The music industry comes full circle, in a way, as record albums are climbing in popularity. Record Store Day this month celebrates music on vinyl. National Lineman Appreciation Day celebrates another group of climbers—the ones who keep our lights on.
Don’t Skip It
When was the last time you played a record on a turntable? You might want to dust it off by April 16, in time for record store day.
Since 2007, the third Saturday in April marks Record Store Day, a global event celebrating music on vinyl and the independently owned record stores that sell it. Two of the most acclaimed record stores in Texas—and some would say the U.S.—are Forever Young Records in Grand Prairie and Waterloo Records in Austin.
After decades of being pronounced deader than disco, records are on the rise. Vinyl sales in the U.S. have grown 260 percent in six years, totaling $9.2 million in 2014 and making vinyl the fastest-growing music format sold today.
Did You Know?
Starting in 1989, new album releases arrived in record stores on Tuesdays in the U.S. That all changed July 10, 2015, when the record industry moved the record release day to Fridays.
National Lineman Appreciation Day: The Men We Look Up To
National Lineman Appreciation Day is April 11. It’s not prudent to climb a pole and shake their hands, but remember to thank them when you meet them eye-to-eye. They are among the 18,000 full-time linemen at electric co-ops across the country.
Linemen keep your lights on. When nasty storms hit and you seek shelter, they grab their gear, charge into the teeth of the worst weather, repair damage and restore electricity. Who doesn’t appreciate that?
Co-op linemen also readily volunteer through NRECA International to help establish infrastructure in developing countries, including Haiti, Guatemala and Ethiopia.
Since 2008, these Texas co-ops have sent volunteers overseas: Bandera, HILCO, Pedernales and Wood County electric cooperatives; CoServ Electric; Mid-South Synergy; and United Cooper-ative Services.
“We take electric power for granted now, but it was incredible the way it transformed rural Texas in the ’30s and ’40s,” says Kerry Kelton, CEO of Mid-South Synergy and a board member of NRECA’s International Foundation.
“We’re doing the same thing now around the world. My linemen who go work in developing countries say the work is hard, but the personal reward is great when you give a community hope for the future.
“The NRECA international program is in Africa, the Philippines, South America, Bangladesh, all over the world.”
Fooled to the Brim?
When you read Cowboy Hatters, you’ll learn about the skilled craftsmen around the state who make hats for a living. It’s a serious endeavor— for the artisans and their clients. Less serious is the mythology of the 10-gallon hat, as cowboy hats are often called.
Notion Doesn’t Hold Water
First of all, no hat could hold 10 gallons. The folks at Stetson, one of the leading hat brands, say a cowboy hat can hold 3 quarts of water, tops.
A couple of theories exist involving Anglicized Spanish. One is that the phrase tan galán, roughly translated as “very gallant” or “really handsome,” evolved into “ten gallon.” Another idea involves the galónes—braided bands—on sombreros. A large sombrero could hold 10 galónes.
Notable cowboys and Wild West outlaws often preferred not to wear 10-gallon hats because they were too easy to spot and made them easy targets.
Is This Up Your Alley?
For antiques addicts who can’t contain themselves at the sight of rotary telephones, apothecary bottles or windup doorbells, Antique Alley Texas might be the perfect stop. Antique Alley, which takes place on the third weekend of April and the third weekend of September, can’t contain itself to Grandview and is spread out over 30 miles of back roads—toward Cleburne, Alvarado, Venus and Maypearl.
Nita Redmon, a member of HILCO Electric Cooperative and one of Antique Alley’s organizers, says it never gets old when a visitor tells her, “This was my first Antique Alley Texas, but it won’t be my last.”
The flea market-style event started in 1999 and includes stops in pastures along FM 916, FM 4 and Texas Highway 81. Redmon warns that bargain hunters must not park along the road because police will ticket them. Free parking is provided at each pasture sale.
For more information, call (817) 240-4948.
A Term That’s a Head-Scratcher
The term flea market first appeared in English in 1922, a translation of the French market’s name for secondhand goods, which in the 1800s sometimes contained fleas. Another story about the origin of the term flea market is that used-goods merchants were forced from central Paris and, after fleeing, set up shops outside of town.
By the Numbers: 41.7 Percent
As April 10 marks the 150th anniversary of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the group can celebrate the fact that more cats and dogs are today acquired through rescue and shelter services—41.7 percent—than by any other means.
Nearly half of U.S. pet owners found their furry friend at a shelter, according to the 2015–16 national pet owners survey. That’s almost 70 million four-legged friends.