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December 2011 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

Rick Patrick

Simple Photos, Fantastic Storytelling

I was particularly taken with the cemetery photos in your October 2011 Focus on Texas section. The contrast between a dark gravestone seemingly rising from a field of vibrant wildflowers was touching and effective, as were the images of simple but chilling epitaphs to the deadly Galveston hurricane in 1900. Sometimes a simple photo can carry a lot of storytelling in a small frame!

Dave Garlock, Senior lecturer in journalism
Magazine sequence head, University of Texas
Pedernales Electric Cooperative

The Arena of Life

Your feature article “Showtime” brought a flood of emotions and memories as I read the October 2011 issue. Words can hardly express the cherished lessons of life that I learned in my time of showing some 30 years ago. I felt as if I were back in that barn with my show steer, “Specks,” who was the grand champion at the State Fair of Texas in October 1975. And yes, my boys now show, and it is, in my opinion, one of the best teachers of the life lessons of responsibility, hard work and, of course, that cherished relationship with your show animal. Thank you, Camille Wheeler, for your enlightening article describing what so many youths experience in this arena of life!

Kelly Huston, Cooke County Electric Cooperative

I just finished reading the article “Showtime.” Camille Wheeler mentions the bond between the children and their show animals—how they care and love their animals, then briefly mentions the sadness of separation once the animals are sold. I doubt few of our children know the real truth as to what happens once the sale is final. Most animals go from a caring, loving environment to a world of pain and suffering. The animals are often sold to factory farms where they are confined in compact, unsanitary quarters and then led to an inhumane death. I understand the “circle of life.” However, I feel that Camille left out a big part of the end of life for these animals. And if the children who raised and nurtured these animals knew the real truth, I doubt they would ever sell them.

Greg Hall, CoServ Electric

I grew up showing cattle and livestock in general, so seeing it in a positive light always makes me happy. However, with all the anti-animal agricultural groups out there, what we don’t need is a picture to draw their attention and criticism. That being said—could you not have used a different youth showman than the one you showed holding the steer with the nose ring? I know there are plenty of kids who don’t use nose rings and who would have loved to get their picture taken. The purpose behind the rings is control over the animal. Granted, Daddy’s Boy looks calm, and he might have been, but it doesn’t shine a great “love for animals” light on livestock showmanship.

K.C. Kinder, Edmond, Oklahoma

I loved your “Showtime” story and also the story about the Donna Redskins [“Huddling Up in Donna,” August 2011]. I passed the magazine to my senior friends to read.

Verna Hoffman, Magic Valley Electric Cooperative

Home Energy Makeover Contest

The stories in the Home Energy Makeover contest are interesting [October 2011], but fall well short of the complete story. In fairness, you should always include the full costs of the installation of the changes, including parts and labor, and, given current energy costs for the residence, the payback for those costs—the real rate of return.

Depending, a five- to seven-year payback would be reasonable for most homeowners. But if the payback extends to 15 to 20 years, not too many people will consider that a reasonable investment. Leaving those figures out is misleading and needs to be corrected.

Max Holland, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative

Editor’s note: You can find much more information about the Home Energy Makeovers here. Click on our Complete Case Studies link for details of each winning home.

Shipbuilding in Orange

Your article on Orange’s shipbuilding boom [Footnotes in Texas History, October 2011] brought me back to my Navy days. I served two years, from October 1958 to October 1960, on the USS Meredith DD-890. She was constructed by Consolidated Steel and commissioned December 31, 1945, at Orange.

During my tour of duty on the “Merry” Meredith, we made 18 ports in nine countries. What a way to serve your country as a 19- and 20-year-old! God bless the U.S.A.

Dick Martin, Magic Valley Electric Cooperative

Though Ginger Mynatt is billed as a fiction writer, she told the truth about Orange and the shipbuilding boom in the early 1940s. My dad was one of the East Texas clodhoppers who went to work in the shipyard, after being trained as a welder.

Tom Hanson, Wood County Electric Cooperative

Thank you for the shipbuilding story. I was 5 years old when we moved to West Orange in 1941, and my daddy went to work for the Levingston Shipbuilding Company. I have the document for his security clearance and a group picture of some of the men who worked there. I had the opportunity to share the photo with the great-granddaughter of one of the men in the photo. She had never seen a picture of her great-grandfather. I really enjoyed the article.

Connie Dyess, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative

As usual, I thumbed through Texas Co-op Power just to see what is there. I came upon the article about the shipyards in Orange and had to stop and read it. We were there: Mom, Dad, my sister and my brother. Dad had a job in one of the shipyards, as a machinist. He worked there until the war’s end. We lived in a mobile-type house, in an area with crushed, white oyster shell-covered streets, near a bayou Dad forbade us to go near. The article brought many good memories of long ago.

Cal Waterbury, Hamilton County Electric Cooperative

My father-in-law, now deceased, served on the USS Orange, PF-43, in World War II. She was sponsored by Mrs. Rufus S. Manley of Orange and was named for the town. Ironically, the ship was laid down [meaning ship construction was started] by the Consolidated Steel Corporation at Los Angeles’ Wilmington Yard in 1943.

Billy Bruce, Navarro County Electric Cooperative

A friend gave me the article about my hometown, Orange. It brings back memories of when I was a child; I remember my dad walking home after a long day of welding on ships. Thanks to Ginger Mynatt for a great story.

Ann Pence, Wood County Electric Cooperative

Come and Get It

It might be noted that famed Texas rancher Charles Goodnight is credited with inventing the chuck wagon referenced in the October 2011 issue [Who Knew? item identifying the chuck wagon as the official state vehicle of Texas]. Way to go, Charlie!

Glenna Bell Orman, Pedernales Electric Cooperative

Coming Back for Seconds

I’m a well-traveled old-timer who enjoys cooking and eating good food from all over the world. I’ll quickly try new recipes that seem interesting; I also stay on the lookout for good restaurants and cafés wherever I may be (most recently, Germany, France and Luxembourg).

When I read the September 2011 issue of Texas Co-op Power, the recipes submitted by Betty Maskey, Sandy Becker, Kathy Buley and Ellen Squier really caught my eye. The recipes were out of the mainstream because of the combinations of ingredients they offered, and I decided to try them all.

I followed all their directions religiously and ended up preparing four of the best meals my wife and I have EVER eaten. I hope these four ladies have more recipes to share with us in the future. I read every issue of Texas Co-op Power from cover to cover … well-written articles and super photography. Keep it coming!

Doug Moore, Pedernales Electric Cooperative

Ag Aviation

I read with interest the agricultural aviation story [“On the Wing,” September 2011]. When I was in high school in the mid-1950s, I worked for a crop duster in the lower Rio Grande Valley. I was familiar with Leland Snow [future founder of Olney-based Air Tractor, world’s manufacturer of ag aviation aircraft]. My boss bought one of the first production models of the S-2, which was produced in Harlingen by Snow. This article brought back many memories. For a short time after high school, I worked with an insecticide company delivering products to many of the crop dusters in the area.

Neiland Fain, Central Texas Electric Cooperative

Mascot Debate

In Jay Workman’s letter to the editor in the October 2011 issue, he shames Donna High School for denigrating Native Americans by having Redskins as its mascot. Give me a break! One of my school mascots was the Haskell Indians. We are still proud of our mascots and will always defend them. My husband and I both have a small amount of Indian blood coursing through our veins. We are not offended in the least by the Indians or the Redskins being used as mascots. I enjoyed the article about the heart and pride the Donna team exhibited in paving its way to a state championship. What a story! Thank you.

Valeria Russell, Lyntegar Electric Cooperative

Wouldn’t Jay Workman’s protest seem more sincere if he had changed his name to “Workperson”? Thank you for your wonderful Texas magazine.

Robert Mays, Central Texas Electric Cooperative

Enjoying the Magazine

Just wanted to tell you how much my wife and I enjoy your magazine! The articles are informative, colorful, helpful and very interesting. Thank you.

Terry Martin, HILCO Electric Cooperative