Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.

Aug. 12, 2002

Retirement has turned out better than I expected. In other words, it is not "just one long shopping trip with the missus," but a chance to explore Texas.

And Texas has turned out better than I expected. I came here because "you go where the jobs are," but I didn't know at the time there were deer and fish and birds and trees in Texas.
I didn't know about Big Bend National Park or the grand oak covered hills around Kerrville. I didn't know there were solid enjoyable German towns like New Braunfels and Fredericksburg, whose ambience would make me homesick for St. Cloud and New Ulm.

By now I have explored "Irish" towns called Dublin, Texas, and Shamrock, Texas. I also drove through a town called Luther, Texas, (Near Muleshoe, by golly) and found out there wasn't a Lutheran church in that town, but there was a Catholic church there.

And I saw almost no Irish names in the Dublin or Shamrock phone books. It turns out Shamrock was named for the oil company by that name. Moral: Names don't always tell you much.

There is no town named Liberal, Texas. Liberals in Texas are an endangered species now more than ever before, and there is no movement afoot to include them under The Endangered Species Act.

No Texan in his right mind would name a town Liberal in this Bush era, even though there is a perfectly fine town called Liberal, Kansas, with a population of almost 20,000.
The closest thing to Liberal we have is a village called New Deal, Texas, just north of Lubbock in the Panhandle. It is very close to Happy, Texas, which recently got hit by a most unhappy tornado.

Before that, it was famous for a movie named "Happy, Texas" and some of that comedy was actually filmed around Happy.

New Deal, Texas, was chartered in 1934 and has a population of 500. It was founded by people who were obviously fans of FDR. It doesn't seem to be growing much.

A lot of high school teams are named after endangered species, but none are called the Fighting Liberals, even though, as noted above, we are an endangered species. There are cougars, roadrunners, bears, lions, and so on.

In cattle country it is not unusual to see the beef industry celebrated by naming the high school teams Holsteins or Brahmas, although I don't know how the female cheerleaders like donning uniforms inscribed with "Holsteins" across their chests.

I already informed the readers of this column that the Hart, Texas, team called "The Lady Steers" should change its name.

In the town of Dimmit, Texas, just up the road from Hart, the girls basketball team is called the Cougars so it's "Go Cats!" This town deserves a visit.

The high school girls basketball teams there have won five state championships, and the boys basketball teams from this little town of Dimmit (population 4,500) have won three state championships. A walk around Dimmit will tell you why.

On every residential street, whether in the welders/carpenters/ farm laborer's part of town, or in the doctors/accountants/lawyers/ shop owners part of town, there are basketball backboards complete with nets on every other house, and children of all ages are out shooting buckets.

Also, there is a covered, lighted outdoor basketball court open 24/7 just down from the high school football field.

In the middle school there is an air-conditioned gym open at all hours of the day and night, where everybody can come in and play basketball. This strange custom started with the arrival of a new coach named Kenneth Cleveland in 1968.

In a high school with only 400 students, Coach Cleveland started to produce champions, both boys and girls. He is one fine example of how one dedicated person can make a difference. Now they name gymnasiums after him.

The next time you drive down on US Highway 285 and go through Dimmit, just peel off the highway and drive down any block to see all those hoops. Unbelievable ­ tiny girls hitting three pointers.

Wabbits for thale

A little girl walks into a pet shop and asks in the sweetest little lisp: "Excuthe me, mithter, do keep wittle wabbits?"

The shopkeeper gets down on his knees, so that he's on her level, and asks: "Do you want a wittle white wabby or a soft and fuwwy bwack wabby? Or maybe one like that cute wittle bwown wabby over there?"

She in turn puts her hands on her knees, leans forward and says in a quiet voice: "I don't think my pyfon really gives a thit."

Just my dog

He's just my dog.

He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds.
He has told me more than 1,000 times over that I am his reason for being ­ by the way he rests against my leg, by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile, by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.)

When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry he clowns to make me smile.
When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it.
When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only another person. When I am with him I am all powerful.

He has taught me that the meaning of devotion is loyalty itself.

With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding, where before I was ignorant.

His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things.

He has promised to wait up for me . . . whenever . . . wherever . . . in case I need him, and I expect I will, as I always have.

Who is he? He's just . . .

My dog!

(This was sent to me by a lady who raises Dobermans in her kennel in Florida. I am glad she is my friend because with all her Doberman friends, I would not like to be on the wrong side of her. )

Jim O'Leary
461 Claremore
Corpus Christi, TX 78412

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