Petunia & Betty & the mini dachshund

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In July of 1989 the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority achieved its goal of returning streetcar service to the city of Dallas, Texas when the streetcars began rolling down the tracks in the Uptown district.  All the cars are authentic streetcars and run 365 days a year with no fee to riders.  They can be chartered for private events too.

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Petunia

 

Petunia was part of an order of 25 cars from the J.G. Brill Company and was introducted into service in 1920 by the Dallas Railway Company.  While she featured many safety improvements her ride was bumpy and uncomfortable to riders.  She remained in service until 1947 and then was stripped of wheels, motor, and electrical wiring and converted into a residence.  Today, thankfully, she has been re-fitted with shock absorbers.

I rode Petunia in 2015 and was delighted with her details as well as the Uptown neighborhood.  At the end of the line the driver takes a break while the trolley is turned around via a large rotating wheel.  Petunia has doors and operating contrals at either end of the car. At that time the M-Line (as it is nicknamed) was pet friendly although I had a struggle getting the dog on and off as the steps were steep!

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Betty

Betty was built in 1926 by American Car Company for the Dallas Railway and Terminal Company and was still in service in 1956 when Dallas ended their trolley routes. She was then converted into a children’s playhouse. Upon her return to Dallas she was renovated and equipped with air-conditioning.

I rode her in July 2017 and was delighted with her interior and once again enjoyed the ride.  The afternoon was cool as rain showers were approaching and the windows on the trolley were open. As I stepped on I asked if dogs were permitted as there was no mention on their web site about still being dog friendly.  The operator said no, but told me to come on board that it was okay since he had a mini dachshund at home! I hopped on and Bree enjoyed her ride, even sniffing the air through an open window.

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What is a trolley and how does it operate? The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority web site offers this explanation:

A trolley car (or streetcar) is similar to a railroad passenger car. Like a train, a streetcar runs on a set of rails. Streetcar tracks are usually in or alongside city streets. An electric streetcar is sometimes referred to as a “trolley”, because it has a special pole that extends from the roof of the car to an electrified overhead wire, similar to a telephone or utility cable. The trolley pole collects power from this overhead cable and sends it to the motors located underneath the streetcar. The operator “drives” the streetcar with a controller.

The first street cars were introduced in 1828 and were pulled by horses or mules. The first electric powered streetcars began operating in 1888 in Richmond, Virginia and quickly caught on in other cities. Just to note that San Francisco’s famous streetcars are actually cable cars that are pulled along by a special cable located under the street in a slot between the rails; they have been operating continuously for over 100 years.

Dallas discontinued their streetcar service in 1956 after pressure from various groups. The 4 remaining streetcar lines were closed and Dallas opted for modern bus service.

Funding for the M-Line operational costs is provided through an agreement with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit as well as donations from other sources including public donations. To see a schedule click on the link above.

Clear water

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Last week I took a day trip to the Texas coast. I’ve been wanting to go forever and this was the time.  As it turned out it was the perfect time as the temperature was moderate, wind was gentle, the water was very warm and crystal clear.  It’s been over 30 years since I’ve seen the coast like this.  I wished that I had packed food in the cooler with the drinks and spent the day on the beach – under the umbrella. Mild disappointment that the restaurant I wanted to eat at was closed for several days, but the beach made up for that very quickly.

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What is it about the beach that is so soothing? And, why does the ocean fascinate me? I’m not an in-the-water person. Maybe it’s because the ocean reminds me of eternity with the way it appears to stretch forever. I don’t know and I won’t question it! It is the way it is.

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Such a long time

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How many times have I said this?

Yes, it does seem like it’s been forever since I blogged.  I could blame it on the hot weather – you know, it’s just too hot to blog.  I’ve had lots of ideas and it seems that I blog in my mind all the time, but somehow making myself sit down and put together posts has seemed like the impossible task.  Do I keep blogging or do I give it up?

Many of my fellow bloggers have felt overwhelmed with keeping up in the blogging world and have either left or cut way back. I’ve lost readers because I don’t post and, possibly because reading blogs has lost it’s appeal.  Social media is so much easier, just scroll through and you’re done. I’ve also been frustrated because I have reason to believe that certain local sources are using my historic posts for research for publication articles and not referencing their source (yes, my research is based on information from common sources and easily obtained, but I took the time to do the research and write it up).

I have 3 blogs with different subjects and the 4th original blog that I still post on from time to time. Each subject is very dear to me so I don’t want to eliminate one of them. After thinking about this at length I decided that I just can’t give this up. I am going to pace myself so I don’t feel overwhelmed or pressured to get a post up.  Above all I am going to write things that I want to share and that will, as always, will bring peace and joy to my readers.  Write on I say!

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When you see clouds like this in the Texas sky you know it’s hot!

An Overlooked Gift

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Yellow flowers are said to represent friendship

What did the television shows I Love Lucy, Seinfeld, Cheers, and Friends all have in common?  Easy, each was a show about friends and their adventures together. Who can forget Lucy and Ethel and their escapades or Seinfeld, the show about nothing, which still delights us today? We all have friends, some more than others, in many different areas of our life. Friends from work, friends in the neighborhood, friends near and far, friends from different social groups. Even in our families we have siblings, cousins, or a dear family member who is both a relative and a friend.

Friends are a basic need that we often overlook when we thank God for our blessings.  Like food and water we need interaction with other people.  No matter how much we may treasure our solitude we still need friendship and fellowship with others. All too often we don’t realize this need and don’t recognize it as a blessing.

Friends are a gift from God. I’m thankful for those people I can count on to be there for me when I need support or just need to blurt out what’s on my mind.  Thankful for friends to laugh with, too. Don’t take your friends for granted, but thank God for them as they are a blessing not to be overlooked!

Heavenly Father, I cannot imagine how storms can be navigated, burdens borne, and hardships handled without the company of a few good friends. I praise you today for the gift of friendship—for the joy, encouragement, and refreshment you give me through my friends. (Scotty Smith)

Independence

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Upon the approval of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 the document was rushed to the Philadephia print shop of John Dunlap. He quickly set the type and printed about 200″broadsides” (a page about the size of a full sheet of newsprint).

In December 2002 I was fortunate to get to see one of these  broadsides which is considered an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. Only a handful survive and this one was touring the United States. Visitors were given a copy of the document printed on very nice card stock (pictured above).

As I looked at the heavily guarded page I had to think of the hands that held that paper that day, the eyes that read the words, and wondered what did it mean to that person to be declaring independence.

As we celebrate as only Americans do, let’s remember how this nation was founded and the men and women who were determined to have freedom and a new nation. Little did they realize where they were headed…

Happy Independence Day – Let Freedom Ring!

Happy Summer 2017

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Happy First Day of Summer! Where I live the temperatures have already soared into the upper 90’s and there is lots of sunshine and those big fluffy Texas only clouds.  All eyes are on the Gulf of Mexico from now until early October, and, yes there’s development out there already. Time for watermelon, iced tea and summer evenings swatting mosquitos.  The long days of summer stretch before us – get out and do something fun!

The Little Elephant

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February 2017, temporary location

This cast stone elephant is charming, isn’t it?  It is one of two that are part of the Hertzberg Circus Collection.  For many years it and its companion stood in front of the former San Antonio Public Library at 210 W. Market Street.  Everytime I walked by the building it never failed to make me smile!

The little elephants have a long story that, thankfully, has a happy ending for them. Harry Hertzberg was a local attorney and avid circusana collector who left his extensive collection to the City of San Antonio when he passed away in 1940.  The collection was then housed in the former San Antonio Public Library building and the first elephant was installed at the front; the city continued to add to the collection doubling its original size.

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Five elephants were cast by local artist Julian Sandoval.  A fellow circus collector commissioned one for Mr. Hertzberg as a gift; it was displayed on Mr. Hertzberg’s lawn until his death. The second elephant was donated to the collection when its owner passed away in 1989.  It was installed opposite the original elephant in front of the old library.

By 2001 the circus collection contained 40,000 items and the cost of maintaining the museum was prohibitive. Per the terms of Mr. Hertzberg’s will the collection then passed to the Witte Museum. One elephant was installed in front of the museum and named “Cinnamon Candy”. Countless children (including my oldest grandchild) posed for pictures with this little elephant.

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Cinnamon Candy in her new location, 2017

A re-painting of the elephant was sponsored by the Bolner family, owners of Bolner’s Fiesta Spices in 2006; conservation work has also been done to preserve the elephant. When the Witte underwent a major renovation the elephant was moved to the side of the museum, close to the temporary entrance.  When the renovations were finished the little stone elephant was moved to its new location in front of the B. Naylor Morton Research Center. I’m not sure where the other elephant is – time for a trip to the museum!

 

Flag Day

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June 14th is celebrated as Flag Day; however, it is one of the lesser known American observances.  The flag had been created by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. Various celebrations had been taking place for many years to honor the American flag, but it wasn’t until 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation making June 14th a day of honoring the American flag.

“I therefore suggest and request that throughout the nation and if possible in every community the fourteenth day of June be observed as Flag Day with special patriotic exercises,”

June 14th was officially designated as Flag Day in 1949. So fly those flags today and show your spirit!

 

Adventure day

One day last week I had a long-promised adventure day which didn’t turn out quite like I had planned.  But it’s always okay because that’s what adventure is all about, right?

For $2.75 you can buy a one-day bus pass in the city where I live and ride any bus anywhere all day.  Not a bad deal! I had planned to ride much more, but ended up walking just as much as riding.  Truthfully, the walking came about because I just wan’t patient enough to wait for the next bus that I wanted to catch! Still, not a bad thing as I saw many things that way, too.

My travels took me to familiar places and some new places, too.  And, yes there will be some blog posts coming up real soon.  Probably another adventure day, too!  Enjoy the slide show!