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Saturday, April 13, 2024

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Another Great Read

Under the Chinaberry Tree

This Week On
The Sound of Texas

Monday, April 8
Fran Houser Adrian Midway Cafe
Tuesday, April 9
Peter Avila San Benito Conjunto Museum
Wednesday, April 10
Suzanne Theis Houston Car Parade
Thursday, April 11
Dorinda Millan Pecos Museum
Friday, April 12
Troy Grusendorf Brownwood Harmonica
Complete Schedule for April

In Print: On News Stands Now


by Tumbleweed Smith

We were in a Dallas restaurant, just sitting down with our son Kevin and his family when little nine year old Caleb announced to the table: "No booster chair, no crayons, no children's menu and tell the waiter not to call me little man." Pretty astute for a nine year old. I think it would be a good idea to have a t-shirt made that carried the phrase Caleb mentioned. The wearer could make sure the waiter saw it and was sensitive to the needs of a boy just entering the fourth grade.

We were in Dallas to visit with Caleb's big brother Jackson who was getting ready to return to college for his senior year. He is majoring in English and Drama and has already had a book of his poetry published.

We went to Oakland, California to visit with our son BZ and his family. We took our grandsons (nine year old Max and six year old Aiden) to Alcatraz, which was a maximum-security federal prison from 1934 to 1963 and housed criminals who really made names for themselves, like Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelley. Max, who has a gentle soul and is a quiet boy, had to have an item from the gift shop that contained biographies of several of the bad guys. Neither Max nor Aiden wanted to have their pictures taken behind bars.

To cap off the summer season, we had a visit from our Minnesota friends, Jim and Judy Mans. Jim and I joined the Army at the same time and went through basic training in Fort Carson, Colorado and Morse Code school in Fort Devens, Massachusetts. We developed a strong friendship. One night Jim and I went to a hotel in Boston that was supposed to have a USO dance. It had been canceled, but we didn't know that until we got to the hotel ballroom. We had had a few whiskey sours and felt pretty silly. We went up on stage, grabbed the American flag and marched around the ballroom humming The Stars and Stripes Forever. We kept on marching out in the hallway, down the stairs and out the front door carrying the flag. The doorman looked the other way. We decided to make that flag a token of our friendship. He kept the eagle on top of the pole and I kept the flag.

Although we kept in touch after Devens, fifteen years passed before we saw each other again. Our first reunion was in Dallas. My wife Susan and I walked into a hotel lobby and there were Jim and Judy. Susan knew they were there, but I didn't. Susan opened her briefcase and pulled out the flag. Jim pulled out the eagle. We posed for a photograph while standing behind the flag and holding the eagle.

Jim and I have been together on numerous occasions since then, either in Minnesota or Texas or someplace in between. We always have the flag and the eagle with us and always take a picture. The flag now has a few holes in it and the eagle has a bent wing, but to us they are symbols of a strong friendship that has flourished and deepened since that night in Boston in 1958.

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