Sehon Warneke, the Legend of Lake Hardware

When I was growing up in Houston’s industrial suburbs, “town” meant Houston and more specifically, the downtown district. You know – tall buildings. After relocating to Lake Jackson in 1982, I never lost that almost automatic reference to “town” as my way to refer to Houston. And it was easy to tell old friends that we had moved south of town to a place called Lake Jackson, hence this journal goes under the heading of South of Town, Lake Jackson.

Lake Jackson was a bit of a culture shock. After all, I was nearing forty and had never experienced life in a small-town on an extended basis. People were polite. They smiled as they took turns, even at the uncontrolled intersections in its curvy, crazy little downtown.

But the single most shocking thing I saw happened in a little store three short blocks from my house, the Lake Hardware store on Oyster Creek. (It’s no longer there. Fire took it a week ahead of 9/11, but they quickly re-located and re-built.) You need a lot of little things when you move into a new residence. There were all the little things that broke, new things that needed to be installed, and the tools and supplies to handle all the jobs of homeownership. I had quickly learned that Lake Hardware was the place to go.

Continue reading “Sehon Warneke, the Legend of Lake Hardware”

Open Mic Night at the School Board: I Play the Gray Card

Inspired by Michael Morris’s September 8 column in The Facts, I called the school district office and got on the list to offer public comment at the start of the September board meeting. I am not an open mic kind of person, but Mr. Morris reminded me of the importance, in a democracy, of speaking up when you have a reasonable opinion about how things should go in your community’s life.

As the day approached I thought about the possibility that the Justice for J-6 crowd may well be preparing to flood the board room with bikers recruited from Sturgis, South Dakota to chain whip anyone daring to appear at the meeting masked against “the Chinese virus“. At a minimum I thought I ought to choose my words carefully and write them down to keep myself on script.

So I wrote about two and a half minutes of my thoughts in which I appealed to my status as an elder in the community. Maybe they would’t beat up an old man wearing glasses, leaning on a cane, and talking about the olden days.

Speaking Up and Speaking Out – For Children and Teachers

Michael Morris of The Facts gave excellent and important advice in his column this morning. I took the challenge and got on the public agenda for the September meeting of my local school board trustees’ meeting. I hope other of his readers will do the same.

As someone who came of age in another century, I can remember when public health was treated as a legitimate and very important medical specialty. Polio, smallpox, chicken pox, measles and many more have been controlled through the advancement of science and medical practice. We learned to trust the advice of the professionals. And maybe even more important, we had teachers in public schools who taught us how to recognize the difference between the advice offered by public health professionals and that of snake oil salesmen.

Just remember that the same people who are telling you that masks and vaccines are the work of the devil are the same ones telling you that ivermectin works and will keep you safe from Covid-19. Not all of the people who listened to them are still with us. May they rest in peace in the arms of their understanding, if not greatly disappointed, God.

Instead, believe the people who went to medical school and completed the really hard science courses and medical practice internships and residencies. They know what they are talking about and they don’t do satanic rituals when you aren’t looking.

G-Droppin’ with Greg

Politicians will do crazy things to try to connect with some part of the electorate whose votes they crave but whose life and culture may be foreign to them. The Democratic candidate on their first hunting trip is a favorite. Only Ann Richards was able to pull that one off persuasively. With her big hair, Texas drawl and a deer rifle in her hand, she let them know that she would probably hold her own in a bar fight with any of them two-steppin’ cowboys. And it probably wasn’t her first hunting trip, either.

My all-time favorite was when an incumbent Texas Secretary of Agriculture named Reagan Brown decided that he could connect with Texas’ farmers and ranchers by jamming his hand into a bed of fire ants while the photographers stood by drooling. Cowboy types were not impressed. His opponent wasn’t only a Democrat, he was about as progressive as they come. Thank you, Reagan V. Brown for giving us a few good years with Jim Hightower.

A bit less showy than the faux hunting trips and the fire ant challenge (too bad there were no social media in 1982), there is the practice of what I call G-droppin’. Candidates for statewide and national offices typically have been educated with bachelor’s and law degrees, often from Ivy League schools. They have learned how to speak proper English and they speak it with a precision that often makes their home folks think of them as “puttin’ on airs.” Put these folks in front of a judge in a courtroom and they speak the king’s English.

But a roomful of voters at the American Legion Hall in Clute will have them droppin’ Gs from their present participles. Even President Obama did it. He dropped Gs with the worst of them. But it never sold the way Ann Richards sold her NRA-appealing hunting trips. With Obama, the G-droppin’ seemed like the opposite of puttin’ on airs, at least to me. He was just too honest and too good for that kind of panderin’ to the willfully ignorant. It never seemed natural.

But Greg Abbot has handed me one that tops the Reagan Brown performance. But there is no way that I can wring any humor from it.

In order to establish kinship with folks in the Trump cult, he has endangered all our lives and put our children at the head of the line. By issuing an executive order forbidding local governments from mandating masks and vaccines, he no doubt hopes he will be able to pick up the support of the leftover dregs of the Trump “base” in Texas. And as the evidence builds that his edict is probably going to cost lives and create more drag on the economy, he does what DJT would do. He doubles down. How utterly stupid and mean.

Fortunately there are some leaders at the local level who aren’t having any of it. Call it civil disobedience. Call it leadership. They see their jobs as protecting their citizens. Lina Hidalgo’s doin’ it. Sylvester Turner’s doin’ it. Some school districts are doin’ it, too.

In your face, *re* Abbott.

Trumpies: Go Get Vaccinated. We Love You Enough to Want to Keep You Alive and Voting.

www.nytimes.com/2021/08/03/opinion/covid-vaccine-safety.html

This op/ed by Alex Azar, Donald Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, should be all the encouragement you need. If you are eligible and have been hesitant or resisting vaccination against Covid 19, take it from the Trump administration official who led Operation Warp Speed, you need to do this for yourself, your family, your local health care workers, your party and your country.

And that part about keeping you voting? Of course I want to keep you voting. I would prefer it if you voted for someone committed to democratic values and the rule of law, but if you can’t do that, I will.

I will also always support any legislation that protects your right to vote and keeps the ballot box accessible for you.

So, do the same for me, please. And get a shot.

Another News Source for Lake Jackson – “The Source Weekly”

Lisa Baker has operated an organ popularly known as a “shopper” for a number of years in LJTX. It is titled “The Source Weekly”. And, yes, it prints lots of ads to pay the costs of printing and distributing. Of course it also pays a small amount to operating the Baker household.

The ads are good. Better than online for most things. People who are willing to pay for an ad in a local paper tend to be, in my opinion, a little more trustworthy that the ones who work from behind the online barriers of privacy.

Privacy is a mixed blessing, especially when it comes to transacting the business of buying and selling lawn equipment, pickup trucks, barbecue pits, patio furniture, etc. If they buy an ad in The Source Weekly, they have to pay a fee and become known to the owner and editor, a person we know to be a stone wall of integrity and always with the interests of her community at heart.

She also offers a column with some of her observations from the local, state and national news, Lake Jackson goings-on and things her family does. Her family is like that of many of her readers (or, at least we strive to be) and it is fun to read about their accomplishments. She has much to be proud of with her two.

So, if you can’t stop in a Lake Jackson business to pick up a free copy of The Source, you can read Lisa’s weekly report on line here in What I Heard This Week.