This article by Ray Spitzenberger first appeared in IMAGES for September 3, 2020, East Bernard Express, East Bernard, Texas. Although I have written the majority of the many articles, poems, columns, and even a book, about Lee County, Texas, where I grew up, I have actually lived in Wharton County much longer than in …
This article by Ray Spitzenberger first appeared in IMAGES for August 27, 2020, East Bernard Express, East Bernard, Texas. Festivals have been celebrated throughout the world as far back as history records. Festivals, Fests, Fiestas, Fairs, Picnics! Whatever you call them, there seems to be a strong need for them within the hearts of …
Wharton County, like much of the Houston area, experienced a “Cool Front” on Monday, and while it was definitely not a “Cold Front,” it did cool things down a bit (90 high instead of 97). The night before, when the weatherman was forecasting a “Cool Front,” he made it very clear that we did not need to get out our blankets or sweaters.
Not too long ago during the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic, when there was a severe shortage of toilet paper, some folks were having panic attacks. It was like, ‘How can life go on without toilet paper?’ My initial response was to chuckle, because I thought of the good old days, growing up in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s in the wonderful rural community of Dime Box, Texas, where everybody had an outhouse or privy equipped with a Sears Roebuck Catalogue and a stack of old newspapers. We didn’t have an indoor toilet with tissue paper luxury until my family moved to Giddings when I was 14.
There is a “falls” in Marble Falls, Texas, but no “marble”; the rock quarried near there is “granite,” which was used to build the present State Capitol in Austin, begun in 1882 and completed in 1888. I remember my high school Texas History teacher telling our class the fascinating story about building that grand old edifice in Austin. I’m not sure the history books included some of the things she told. Her accounts triggered my interest in granite.
Helping to make molasses out of sugarcane the old-timey way in the 1940’s was my first experience with the tall grass known as “sugarcane.” Since there are three types of sugar cane, — chewing cane, crystal cane, and syrup cane, — I’m guessing my father’s cousins in Carmine, Texas, were using “syrup” canes for making their strong, thick molasses. I was a pre-teen at the time, and my job was to carry bundles of sugarcane to the area where a poor old horse, attached to a pole, went around and around on a device that crushed and squeezed the sugarcane stalks. My job was easier than the horse’s.
Recently, while going through my closet, I came across a small, “Indian” arrowhead that I had found as a child growing up in Dime Box, Texas. We called such artifacts, “Indian” arrowheads back then. Today, however, “Native Americans” is the preferred term, although anthropologists and archeologists use the word, “Amerindians.” I remember how many, many Amerindian artifacts people would find in the 1940’s. Most of my young friends had a collection, though I never got past my one arrowhead.
Although he was born in Carmine, Texas, my father grew up in Dime Box, married, and raised his family there (which included me). Daddy was an avid fisherman! Fresh water! I don’t think he had ever been to the Gulf of Mexico until much later in life. But the creeks in Dime Box in those days were clear and unpolluted, and fish were abundant, and the Colorado River was only about 38 miles away, whether in the direction of Bastrop or LaGrange. My father and my uncle would take the women and the kids to the small creeks to fish, but only the men would risk fishing on the big Colorado River, and even they were afraid of it.