directions, corrections, and other rections

Posted on Friday 12 June 2009

Sometimes a newspaper reporter, under the pressure of a looming deadline and a bogged-down brain, finally gets an idea and jumps off into that story without appropriate time to get full details. When this happens, and particularly when the story seems to be pretty benign, a writer can almost always count on her readers to direct her and help her correct any mistakes or misinterpretations the readers may have seen in said story. This was just the case in the story I wrote on Spur’s Dixie Dog drive-in and ran in this week’s (6-11-09) issue of The Texas Spur.

Overheard at the grocery store was some confusion between the original owners and a woman who currently lives in Spur. The restaurant, as I reported, was begun by R.L. “Dick” Walker and his wife, Louise Walker. This Louise Walker sold the restaurant upon retiring in 1984, and she has since passed away. Now there is another Louise Walker, who is now Louise Jones, who resides in Spur. This Louise “Walker” Jones, is currently alive and well, and is much too young to have been running the Dixie Dog from 1949 to 1984. I am not sure of the live Louise “Walker” Jones’ age, but I would venture to guess that she was probably not even born prior to 1949. Their ages are not the only differences between the two women. I should also probably mention that Dixie Dog co-founder Louise Walker was of caucasian descent while the Louise “Walker” Jones who still lives in Spur is of African-American descent.

A caller to my home on Thursday night got my answering machine, but graciously left me a message which I received upon returning home. One of the latter owners, she described the batter which was used to make what I called, for lack of a better term to describe the menu item, a corn dog . I was told that the batter, which was a secret batter, the recipe known only to those who owned a franchise “Dixie Dog”, was a flour-based batter rather than a corn-based batter. Therefore I was remiss in calling a Dixie Dog a corn dog. I guess a better way to describe the popular “dinner on a stick” would have been “a weiner on a stick covered and fried in a flour-based batter”.

While telling a friend of mine about the call and our discussion about a better description of the Dixie Dog her husband suggested a word which I will not divulge here, but I will tell you that it achieves a response, like the word REACTION: a feeling experienced in response to something that is said or done.

So, no matter what your reaction was to the story in this week’s newspaper, or to this blog, I do hope I cleared things up for our readers.

Cindi @ 11:30 am
Posted under: Local Life and Uncategorized
Serving Dixie Dogs & memories

Posted on Tuesday 9 June 2009

A Spur landmark business has reopened its doors again after closing sometime last year. Barbara Bilberry Kautz, a member of the Spur High School Class of 1978, is the new owner of the Dixie Dog.

Barbara may have felt like she had come back home inside the old building where she used to work in high school. This time, though, she was cooking instead of filling drink orders and whipping up milk shakes. Barbara was busy cooking up Dixie Dogs and other traditional Dixie Dog fare when she opened for business on Monday morning, June 8.

Spur ex-students have fond memories of the Dixie Dog as a popular hangout and lunchtime gathering place. “The local kids mobbed the place during the noon hour and charge accounts ran up fast,” recalls Ginger Walker Davis, daughter of the couple who established the business in 1949, in the history book, Dickens County: Its Land and Its People.

Walker’s parents, R.L. “Dick” and Louise Walker, purchased the property located on West Hill Street in 1949 and opened the business inside a small metal building. The “Dixie Dog” was a franchise name referring to the sweetly battered and fried corn dogs, or “dinner on a stick” as they were advertised, which were served along frozen ice cream treats.
Walker Davis writes, “At first the Dixie Dogs and the frozen malts were the big items. As the years went by the crowds outgrew the little building so it was enlarged several times. Many more items were added to the menu including my favorite, the hamburger.”

Several years after opening, the Walkers added tables and benches under an awning, and then, in 1960, the area was closed in to make the inside dining area. Soon the restaurant became a popular place for locals. “The place was hopping with the popular music of the day blaring from the brightly colored jukebox,” writes Walker Davis, “…a wooden board added at the end of the counter where names were carved as kids talked and whiled away the time.It was a perfect place to stop when one got tired of making the drag. When the football team won a game, free milk shakes were given to all the boys. Teachers were treated to coffee and doughnuts each fall, and, of course, there was the four o’clock ladies’ coffee ‘klatch’.”

While it was a popular place with locals, it also became a popular place for the college friends of the Walker children. “The Dixie Dog became the stop-over for several college students as they drove through Spur and many brought their college pennants to hang in the Dixie Dog,” said Davis. Spur students, when returning home from college, would bring by pennants from their schools, too.

Dick Walker died in 1978, and Louise Walker continued to operate the Dixie Dog until retiring 1984. Jimmy Jack and Linda Hext purchased the drive-in from Mrs. Walker. During the last couple of decades the restaurant has changed hands several times.

Now in its 60th year, the Dixie Dog is open again, and Spur locals, and even those Spurites who are exiled to the far reaches of the country, can revisit the famous drive-in where fond memories have been made and will continue to live on.

Cindi @ 4:04 pm
Posted under: Local Life
What does Spring bring?

Posted on Friday 8 May 2009

One of my loyal blog readers emailed me this morning and asked where this week’s blog was. I asked her if she had any ideas, and she told me “something refreshing like what Spring brings.” Well that conjures up lots of things like…

• Mosquitoes

• Toe nail polish

• Self-tanners

• Sweat

• Allergies

• Senioritis (And not just for those in high school.)

• Bare, white legs (Unsightly? It depends on who/what they are attached to.)

• Weeds

• Fishing season (It gets them out of the house.)

• A real reason to wear flip-flops (Because it’s WARM, not because they’re so cute you just have to freeze your toes!)

And if those aren’t refreshing enough for you the #1 thing Spring brings….

BEING REMINDED WHY I LOATHE SWIMSUITS!!!

Cindi @ 10:58 am
Posted under: Local Life and Uncategorized
Facetious says…it’s just a joke!

Posted on Monday 27 April 2009

My blog from last week, “Facetious says…”, has stirred some to laughter and tears, still others were bored to tears, and then there are some who just took it way too personally. Whatever your response, as the title suggests and the word “facetious” should have explained, it was all in fun.

Sometimes I might be guilty of taking things too lightly, and at other times, when issues have gotten too heavy, I just try to shed some humor on the situation and lighten the load a bit. “Facetious says…” was one such attempt at lightening the load. Some may have mistaken it to be truth, when all I intended was for it to be taken “tongue-in-cheek.”

So let’s start with the basics.

1. The word “facetious”, according to Webster’s, is defined as “treating issues with deliberately inappropriate humor” or “flippant”.

2. “Facetious” doesn’t say, “Dickens County is getting a new courthouse” or “Dickens County commissioners are considering building a new courthouse.”

3. Never take yourself too seriously, or things too literally, especially if you are a newspaper publisher or an elected official.

4. If you’re going to be in the public eye, learn to laugh at yourself and/or others.

The ones who got the humor behind the blog outweighed the number of those who took it seriously. And I welcomed and enjoyed all phone calls and comments, but remember what “facetious” says, “It’s just a joke, dammit!”

Cindi @ 4:04 pm
Posted under: Local Life and Local Politics and Uncategorized
Facetious says….

Posted on Thursday 16 April 2009

With the closure of the nursing home last Fall and the consolidation of the J.P. precincts this week, the Dickens County Commissioners court’s approval rating continues its decline in unofficial public opinion polls. Is there a way to turn around the popularity of our elected officials in the constituents’ minds? The county judge and two of the commissioners have a year and seven months to turn those approval ratings around before the next election, and at least one political analyst has proposed one way that could happen.

The judge is pushing commissioners to consider a courthouse annex to house a ground floor courtroom, but political insiders say that the judge is really hoping to take the idea even further by pushing for a new courthouse.

Facetious, descendant of the famous Chinese thinker and social philosopher Confucius and a wise analyst, in his own right, on many things including politics, has suggested that the commissioners court may indeed need to consider a new courthouse, and the ideal proposal lies with the old Dickens County Nursing Home property about to be auctioned on May 1.

The property, building, and contents are already owned by the county, and the building could be used to house courthouse offices and the new courtroom. Not only would a courthouse in Spur place the county offices nearer to the majority of Dickens County residents, but it would also be more accessible for residents including those who are physically challenged.

Spur citizens came out during last week’s public hearings to object to the consolidation of the two offices for Justice of the Peace. Moving the courthouse to Spur would automatically house the single J.P. office in Spur, satisfying those who protested the merger enough that they might consider volunteering their services to do the asbestos abatement of the building in exchange for tax waivers.

Then there are always the other amenities the building offers that could be used by courthouse employees, elected officials, and even constituents. To name only one, the indoor swimming pool in the basement would offer too many entertaining ideas to list.

While Facetious’s idea may not be attractive to all Dickens County residents, it might be an excellent compromise and a good political tool for elected officials who hope to get reelected.

Cindi @ 2:31 pm
Posted under: Local Politics and Uncategorized
Wine is holy and other things I learned from my Jewish friends

Posted on Thursday 9 April 2009

When I graduated from Spur High in 1979 and went out into the vast, temporal world, I met some really interesting people. I discovered that most were different than me, because I soon learned that coming from a small, rural town made me an oddity in the land I chose to try and conquer. Rubbing elbows with people with different backgrounds than mine proved educational, enlightening, and always entertaining.

I met my first Jewish person–Lewis Bernard–in college. I thought this fair-skinned guy with with curly, almost afro-style, hair and large nose was odd looking compared to the boys-next-door-looking guys from my hometown. It wasn’t until much later, in my Sophomore year in college, that I found out he was Jewish. I had never met a real live Jewish person. I only knew about the ones in the Bible and I was pretty sure they weren’t talking about Lewis. A native of Dallas, Lewis was fun-loving and more worldly than the Jewish people I had pictured from childhood Sunday school lessons. I spent a lot of time around him and his girlfriend, Susan, who, by the way was a Catholic and also from Dallas. Their relationship didn’t strike me as unconventional but I learned later in life that indeed it was. But then, after I graduated from college, I lost touch with them, so I wasn’t around if any fireworks went off when their families found out they were planning to get married. As far as I know they are still married today–more than 25 years later.

After college I embarked on my career where I met Perry, a pale redhead with curly hair and a nose not unlike the one Lewis had. Like a good Jewish girl she took her grandmother to synagogue every week, but Perry enjoyed decorating her Dallas home for Christmas which I didn’t see as unacceptable because everyone did it. She told me one time that her favorite door decoration spelled out the simple word “JOY” which I soon learned she found to be a perfect compromise for her heritage and her desire to decorate for the season, not to mention it suited the intermix of her beliefs and those of her Catholic boyfriend who lived with her.

Then there was Susan, a dark haired beauty with dark eyes and a lovely complexion. She told me about her parents’ friends who would come to visit her family in their home in San Antonio. They had numbers tatooed on their arms because they were Holocaust survivors. Susan was the one who introduced me to words like chuzpah and chotchke. Chuzpah–pronounced hus-pa– describes “the quality of audacity” as in “She exhibited a lot of chuzpah when she showed up at the party.” Chotchke is an inexpensive souvenir, trinket, or ornament–bric-a-brac–as used in the way Susan described my neighbor’s overly embellished yard when she visited me in Spur for the first time: “They sure have a lot of yard chotchkes.”

But the most important thing I learned from my Jewish friends is “wine is holy”. Anything physical is transient–it doesn’t last. Most food spoils with time, but wine is an exception. The Jewish view wine as having a spiritual property of improving with age. They say wine testifies that even the physical can be refined. The spirit is eternal, and gets stronger with time, and what could be more holy than that? Saying “wine is holy” may disconcert some religious zealots of other factions who might think, “It sure took a lot of chutzpah for her to even say it.”

Cindi @ 4:34 pm
Posted under: Uncategorized
The protocol of re-gifting

Posted on Thursday 2 April 2009

If you haven’t heard, President Obama and the First Lady were at Buckingham Palace yesterday where they met Queen Elizabeth. As is customary with other heads of state, the President brought the Queen a gift. The gifts selected are usually intended to reflect the country which the head of state represents. In his case, President Obama presented the Queen with an IPOD already downloaded with music including a number of songs from Broadway musicals and a video which included footage of her 2007 visit to the United States. The IPOD was also accompanied by a song book for the King and I signed by composer Richard Rodgers.

In the personal opinions of those of us here at The Texas Spur, we think the gift was probably lost on the 83-year-old Queen and most likely went directly to the closet which houses a plethora of other gifts provided by other countries. We wonder if she is as technilogically advanced as she is in maturity? Furthermore we just can’t picture the Queen lying around the palace, ear buds inserted and wires draping her shoulders, jamming to “Oklahoma” while having tea.

So, if the IPOD does land in the gift closet, what is done with all of that stuff the Queen doesn’t want and will never use? Do the butlers, maids and/or ladies in waiting get to choose gifts for themselves from the loot, or, in the case of something like an IPOD, does she give it to Prince Harry or Prince William? (But then they both probably already have an IPOD.) This brings up the ultimate question: Does the Queen re-gift? And, if she does, what is the protocol for selecting and giving away those gifts?

And what about the gift the Queen gave to the Obamas? Her Majesty gave them a silver framed photograph of herself and Prince Phillip, the usual gift for heads of state. Will it turn up inside a similar gift closet at the White House? If the photo is autographed it could be considered for a prominent place in the Obama home or office. Or it could be kept in the treasure trove for the Obama children, and then there is always Ebay, but then that would most likely be considered, in both American and British protocol, a faux pas.

Cindi @ 1:35 pm
Posted under: Uncategorized
Photo contest commemorates 100th year of The Texas Spur

Posted on Monday 23 February 2009

While the town of Spur is celebrating their centennial year, so is The Texas Spur. In publication since the beginning, The Texas Spur published its first issue November 5, 1909, four days after the opening of the town of Spur with the sell of Spur Farm Lands.

To celebrate our 100th year in publication we are hosting a photo contest, and we’re asking our readers to be a part of our celebration. We mail the paper each week to subscribers all over the country and internationally. We even have a subscriber in Canada. Two subscribers– one in Australia and one in Russia–receive it via the internet. So the newspaper reaches a wide array of audiences in various locations through the mailed hard copy or online at http://thetexasspur.com. For this reason we are calling our contest The Texas Spur Tour and we are asking you, our readers, to participate and have a chance of winning a $100 grand prize at the conclusion of the contest.

The guidelines for the photos are:
1. Take a photograph of yourself or someone else (maybe even a famous or infamous person) holding or reading a copy of The Texas Spur in any location. Use your creativity. Take the paper with you to work, school, or play–particularly on vacation or other trips. One can only imagine the possibilities. Maybe get a shot of someone or yourself reading the newspaper in front of the Sphinx? Just a suggestion. The only requirement is to include a copy of The Texas Spur with the front page masthead visible.
2. Submit the photograph by email or mail. When emailing a photo, attach it as a JPEG image and put “The Texas Spur Tour” in the subject line of the email:
Email: cindi@thetexasspur.com
Mail: The Texas Spur
Attn: Texas Spur Tour PO Box 430
Spur, TX 79370

Selected photos will be run in future editions of the newspaper throughout the contest, and the winning photo will be run at the end of the contest when the grand prize winner is named.

Photographs will be accepted through October 31, 2009, but don’t wait until the last minute. Help us start celebrating by snapping some pictures and sending them to us! We look forward to receiving them and running them in the paper.

Cindi @ 2:36 pm
Posted under: Uncategorized
Scam Alert!

Posted on Monday 23 February 2009

Sunday was the last day that the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper was delivered to subscribers’ homes in Dickens County and sold on news stands at local businesses. An announcement made by the Avalanche-Journal earlier this month, to cease home delivery and news stand sales in Dickens County has perturbed many faithful Lubbock A-J readers in Dickens County, and has apparently led a scam artist to take advantage of the situation.

Someone who claims to be soliciting newspaper subscriptions for the Amarillo Globe News has been contacting local residents promising daily delivery to homes by 5:00 a.m. The caller offers them a subscription, and, upon the victim’s consent, then asks for a credit card number. Residents are warned not to give any credit card information over the phone to someone who claims to be with the Amarillo Globe News. Residents should also not tell the caller they would like to be billed instead, then give the caller mailing information. Even if billed, the potential subscriber may be setting themselves up to pay a bogus invoice that will not be going to the Amarillo newspaper but into the phone scammer’s pocket.

David Brown, circulation director for the Amarillo Globe News, told The Texas Spur on Monday morning that the Amarillo Globe News is not marketing in this area. He says the newspaper is owned by the same company as the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Morris Communications, and Dickens County is not in an area in which the Amarillo paper would consider offering home-delivery service.

“If we had any intention of going into a market, we would offer single issue copies on news stands first, before offering home delivery,” said Brown.

Cindi @ 11:09 am
Posted under: Uncategorized
You Love me, You Love me not

Posted on Tuesday 10 February 2009

We just finished our annual Valentine’s issue. This year we had 120 photographs submitted by parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. It is always nerve-wracking as we print names, names, and yet more names underneath each of the photos identifying the kids then make sure we get everything spelled correctly, always hoping that what looked like someone’s handwritten “o” wasn’t an “e” instead. Usually that doesn’t come out until after it is in print.

I guess that’s what made me think of the game where you pick a daisy and with each petal you remove you determine if that special someone “loves you” or “loves you not”. As a small-town newspaper editor I kind of feel that way sometimes. One minute someone loves you for something you wrote or did for them in that week’s issue, and the next issue, well you goofed up or printed something they didn’t like or agree with and then they love you not.

It really used to get to me but I have finally arrived at the point that I realize that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and really not even some of the people some of the time.

Hopefully, this year’s Valentine’s issue will please the parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles involved. If it doesn’t…well there is always another petal…and another issue.

Cindi @ 4:25 pm
Posted under: Local Life and Uncategorized
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