POST-HARVEY


View of our back yard with a bedraggled oak tree. Back fence is leaning slightly but that can be easily corrected.

Harvey made landfall in the middle of the night here with rain and shrieking winds as we listened through the night in darkness with storm shutters down. The power had gone off hours before.  The morning brought gentle rain and stillness.   Our neighborhood was fortunate with little damage other than downed trees, limbs and fences.  The eye of the hurricane went in a little to the north of us so we did not experience the strongest of the winds which damaged and destroyed many homes.  Flooding took its toll also.  Harvey worked its way up the coast to the Houston area and into Louisiana.  Relief and rescue efforts are ongoing.  I am sure many of you have seen the devastation in the news.  Our power came back on Monday evening.

FAMILY UPDATES

Daughter across town had little damage to her home beyond downed fences and broken limbs.  The USS Lexington Museum where she works held fast anchored just off North Beach in Corpus Christi.

Son in Houston had no loss of power and no flooding.  He works for United Way of Greater Houston and was able to volunteer taking 211 calls.

My 81-year-old sister is staying with us as her home in Victoria still has no power but little damage.

Ironically, on Friday my brother-in-law called to check on us and invite us to ride out the storm with him and my sister on their ranch outside of Freer (80 miles to the west of us and 60 miles from the border of Mexico). I declined as we wanted to stay.  Two hours later I got a call that their house had been completely destroyed by a fire; they got out unharmed but could save nothing.  They will rebuild, but at 89 years and 86 years old it will not be an easy transition.  Thursday we drove out to see them.  They are strong people with a proud Texas attitude.  My brother-in-law could joke that he really hated to lose those new boots and hat he had just bought.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Life goes on.  I am grateful for all that I have.  My heart breaks for the loss of life, damage to property, and hardships (financial and emotional) that the hurricane has brought.  It has encouraged the best in people as neighbors and strangers help each other.  Governments, military, non-profits and volunteers have pulled together to help.  May it bring our country together.  Thanks to all who have shown concern for this Coastal Crone!  I am far behind in responding and reading blogs but life comes first.  Sending good wishes to all!  The sun is shining brightly today.  Cheers!

Advertisements

WATER, WINE, WHISKY AND HURRICANE HARVEY


Hurricane Harvey is soon to be an uninvited guest on the Gulf Coast of Texas.  It is gathering strength as it approaches land and is expected to be a category three hurricane.  The last time one with that strength hit here was in 1970 with Hurricane Celia.  We are prepared for the worst.  Many people have already evacuated.

We have chosen to ride it out here in Portland, just across the bay from Corpus Christi.  While we are a block from the Nueces Bay, we are on a bluff so we are not worried too much about flooding.  On all the windows we have shutters that roll down easily manually.  Plant and furniture on the patio have been brought in or secured.  The neighborhood is quiet with some homes boarded up before the residents left.  Some, like us, have chosen to stay.

We have plenty of food, water, libations, candles, flashlights and an emergency radio.  Last night we had over an inch of slow rain.  Today the wind is picking up slightly and it is drizzling off and on.  The heavy rains are expected to start later this afternoon.  Predictions right now having Harvey make landfall around midnight  but that could change.  More later.

 

FOOTPRINTS CHALLENGE BY A FRANK ANGLE


Usually I don’t participate in challenges but I thought this one was not too much of a commitment.  The rules were 150 words or less in any genre, show the photo below, show my STAR for meeting the challenge and link back to A Frank Angle’s post and his story.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

     The jogger was back on the beach…the one with the black wavy hair and black shorts; torso legs and arms brown with perspiration even at seven o’clock in the morning.  He reminded the old lady of someone but she couldn’t remember his name or what had been their relationship, whether lover, friend or only a strangerThe young jogger never knew that he was faithfully watched from four floors up by a woman who thought she knew him or had known someone in her past who looked like him.

Today he was barefooted and walked slowly with a piece of driftwood to steady himself.  The old lady resisted a strong desire to wave to him as she sipped her morning coffee.

Here is the link to AFrankAngle.  https://afrankangle.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/on-footprints-in-the-sand/


 

 

FRIDAY FOTO: MONKS ON NORTH BEACH


Wednesday Son and I drove to North Beach to  see Daughter who works on the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay.  As I stopped at a stop sign, we looked up to see these monks walking single file and looking rather out of place amid the tourists.

  Where had they been?  Had they toured the Lex?  Were they going to visit the Texas State Aquarium next?  Son captured the moment with his phone.

HOGS AND HOT AIR BALLOONS


 BATHROOMS, BUDGETS AND  BALLOONS

My relief came  when the 85th Texas Legislature failed to pass a useless bathroom  ban bill that would make Texas less friendly to transgenders and their families.  Gov. Abbott, who had failed to get support for this and faced opposition from many sides, was so determined to get something on the books that he has called the Legislature back into  special session July 18.  Well, to be honest, he said they did not finish their work in their allotted 140 days so a special session needed, but obviously he would not mind it being brought up again.   On May 2 of last year I wrote about my concerns in a post,  “Monday Madness: Writing on the Bathroom Wall,” and still oppose such legislation.  For now I will focus on the lighter and more positive side of Texas politics.

Kudos to the 85 Legislature for getting  essential bills passed in the regular session with apparent bipartisan support!  I had tried to keep up with what the Texas politicians were doing with the budget and bathroom issues, but did not know about the hog issue until I read a post by blogger Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge titled, “No Lard, if by Land.”  Only in Texas!

It seems the Gov. signed  HB3535 into law that will allow “taking certain feral hogs and coyotes using a hot air balloon” that will be effective September 1, 2017.  Parks and Wildlife will apparently be charged with working out the details of how it will be implemented and which “qualified landowners or landowners’ agent…may contract as a hunter or observer…to take depredating feral hogs or coyotes.”Granted, wild hog population has increased and a pack of hogs can do a lot of damage to crops and the environment and create havoc for even some deer hunting. They breed readily and have no natural predator.  It is a serious problem to farmers and ranchers.   In the last few months a form of warfarin, basically rat poison and used as a blood thinner for humans, was considered as a way to get rid of them but it seemed it was a slow and inhumane  death as well as having other concerns about the viability of the idea. Feral hogs can already be legally hunted by helicopter, but that seems more like brutal warfare with visions of hunters hanging out the side of a noisy chopper.  The hot air balloon approach seems more sporting somehow, but I do wonder how it might work out.

Will it catch on as a romantic flight as the balloon drifts over the unsuspecting hogs?  Will hunters prefer guns or bow and arrow?  What about the pictures hunters seem to favor posed by their kill?  Will there be wine, cheese, crackers and pate available in a wicker basket?  What should one wear?

Silly me to want details but I can’t help but think of the possibilities to add a new dimension to hunting while helping to get rid of animals that are a nuisance and help the environment .  I envision camouflage balloons.  What else!  And maybe pink camouflage balloons for the lady hunters!

I really liked Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge’s post  (especially the title), but I could not resist writing about it also.  Check that post out; it contains some good links.

With all sincerity I hope this new approach works and look forward to seeing those camo balloons gliding in the blue skies of Texas!  For those who think we are making this up, here is a link to HB3535 signed into law June 12, 2017.

Learn more about feral hogs from the Texas Parks & Wildlife.

MR. COTTON EYED JOE


Al Dean (born Albert Dean Callaway) was known as Mr. Cotton Eyed Joe.  He died in 2016 at the age of 85.

Early days

Al Dean grew up deep in South Texas near the small town of Freer where most people called him Dean.  He started  his country western band, Al Dean and the All Stars, but kept his day job with an oil field supply company for several more years.  The group played for dances all over South Texas and beyond in dance halls and honky-tonks great and small.

At the request of a man who asked if he knew “Cotton Eyed-Joe,” he and his band started playing it at dances.  In 1967 he recorded it as a single on KIK-R Records.  From then on it became his and the band’s signature song even though several other artists have recorded it.  The dance was sort of precursor to the line dancing of today with a skip, kick and a whoop.  The song was featured in the “Urban Cowboy” mechanical bull scene. which premiered June 5, 1980 in Houston, Texas.  Their Galen said his parents attended the premier.

A writer of one of his obituaries described it this way:

…Dean began recording in the late 1950’s including some rockabilly singles.

In 1967, he hit paydirt with an old fiddle tune titled “Cotton Eyed Joe” for KIKR Records. The song dated back many generations and had been recorded in 1941 by both Adolph Hofner and Bob Wills.

“It was a song that I heard as a kid,” Al said. “No one had ever heard of the song. It had died. I had a cowboy from South Texas come up to me and ask if I knew ‘Cotton Eyed Joe.’ I said I did, but I had not sung it in years. We sat down and taught the guys in my band, note for note, how I remembered the ‘Cotton Eyed Joe.’”

The “Cotton Eyed Joe” inspired a new round dance polka for couples. This dance was adapted into a simplified version as a nonpartner waist-hold, spoke line routine. Heel and toe polka steps were replaced with a cross-lift followed by a kick with two-steps. The lift and kick are sometimes accompanied by shouts of “whoops, whoops,” or the barn yard term “bull shit”, mimicking the act of kicking off barnyard muck. .

“This guy found a girl to dance with every time that we would play ‘Cotton Eyed Joe,'” Dean recalled. “He started kicking around on the dance floor and the poor girl walked off in the middle of the dance. Every time we had a show he would ask us to play the song and he would drag a poor girl out on the dance floor and every time she would walk off. It started to spread from there and now everyone does the ‘Cotton Eyed Joe.'”

The song would become a standard in bars, clubs and dance halls all over the United States and make Al Dean and the Allstars a much sought after commodity on the music circuit.

Eventually it became a family affair with wife, Maxine, and sons, Galen and Gary joining the band.  In the early days, Maxine’s two brothers, Julius Ray Whitley and Albert Whitley were part of the band.  In South Texas if you needed something to do on a Saturday night, you would ask, “Where is Dean playing?”

Maxine played drums.  In this early photo her brothers, Albert Whitley and Julius Ray Whitley were to the right of Al Dean.

In this later photo sons have joined their parents.  Left to right, Gary Callaway, Al Dean and Galen Callaway.

The South Texas Music Walk of Fame honors music and music professionals with local ties.  On June 3, 2017 he and his band, Al Dean and the All Stars,  were inducted into the South Texas Music Walk of Fame along with five other inductees in Corpus Christi, Texas.  The other were:  Chris Perez, the Texas Jazz Festival, Andrew Moore, Beto y Los Fairlanes and Wanda Gregory.  Past inductees include Kris Kristofferson (from Brownsville, Texas),  George Strait and Selena.  

Marker at Water Street Market

The ribbon cutting begins!

Son Gary Callaway cutting the ribbon on the star assisted by former band member, Allen Pollard.  In back from left to right, Maxine, Rick Maguglin, former band member, and son Galen Callaway

His career spanned over fifty years as he continued to perform into his eighties; his last professional appearance was in June of 2016.  He died in October of that year.   A portion of State Highway 16 north of his hometown of Freer will be dedicated as “Al Dean Memorial Highway.”  Over the years about forty musicians were part of the All Stars.  This star was for Al Dean and all the All Stars who ever played in the band.

Al Dean in his later years.  Left to right Al Dean, Maxine, sons Galen and Gary Callaway

He was my first cousin.