Archive: » 2020 » July

Fondly Remembering Jim Chionsini

I met Jim Chionsini in late June 1982 when I drove from Austin to San Augustine to interview for the job of managing editor of the weekly San Augustine Rambler. He had bought the paper from Sam Malone the year before. Sam still ran a print shop in the same building. I was working for the Texas Air Control Board as a photographer and hating it. We met at Fairway Farm, a legendary golf course a few miles out of town. In the 1950s, Fairway Farm was ranked one of the top courses in the country. It closed in the early 1990s and has reverted back to pine trees and hay meadows. Jim was playing in the annual...

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Peppers, Birdsong, Plucking and Birthdays

It’s only a paper moon Sailing over a cardboard sea Ella Fitzgerald There is a sense of unreality in this new world of masks, curbside pickup, staying home and safe, learning the tools needed to teach online, FaceTiming friends and family, doing CrossFit workouts in our den instead of the gym. And so on. Further notes from the pandemic: |———| Our vegetable crop still flourishes, save for the sole tomato plant in a container. It yielded at most 20 tomatoes. That came to about a buck a tomato, indicating my future does not lie in vegetable farming. But the serrano, cayenne and various...

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Searching For A Fitting Epitaph

Richard Gelles, author of more than two dozen academic books and hundreds of articles and a longtime professor of social policy, died of brain cancer in late June. The widely esteemed academic reportedly told his son that he wanted the epitaph on his tombstone to read, “Published. Still Perished.” I could find no mention of this in the numerous obituaries I looked up, but I choose to believe it is true. I admire someone who finds humor in the face of death. That got me to pondering what epitaph I might choose for my tombstone, if I were going to have one. I’m not, preferring cremation...

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May The Wind Take Your Troubles

May the wind take your troubles away May the wind take your troubles away Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel, May the wind take your troubles away “Windfall,” by Son Volt “Windfall” was written 25 years ago by Jay Farrar of Son Volt, a fine Americana band whose music I haven’t listened to in years. It popped up in one of the mixes that Spotify creates based on what else I have been listening to. The song is partly about taking a road trip and trying to catch a radio station’s signal while driving in the boonies. Most mornings, I switch from Red River Radio to Spotify...

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Reading Newspapers From the 1840s — From Home

The days are flying off the calendar, much as in those 1940s movies. Remember how directors used that technique to denote passage of time? Good grief. The year is halfway over. My Beautiful Mystery Companion and I remain in voluntary lockdown for the most part. I make necessary trips to Home Depot to pick up swimming pool salt. Whenever possible, we use curbside pickup. Trips inside stores are rare, hurried and I always wear a mask. We get take-out food every once in a while. I stay away from people in stores not wearing masks, and don’t patronize establishments whose employees aren’t wearing...

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