Weatherford Democrat

Columns

June 9, 2013

Now Hear This

A changing in Parker County

BY LARRY M. JONES

While I’m really not qualified to be referred to as “elderly,” I’m certainly no “spring chicken.”  In thinking back over the sixty plus years that I can actually recall from a teenager or adult perspective, it is startling to note the changes I’ve seen in both our nation and Parker County.

Down on the “pore farm,” my parents built the home that they would live in for their entire lives in 1938.  They didn’t do it the way young couples do today by taking on a large mortgage payment often for the rest of their lives.  Instead, they made a good crop that year and, despite a depressed economy due to the Great Depression, they actually made enough money to build it themselves for cash.  With the help of my Grandfather Thomas, a bricklayer for Acme Brick, my father, along with help from a few cousins and brothers, built the entire “mansion” for $400.  It had no electricity, no running water, no bathroom, and no mortgage.  It was a dream come true.

Although incredibly humble by today’s standards, the old home wasn’t particularly out of place during that era.  No one lived in shining mansions on the hill in those days.  Most everyone in this rural farming community had to scrape hard for every dime they had and homes were often old wooden frame houses or those like we had, houses built by the owner’s own hands.  We didn’t have splendid horse farms with stables and outbuildings fit for royalty.  Yet, these early farms actually produced agricultural goods that were marketed to provide food and fiber for America.  Today our farms primarily produce only huge piles of an equestrian by-product. 

The transition of rural Parker County from a collection of small farming communities with crop and livestock production being the basis for the economy to a bedroom community of the Metro-Mess has been a gradual process.  This transition has been a result of many factors.  First, this area has never been well suited for extensive agricultural production.  Eastern Parker County was an excellent region for the large ranches and livestock operations that flourished in the area; however, being closest to the large cities, they were first to feel the effects of urban encroachment.  It breaks my heart to see large tracts like the Walsh Ranch converted to rooftops and asphalt.  The lighter soils of the Brazos watershed on the west were more suited to subsistence farming rather than large scale agricultural operations.  

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Columns
  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Old dogs and old men

    For most of us, our pets give us great joy and provide wonderful companionship.  This is especially true during the time of our youth and also during our golden years.  During these seasons of life we have more time to bond with our 4-legged friends than during the prime years when we were so desperately trying to make our mark on the world.  With this wonderful gift of love from our pets, there is a down side.  We live longer than they do, and it is hard to face losing them.  Down on the “pore farm” in the not too distant future, I will face this inevitable fact.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Recalling memories of long ago

    Years ago, I had a good friend in the Navy, who was actually my immediate superior in the chain of command, whose comment made an enduring impression on me.  He looked up from his desk one day, and said, “Larry, (he always called me Larry, even though my first name was Lieutenant Commander at the time) we have one of the best jobs in the world.”  And how is that, I thought to myself?  He went on to explain that we were paid fairly good salaries to fly around in shiny airplanes and visit exciting parts of the world.  We were given a title (just like royalty), wore nicely tailored uniforms, and hung around with some of the most impressive young men and women in the nation.  Danny loved his job.  He went on to retire as the Chief of Naval Personnel, a Vice-Admiral.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    Little League Baseball: This is one of the most successful programs for young people, both normal and handicapped. All of the people involved in this program are volunteers, and they do wonderful work in developing character and teamwork in children.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Caring for those who have borne the battle

    With all the recent controversy surrounding the healthcare provided to our veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs, I can’t resist the opportunity to weigh in with a few thoughts of my own. Over the past month or so, especially the past couple of weeks, it seems that everyone and his/her dog has pointed out facets of a very flawed and disgraceful system charged with providing care for those who served in uniform to protect and defend our nation. In each commentary, everyone concurs that our veterans deserve better. 

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: A possibly terminal case of the crud

    I’ve heard several women during my lifetime make snide comments about what a bunch of crybabies we big tough men become when we’re sick.  Maybe, it’s because the bigger you are, the sicker you become.  One thing I know with absolute certainty is that at this very moment in time as I pound away on my keyboard, I am sicker than a dog with what may be my last case of the crud.  Not unlike all the other really rotten bad colds I’ve had in the past, I don’t see how I can possibly survive this one.

    May 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    We read a lot about the alleged long delays in getting an appointment for treatment at the VA hospitals, some delays so long that the patient dies before obtaining one. I cannot think of anything more stupid by a family than to let a loved one die because they could not get an appointment for free care at the VA.

    May 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Remembering our fallen comrades

    Each year in observation of Memorial Day, I clumsily search for fitting words to honor the sacrifice made by so many of our nation’s finest young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms and our way of life.  Each year I fail miserably to achieve the desired result.  No combination of words or phrases in any language by even the most highly acclaimed author could adequately honor those who, in the words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, “…gave the last full measure of devotion.”

    May 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • PASTOR POPHIN: Remembering on Memorial Day

    You remember the dates: July 4, 1776; April 12, 1861; June 28, 1914; December 7, 1941; June 25, 1950; somewhere between 1955 and 1959; and Sept. 11, 2001. These are all significant dates. If you don’t know what they mean, look them up.

    May 24, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Rain for the just and the unjust

    Most of us plod along through life doing the best we can, but very few of us ever become really good at anything. Rarely do we achieve world class status, but my mother checked this box with her iced tea making skills. In my early years, there was never anything as good as coming in from the field hot and sweaty, sitting down at the dinner table (at noon), and having my first glass of cold iced tea. The first glass was always the best. The primary secret to my mother’s wonderful iced tea was the fact she used rain water from our cistern, rather than the hard well water. She also insisted on using only Lipton’s tea — none of that “off brand” stuff would do.  

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • william kelly.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    On April 27, 2014, two popes were made saints. This happening was unusual because the Catholic Church has two living popes, one retired and one the present head of the Church. 

    May 15, 2014 1 Photo

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