Thursday, August 31, 2006

What's in Your Stash?

Those that know me know that I have an affinity for things miniature. Mostly this is in the realm of dollhouse miniatures (the good quality dollhouses for adults type of miniatures).

Back when I first got into the miniatures hobby, you just couldn't find miniatures. This was pre-Internet, back in the dark ages of the 1970s. While dollhouse miniatures were pretty big business in England, the U.S. just didn't have that much available. A rare toy store might carry a few, but they were few and far between. You learned to develop your eye to "see" miniatures in ordinary items that could be found in a hardware store or other commonplace locations. For instance, there is a copper piece that plumbers use that looks very much like a miniature cooking pot. An empty jelly container at a fast-food restaurant makes a good miniature sink (with a wee bit of tweaking). An empty cream container is about the right size for a miniature wastebasket. And so on and so forth.

Things have much improved over the years and miniatures are easier to find. Now, with the Internet, you can find just about anything in miniature that you might think about possibly wanting for a miniature scene. You might not be able to pay for it, but you can find it. But my mind hasn't adjusted to that. It still thinks I need to grab and hoard mini items when I see them, as insurance for the needs of future projects.

So I have a serious hidden stash of miniature furniture, miniature accessories, and things that I see that could maybe be used to create miniature illusions one of these days down the road. This stash has been growing quietly in the darkness for several years, during a period that I have been focused on my genealogy hobby.

I mentioned awhile back that I had a genealogy burnout earlier this year and decided to take the summer off in favor of returning to my knitting and miniatures hobbies for a change of pace. The knitting fell by the wayside when I made a completely asinine, stupid mistake in the middle of a shawl. I decided that I had best divert to the miniatures before I got frustrated enough to strangle myself with the knotted mess that I ended up with after trying to correct the asinine, stupid mistake.

So my first step was to dig out all the boxes of squirreled away miniatures and inventory what I had to work with. It was truly frightening. Boxes and boxes of furniture. Boxes of accessories. Boxes of wallpaper, flooring, windows, paint. About 6-8 dollhouse kits. I could never buy another miniature (fat chance) and have enough on hand to furnish every one of those dollhouse kits that have not yet been put together, not to mention all the box rooms and vignettes that are on the drawing board.

I've actually completed three miniature projects this year, so there is hope. The latest is a project inspired by a $3 garden shed I found at a Hallmark shop.

Aside from the shed itself, I think I made two purchases to complete the little scene. Everything else I found in my stash. I'm not sure whether I should be pleased with that fact or worried about myself. Because this was just a tiny tip on the top of an iceberg.

I started thinking about this after reading an article by the Yarn Harlot and her reflections on how to hide your stash of yarn from your loved ones. She correctly identified that it's a sense of security that is behind the accumulation of a stash. You're always afraid that you might never again find that perfect yarn and sometimes the satisfaction comes not from the article made with the perfect yarn, but the ability to hold the perfect yarn in your hands and ponder what might be made with it. It's a little like that for me and miniatures.

I find it satisfying to know that if I get an urge in the middle of the night to create a miniature room scene, I don't have to go any further than the guest room where I will find the box for the scene and everything that will go into it and can conceivably have the finished scene ready before dawn.

I never have. But I could. And that's security.


(I also have a yarn stash. All cleverly hidden from my loved ones.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

His Two Cents

I was behind a fellow today in traffic who was making his viewpoint known via bumper stickers:

1) What Would Angelina Do?

2) Who Would Jesus Bomb?

3) God is coming...and is she pissed!

Ok. It's sacrilegious. But funny.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Smells Like Pumas

My alarm clock/radio is set to come on at 5:15 on station KUT-FM. That means that I wake up to the sound of National Public Radio's Morning Edition. On most mornings, I hit the snooze button about 3-4 times before I finally drag my tired body out of bed and start my day. Sometimes I just listen to the morning news for a half hour before getting up, which is what I did this morning.

Apparently there was a story earlier this week regarding a kid who fell into a vat of melted chocolate. In reviewing the week's stories this Friday morning, the powers that be dug out an old Smothers Brothers routine which dealt with Tommy's having fallen into a vat of chocolate. "What do you do when you fall into a vat of chocolate?", Dick asks. "You yell 'FIRE'", replies Tommy, "because nobody will come if you yell 'CHOCOLATE'!"

Kids today probably have never heard of the Smothers Brothers. Poor, deprived kids. My Uncle Richard had two or three or their albums when I was a kid and I loved listening to them. I watched their television show for as long as they managed to keep it on the air, before the censors gave it the axe for daring to question the Vietnam War. I watched them on the Ed Sullivan show, another experience that has never been available to today's generation. (Elvis and the Beatles live! Eat your hearts out.)

I loved the Smothers Brothers and I loved that NPR remembered that chocolate routine. This morning when I crawled out of bed, I located the one compilation CD I have and listened to it on the way to work. I laughed all the way.

Tom: Mom always liked you best!
Dick: You know why? Because I was an only child!

Tom: The March over the River Kwai was a hit song, even though nobody ever sang the lyrics. They whistled. The lyrics were dirty!

Long discussion on how railroad builders faced horrible perils, such as pumas.
Tom: Pumas are vicious. They hide in big cravasses.
Dick: There are no pumas in America!
Tom: The railroad builders faced horrible beasts! They would hide in cravasses and attack the men. The men said "sure smells like pumas around here!".

"When John Henry was a little baby,
Sitting on his Daddy's knee,
His Daddy picked him up and threw him on the floor,
And said 'This baby's done wet on me!'"

"My old man was a cotton-pickin', finger-lickin' chicken plucker,
What do you think about that?
...And some day, if I can,
I'm going to be a cotton-pickin', finger-lickin' chicken plucker,
The same as my old man!"

Well, you have to hear them to get the full effect. Trust me, they are funny. And though they make liberal use of double entendres, not a word of profanity in their routines. Just two brothers, picking a guitar and an upright bass viol (very competently), singing in harmony, and executing flawless banter that you had better listen closely to or you might miss something hysterical.

I'll take Tom and Dickie Smothers any day over the likes of the so-called comedians that you find on Comedy Central, who seem to think profanity is the key to humor.

Wish somebody would wake up and reissue their old albums on CD.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

An Early Morning Jaunt

Xana and I played hooky for about two hours this morning. Our plan was to end up in Elgin to pick up her new supply of nutritional supplement from the vet. That would have been 40 minutes tops and not nearly enough of a distraction from my recent routine of work, work, work. I decided to do a little volunteer work for FindAGrave on the way.

So, we headed for Elgin by way of Cedar Creek. (Really, you can get there from there.) Our first stop was at the Lower Cedar Creek Cemetery to get a photo of Thomas Smith's grave. That was quickly accomplished, so we decided to go for another photo at the Jones Cemetery. We headed north, kinda sorta in the direction of Elgin. We veered off Highway 21 onto Ranch Road 1209, took a left on Ranch Road 969. In about 15 minutes we reached 1704, which would have taken us directly to Elgin, but Jones Cemetery was in the Hornsby Bend area, so we kept going.

Now this is where it started to get a little out of the way. I had no idea just where this Jones Cemetery was and it turned out to be over the county line into Travis County, about a hair before you get to Ranch Road 973. Really, I could have just headed on into the office at this point. It would have made more sense. Except that I had all my work lying on the bed at home waiting for me to get back from my little Elgin errand.

The Jones Cemetery lies at the end of a little road lined with run down mobile homes, chicken houses, cars on blocks and junk yard dogs. Not exactly the kind of area I like to hit when I'm making cemetery visits. But I was on a mission. So with one eye on the neighborhood and the other eye reading tombstones as quickly as possible, I found my target and got the job done.

The Jones Cemetery turned out to be about 6 cemeteries in one location. I wasn't so surprised to find a dividing fence between the Spanish and Anglo sections. I was surprised to find many subdivisions within the Anglo section, each surrounded by its own fence with its own gate and sign. It gave all the appearance of a bunch of families that lived in the same area but just couldn't get along, even in death. It was unique and I've seen a lot of cemeteries.

We never saw anyone else, but we heard lots of pounding sounds from a nearby shed and fussy chickens in a nearby coop. We were glad to finish our task and turn our attention back to that original Elgin errand. We drove the remaining mile to 973 and turned toward Manor. From there it was an easy jump onto Highway 290 and we finally got to Elgin. (See you can get there from Cedar Creek.)

At Elgin we got a boost of good news. Xana's weight has held steady for a whole month. This is a very good development. We were so pleased we decided to take the long way back to Bastrop. (Oh, come on. At this point it was almost inevitable.)

So we headed out 1704 to drive through the Coon Neck community on the way back to Ranch Road 969. I decided if we saw any cemetery signs, I would stop and get photos of the gates to post online. We came across four cemeteries enroute that I had never before visited: McShane Memorial Garden (which had a whole 5 graves, so naturally I took photos of all of them), Youngs Prairie (which had two gates very securely padlocked against any visitors), the Spier Cemetery, and the Colorado Chapel Cemetery.

We finally rolled back in our driveway a little over two hours from the time we had left. It was a nice break - a chance to drive through the countryside and see some of Bastrop and Travis Counties that I had never had reason to visit before. It was a lot easier to hit the pile of work waiting for me after a little early morning jaunt.

And Xana's doing ok for now.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Make it Eleven

In my list of people I can no longer abide, I missed one:

11. Oprah (who died and appointed her the moral conscience of the world?)


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Read the Label

I decided that today's lunch called for a serving of Central Market Tortilla Soup. I do so love the stuff, but I try to hold it down to one, at the most two, servings per month. The soup itself isn't so bad in the calorie department, but the cheese and tortilla chips push it into the "be careful" zone. It is larrupin', I kid you not.

After filling my to-go cups with soup, I ducked across the aisle to pick up a little something sweet to complete the meal. I decided on a chocolate frosted brownie. And back to the office I went.

The meal at my desk proceeded despite numerous interruptions and I licked the soup bowls clean. Absentmindedly I started nibbling on the brownie as I worked.

There used to be a "sponsor" on the Prairie Home Companion show that sold a hot sauce that was pronounced something like "ah-hoo-ah!". That being the sound one would make when the heat got to you. I had eaten three or four bites of the brownie when I felt compelled to utter "ah-hoo-ah!".

"What the?", I thought. I came to the conclusion that for some reason the soup's heat was still with me and wasn't mixing well with the chocolate. I drank a good long swig of water and tried again. "Ah-hoo-ah!" I said after three or four bites. That dang brownie was HOT.

That's when I finally read the label. Turns out that this is Hatch Chile month at Central Market and my brownie was laced with the stuff. Explains the cute little green chile icing shape on the top. Duh.

It's really not that bad, once you know what's going on.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ten People I'm Sick Of

10. Princess Diana (for God's sake, let the poor woman rest in peace)

9. Pat Robertson (for God's sake, really for God's sake, terminate his on-air privileges)

8. Lindsey Lohan (we can do better than make stars from self-indulgent brats)

7. Paris Hilton (geez, where do I start?)

6. Tori Spelling (see #8)

5. George W. Bush (wonder when they will perfect brain transplants?)

4. Tom Cruise (never liked him, never will)

3. Brangelina (pitiful and now they are reproducing)

2. Mel Gibson (both feet in mouth and then you shoot yourself in both)

1. Katie Couric (no one, I repeat no one, is worth what she gets paid, but I get a real gut feeling that she thinks she is)

I could go on, but these are the ones that make me want to throw bricks at the television the most. Boy, could we use some decent role models for a change.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Something Stinks

So, I have this elderly cat who has been in failing health for about a year or so. I spent a small fortune when she first started hacking and sneezing and breathing like she has a stuffy nose. The folks at the vet clinic could find nothing to explain her symptoms. She took a round of antibiotics and nothing changed. After several visits to the doctor, we gave up and decided to let nature take its course. That was over a year ago.

Since then, she has bounced out the door every morning, spending the day in the underbrush and wandering back in late in the evening. She and Coco have made friends and if she hears Coco out on the deck during the day, she sometimes comes in early for a little head butting. She's lost weight and still hacks and coughs, but she keeps hanging on. In the back of my mind I know that one evening she probably won't come in and that will be that. At least I'll have the knowledge that she's spent the last year happily following her chosen routine.

So this afternoon it was with some consternation that I opened the door out to the deck and smelled the unmistakable odor of a dead animal that's been baking in the hot August sun. I went out and looked around, but didn't see an explanation for it. My first thought was to wonder if it was Sister.

Today was a day of stink. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say that there were some things going on today that really smelled to high heaven. When I walked out on the deck today and the malodorous stench hit my nostrils, I thought it fit right into the mood du jour. Stink, stank, stunk.

Well, to make a long, rambling story short, Sister wandered in at her usual time and all is well on the home front. I hope the rest of the story has a happy ending, but at the moment I'm not very optimistic.


P.S. Oh, yes. The trip to San Antonio was a lot of fun. A long, expensive visit to the dollhouse store, a short expensive trip to the San Marcos outlet mall. Lunch and good company for the day. Wish the benefits of a vacation day had lasted a bit longer.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Odds and Ends

This is one of those weeks when I have a lot I would like to do and no time to do it for killing work-related rats. However, tomorrow I'm taking a day to play hooky in San Antonio and leaving the rats to fend for themselves. Maybe they will eat each other up while I'm gone.

Sunday I spent a pleasant two hours exploring in the Elgin Antique Mall. I can poke around in there for a long time, pricing items that I once owned or still do in some cases. A little wooden bird call that I remember was a souvenir from a road trip when we were kids was priced at a whopping $28. I have no idea where ours currently resides. I find it hard to believe that someone might actually come along and pay that price for its twin. I found Christmas ornaments that were identical to some that my grandparents had every year on their tree. I found collectible glasses identical to some that are packed away in the storage unit. I came away with the feeling that I really should get busy and put some things that I'm not emotionally attached to for sale on EBAY and make a little mad money.

I also came away with a 1981 edition of "How to Be Texan", published by Texas Monthly Press. It's a little dated (references to cassette tapes and not one for CDs), but still takes some good shots at those of us who are born, bred and dyed in the wool Texan. I had to chuckle at a couple of the items under "How to Stay Alive in Texas":

Never drive in Houston after 2 p.m.
Never drive in Houston at all. (hear, hear)
Never cross a fence line unless it's yours. (or there's a cemetery within view)
Always say "Howdy" to anyone who says "Howdy" to you. (And always wave if you're waved to.)
Never eat anything thats "a little spicy". (no guts, no glory)
Never get on a horse that someone says is "just a little frisky".
Never go deer hunting with business associates when a deal is being negotiated.
Never say anything about anybody unless asked.
Never tell a Texan his dog is too skinny. (they ain't gonna be tellin' me that, fer sure--my dogs are pushing the envelope of pleasingly plump)

Yesterday the excitement in Bastrop was a lightning storm that blew out the network card in my new PC. Fortunately nothing else seems to have suffered from a close lightning strike that reportedly involved ball lightning. When the folks back home described the glowing ball of fire that flashed just outside the window, I was reminded of my one and only experience with ball lightning. My grandmother Wilcoxen, aunt and I were working in my grandmother's kitchen in Gladewater. Mother was napping in the back of the house and I don't know where the men were. We had the windows open, even though it was raining and there was thunder and lightning all around. With a simultaneous "crack" of thunder, a ball of light shot through the window over the sink and out the window behind the dining table. Fortunately none of us was standing in its path, but brother did it get our attention in a big way. Ball lightning is impressive.

I've been getting scans of great documents from a cousin in Kentucky for my Hodge genealogy and it's putting my summer research sabbatical on shaky ground. But I'm determined to rest that particular hobby until Labor Day. I'm getting that old fever back, though. Knew a rest would do me good on the burn out problem.

And last, but not least, I've been retyping some old sermons of my father's. I remember him hiring me to do some typing when I was in High School and just beginning to type well. I couldn't stand it back then, but I'm enjoying the exercise now. For one thing, I can type a heck of a lot better now, have much more experience with formatting and style, and I'm on a computer instead of the old manual Underwood typewriter. Now that it's something I want to do (to preserve material which is beginning to deteriorate), I am again appreciating that there are some pastors that were/are able to compose thoughtful, informative pieces on the Bible that are worth hearing or reading. From the perspective of my many years of historical research, there's a lot of good historical information to be found in my father's archives.

So between reading, restoring and remembering, I'm keeping out of trouble for now.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Life's LIttle Pick Me Ups

You know how when you've just about reached the end of your limit, suddenly out of the blue something nice happens? If it weren't for life's little random pick-me-ups, we might never make it.

This is about the 5th week of non-stop aggravation at work. Add to that some home repair issues that I haven't had time to deal with, an infected eye that just won't give up the battle to the antibiotics, and concern over Xana's precarious state of health - well this just hasn't been a good summer so far.

So it was with some surprise one day a couple of weeks ago when I received something like 4-5 compliments on an outfit I was wearing. "How good you look today," was coming at me left and right on a day when I felt fat and frumpy. 'Okay', I thought, 'obviously deep purple is a good color to keep in the wardrobe. It's overpowering my frumpiness. Nothing to get excited about.'

A week later, out of the realm of the supernatural, one of our attorneys paid me a similar compliment on a day when I felt that I looked tolerable at best. Considering the attorneys rarely acknowledge the existence of anyone without a law degree, I was suspecting him of buttering me up for a special favor he wanted. However, I got another compliment on the same outfit from a lady on the other side of the office. 'Go figure," I said. Nothing special about a black knit top and white capri jeans. Must have been the accessories.

Then 3-4 days ago, one of the younger girls in the office caught my door open (I generally keep it carefully closed when I'm in danger of going postal at the slightest provacation) and slipped inside. "I just have to tell you what somebody said about you," she said. 'Uh-oh,' I thought. But she surprised me. "They were saying how nice you look these days. And they really like your hair cut. They wanted to know if you had a new boyfriend." Yeah, right. It takes more than twenty minutes of free time a day to deal with finding, snagging and hanging on to a boyfriend. And that's all I need to send me straight over the edge - an aggravating man.

It seems that I must concede my fashion upgrade is finally bearing fruit. It's taken almost a year, but folks are finally noticing that I jettisoned the tapered pants and men's shirts for a more fashionable persona. Nice to know that the effort is paying off.

And then Mother Nature gave me a small shot in the arm. About a year or so ago, I gave up on mollycoddling my orchid plants, purchased in a burst of enthusiasm when they were in full bloom, and which haven't done anything but sit and look green ever since. I fed them, I watered them, I changed their potting medium, I switched them around to various levels of light. Nothing. They refused to bloom again. When the canopies went up on the deck, I said the heck with the orchids. Forget the cozy air-conditioned house. You don't bloom, you go outside and live like an outside plant. You don't like it, tough. I kept them watered, but no special treatment did they receive. And then this week--surprise!

Plus, the orchid cactus bloomed twice this week. I wasn't quick enough with the camera this time, but the lovely white blooms greeted me on two different mornings.

And today I've heard from two people that have been out of contact for quite some time: a former co-worker who moved to North Carolina and a Kentucky Hodge cousin who, it turns out, has spent a good part of the last two years in Iraq.

Last, but not least, every day of the week I'm greeted with joyous abandon and wiggling butts when I come home. Dogs are definitely a girl's best friend and puppy kisses go a long way toward making life bearable.

Thank goodness for the unexpected moments that keep us going when we are in danger of becoming bogged down in life's drudgery.


P.S. Kisses are the only thing that kept a certain young man from getting pulverized when I found that he had chewed a hole in my new set of 600-thread count sheets.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Pardon my French. Another day shot to ruin, this time by the ever-popular doctor's appointment.

Just what the heck is the matter with some doctor's offices? My mother's doctors run from one extreme to the other. On the one hand is the anal-compulsive Hun who throws temper tantrums if you arrive one minute late. Actually, he and I get along fine because I'm anal-compulsive about arriving on time. I never mind going to those appointments because I know I will be in early, out early, and back home in an hour (barring road work).

On the other hand is the little lady doctor for whom appointments are just wishful thinking. We've sat as long as two hours in her waiting room before getting into an exam room, where you could end up waiting another hour. Unless you throw a royal temper tantrum and leave loudly as I did a couple of visits ago. Remarkably, they managed to get us in and seen within half an hour on our last visit. Sometimes the squeaky wheel does get the grease.

Don't even mention the word "emergency". I understand emergencies. I understand when they tell you as you arrive that there was an emergency. My patience tolerance doubles when I'm told that on the way in. But don't tell me an hour after I arrive. And don't try giving me that baloney in a dermatology office, which really happened to me once upon a time. A dermatology emergency? Please. How stupid do I look? Don't answer that.

My normal patience tolerance is one hour past arrival. And I think that's generous. There's no reason why the entire world manages to run on schedule and doctors' offices can't. They just don't want to.

So, anyway, we finally got in after I rattled the receptionist's cage a little. Now, why the heck can't people who design doctor's offices figure out that some of their patients are going to arrive in wheelchairs and provide enough manuevering room to get into the exam room without the pusher of same having to go into contortions and ending up with bruised knees? Jeez.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Just a Wee Nip Now and Again

I made one of my rare forays to the liquor store on the way home Monday. I still feel just a tiny bit odd when I go in a liquor store; the places were so verboten when I was a preacher's kid way back when. If a nice lady were seen in such a place, Heaven would surely have been rocked off its foundation. Thankfully, for many reasons, I no longer feel like I'm sitting in constant judgment by Big Brother. (Or Big Church Congregation, as it were. One day I will mouth off at length about living in that particular kind of fishbowl.)

But I digress. I'm not a big drinker by any means. My trip Monday was to pick up a new supply of Disaronna (amaretto). Late last year I discovered the combination of a little amaretto and Sprite for a late night sleep aid. ("And it's so tasty, too!") Brother and sis-in-law gave me a fifth of Disaronna for Christmas and I was down to my last two ounces. (A fifth consumed over a period of 7 months--yeah, I'm a big drinker.)

As I waited in the drive-through at the liquor store, I had to chuckle. My grandmother Hodge was a tee-totaler, but told a good story about getting fall-over drunk on sips of beer at a ranch party when she was a youngster. That may well have been the only time she ever drank spirits. I never saw her take a drink in all the time that I knew her.

If anybody was any more straight-laced than Maw-Maw, it had to be my grandmother Wilcoxen. And yet there came a time in her middle-aged years when a bottle of Mogen David wine became a staple in her refrigerator. I can remember my father teasing her and her protestations that she was taking a small amount every day at the instructions of her doctor. I don't doubt that for a minute. However, now that I'm in the early stages of middle-age, I'm betting that his suggestion that she take a wee nip daily wasn't met with great resistance.

Because a wee nip now and again can take the edge off the day's stress and relax you enough to finally get to sleep. And we middle-aged gals can use a little help in that department. An ounce a day keeps the insomnia away.

And the heck with what the church ladies may think.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Your First Clue

You know your day is going straight to hell when, after an hour or so in the office, you look down in a meeting to discover that the shoes you thought were black when you put them on in your bedroom to match a totally black outfit are, instead, navy blue.

Thankfully I will spend 3/4 of the day with my feet safely tucked under a desk and in florescent light the navy is dark enough to pass for a bluish black.

It doesn't help that today follows a day when I paired what looked like a jewel blue top with cranberry red pants. In bright sun, the blue took on a green cast and the overall effect was Christmas in July.

I think I'll just start wearing sweats and running shoes and forget about fashion.


August 1, 1966

I was twelve that summer. We were spending a few days at my grandparents' house in Elgin. I can remember eating a watermelon out under the big tree earlier in the day.

My grandfather and father had gone to Austin to deliver a load of watermelons. There was no telephone at the farm house. Television in those days consisted of one station, KTBC, and there was no reason for us to be inside on a hot day watching television. There was no air-conditioning either, so it was best to be outside in the shade. So we weren't listening to the radio either.

In other words, we had no idea what was happening a mere 30 miles away on that hot August day. It was probably best. If we had caught any news reports, we would have been worrying all day about our menfolk who were in Austin.

Because that was the day that Charles Whitman went to the top of the UT tower and went on a shooting spree, killing and wounding dozens of people in his line of fire. The first we knew of the day's events was when our men came back and told us what had been going on.

For days afterwards the papers and news reports were filled with the grisly details. One photo that sticks out in my memory all these years was that of a coed who was crouched behind the concrete foundation of the flag on the mall, just barely hidden from Whitman's view.

We had two cousins on campus during the rampage. Cousin Jo was taking a test in one of the buildings and her husband Luther safely made his way to that building to warn her. I remember a story of a man who said he was trying to climb a fence and was about to give up when a bullet sang over his head. He cleared the fence easily with that extra bit of motivation. I remember the grainy black and white news films showing the ambulances taking away the bodies. I remember learning that one of the victims was an unborn baby whose mother was struck down by one of the bullets.

Anyone who was at least 10 years old and lived in Central Texas during 1966 probably has similar flashes of memory when they drive down Guadalupe Street and past the Tower. I never go within rifle range of the Tower without glancing up and thinking about that day.

One madman on a hot August day. I remember.