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Texas, United States


Land Of The Free

My Grandfather once told me about how he felt coming to America as an Immigrant when he was eight years old. His parents left Poland in the latter 1800’s because of the strife there caused by Communist trying to take control of the country who were persecuting those that belonged to the Christian religion his parents did. He told me when he first saw the Statue Of Liberty from the deck of a ship coming into Ellis Island, he was relieved to tears that he would never again have to worry about a knock on the door in the middle of the night from someone coming to take his Father away to “the place of no return” like some of their family, friends, and neighbors had experienced. He was an old man when he told me this story but it still brought tears to his eyes and filled my heart with compassion for all those who didn't escape, only to be preyed on again by Hitler...and then Stalin for many decades.

His words I heard so long ago have been ringing in my ears this past week amidst all the grief. Grief we all felt when we heard of the attacks in Paris and other places. Sadly for some, that grief soon turned into hateful posts on social media about why they felt we should now slam the door in the face of fleeing refugees who have lost everything, persecuted by those who believe killing themselves and as many innocent strangers as possible in the name of God will absolve their sins and earn them a ticket to Paradise. 

 I’ve seen new, and some old friends I grew up with, spew hatred and praise God in the same post, and I wonder how and when they became so radicalized and I keep remembering what my Dad often quoted..."You have nothing to fear but fear itself." 

I see political candidates running for President wanting the Muslim refugees to be "branded"and wear “badges” denoting who they are, and for America to build walls like Hitler and Stalin did…and another who compares innocent men, women, and children fleeing the horror in their homeland  to “rabid dogs”… and I shed more tears wondering where love and compassion for their fellow man has fled to... and all of them claiming to be Christians who praise Jesus and claim they follow in His footsteps.



Historical Photos

A friend sent me these wonderful old historical photos I had never seen before and I felt they were worth sharing.
1943 : Breast Protectors for War Workers
Helen Keller Meeting Charlie Chaplin
Leather gloves worn by Lincoln to Ford's Theater on the night of his assassination. Blood stains are visible at the cuffs .
Phoebe Mozee (aka: Annie Oakley). Famed for her marksmanship by 12 years old, she once shot the ashes off of Kaiser Wihelm II's cigarette at his invitation. When she outshot famed exhibition marksman Frank Butler, he fell in love with her and they married. They remained married the rest of their lives.
Very Young Lucy Lucille Ball around 1930
Amy Johnson, English aviator 1903-1941 One of the first women to gain a pilot's licence, Johnson won fame when she flew solo from Britain to Australia in 1930. Her dangerous flight took 17 days. Later she flew solo to India and Japan and became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic East to West, she volunteered to fly for The Women's Auxiliary Air Force in WW 2, but her plane was shot down over the River Thames and she was killed.

Prison Garb 1924. Belva Annan murderess whose trial records became the musical " Chicago ."

Female photojournalist Jessie Tarbox on the street with her camera, 1900's .
Market Street, San Francisco after the earthquake, 1906.

The extraordinary life of Maud Allen: Seductive US dancing girl who was sued for being too lewd, outed as a lesbian, and fled London after being branded a German spy who was sleeping with the prime minister's wife.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Caroline Otero, courtesan, the most sought after woman in all of Europe . She associated herself with the likes of Prince Albert I of Monaco, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Kings of Serbia, and Kings of Spain as well as Russian Grand Dukes Peter and Nicholas, the Duke of Westminster and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. Six men reportedly committed suicide after their love affairs with Otero ended. Two men fought a duel over her. She was famed for her voluptuous breasts.
Wedding day photograph of Abraham and Mary taken November 4, 1842 in Springfield , Illinois after three years of a stormy courtship and a broken engagement. Their love had endured.
Billie Holiday at two years old, in 1917
Washington, D.C. , circa 1919. " Walter Reed Hospital flu ward." One of the very few images in Washington-area photo archives documenting the influenza contagion of 1918-1919, which killed over 500,000 Americans and tens of millions around the globe. Most victims succumbed to bacterial pneumonia following influenza virus infection .
Filming the MGM Logo
Amelia Earhart
Mae Questel ca. 1930’s, the voice of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl, Minnie Mouse, Felix the Cat (for three shorts by the Van Beuren Studios), Little Lulu, Little Audrey and Casper , the Friendly Ghost
Sacajawea. Stolen, held captive, sold, eventually reunited the Shoshone Indians. She was an interpreter and guide for Lewis and Clark in 1805-1806 with her husband Toussaint Charbonneau. She navigated carrying her son, Jean Baptiste, on her back. She traveled thousands of miles from the Dakotas the Pacific Ocean . The explorers, said she was cheerful, never complained, and proved to be invaluable. She served as an advisor, caretaker, and is legendary for her perseverance and resourcefulness.
Vintage Baked Potato Cart. A legitimate fast food lunch option back in the day.
Miss America 1924
Marilyn Monroe meets Queen Elizabeth II, London,1956 Both women are 30 years old.
Cyclists ride in the first running of the Tour de France, in 1903.
Mary Ellen Wilson (1864–1956) or sometimes Mary Ellen McCormack was an American whose case of child abuse led to the creation of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. As an eight-year old, she was severely abused by her foster parents, Francis and Mary Connolly.
Nightwitches - Female Russian bombers who bombed Germany during WW 2. They had old, noisy planes & the engines used to conk out halfway through their missions, so they had to climb out on the wings mid-flight to restart the props.
To stop Germans from hearing them & starting up the anti aircraft guns, they’d climb to a certain height, coast down to German positions, drop their bombs, restart their engines in midair & get the hell out of dodge. Their leader flew 200+ missions & was never captured.
Sergeant Stubby (1916 or 1917 – April 4, 1926), was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. America's first war dog, Stubby, served 18 months 'over there' and participated in seventeen battles on the Western Front. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, found and comforted the wounded, and even once caught a German spy by the seat of his pants (holding him there till American Soldiers found him).
Chief Petty Officer Graham Jackson plays “Going Home” as FDR’s body is borne past in Warm Springs , GA , where the President was scheduled to attend a barbecue on the day he died.


A Time In Your Life

"There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama 
and people who create it.
You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, 
and focus on the good.
You love the people who treat you right and pray for the ones who don't.   
Life is too short to be anything but happy.
Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living."



Helotes...Where the Fabulous Hill Country Begins

In honor of Helotes finally being added to the "official" Texas Hill Country map this past week...thought I would post some more photos of why those of us who call it "home" think so much of it. The area, according to anthropologist, has been inhabited since approximately 5000 B.C., first by nomadic Native Americans. It became a small farming and ranching community about 1830 and several business's were established.

There is the historic Old Town Helotes that makes an effort to retains it's ambiance.
Traffic does get congested during the once a month booming Old Market Days 
but it's well worth the hassle to find a variety of 
local produce, artist's, and craftsmen's wares.

As the urban sprawl of San Antonio expanded and approached the outskirts of Helotes in the 1970s, residents became determined to take their fate into their own hands. After a decade of planning and negotiation, Helotes became an incorporated city in October 1981. Our neighborhood is less than a quarter mile West from the San Antonio city limits and it's such a spread out city we are at least 
30 miles from the East side city limits. It's the 7th largest city in the United States.

In 1946, the manager of San Antonio's Majestic Theater, John T. Floore, opened the now famous landmark, John T. Floore Country Store in Helotes, which is actually a dance hall (or honky tonk) that draws top county music talent including Willie Nelson who still plays the venue on occasion. Elvis Presley also played and sang here. They have a large outside music venue in back of the cafe and up and coming musicians as well as the well known still love to play to an always appreciative audience and sellout crowd when
 a "big time" concert is announced.

Floore's is about a mile from our home and is rocking every Saturday night with live music. They host our major annual 4-H and FFA  fundraiser for our local youth livestock show season and it's always a huge success. Lot's of local business's support our youth in all endeavors.
Floore's Outdoor Venue

Texas Hill Country Winery's are becoming more widely known and Helotes has it's own.

The Gardens At Old Town Helotes is a beautifully landscaped  setting very popular for local weddings, engagement photos, and photographers who love a country setting. They have exquisite indoor and outdoor facilities for celebrations.

We quite often have beautiful sunrises and sunsets with some wide views...this one wasn't, I took it out my back door last winter while there were no leaves on the trees. I have to walk up a couple of blocks to get the full view West over the hills because we have so many trees in our neighborhood.
A view of Helotes spreading over the hills. "Country" living at it's best with all the conveniences of a large historical city, San Antonio, on our doorstep. On the East side of sprawling San Antonio the Coastal Plains begin and the Hill Country ends.

Miles and miles and many more miles of  scenic Hill Country Texas highways and wildflower tours in the Spring are a favorite time of year with abundant bluebonnets. Ladybird Johnson, wife of President L B Johnson, had a passion for wildflowers and spread them far and wide throughout the state....especially along highways. 

Some of our creeks and streams are so clear it still amazes me.

There are also some amazing rock formations....supposedly because most of this area used to be under a sea millions of years ago. I believe it...I've found fossilized sea creatures and shells embedded in rocks. It's still a favorite pastime of many...
hunting for those and arrow heads in the Hills.

One of my grandsons found this big fossilized sea shell at scout camp in the Hills years ago I use to prop up a miniature palm tree. An anthropologist might not approve, but I figure if it survived millions of years in a creek bed it will survive my 
lifetime in a useful, sometimes wet and dark, sometimes dry and sunny spot.

There are lots of  well preserved dinosaur tracks and occasionally bones located in the Hill Country and The Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country was organized, incorporated and chartered under the laws of Texas as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 1994 by a group of Comal County residents interested in the preservation of the rich heritage of the area.

I keep my pieces of petrified wood I've collected over time that can still be found 
around here outside in the elements that preserved them for millions of years. We are very well aware we live on prehistoric land that's undergone several transformations thru many millions of years and is still providing a wonderful home for much wildlife and plant well as us.

Yes...we do still have real cowboys and a rodeo arena right here in Helotes where the Cornyval  Festival is held every Spring across the road from the local Sandra Day O'Connor high school my youngest granddaughter is starting this week...eager for her new status and another season of raising market swine to begin...4-H for the last six years...FFA in high school beginning this year. She has a nice college fund started and a couple of Jr showmanship belt buckles...and she is beautiful and an honor student.
Her blue ribbon pig last January and "showomanship"
 form that won her another big buckle for her rhinestone studded belts.
She is hands on from Sept to Jan, cleaning pens, feeding, and training her pigs
to walk properly for her in the show ring. She will be getting 
three little piglets to raise for this season soon....lucky little pigs, she loves them.
Cornyval is a week long event in the Spring that includes, a parade, rodeo, outdoor dancing on a covered pavilion to live musicians in the evening, a 5K, and a queens court.....and.....
 ....a roasted in the shuck corn eating contest with the "royal court" rooting the contestants on...and one of the 'royals" participating. Texas girls are no wimps, even in formal wear. We do celebrate corn. The local Native Americans planted corn, actually maize, in the fertile valleys of the area, and feed corn was a major crop grown in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The town name is derived from the Spanish word elote, which can mean "ear of maize", "corncob", or simply "corn", but exactly how the town came to be called Helotes is still a subject of debate.

One of the favorite events at the rodeo is a Mutton Busting contest for the young kids....kinda like bronc riding for the adults but a lot tamer. Girls and boys both participate.

The kids love all the activities, especially all the latest carnival rides and fair food. Cornyval is where I usually get my yearly dose of funnel cake....and lots of folks get their cold beer. It is a fun family social event everyone around here looks forward to.

Heck Yeah Y'all!!!!