The Unexpected

 

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It was time for a long overdue day trip for this gal.  I left home with only one address queued in my phone, my destination was the Caldwell County Courthouse.  Other than that I had only ideas of what to do, no plan.  But so it usually is with me, the day will just happen.  And happen it did!

I had the courthouse in my sights and was crossing the street to it when I glanced to my right.  Whoa! There was what appeared to be an old theater, I was distracted.  Before I really checked out the theater there was another building calling to me, a library.  Lockhart was already surprising me (and, yes I’ll share my finds on Doorway Into the Past very soon. The best was yet to come.

Driving into town I had seen a sign pointing down a side street that indicated a post office was nearby.  So before I left town (much later after I arrived) I drove down that way just in case it might not be a new post office, but one from the New Deal era.  And, maybe, just maybe there would be a mural in it. You never know.

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The Post Office didn’t disappoint me on the outside nor on the inside.  As I walked in the familiar vestibule arrangement brought back a rush of memories. Without hesitating I knew to look to the right for the mural.

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I don’t have any definite information on the mural yet as there seems to be some conflict as to the name and the artist.  The Post Office has a simple marker on the foundation that reflects 1935 as the date of construction. The Post Office was very crowded at that time and I wondered how many of those people knew that the mural was there and its significance.  Perhaps they wondered why this strange lady with a smile on her face was making pictures!

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The details are captivating! You just to have to remember to expect the unexpected.

Sustainable Energy: Then & Now

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A mid-December trip took me on roads I had never traveled before, much to my delight. I had traveled through Lubbock before, but never had the opportunity to spend any significant time there.  My nephew’s graduation from Texas Tech University gave me that opportunity as well as new sights to see along a new route. Exploring really is my first love.

My oldest grandson was making the trip with me and while he was totally absorbed in his phone; I was engrossed in watching the changing landscape. The drive had progressed well for several hours as we traveled through little towns, making a turn here or there.  Two courthouses called me to remember them on the way home (I did) and I found a world of sheep and wool processing I didn’t know existed. The country grew more and more rugged as the morning went by; the temperature dropped, too.

Then over the top of an approaching hill appeared three windmills, new large modern sleek bladed windmills. Suddenly I had the grandson’s full attention.  We quickly found a place to pull over and were snapping pictures like typical tourists.  Looking back we laughed at ourselves, but at that time we were in awe.  Windmills right before our eyes.  Little did we know that we would see many, many more as we passed farm after farm. Some blades turning, others still, some in groups, and all facing many directions. I was still in awe and we stopped again to make more pictures.

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The weekend passed, my nephew graduated, we celebrated and packed up his apartment. On Sunday morning we began the trip home, retracing our path from the trip north.  Only this time I realized we had been climbing on the previous trip; we rounded a curve and there below was the most amazing view of the Texas Panhandle Plains.  It was a cold, hazy morning, but even in the limited visibility it was beautiful.

As we descended into the valley my thoughts turned, as they often do, to those who had first come to this area.  The Native Americans, the explorers, and the first settlers who carved out homesteads and ranches in this harsh land.  I imagined those cold mornings in a wood house (or less) with no running water and possibly no real fireplace to generate any warmth.  Walking out into the cold to feed livestock and perform chores.  The challenge of scraping an existence from a rugged, barren landscape.  The threat of natural disaster as well as attack from hostile Indians was always there. Many moved on, many did not survive, yet somehow others learned to adapt and co-exist with the land. It was difficult, and yet they persisted and they overcame.  They survived.

Soon we passed a small ravine where a traditional windmill was working, blades spinning and, presumably, pumping water into the nearby tank. Many of these familiar icons have disappeared over the years as electric pumps took their place and the windmill was left to deteriorate.  This one was fairly new and in good order. The hardy, adaptable settlers realized the value of the wind that never ceased; they dug wells, hooked up the windmill and had water for themselves and their livestock. The wind was a sustainable resource that brought improvement to their lives.

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Windmill at the Hill County Safety Stop along I-35 South

On the surrounding hills the modern, technology driven windmills were also working, capturing that same wind and funneling its energy from the sky into electricity for millions of homes (including my own).  The wind farms are a little more complicated than pumping water into a tank, but they have provided a much needed method to generate electricity using a sustainable energy. Yes, they changed the landscape and the environmentalists think they are damaging, but they really aren’t intrusive and when you realize the service they provide the offset isn’t catastrophic.

I marveled at the idea of the old and the new working side by side, both using a resource that was readily available and would never run out or pollute the earth.

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Decorative windmill on display Becker Vineyards, Fredericksburg Texas

 

Eleanor’s Faith

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Both President Trump and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott have declared September 3, 2017 as a Day of Prayer following the destruction of the Texas Gulf Coast and Houston area after Hurricane Harvey last week.  There has been much praying already for these areas and I am hopeful that this Day of Prayer will remind people how important it is to pray.

Eleanor Roosevelt was not only the First Lady during a difficult time for our nation, but she was also a powerful humanitarian and lobbied for human rights until the time of her death. She and President Roosevelt believed in doing everything they could to help others who were less fortunate. She was also a woman of faith. In his book Eleanor and Franklin Joseph P. Lash writes the following about her:

Fundamentally Eleanor was neither stateswoman, politician, nor feminist.  She was a woman with a deep sense of spiritual mission.  Like Saint Theresa, she not only “had a powerful intellect of the practical order” but was a woman of extravagant tenderness and piety.  There was always some prayer in her purse to recall her to her Christian vocation.  Christ’s story was a drama that re-enacted itself repeatedly in her thoughts and feelings.  Amid the worldliness, the pomp, and the power of Washington she managed to hold vivid and intimate communion with Christ with a child’s innocence and simplicity.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16b NIV

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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The handwriting issue

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Rotunda dome, Texas State Capitol, Austin Texas

The handwriting debate (cursive vs printing and legible vs illegible) is nothing new.  It’s been going on since the caveman started drawing on walls.  Mothers have moaned over children’s handwriting and complained about the new methods for a long time!

So, on a recent visit to the Texas State Capitol I had to laugh as I was reading a display about the Secretary of State’s office in the Capitol and the duties of the Secretary of State which include overseeing state elections. A timeline entry for 1946-47 states:

The Secretary of  State’s annual report noted that elections are “recorded in longhand, which is a tedious job, and few are qualified to write so that it can be read”.