2018

Is It ‘Crepe’ or ‘Crape’?

A listener/reader of my commentaries on Red River Radio questioned my spelling of crape myrtle in a recent piece, in which I conducted my annual rant against the wanton desecration each winter of these lovely trees. The fellow agrees with my stance against those who foolishly, or out of ignorance, prune crape myrtles. But he pointed out that in the South the tree is usually spelled “crepe,” not “crape.” I based my spelling on the photo of the bumper sticker that accompanied the text version at redriverradio.org, since the bumper sticker creator owns a landscape company. As it turns out,...

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Celebrating a Decade Together

We met a decade ago this month. I had just moved to Longview to become the publisher of the Longview News-Journal, where I began my newspaper career as a paperboy in 1968. I wrote a column about unpacking a treasure trove of books, which surround me now in this office. My Beautiful Mystery Companion-to-be had just celebrated a milestone birthday. She emailed and asked if we could have coffee and get acquainted, as long as I was not married. I wasn’t, so I used Google to figure out she was a college professor and had a daughter. Maybe I will make a new friend, I thought. So did she. A few days...

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Finding Parallels in Two Biographies

I read Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff recently, and followed immediately by reading Kingfish, a biography of Huey P. Long, written by Richard D. White, Jr. This was intentional. I bought the former on Amazon as soon as it was released and recently picked up a lightly used copy of the latter at Gladewater Books, my new favorite used bookstore. My first impression of Fire and Fury is that the copy editors at publisher Henry Holt and Company clearly were on holiday. The book is riddled with typos that made me cringe: “pubic” instead of “public,” “differed”...

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Recalling the Shuttle Columbia Tragedy

Fifteen years ago, on Feb. 1, 2003, on a cloudless, spring-like Saturday morning as I walked out of my door in Nacogdoches shortly before 8, a sonic boom rattled the windows. NPR had just reported the shuttle Columbia was headed to land in Florida. I figured the boom, followed by a series of rumbles, was the shuttle passing overhead. I had seen the shuttle pass over on past flights, a quick flash of orange streaking across the sky, but not this time. As I have written before, minutes later, pieces of the shuttle began raining down over Nacogdoches and much of Deep East Texas. I rushed to work...

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My Feisty, Opinionated Mom Would Have Been 88 Today

My mom would have been 88 today. Mary Grace Adrian Bourque Borders was born on January 26, 1930 in Boston, and grew up in Concord, N.H. She studied in Boston at Massachusetts General Hospital and became a registered nurse. Mom met our dad in Boston, when his naval destroyer, the U.S.S. Norris was docked at the shipyard for repairs. They married in 1953. After my dad left the Navy, they moved back to N.H. and bought a small house in Allenstown, N.H., about five miles from Concord. Everyone called her Mickey, a nickname she acquired in nursing school, though she was always vague on the details....

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Mr. Fain’s Maroon Upholstered Chair

Note: I was asked to recount my memories of Victor B. Fain, long-time editor and publisher of The Daily Sentinel in Nacogdoches. Mr. Fain was inducted into the Texas Press Association Hall of Fame at the mid-winter conference going on this weekend in Galveston. So I decided to expand those remarks into today’s offering. I was working as a dogcatcher for the City of Nacogdoches in 1977 during my final semester at Stephen F. Austin State University, a depressing job I was desperate to escape when I spied the ad in the Sentinel’s classified pages: Part-time position as lithographer at The Daily...

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Sitting On the Other Side of the Library Counter

I am sitting in the Margaret Estes Library on LeTourneau University’s campus on a Thursday morning. This is where I hibernate every other Thursday when the housekeeper comes in to clean house. Yasmin is an amazing housekeeper, and all humans and animals vacate the premises while she performs her magic. Sam and Rosie are dropped at the Canine Beauty Shop to be bathed. Tater and Tot, the now-grown cats, spend the day outside. My Beautiful Mystery Companion and daughter Abbie are also on campus, mom teaching, daughter learning. The library’s namesake, Margaret Estes, became publisher of the Longview...

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A Sliced Finger on Christmas Day

For our annual Christmas lunch, I assured my Beautiful Mystery Companion that daughter Mere, in for a visit, and I would handle the bulk of the cooking duties and give her a break. I bought smoked turkey and pulled pork from the brewpub/restaurant that Mere and her husband, Matt, own in Houston. She went to Hebert’s in Houston (still mourning that the local store closed) and brought several tubs of jalapeño crawfish dressing. My BMC bought a ham, and would cook green beans, while I would handle the mashed potatoes. Mere would make the salad. My BMC prepared the ham the day before to lessen...

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