Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

In Falls County, Texas the Memorial Day celebration takes place on the Court House Square. In past years I have sometimes been the Keynote Speaker. It is a great honor to be asked (not to mention the ego boost), but I have always preferred to have veterans on Memorial Day. This year we hit the jackpot.

Colonel Ralph Hodge of the United States Air Force, retired, did a wonderful job of reminding us why we were there. Hopefully he will be back.

My part this year was "The Ringing of the Bell". After the speakers finish, and before the laying of the wreath, folks line up near the bell on the Court House Square. One by one they take the lanyard, and remember a service man who is no longer with us.

Some keep the names in their hearts. Others whisper, or shout the names to the heavens. One man rang the bell five times for uncles who fell in three wars. I've had elderly ladies ask me to ring for them, saying the clapper is too heavy for them. I always assure them that with their help I can make it ring.

When everyone else is finished I rang the bell. First for my father, Dub Burnett, then uncles. Jack Burnett and Thurman Fisher. Next for my step father, William Crawford. The list gets longer every year. This year I added Richard Winters. I ended with Roy Penny, the grandson of a friend who fell in Afghanistan last year.

To quote an Admiral in an old movie, "Where do we find such men?"

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Rain Came

This has been a very dry year in all of Texas. Wild fires have not so much come and gone, as changed location for a couple of months. At one point fires literally spanned the state.

What rain has come has been a cruel joke. I've lost count of how many times rainfall came with-in a mile of HomePlace and either shifted directions, or stopped. Fires have been inside Falls County lines several times, but they have also given us a pass, thank God.

HomePlace is a tinderbox and our gardens show it. Vegetable production is way down compared to last year. Between the drought and the electric company the dew berry crop never happened.

But Friday night last (May 20, 2011) the rain came. I would love to say it was a slow soaking rain that lasted all night, but that wasn't the case. It was in fits and starts, never longer than an hour and sometimes as little as fifteen minutes. It varied from brutal hard to sprinkling, It continued into the night. When I checked the rain gage Saturday morning I was shocked to find three and one eighth inches!

For the rest of the weekend we have gotten a little rain here and there, but nothing like that first night. I would love to say we were out of the woods, but not quite yet. The rain helped, and things are looking better, but none of the counties around here have canceled their burn bands just yet.

But you know what, it finally rained.