With a Little Help from my Friends

Since I’ve been working on some other matters, including my article about traffic for Austin Post, I thought now would be a good time to spotlight some great comments by readers in response to previous entries.

A wonderful gentlemen who is a friend, as well as an esteemed “hand” at the General Land Office, wrote, “The obituary story, Grand Finales, stirred some memories for me.  As I have probably mentioned to you, my dad was, among other things, a newspaperman.  In this capacity he was called upon to write many obituaries in “olden times,” a chore he thoroughly detested since he often had very little to go on for background material and often no personal knowledge of the individual.  As a result, he wrote his own obituary, placed it in a sealed envelope marked ‘To be opened upon the occasion of my death’ and placed it in one of the top drawers of his desk.  All of us knew where and what it was.  I was acquainted with many of the old hard-bitten newspaper people from San Angelo, Sweetwater, Lampasas, and other places.  These were a different breed . . . .  generally tough, thick-skinned people.  Political correctness would have driven these folks up a tree.  Anyway, upon dad’s death, one of the old friends from the Lampasas paper who had worked with him for many years came by to pay his respects and inquire about information for the obituary.  I walked to the desk, opened the drawer, and handed him the envelope, telling him what the contents were.  This tough old gentleman left with tears in his eyes.  I presume it was published just like dad wrote it… none of us ever looked at the original.”

Another good friend at the Land Office, wrote in response to the “JEESH” award for excellent English-speaking.  She asks that we consider “awesome” and “amazing” as candidates for eradication, except in a few warranted instances.  For example, she decries “those who use the word ‘awesome’ repeatedly as a response to common events such as complimenting a 10-year old for doing what you tell him (after five times of telling him), e.g., picking up his back-pack from the middle of the doorway.  It may seem awesome to some, but the fact you had to tell him five times no longer makes it awesome.”   She continues, “The frequency of the use of ‘awesome’ drives me crazy, but only slightly more than the overuse of the word “amazing,” as in, ‘that chocolate chip cookie was AMAZING!’   ‘This new high school we built is AMAZING!’ (Which I heard on the news this week.)   In my opinion, there are few events that warrant the word ‘awesome’ to describe them.  The return of Jesus . . . now that would be awesome.  Moses parting the Red Sea was awesome.  The Dallas Cowboys winning the Super Bowl in Jerry Jones Stadium, now THAT would be awesome!!”

In response to “Baby, It’s Cold Inside,” my friend Stephanie who no longer swelters in the heat, writing instead from her mountaintop abode not far from Aspen, Colorado:  “. . .  I remember the mesmerizing whir of our attic fan that lulled us all to sleep during those beastly Texas summers.   I remember clearly that, when we finally did get central air-conditioning, it was so quiet in the house that none of us could sleep, so we continued to run the attic fan!”   She also shares a poem by her Uncle Jack called Texas Lament:

Oh, the heat, the heat, the terrible heat
with the blazing sun in the sky!
My lawn’s kaput right down to the root;
and my body’s beginning to fry!
We hope and pray for the wonderful day
when the heavens their bounty will pour,
but resigned we’ve become to inevitable glum
for the aridity, which we abhor!
We wait in vain for the soothing rain;
in conditioned air we hide, as we
gasp and groan and sweat and moan,
and remember cool days gone by!

And finally, I’m inviting everyone to tell me more Bicycle Annie stories, since I’m building quite a repository of information about her.   In response to several blogs where Annie is mentioned, my friend Mandy tells me, “ Years ago I saw Bicycle Annie on the street, but she didn’t have her bicycle.  Her feet were bandaged and looked to be in bad shape.  She was using crutches.  I asked her if she was Annie, and she said her name wasn’t Annie but all the young guys called her that.  She said all those boys laughed at her for riding a bike, but she said I should take a look around at all the bicycles on the streets.  ‘I was a trendsetter!’ she said.”

I love your comments!  Keep those cards and letters coming, folks!

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About nowandthenadays

Observer of life who writes about Austin, women's issues, history, and politics. I retired as a Texas Assistant Attorney General after almost 40 years in state government in May, 2013.
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2 Responses to With a Little Help from my Friends

  1. Ruthie says:

    I love reading your blog. Keep them coming. 🙂

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