Weatherford Democrat


March 24, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: Seeing the world with our own eyes


While the genetics of our ancestors greatly influence our being, we are all significantly shaped and molded by our environment. Every aspect of where we lived, how we lived, and what we did during our time on earth has made an impression on every facet of our being.

As a child living on Route One Millsap during the 1940s, my view of the world around me was extremely narrow. This world was a very small place. The books I read were mainly fairy tales or comic books – funny books as we called them. Television hadn’t been invented, and if you needed information, you looked it up in a reference book if you owned one. As for my family, all we had was a small Webster’s dictionary, although my parents did subscribe to a few magazines from time to time. Both of my parents enjoyed reading "Progressive Farmer," the "Texas Oklahoma Farmer Stockman" or "Capper’s Farmer."

My first real journeys to learn of the world, although vicarious in nature, were my travels through the pages of National Geographic which my Aunt Flossie, a school teacher in Llano County, occasionally gave to me. Through beautiful color photographs on slick paper, I could witness all the exotic and majestic features that the world had to offer. I could ride tough Mongolian ponies across the steppes, shoot the rapids on the Columbia River, capture exotic snakes in the Amazon basin, or learn of the Anasazi cliff dwellers in the desert Southwest U.S. Until the advent of television, this was the only way to learn and marvel at the wonders of worlds so different from mine.

Once I began my formal schooling, I was introduced to new and exciting things. While information taught as part of our learning curriculum was vital to our education, I particularly enjoyed stories told by several of the male teachers, especially tales of their exploits and experiences during military service overseas. Frank Elder, who served as a chief petty officer in the Navy, told of his experiences in the Aleutian Islands, predominantly on Attu. Superintendent Bill Thomas told of his service in the Army toward the end of the European campaign, and his subsequent assignment to German occupation forces. John Brown told stories of his service during the Korean Conflict. All of which we boys soaked up like a sponge.

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  • Hamilton, Lee.jpg HAMILTON: Government as innovator? You bet!

    Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it’s down to $134 billion.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Showing respect

    My sister Robbie Benton’s funeral was Friday afternoon at White’s Funeral Home. The gravesite was outside of Mineral Wells. The respect shown by the good folks of Parker County and the surrounding area was overwhelming.

    April 17, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Going on a wild goose chase

    In recent years I’ve written quite a bit about the introduction and negative consequences of non-native or invasive species. Fire ants, killer bees, English sparrows, Asian carp, feral hogs and others too numerous to list have forever changed our local ecosystem.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo


    Have you seen those TV offers where they give a price for one product and then offer a second like items for-free? All you have to do is pay a separate shipping and handling charge for the “free” items.

    April 13, 2014

  • John Paul Carter-color.jpg NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: What’s in a name?

    Names are important. When my son, Rush, (who’s named after my father) and his wife, Vanessa, were expecting their third daughter, I gave up on having a male namesake and suggested, in jest, they call her “Johnnie Pauline.”

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: The Christian and the government

    The church in the Old Testament lived under a theocracy. That is, both the church and state were one. God anointed kings. Civil laws and religious laws were one and the same.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Getting in the chicken business

    Anyone who is my age or older has heard the famous quote, “A chicken in every pot.” It is normally attributed to Herbert Hoover during his 1928 presidential bid.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIEWPOINT: Obsessed with sports

    I remember reading a synopsis of the five reasons for the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon in which he listed the Romans’ obsession with sports at the coliseum as a cause of the fall of the empire.

    April 6, 2014

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

    On March 21, this paper published an article about a six-month drug trafficking investigation involving 12 people. On the front page was a photo of the 12 people involved. The use of drugs had made them a sorry-looking bunch. The look in their eyes was particularly disturbing.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hamilton, Lee.jpg Time to fix government

    In 1965, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Wilbur Mills, brought legislation establishing Medicare and Medicaid to the floor of the U.S. House. That was my first year in Congress, and I remember vividly the moment when Mills came to the Democratic caucus to explain his plans.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

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