Even though this week’s paper is scheduled to come out a day early, probably Thanksgiving will be already passed before most of you have a chance to read it. I’ll ask your patience with me (since I’m writing this two days BEFORE the holiday) if some of my thoughts seem slightly outdated.
This has been a crazy year for me; as life goes on and I keep getting older (and as my brain cells continue to die off at an alarming rate), there have been quite a few stressful moments. But overall, 2017 has been another great year. The last few weeks, in particular, have been packed with good experiences, and I feel like the Lord has been getting me ready for Thanksgiving Day since the beginning of the month.
Part of my optimism right now stems from recent progress on my long-neglected book. Since a “chance” meeting with Vicki Moore this past summer, and the recent completion of an article about her grandfather (Euel Moore, the county commissioner from 1951 to 1968), I have been feeling a lot more motivated. I have almost all the writing done, and I have chapter outlines to organize it. I have a tentative cover ready, and my daughter-in-law (a professional editor) has agreed to edit it (I wanted someone else to look it over before it got “written in stone”). The title is “Lake LBJ and the Re-Birth of Kingsland: 1951 to 1970.” Look for copies to be available by next spring!
I’m already planning a second book, to be called “My Hill Country Adventure.” If all goes according to plan, that will be a big hard-cover “coffee table book,” with slick pages and lots of color pictures. It will blend Hill Country history and attractions with my own experiences in discovering them. And it will tell about some of the interesting people (some of them quite famous) that I have been privileged to meet along the way.
I was saddened to hear about the recent passing of one of those special people. I met Mel Tillis in 2008 when I was invited to attend the premiere of the movie, “Palo Pinto Gold,” in San Antonio. He was one of the stars, along with other celebrities like Roy Clark, Kinky Friedman, Joaquin Jackson, Kevin Fowler and Jay Novacek (I actually sat with Kinky Friedman and his brother to watch the movie; that will be one of my stories!)
One of the other people who will definitely get honorable mention in that book (and right here, too) is John Hoover, of Burnet. You can see pictures of him on page 15, from this morning’s re-naming of the street next to Seton Highland Lakes Hospital; the former CR 340A is now “John W. Hoover Parkway.”
I met Mr. Hoover in 1994, when I started selling Schwan’s frozen food in Burnet. Several of the ladies in the Hoover Construction office were customers, and a couple of them are still my friends. I shopped at Hoover Building Supply when I was trying to renovate my old house on north Main Street (1996-2002), and met a couple more friends there (Al Kroeger and Travis Warren were very helpful back then, and provided good story material when I started my writing career).
When I became the editor of the Burnet Bulletin in 2000, I would begin each Wednesday morning by bringing a few of my new papers to McDonald’s, where John Hoover would be regaling a group of friends with tall tales (some of them true, I think!) We would discuss whatever was in the paper, and I would find out what WASN’T in the paper.
Sometime soon I need to put together a detailed list of Mr. Hoover’s contributions to his community. It seems like he’s had a hand in almost every positive development in Burnet for the past 60 years (DEFINITELY the past 20). I had the honor of participating in a few of those things (and writing about more of them); if that book ever gets written, he’ll be in it. Stay tuned!