The Hill Country Community Theatre’s production of “The 39 Steps” has been a big hit in its first weekend. The slapstick spoof of several Alfred Hitchcock thrillers stars just four actors (Katherine Clay, Cody Petty, Graham Avery and Doug Hart), who play dozens of different characters during the fast-paced, hilarious play (directed by Laura Gisi). The 39 Steps will continue this weekend and next, with 7:30 shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, plus a 2:15 matinee on Sunday. For more photos, see page 7 or search for “Highland Lakes Weekly” on Facebook.
What a difference a week makes! I was so tired when I wrote last week’s Scatterthought column that I thought I wasn’t going to make it; this week was the perfect antidote. My book was all done and at the printer’s; there weren’t that many events on my calendar, the weather wasn’t conducive to outdoor photography, and I decided to celebrate my 61st birthday (last Saturday) by getting a couple hours of extra sleep. It was great.
You will see that (even with a more relaxed schedule) I got enough pictures to fill this week’s paper; even though my Burnet Chamber banquet photos didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked, there were more than enough to fill two pages. A couple of other events could have filled more space if it had been available; the Diva Dawgs dances and the “39 Steps” production at the Hill Country Community theatre may have been the most fun, but there was some great music around the Highland Lakes last weekend, too.
If all goes as planned, my books (“Lake LBJ and the Re-Birth of Kingsland: 1951-1970”) should be printed and on the way to Kingsland by the time you read this. If they get here before 2 p.m. next Tuesday, I’ll have some with me when I address a meeting of the Friends of the Kingsland Library (I’ll be talking about Kingsland history whether I have the books there or not). I have packages ready to mail for all those who pre-ordered the book, and I hope to have book-signings at the Kingsland Library and The Place Downtown (across from the Kingsland post office) as soon as they can be arranged. The Kingsland Chamber will have books for sale as soon as they arrive, and I hope to place them with other local merchants soon, as well. I’ll keep you posted right here in ‘Scatterthought.”
Speaking of next Tuesday, Commissioner Mike Sandoval will be holding a Precinct 3 Town Hall meeting in the small meeting room at the Kingsland Library from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. He says that there will be important issues to report on from the Commissioners Court meeting the previous day, so the Town Hall is at a good time.
On March 25, 1954, the “drouth” took top billing in The Llano News. Even though one headline said “.53 inches of precipitation pelts county,” a picture of the bridge and the dam accompanied a story reporting that flash boards had been placed across the top of the city reservoir dam to impound 90 acre-feet of water (a “month and half supply for local residents,” who used approximately 600,000 gallons per day in 1953).
Another photo showed three boxcars full of “Drouth Feed” at the Llano railroad depot, part of a 30-carload supply that had been sent to Llano since the county had been recently reinstated on the Drouth Emergency Feed Relief program.
Less than half of the county’s vehicles had been registered by March 24, leaving just five days to register the estimated 1,300 vehicles remaining. Tax assessor/collector Eugene Atchison said it would soon be “physically impossible” to get all of the vehicles registered on time.
There was some good news, too. The Llano FFA Livestock Judging Team (Shelton Rossberg, John C. Reagor, Roy Grenwelge and Carroll Osbourn) won 1st place among 58 teams at an FFA contest in San Marcos. A Teen Center was preparing to open on May 15 at the old T.J. Watkins grocery store (between John Cummins’ and Dr. Henry Hoerster’s offices). Hot Rod races at the VFW Speedway drew a crowd estimated at 350 people from towns all around central Texas. Llano High School won the district Interscholastic League’s One Act Play competition; Emma Lou Willmann and Dale Fry won “Best Actress” and “Best Actor” honors.
Bruhl’s drug store took out a full-page ad for its 54th Anniversary Sale (“Since 1900”), and 21 other businesses bought another page to congratulate Bruhl’s. And Rogers Motors (another Llano car dealer, at 206 Ford Street) advertised the new International One Hundred pickup truck. Buck Clendennen advertised The Diner, and Wm. Cameron & Co. advertised building supplies. Virdell Drilling Co. (“We Drill Anywhere”) advertised new offices in the Ford Garage Building (“Next Door Houston Motor Co.”).
My favorite event was the Special Needs Prom at Hill Country Fellowship in Burnet. I had attended last year’s event, and was very much impressed with it then; this year I heard that it’s part of the Tim Tebow Foundation’s “Night to Shine” initiative, and that 540 churches around the world, with 175,000 volunteers participating, honored more than 90,000 people with special needs by crowning them “king” or “queen” for the night and treating them like royalty. There were limos, a red carpet, cheering crowds, individual companions and a host of good-hearted volunteers, all dedicated to making last Friday night a memorable event.
One of the honorees was 20-year-old Daniel Pugh, a young man with Down’s Syndrome who I knew years ago in Burnet. His mother (Patty) tells me that he needs a volunteer “job,” and wonders if there is someone out there who could put hin to work at some simple, routine job for a few hours a week (even just a couple of hours). She is willing to volunteer with him, if that would help. You can contact Patty at patriciapugh59@ gmail.com if you’d like to help.
I’m not going to try to list all the events, but I do want to let you all know that my book is now at the printer’s, and I’m told that copies will be shipped this way by February 22. It didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped, and I’m still worried that there will be some glitch, but I’m thrilled to have it so close to reality. I’m planning some book-signings, but I’ll wait until I get the books to announce a schedule (if the books look really bad, I’ll just bury them all and move to Alaska!)
I guess I’m getting old. I literally had “too much fun” again last weekend, and I’d like to warn the writer of that silly song (I think it’s Daryle Singletary) that his day is coming!
The papers were late getting printed last Thursday, and I had to skip a couple of meals to get my delivery route done by Friday afternoon. Complicating things even more was a Weakday Ministries interview that we videotaped Friday morning. Then there were several events to cover Friday night.
Saturday wasn’t especially hectic, but it was about eleven hours’ worth of driving around taking pictures.
My daughter and her amazingly energetic dog arrived last Saturday night, just as the week was ending, so my fun (and it really was fun) didn’t even slow down. We walked the dog, went out for a late dinner, walked the dog again, etc.
One of Sunday’s highlights was a 2.2-mile hike on the new Devil’s Backbone trail at Inks Lake State Park (Pepper loved it). The water level in the lake is down right now (see page 8), but the trail and the scenery were great. The lake level should be back to normal when the park hosts its “Galentine’s Day Hike” on February 13.
Livestock shows were still making the front page of The Llano News in March of 1954. A front page story on March 4 told how Stanley Keese had showed the “Champion Hereford Breeding Bull in the junior breeders portion of the Austin Livestock Show” and his Hereford breeding heifer had placed third to two entries from the senior calf division.
The Farm Bureau’s “drouth committee” filed a request to the state for reinstatement to the Drouth Emergency feed program, pointing out that Llano County had received less than one inch of rain in the previous 120 days, and that nearly all the ranchers were having to buy feed for their stock.
A lengthy meeting in the basement of the Llano Hotel led to an “almost unanimous” decision to plan a rodeo for 1054. Four committee members were appointed to decide whether or not a traditional Homecoming would be held that year, after two consecutive years of insufficient funding.
A weather report indicated that temperatures had dropped from a high of 92 degrees on February 26 to a low of 26 on March 1.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower designated March as National Red Cross Month, and Mayor H.J. Hoerster issued a proclamation calling for $1,750 in donations from residents of Llano County.
It was an honest mistake (not “fake news”). I copied some bad information, and put the wrong dates in a photo caption about the big Quilt Festival in Burnet next weekend. The right dates are February 9 and 10! By the way, I am an expert on fake news, and during my misspent youth I used to deliberately make up crazy news items and invent bogus organizations (even placed one fake “personals” ad). I thought it was all a very obvious joke, but some people took it seriously. I had to quit when the Daily Show called and invited me to appear on their show (they were actually going to fly me to New York). The catch was that I had to pretend I believed the nonsense I was spouting. I was so embarrassed that I declined the invitation and (mostly) quit my joking. When I started working for the Burnet Bulletin in 2000, I went “mainstream,” and have not pursued what might have been a promising career. That all happened before Jon Stewart made “fake news” famous, and I have occasionally wondered if he ever heard of me!
These days, especially in my history articles, I try hard to be exactly accurate; small discrepancies in my writing are accidents, often caused by my declining memory. I wrote last week about Kingsland’s “little white Christian Church,” and mentioned that I wouldn’t say a firm date for its move from Hwy 1431 to Chamberlain Street. Well, as I progressed in putting pages together last weekend, I found that I had already ascertained the real date, and had written about it four years ago. The church was moved about 50 feet to the east before the groundbreaking in January of 1965 (to make room for the new Kingsland Community Church sanctuary), but it wasn’t moved to the senior center location until November of 1966. It troubled me when I realized I had guessed wrong on that two weeks ago, and I’m very relieved to see that I already had the right information just waiting to be put in the book.
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