Raising funds for a mission trip to Costa Rica next summer, talented members of the Lutie Watkins Memorial United Methodist Church in Llano served a delicious dinner and performed famous songs from Broadway hits like “Fiddler on the Roof” (above) in three dinner theater presentations of “A Taste of Broadway” last weekend (see more pictures on page 8 and lots more on the “Highland Lakes Weekly” Facebook page).
It was the best of times. Period. If anything at all went wrong this past week, it escaped my notice (or I just forgot). The “Twelve Days of Aqua Boom” (more or less) are over, and my head is still spinning, but I would have to say that it was a tremendous success!
Two of the most amazing news items I heard this week (and one of them wasn’t an Aqua Boom item) were: 1) The visit of the Publishers Clearing House crew to Kingsland, and 2) the spectacular generosity of KLBJ radio personality Chris Heerlein.
Publishers Clearing House stopped at H.E.B. in Kingsland to get helium for the celebratory balloons they presented (along with a bottle of champagne and a $1 million “check”) to a Buchanan Dam woman last Friday. (See, they really do exist. This is NOT “fake news!”)
Chris Heerlein, who co-hosts the “Retire Ready” radio show with Sandra Newman every Saturday on KLBJ in Austin (I believe they are also co-owners of Reap Financial), has a vacation home here in Kingsland, and visits frequently. He was impressed by the Aqua Boom festival, and came by the Chamber booth at the lakeside park on Tuesday to buy THREE THOUSAND raffle tickets! There was no guarantee that he would win, but he was richly rewarded for his generosity when the newly-crowned Miss Aqua Boom, Amber Dyess, drew one of his tickets and earned him the beautiful new Sea Doo from Highland Lakes Watercraft.
I have to start this week’s column with a shout-out to the good folks at the Lake Buchanan Conservation Corporation (LBCC). Not only do they create fish habitat and stock the lake, install docks, do clean-up projects and give out scholarships; when they see that the Highland Lakes area needs a little rain, they schedule a golf tournament! I’m told that they’ve re-scheduled for September 16; keep your umbrellas handy.
Not only did last weekend’s rains help our lakes and rivers, they gave your overworked editor a little bit of a break. I used the rain as an excuse to skip a few outdoor events (probably cancelled anyway, right?) and got more sleep than I can remember getting in quite a while. I got a little house-cleaning done, and I started to catch up with my paperwork.
I did remember to go to the TxDOT meeting at Kingsland’s First Baptist Church, and was delighted to see an overflow crowd in attendance. From what I hear, TxDOT was impressed by what they saw and heard; Hwy 1431 will remain a 4-lane road for now.
Commissioner Mike Sandoval seemed to be the driving force behind these meetings, although County Judge Mary Cunningham and Commissioner Linda Raschke certainly lent their support. He has been very active and accessible as commissioner, and I hear he has also recently volunteered to serve as the county’s Veterans Services Officer. I’m not sure exactly what that entails, but if you are a veteran who needs services, give him a call!
The big news in Llano on January 1, 1917, was some New Year’s Eve vandalism. The Llano News reported in its January 4 issue that 11 local boys had been assessed fines totaling $14.70 for “general mischief,” and several more were to be charged after the town awoke to find an overturned garbage can covering the head of the Confederate soldier statue (which had been dedicated with great fanfare the previous year) and broken “window lights, desks and laboratory equipment at the school building.” According to the report, “considerable other mischief of less violence was the result of the night’s rowdyism.”
The Watkins Auto Sales Company announced its delivery of thirteen new Fords (a hot commodity in 1917; all of them were already spoken for, and there was still a waiting list of prospective buyers). Several of the buyers were familiar names, including Roy B. Inks of Llano, O.K. McDonald of Tow and W.H. Hill of Kingsland. Mr. Watkins expected more Fords to arrive “any day.”
Traveling by car was an interesting experience back then. Another front-page story told how Professor B.F. McCollum and his wife had planned to travel with three young school teachers to Dublin for Christmas. They had almost made it as far as Cherokee when the car broke down. It became evident that the car needed a part which was not available anywhere nearby, so when a Good Samaritan stopped to help, the four ladies hitched a ride into town and called a “jitney” to take them to Lometa, where they could catch a train. The jitney broke down, too, and they had to spend the night with a hospitable family in Cherokee while they waited for another jitney from to come and get them. In the meantime, the professor found a telephone (and refuge for the night) at a nearby ranch, and called a supplier in Mason to bring the necessary part for his car the next day. The “chauffeur” of the second jitney “overslept himself” and the ladies missed their train by 15 minutes, but they were able to catch up to it and board the train at its next stop. The professor installed the new part, and arrived in Dublin shortly after his wife and their friends!
Of course, trains were still the primary mode of transportation, and the paper listed shipments from Llano by several area ranchers. J.C. Stribling sent two carloads of hogs to Fort Worth. D.P. Hasse and J.W. Hasse each sent four carloads of hogs, also to Fort Worth. H.R. Smith sent two carloads of cattle to San Marcos, but most of the shipments went to Fort Worth.
The big news for me this week, at least personally, is that I’ve finished my appointed rounds, and delivered my allotment of “Kingsland, Texas!” magazines to nearly forty towns around Texas. Theoretically, that means that I’ll fulfill the prophecy on my forty-year-old wooden plaque, which says “Next week I’ll get organized!”
I’m obviously not holding my breath, but I think (or at least hope) that I’m already making progress. You may have noticed that I didn’t write a whole lot last week about the Burnet County Fair (although I did have plenty of pictures this year). That was partly because I couldn’t find an email that I thought I had received, listing winners and giving pertinent statistics. I remembered (after I found it a day too late in a stack of papers next to my desk) that I actually had been handed a press release while I was there; the email never existed.
The county fair was a big success, with 157 exhibitors displaying a record-setting 767 entries. Sweepstakes winners were: Kerry McDonald (Adult), Courtney Burrows (Senior Youth) and Cricket Beaman (Junior Youth). I should have had at least that much information in last week’s paper.
This week, I had the presence of mind to go through some of the stacks of paper that have been accumulating around my “office.” I discovered a flyer that someone had given me, advertising a free community Spaghetti Dinner at the fire hall in Granite Shoals. It is this Friday (June 23), from 5 to 9 p.m., and it seems that the purpose is to get residents (especially those who might be interested in volunteering some of their time) more familiar with the people, the activities and the needs of the department.
I guess I overdid it. I get a lot of satisfaction from taking on a little more than I should, and I was very pleased with myself when I got home from a 1,270 mile marathon “magazine delivery” trip around north and east Texas around 2:10 a.m. on Tuesday. I felt so good that I stayed up to post an album on Facebook and to listen to the voice mail messages I had not been able to retrieve when I last checked my phone in Carthage. That’s when I realized I had only five hours to sleep before I tackled a very full day. And that’s when my mind seemed to go on strike. I felt pretty good when I got up, but I began making one mistake after another.
The one I regret the most is the loss of a picture I took at the Marble Falls police station. The VFW delegation was there to present a check for $2,000 from their bingo fund for the department’s mobile video/body camera project. Police Chief Mark Whitacre was there with other department personnel, and the whole group gathered in front of the building for a picture. I was the only photographer there, so they asked me to email a copy of the picture; I told them I would.
As I hurried through my other errands, I took several more pictures. When I stopped at home, I copied my pictures to the computer and kept on going. Realizing a while later that my pictures from the trip were still on the nearly-full card (and confident that all my pictures were safely uploaded to the home computer), I deleted all the pictures on the camera.
I didn’t think about pictures again until late that night, but when I looked for the police department picture I couldn’t find it anywhere! This has happened to me three or four times since I started working with this new computer, but this was the first time in a while that I hadn’t taken extra care to make sure I had saved all my pictures. I looked through every folder and did searches, but I think it’s gone forever.
I’m afraid I’m going to have to report some real news this week. (But I’ll get back to my normal “fluff” as quickly as possible.) First, Kingsland has a new fire chief; the VFD elected Darryl Miller Sr., who has been a volunteer firefighter here for more than 25 years, serving most recently as secretary/treasurer of the department. He succeeds the almost-legendary Danny Stone, whose community service is not limited to the VFD, but who has served as Kingsland’s fire chief for longer than most people here can remember. He didn’t seem very eager to be interviewed last time I asked him, but I’ll try again because I know he’s been very much involved in all of Kingsland’s recent history (at least since the 70s).
Secondly, Commissioner Mike Sandoval (who is the closest thing to a mayor that Kingsland has) will be holding a “public input open house” with TxDOT and CAPCOG next Tuesday at the Kingsland Community Center to discuss plans for future transportation projects in Kingsland and around Llano County. All residents and anyone who drives through Kingsland is invited to stop in between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. on the 13th (you don’t have to be there the whole time; it’s a “come and go” event). Commissioner Sandoval will also be holding his normal monthly “town hall” meeting; that will be at the Highland Lakes Church of Christ (2310 W. Ranch Road 1431) from 5:30 to 7:30 the following Tuesday (June 20).
Just write down exactly what you want to say (up to 25 words for $3 per week; up to 50 words for $5), then mail your ad with payment for however long you want it to run.
Make checks payable to:
Highland Lakes Weekly
P.O. Box 911
Kingsland, TX 78639