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For Electric Cooperative Members

Santa’s Lap, Junior’s Laps

Some of the topics we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

Santa’s lap is a cherished destination for children this time of year, especially in Granbury. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who steps away from the NASCAR circuit after this season, takes his final laps at Texas Motor Speedway this month.

Free Time With Santa

Granbury Santa House returns to the Hood County Courthouse, southwest of Fort Worth, this Christmas season, thanks to the efforts of some United Cooperative Services members who wish to remain anonymous, county officials and area businesses. Granbury High School honor roll students help round up elves who assist Santa Claus every weekend November 24–December 23.

Mrs. Claus and the elves welcome children—and pets—who want to see Santa. They pass the time in line by playing games and talking about Christmas lists. Then, it’s onto Santa’s lap.

Parents, grandparents and friends are free to take as many pictures as they like. The entire experience is free. The Granbury Santa House Facebook page has more details.

“The main purpose of Santa House is to provide a place to forget even for one minute the craziness Christmas can bring,” Mrs. Claus says.

Info at (817) 964-7220.

Last Laps

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Texas Motor Speedway have a lot of history. It was at the Fort Worth track that the NASCAR driver earned his first Busch Series and Cup Series wins, and in April he placed fifth, one of his best races of the season.

But Junior will take his last Texas laps when the No. 88 Chevrolet returns to the Texas Motor Speedway on November 5 for the AAA Texas 500. The 43-year-old driver announced in April that this would be his final year of driving after concussions haunted him in 2016.

Texas Motor Speedway put out the call for fans who attended Earnhardt’s 2000 Cup Series win in anticipation of this month’s event. If history is any indication, maybe they’ll end up seeing his last win, too.

Filmmaker Portrays Co-op Origins

Depression-era dairy farmer John Grimes struggles to make ends meet in Central Texas as World War II looms and cities leave rural areas in the dust of development. When a representative of the Rural Electrification Administration offers federal loans to farmers and ranchers to build electric lines, Grimes rallies his friends and neighbors to support the cause.

That is how the 2015 film Let There Be Light portrays the history of Mid-South Synergy, an electric cooperative whose founding is much like other electric co-ops across the country. Andy Conner, former Mid-South multimedia specialist, produced the 25-minute short in honor of the co-op’s 75th anniversary.

“One of the Seven Cooperative Principles is Cooperation Among Cooperatives, and that’s what we wanted out of this short film,” Conner says. “Since co-ops nationwide have a sort of shared history, we wanted to be able to share this to raise awareness to a new generation about what exactly a cooperative is. So, it’s a short film with long-term implications.”

The film premiered at a Navasota movie theater and played at Mid-South’s annual meeting in June 2015. Since then, it has won several awards, including WorldFest-Houston film festival’s Platinum Remi Award for Short Subject and Silver Telly Award for directing, plus two Bronze Telly Awards and the Gold Award for Best Total Communication Program from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Rest Stops Honor Nelda Laney

The rest stops on Interstate 27 in Hale County, north of Lubbock, have been renamed in honor of Nelda Laney, considered the First Lady of West Texas and known as the Capitol Ornament Lady.

Laney, who died August 24, 2016, was the wife of Pete Laney, a five-term speaker of the Texas House and 17-term state representative. Among the many accomplishments in her life was creating and selling Capitol Christmas ornaments to raise funds for the preservation of Texas’ Capitol, built in 1888. [See The Capitol Ornament Lady, November 2016.]

More than 1 million ornaments have been sold, raising more than $8 million since Laney started the program in 1996.

The Nelda Laney Safety Rest Areas are about 8 miles south of the Laney homestead near Hale Center.

Tear Down That Wall

Something to think about November 15, America Recycles Day:

Americans throw away enough office paper each year to build a 36-foot-high wall from the northwest corner of the Panhandle to the extreme southern tip of Texas below Brownsville, a distance of 801 miles.

If that doesn’t blow your mind, consider this: Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.

Worth Repeating

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
— Willie Nelson