickly that her name was Sigtid Marit, a combination of very well used Scandinavian names, but today my curiosity took me to more recent knowledge that Siggie had left us behind in 2015 at age 81, in "The House That Bung Built", within sight and hearing of the office that provided education, entertainment, and sustenance for us in the early 1960s.

"The House that Bung Built" will be documented at a later time,  I fear rhat there is much more than should rightfully be appended to this, even though it will say more about Siggie.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Here about the beach I wander'd, nourishing a youth sublime~A, L T

The young dapper dandy dreams dim and distorted, yet constantly carries conviction that clarity will come.  Whoever could consider that  within a brief half-decade the consequences of complete captivation by the cunning cajolary of the sultry temptress would fixate his focus forever!

Thursday, December 20, 2018


For this entire day I have been wearing my "COMMAS SAVE LIVES" T-shirt, a most appropriate gift from my neighbor, brought back from her most recent visit to her spiritual home in Alaska.

For uncountable years I have carried in my inquisitive mind varying questions about the Pledge written in the nineteenth century  for school-age children to encourage patriotism.  The tender little chant has been modified over time by politicians, including even the stance and hand motions used in its execution.

The pledge reached official recognition before I was born. and over the years, like "The Eyes of Texas" (which originated as a spoof) has attained a semi-sacred status.

It is with the Cold War adaption of the pledge that I am most concerned because in its execution, it vandalizes the meter.  I noticed it the first time ever we said it in assembly, my senior in high school.  Tony Sanchez, whose concerns were elsewhere, was sitting beside me, asked me in a confidential manner, "How can they say 'with liberty and justice for all', when the Negroes don't have our freedom?" 

I thought Tony had a valid question, which has still not left me, but my concern for the moment was the butchered flow of the words,

It took me years, and internet access to "look it up". and I found that the wording authorized by President Eisenhower was, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

 I say the chant in public using that legitimate phrase I always get out of step with the crowd, who say, "one nation,...(giving time to say 'oh, yeah') indivisible,".  In this case, injecting a comma where no comma should be.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Tedious, Sweet and Loving Recollections Inspired By a Holiday Greeting

In the earliest years of the twenty-first century, my awareness contained only the tune, and neither the backstory nor the words to "Sweet Baby James". I now know the real words, and the story which inspired them.
Our vagabond "baby" daughter chose to make a home in North Carolina, specifically in Asheville. It was in those years that we decided that she was settled sufficiently that we could make the trio to visit her there.
On the several routes we took during the first several trips (we had become emotionally attached to Asheville), we encountered a multitude of construction projects and detours. I was plagued with an earworm of my own creation. I would frequently, over the course of that long drive, repeat in my mind the words "It's a rugged ol' ride, from Asheville to Austin", to the tune of that familiar James Taylor song. Now that the aforementioned daughter and her family have settled here in Texas, and live right downstairs in the same house, we no longer make the trip, which has since become much smoother and easily traveled.
And so, when we received a card from one of our dearest friends, whom we affectionately call "our other Donna", with a vintage representation of Main Street Stockbridge, I got teary-eyed.