2023

A Fine Evening at the Jefferson Carnegie Library

JEFFERSON, TEXAS – This town of about 1,850 residents dates back to the early 1840s. Jefferson, in Marion County, is about 40 miles northeast of Longview, and was named by its founders for Thomas Jefferson. It quickly became an important riverport, sitting on the edge of Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake. The first steamboat to arrive in Jefferson was the Llama, which traveled from what is now Shreveport across Caddo Lake and into Big Cypress, there into town. The steamboats shipped cotton and other products downstream to New Orleans, coming back with visitors and potential settlers. These...

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Gatsby and I Attend Obedience School

I mentioned last week that I have started graduate school to obtain a certificate in archival management from the University of North Texas. I have also been enrolled in another type of school. Graduation is next Friday, then the next session begins. The six-week dog obedience course that Gatsby and I have been enrolled in has made huge changes in both of our behaviors. Gatsby is the latest member of our family. He is nearly 11 months old, a cavapoo, which is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a poodle. These are normally high-dollar dogs, and Gatsby is a beautiful dog with...

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A Graduate Student Once Again

I started graduate school on Tuesday. Prayers are welcomed. The last time I took a class for credit was in 1986, when I commuted weekly from San Augustine to The University of Texas at Austin. I needed to make up an incomplete so I could write my thesis and get my long-delayed master’s degree. This required asking for an extra year of grace, since I was bumping up against the six-year deadline. I drove 265 miles one way every Wednesday morning after getting out the paper, took the class, usually spent the night with my 50-plus-year friend Frank, got up early and drove back to start working...

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Another Year Devouring Books

Another year, another passel of books read. It is time for my annual review of what I read in 2022. It seems like I just did this the other day. Time is a bandit. According to Goodreads, the app I use to keep track, I read 50 books totaling 21,474 pages last year. That is down a dozen books from 2021, though the total page count was up almost 1,000. Fewer books with more pages, obviously. * The longest book was Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire, by Caroline Elkins, at 896 pages. One does not come away with a stellar view of the British empire, on which the sun never set during...

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A Final Dispatch (Maybe) From Germany

HÜRTH, GERMANY — This city of 60,000 nudges up against the southwest border of Köln (Cologne to most of the world). In early times, the Eifel Aqueduct, built around 80 A.D. by the Roman Empire, provided water from the hills of the Eifel region down to what is now Köln but was originally called Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium. Glad they changed the name. That is a mouthful. The water flowed strictly by gravity for about 60 miles. Originally, the stone aqueduct was entirely underground to protect it from freezing weather. Now, one can find small sections of the aqueduct preserved above...

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