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January 2011 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

Woody Welch

Joys of Service

I enjoyed reading Kaye Northcott’s “Feeding the Hungry in Texas” feature in the November 2010 issue. In the fight to end hunger, a lesson in humility teaches us many things, including that we are all part of a larger community and need to work together for the whole of the good. Humility also teaches us responsibility and for all of us to consider the needs of others. It tells us to look outward rather than just inward at ourselves as it reminds us that we are not the only ones that count.

When we all go one step further in helping provide a hand up instead of just a handout, we can find ourselves happy and experiencing real joy in our service to community through strong and healthy relationships. Whether it’s through the collection plate on Sunday, rounding up your electric bill with a few pennies for Operation Roundup (a community service program through which electric cooperatives give money to local charities), or delivering a few groceries at a local food drive this holiday season, you can make a difference and set a great example for your kids, your neighbors and your friends.

Jeff Murski, immediate past president Brazos Valley Food Bank, Bryan Texas Utilities


It was fun to see my family name in the “Texas Tongue Twisters” story (November 2010). My father’s family is from Tow, Texas, and yes, it rhymes with cow, not crow. I spent a lot of frustrating years as a child being teased about my name being Tow, as in toe, and I’d always defend it as Tow, as in now or cow. The small community was named after my ancestors who helped settle the area many years before Lake Buchanan made the area a hot fishing and vacation spot. There were Indians and wild animals back in those days, but my family of pioneers, along with others, made it their home, and it still bears the name in the Texas Hill Country: TOW, and that rhymes with COW. Thanks for getting it right.

Nancy Tow Falster, Wood County Electric Cooperative

Editor’s Note: “Texas Tongue Twisters” did not appear in all editions of Texas Co-op Power. 

Rail Reveries

In October 2009, my husband and I also rode the Amtrak rails (re: “Still Riding the Rails,” October 2010). Our trip consisted of six segments over a course of two weeks. We started our journey in San Antonio. We went from San Antonio to Los Angeles on the Sunset Limited, from Los Angeles to Flagstaff, Arizona, and back to Los Angeles on the Southwest Chief after a few days of exploring Arizona, Utah and Nevada. We then traveled from Los Angeles to Seattle, Washington and back to Los Angeles on the Coast Starlight after spending a few days with a friend in Bellingham, Washington. We finished our journey back to San Antonio once again on the Sunset Limited. We both enjoyed our trip but, unlike the description in Eileen Mattei’s story for your magazine, we didn’t think far enough ahead to get a sleeper. We were stiff and sore from so much riding in the coach seats, but we really had fun. We are planning another train trip, but this time we will get a sleeper!

Nelda Hotchkiss, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative

I truly enjoyed your wonderful feature article on the legendary Sunset Limited. I am a lifelong rail fan and was a frequent passenger on the Sunset Limited from Houston to Alpine as a student at Sul Ross State University. Riding the rails is a superb substitute for the stress and discomfort of flying and is often less expensive than an airline ticket to the same destinations. I am a former flight attendant, but given the present state of air travel, I now hate flying!

If Amtrak would only reinstate its former segment from New Orleans to Jacksonville, Florida, I would be as happy as a lark. The eastbound section was “temporarily put on hold” in August 2005 due to complications stemming from Hurricane Katrina. Prior to 2005, Amtrak was the only true transcontinental passenger train in American history. My son and grandchildren live in Jacksonville, and I would love to travel to that city on Amtrak to visit them more frequently. I know my grandchildren would be delighted also to come and visit Grandma by train.

Mariquita Holliday, Pedernales Electric Cooperative

Band Benefits Linger

The article on high school bands (“Marching to Different Drummers,” October 2010) reminded me of the fun and camaraderie I had in band for five years. When I was a senior in 1960, the multiple-award-winning Lufkin High School band was invited to perform at halftime in the annual Cotton Bowl football classic. We were in Dallas for four days continuing our practice of a walking stick figure and performing with several other Texas bands. Also, we marched every year in the Houston livestock rodeo parade, sometimes in frigid weather. Discipline, teamwork and love of music are still useful to me today.

Donna Lemke Bennett, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative

Good Medicine

My dad, born in October 1882, told me about medicine shows (re: “The Diamond King,” October 2010) when he was young. One of the shows was a moving picture show. Moving pictures had just been invented. The show was some people moving pictures across the stage. My experience with medicine shows in the 1931-to-1940 period was much better than my dad’s.

The Doc Kendrick show was a very good show and played the Central Texas towns every year. I lived at Valera. Doc Kendrick decided to retire and picked Valera as his hometown. Valera was very fortunate to have the Kendrick family as part of our community. When there was any function at the school or any other place, Doc and his family were there to supply music and add to any entertainment. When World War II came along, I left Valera. I returned to Valera and Coleman County in 1971. Doc and his family had passed on or moved away.

W.C. Walton, Coleman County Electric Cooperative

Power House

I enjoyed the “Power House” article (November 2010, about an energy-efficient home built in Abilene) as I just recently finished my home. I also utilized as much energy efficiency as I could find with foam insulation, energy-efficient windows and appliances, a surrounding porch with large overhangs, as well as a cupola that acts as a thermal “chimney” that draws cool air off the porches into the windows and allows warmer air to exit out the top. As far as the solar panels, the last Texas legislative session had two bills that gave substantial rebates for solar panel purchases. Both bills made it through committees but were not passed. All co-op members who are interested in supporting this type of legislation should contact their state representatives and tell them Texas should lead the nation in solar power generation, and this type of rebate legislation makes the payback well worth it!

Rob Trippet, Bandera Electric Cooperative