October 20, 2010

Veterans Day

I had the distinct honor of being able to serve my country for 23 wonderful years with the United States Navy. I frequently look back on the years I spent serving and frequently wish I were still in. I get a sense of pride when "veterans" are recognized for the committment and the sacrifices they made to keep their country free.

With Veterans Day, 2010 just around the corner, something in me asked, what is a proper and fitting description of a veteran? I remembered an article and it pretty much says everything that should be said about a veteran and what a veteran is.

"A veteran is someone who writes a blank check payable to the United States of America, in an amount up to and including his life".

Happy Veterans Day everyone.

The Flighty Texan

October 19, 2010

Go Rangers!

Do you smell it? It's wafting in the air from the Bronx to South Arlington. It's the smell of victory in the air. The Texas Rangers are on fire and be it not for one bad inning in three games, the Rangers would have a commanding 3-0 lead in the American League Division Series.

Cliff Lee performed like a micro-surgeon last night and surgically removed any momentum the New York Yankees gained at any point during last nights convincing win in the Bronx. And our young closer, Neftali Feliz slammed the door shut as he fanned two out of the three remaining Yanks.

All of the sports journalists, nay-sayers and doubters in baseball are now taking a good look at these once hapless Rangers. They ain't hapless no more my friend.

But, just like in game one, "it ain't over, 'til it's over", after all, these are the World Champion Yankees, but the Rangers have the taste of Yankee blood in the Bronx now and they're gonna go down swingin', literally. I say the Rangers take it all, in six games, in Arlington.

October 11, 2010

Take Me Back

We’ve all got ‘em. Some of you may have three or four, or ten. I have at least six I can think of. One is on an old eight-track tape I ran across in a box the other day. I have a few hanging on the wall and some in the attic I’m sure. There’s one in my wallet and one right there on the dresser in my bedroom.

I’m talking about triggers, or something that “takes you back” to another place and time. It might be a picture, the name of a road, an old convertible, or something as simple as a single word.

I’m very fond of “going back” and remembering days gone by. I guess it’s my way of getting through the tough times in my present life and dealing with the insanity of the new millennium. But regardless, everyone has a special moment, or place in time that helps you remember a simpler, less responsible time in your life.

As I said earlier, I have a few myself. There is one right across the road from my house in an old, empty pasture. You’ve probably heard them called the “horse apple”, “Osage Apple”, “Hedge apple” or “cowboy bowling ball”. I’m talking about the most useless vegetation to ever litter the ground, the Bois d’ Arc Apple.

You’ve seen them if you live in Texas. Those sticky, bumpy, lime-green, softball-sized masses that hit the ground in the fall and sit idly by waiting to wither into the spawn of another Bois d’ Arc tree.

It was very common in the late sixties and early seventies for kids to walk to school, especially if you lived in a small town as I did. We had two ways to get to school every morning and my brothers, a few friends and I would swap out our path ever so often to get there.

My favorite direction was taking Highland Avenue. It was a long road that crested into a small hill right in the middle of our walk. And at the top of that gentle, sloping hill was a Bois d’ Arc Tree that always seemed to have an ample supply of the fresh orbs lying around on the ground. Most would just walk on by and never take a second look at them, but we were boys. We had to do something with them. A perfectly good bois d’ arc apple just lying around wasn’t going to happen if we could help it.

As young boys minds do, our imagination finally devised the game of “Bois d’ Arc bowling”. This was a game we came up with out of shear boredom I believe. We would take turns rolling the apples down the West side of Highland Avenue and the apple that rolled the furthest and stayed in the middle of the road for the longest was the “winner” and that person had bragging rights for the day.

On Saturdays we’d go up on the hill and have “bowling tournaments”. One or two of us would venture down the hill some 200 yards away and at the end of the “lane”, we would place Coke cans, bottles, sticks or whatever other kind of “pins” we could find and have a tournament.

Shorty, David, Butch, Ricky and I would spend the better part of Saturday trying to get a strike from atop the hill on Highland Avenue. You know, I don’t ever recall anyone ever hitting the “pins”.

Recently, I was in the front yard with my youngest granddaughter, who is almost four and suffers from Autism. I looked out across the road and there next to the fence line and just on the shoulder on the other side of the road, were three or four Bois d’ Arc apples just waiting to be flung down my drive.

Well, you know what I did. I took my granddaughter by the hand and introduced another generation to the grand old Texas game of “Bois d’ Arc Bowling”. Despite all of her inabilities, she’s getting pretty good at a game that I started playing 45 years ago myself. God, I pray that you will lead my little granddaughter by the hand during her difficult life and I also pray that there will always be an ample supply of Bois d’ Arc apples.

October 1, 2010

Fifh Generation Texan..or a little about me

I was telling a fellow blogger in an email today that I come from four generations of Central Texas Texans. My mothers family are the Burketts originally out of Goldthwaite and my daddy's side are SERIOUS South Louisana Coonasses from Lafayette. George Washington Burkett came to Texas from Tennessee, sometime before 1851 and settled in and around Goldthwaite. I've included a link to the Burkett Family Tree to this blog if you have an interest in getting info on an historic family of Texans. We have relatives spread out all over the nation and if we ever had everyone get together at one time, we'd probably have to lease out the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington to accomodate everyone.

A great-great uncle of mine, J.H. Burkett, was the man responsible for developing the Burkett Papershell Pecan. Some of you may have seen the original tree, that was actually a graft from the "mother" tree, on Interstate 20 between Ranger and Cisco. It was there for nearly 90 years until the Pecan Weevil and lightning took her down in 1994. Our family had such a presence in early Central Texas that a small town, just north of Brownwood was settled with their name, Burkett, Texas.

All native and multi-generational Texans share a rich and unique heritage. I'm proud of mine too. So, I hope you enjoyed this short history of my beginnings...

The Flighty Texan

New friends...

Don't you just love new friends? Old friends are good, and they feel like a comfortable old pair of sneakers, but there is something exciting about new friends. You learn new things and hear new stories and it's just an exciting moment when you find a new friend.

I'd like to say a big Texas "Howdy", to my new friend, David Werst. He has an awesome blog called "Real Texas Blog" and it's chock full of stories, recipes and other Texas related tidbits. And like me, he seems to have an opinion. And that's a good thing.

I was hesitant to start this blog, but the more I saw of other sites I just couldn't keep away from the idea. And if the truth be told, the Real Texas Blog had a lot to do with me finally giving in to the pressure that kept poking me like a sharp stick and in starting The Flighty Texan.

Once again, thanks to all of my old friends that continually read The Flighty Texan and support me in this endeavor and a hearty welcome to the new friends and those to come.

The Flighty Texan