Thursday, June 30, 2011

No Fireworks This 4th. Of July We Can Live With That!

The Governor has spoken; there will be no fireworks this year in Falls County, or anywhere within a couple hundred miles of us. I don't know if the ban covers all of Texas but it wouldn't be out of line. That means city displays as well as individuals. This year if you want to see a fireworks display in central Texas you will have to go to Waco, or Ft. Hood.

HomePlace has had two rains this summer and we are dry as a powder keg. Every day Helene and I put a couple hundred gallons of water on our gardens. Tomatoes did will, and Swiss chard was a good crop. We got some squash, lettuce and peppers. We also planted onions, peas and beans. What do we have to show for them? The fattest grasshoppers in Texas! If it weren't for the Rabbits and Chickens we would have a hard time justifying our farm exemption this year. Things could be a lot worse, a fire could wipe us out.

We have always been careful with fire here at HomePlace, but we have had two bad ones. The first I'm really not sure how it started, but it totaled our greenhouse and all the tools and supplies stored inside. The local volunteer Fire Department kept it from being any worse.

The second fire came to Homeplace after crossing a neighbor's pasture. I have no idea where, or how it started. Again the local Fire Departments - lots of them - saved the day. We didn't lose any structures this time, but a couple of the firemen wanted to know where I stored my ammunition and reloading supplies. That was the safest building in Falls County that day!

I love fireworks as much as anyone, even though amatures with explosives scare the hell out of me. That's a story for another time.

I understand folks who live in town can't shoot their fireworks where they live. They don't want to be fined or go to jail. So, they go to the country, where my neighbors and I make our homes. The problem with that is it doesn't matter how careful we are if someone on a gravel road a quarter of a mile up wind isn't. Remember the second fire that came out of no where?

The best analogy I can come up with is a kid in an apartment complex playing with matches. The kid didn't mean to start a fire. Everyone knows he feels terrible about it, but the folks that live in the apartments still watch their homes go up in smoke and flames.

Every year I watch sky rocks go up all around us, some launched by our neighbors, most not. Every year I stay up most of the night watching for any sign of fire in the woods or fields around us. So will I take a break this year and get some sleep?

Get Real!

Kids all know they aren't suppose to play with matches. It hasn't slowed them down yet. As for not having fireworks this year, there are all kinds of fireworks.

I shoot mine off at the range. Saddly, the picture isn't my collection. Thankfully the guy in it isn't me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Well Done Green Lantern

Yesterday Helene and I drove to Bryan with her teaching buddy Maggie. We had a number of errands to run, had a nice lunch, and ended the day with a movie - The Green Lantern.

The Green Lantern, at that time his secret identity was Alan Scott, made his appearance in 1940. That incarnation lasted less than ten years.

By the time I got into comics The Green Lantern had a radical makeover and came back as Hal Jordon, hotshot test pilot. Like the rest of the Justice League, he fought endless battles against impossible odds and won - but not without taking his lumps along the way. Like the other super heroes, he had one simple message, never give up! Kids could have worst role models.

In this film The Green Lantern is brought to life by Ryan Reynolds. I can't say the character was exactly what I expected but I was not disappointed. I was delighted to see the folks the folks involved in making the film had actually read the comics. Rare these days! We left the theater hoping they will make more.

And now our childhood heroes - Superman, Batman, Spiderman and the Green Lantern star in big budget blockbuster films. And who fills the theaters? Kids of course. Kids of all ages.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Good By Gloria Winters

As a kid I never missed Sky King. The formula of a modern cowboy hero flying from his ranch to battle evil in a twin engine Cessna was magic.

He started with a wartime Cessna T-50 'Bobcat' that really was Kirby Grant's personal plane. When the first Songbird developed problems with its wooden airframe (the most common reason for them to end up on the scrap heap) Cessna stepped up with a sleek new Cessna 310. It was a beautiful plane, but I always preferred the T-50.

Long after I should have 'outgrown' Sky King I kept tuning in. Like every other American male I had a thing for Sky's niece Penny, played by Gloria Winters. Sky King planted the seed that made me want to fly, but Penny and the 50's flying rancher setting kept me watching. She had a magic all her own. If you ever saw the show, you know what I'm talking about.

After Sky King Gloria's career in front of the camera pretty much ended. She married the sound man from the series (who she confessed in an interview once she 'didn't know was alive' during the show) and worked off camera for years afterwards.

I was heartbroken yesterday to learn that Gloria Winters had passed away last August. I'm sure it was in the news, but I missed it somehow.

Go with God Gloria, we will never forget you.