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Hospital Rag and Ice Cream Cones

When I think of my hometown as it used to be–and I do that often–two people immediately come to mind.

I’ve written before about Dr. Francis Carlton Luckett, who practiced medicine in my hometown of Fentress, Texas from 1917 until shortly before his death in 1965. I won’t repeat myself here except to say he was an extraordinary person and physician. In the words of my great-aunt Bettie Waller, his presence raised the level of the community. To people who knew the town in the first half of the 1900s, he was Fentress.

But what prompted this post–Dr. Luckett was also a musician. He worked his way through medical school at Tulane by playing a theater organ, accompanying silent films. In Fentress, he gave recitals and played for weddings. And he composed “Hospital Rag” for the piano.

As a child, I was fascinated by the idea that my doctor, who hated giving children injections (I never got mad at him for popping me with a penicillin shot every time he saw me; I blamed my mother instead), came to my house to take my temperature (and give me a penicillin shot) when I was sick, and took out my tonsils, had composed a rag. But I never heard him play it, and he didn’t commit it to paper, so I gave up hope.

Until Doctor’s granddaughter sent a recording to my friend Patsy Munk Kimball (whose husband was named for Dr. Luckett, and whose two sisters, in addition to her first child, he delivered), and Patsy sent a file to me.

Wow. That man was all over the piano.

Patsy had shared with me many old photos of Fentress in its early years, when the Fentress Resort drew people from miles around.

I wished aloud that I could share everything with folks who remember Dr. Luckett. David offered to make a video and put it on Youtube.

Suddenly the topic broadened–we couldn’t make a video about the town without including Dick Ward, who owned and operated what used to be called an ice cream parlor in the early part of the 19th century and continued until, like Dr. Luckett, he retired in the 1960s. He, too, was Fentress. I’ve written about him, as well.

There was a big sign on the awning in front of his store–W. F. Ward Conf. After I learned to read, I asked what Conf. meant. Confectionery, my father told me, but he’d heard someone remark it ought to say, W. F. Ward Cone, because that’s what he sold–huge double dip ice cream cones for a nickel. And if the top dip fell off, as sometimes happened, especially to children without the manual dexterity to hold the cone upright (or who tried to get on their bicycles with cone in hand), he automatically replaced the dip, free.

That had to be the best deal anywhere–the only price in the world that was never affected by inflation. 

And ice cream is therapeutic. After a penicillin shot from Dr. Luckett, one of Dick’s ice cream cones made everything okay again.

(And make no mistake–it wasn’t just kids–I saw plenty of adults walk out of Dick’s store carrying ice cream cones. And smiling.)

But back to the video. Patsy supplied the pictures, I put them in order, and David made the video. It’s on Youtube for all to see.

If you want to know more about Fentress, the bare facts are covered in the Handbook of Texas. But if you want to know the whole story–like

  • why the Methodist Church was founded, or
  • what J. C. Dauchy always carried in his pocket, or
  • which teenager made the owner of the telephone company so mad–and how the teenager did it–that the owner threatened to cut off service to the Fentress School, or
  • which new bride invited visitors to “Come right in” when her husband was taking a bath in front of the fireplace in the living room (in 1905), and
  • what the new husband did when he heard his bride invite company to come right in, or
  • what the members of the Staples Baptist Church did immediately after their minister preached against the Sin taking place in Fentress on a daily basis (I’ve been told that during Prohibition, the skating rink/dance hall did get a little loud)–

If you want to know anything like that, don’t ask the Handbook of Texas.

Ask me.

Because I know.

And I tell the Truth. Mainly.

So turn up the sound. Here’s a Fentress, Texas video diary, accompanied by Dr. F. C. Luckett playing his composition, “Hospital Rag.”

 

 

 

 

 

Making a Killing

Writing Wranglers and Warriors’ first cartoon–a guest post

Writing Wranglers and Warriors

DSCN1633 (3) Cartoon by guest poster David Davis

2018-07-31 WWW DDAVIS COPYRIGHTED 157 mystery novelAlien Resort © David Davis. All rights reserved.

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Before becoming a cartoonist, David Davis produced, directed, and wrote sci-fi videos. Notable among them is Invisible Men Invade Earth, which received the Judge’s Choice award at the 2017 What the Fest Film Festival (Dallas); the Out of This World award at the 2016 Lionshead Film Festival (Dallas); and the Most Original Concept award at the 2016 Houston Comedy Film Festival. His films also appeared at the 2017 Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase; 2017 Dallas Medianale; 2012 Boomtown Film and Music Festival in Beaumont, Texas, and the 2012 CosmiCon and Sci-Fi Film Festival in Roswell, New Mexico.

Andrew Whalen of Playerone.com writes that David’s Reverse Effects, screened at the 2015 Fantastic Fest (Austin) “is almost like a living comic strip, but undeniably vigorous and fascinating.” He also labeled David “eccentric,” but the jury is still…

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Seven

A Sampler from Writing Wranglers and Warriors

Writing Wranglers and Warriors

Kathy Waller UnCon 10 06 2016 Written by M. K. Waller (and others)

23:59 hours.

That’s how late I am in getting this post online.

That’s how late I am in writing this post I’m late in getting online.

Instead of belaboring the point, I’m going to do something I should do more often–remind you of some fine posts I didn’t write that deserve another look.

Here are seven–click on the title links to read. And there are more where these came from:

OBSESSING ON ELF EARS…

by Mike Staton

Mike Staton

Please forgive me. I’m so embarrassed. I just don’t know if I can actually write this post. I’ll do my very best. You see I have this peculiar fascination with ears – not with any old ears. Elf ears… the long pointed ones that project out from the heads of lady elves.

My admission is not something that makes me proud. I’d rather have a fascination with…

View original post 761 more words

Story


 

 

Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution–more so that opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to. Story is what enabled us to imagine what might happen in the future, and so prepare for it–a feat no other species can lay claim to, opposable thumbs or not. Story is what makes us human, not just metaphorically but literally. Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience reveal that our brain is hardwired to respond to story; the pleasure we derive from a tale well told is nature’s way of seducing us into paying attention to it.

Lisa Cron, Wired for Story

 

 

 

Reference Questions* I Have Known

 

  1. Is cabbage juice good for you?
  2. What is cystic ovary syndrome?
  3. Do you have any more picture books about fire trucks? He won’t read about anything but firetrucks.
  4. Is chemotherapy an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis?
  5. Do you have a book about condoms? I need to know who invented them.**
  6. How do I know what size bra to buy?
  7. How do you cure hams?
  8. Was Rachel Carson married to Kit Carson?
  9. How do you get to Gatesville, Texas?
  10. How do you make cherry pie?
  11. What did people eat in Victorian England?
  12. What do you call the 125th anniversary of the founding of a city?
  13. Is there a town called San Simon in Texas?
  14. Do you have any stories with voices?
  15. I need to know the names of some saints.
  16. Do I have to wear a hat to a Catholic christening?
  17. I need a list of scientists who’ve won the Nobel Prize.
  18. What does the Federal Reserve do?
  19. How many teeth does a giraffe have?
  20. How do you make a Sally Lunn cake?
  21. Where’s the book that was on that table the other day? It’s white.

***

*Some of the above might be outside the official realm of the reference question. But they’re close.

*No, dear freshman boy, in this little school library in this conservative little town in this conservative big state, I do not have a book about who invented the condom, and I’m trying very hard not to guffaw while I tell you this. (And when the little school library became a little public library, I didn’t have a book about it then, either. But I had books that came close.)

***

Images licensed under CC0, via pixabay

 

 

A Serious Emotion, Grammatically Speaking

Did you ever know a serious emotion to express itself in a subordinate clause?

2018-07-20 ttm pixabay couleur CC0 monocle-1620948_640~ Clouds of Witness, BBC TV miniseries, 1972, based on Dorothy L. Sayers’ novel Clouds of Witness, a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery. IMBd credits both Sayers and Anthony Stevens as writers, but because the line is used solely to create atmosphere, and Sayers died in 1957, I doubt it was her idea.

Cat Talking, Part 2

In Part 1 of Cat Talking, I conceded that, although it’s been scientifically demonstrated that people who talk to their pets–anthropomorphize–are more intelligent than those who don’t, I might not be quite so smart as other pet talkers. In fact, I admitted my IQ might be three points below that of the sea sponge.

For the moment, however, let’s forget all that and assume I’m as smart as all the rest.

Yesterday’s subject was William, who doesn’t take direction.

IMG_1187
Ernest incorrectly positioned

Today I write about Ernest, who, wonder of wonders, does.

We’ve had our battles. He clings. He stomps on me. He stomps on the keyboard. He stomps on me . . .

So I set out to teach him to lie down.

Lie down. Lie down. Lieeeeeee dowwwwwwwwwn.  Lieeeeeee dowwwwwwwwwn.  Lieeeeeee dowwwwwwwwwn.  Lieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee dowwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. 

Somewhere in the 1.5 million repetitions, he not only figured out what I wanted him to do, but he started doing it.

For a while, we fought over positioning–he wanted to lie facing away from me, with his rear straddling my forearm, for maximum tummy exposure. See photo above.

IMG_2926
Ernest correctly positioned

Now he lies down facing me, his head on the laptop. He does it voluntarily. Just jumps onto the chair beside me and plops himself down.

Our system isn’t perfect. He lies down only on his right side, never his left. And he seems to think a laptop must be present.

But I am impressed. In fact, I am gobsmacked.

I’ve had many intelligent cats. But Ernest is the first cat I’ve ever trained to do something he didn’t want to do. I’m impressed with him, and I’m impressed with me.

And I think we’re both way ahead of the sea sponge.

 

 

Cat Talking

An article posted on Facebook–my chief source of information these days–states that people who talk to their pets are smarter than those who don’t.

This is not news. We pet owners have always known we’re more intelligent than the rest of the population. If the rest of the population didn’t know this, that wasn’t our fault. But now everyone knows it, because everyone belongs to Facebook.

DSCN1633 (3)It seems that talking to pets is an example of anthropomorphizing, the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. I was familiar with the word but had been told it meant my IQ was three points below that of the sea sponge. Obviously, that was wrong.

I have one question: Does talk mean traditional adult speech or does it also include baby talk?

For example, I say, Go stairsies? to my cats; would a scientist say that’s evidence of my mental superiority? The phrase means Do you want to go downstairs? or upstairs, depending on where we are. Ernest usually wants to go stairsies as soon as he’s asked; William mulls over the possibilities and decides later. He wants to make sure it’s his idea.

I tell William and Ernest they’re sweet puddy tats (readers my age will know where that comes from). Sometimes they’re feet puddy tats. Or they’re feet puddy wuddies. I tell them I wuv them (I wuv ooo). When I step on a tail, I say, I sowwy. 

I ask them if they’re hungwy and  want some breakbus, which is silly, because they’re always interested in food.*

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Ernest being unconcerned

This afternoon, William was hungwy.  He jumped onto the arm of my chair–something he rarely does, because he doesn’t want his humans to think he likes them–and headed for the plate of bread crumbs on the table beside me. I moved the plate to the other side. William stayed where he was. I went back to work and forgot about him.

Suddenly he was in front of me, standing on the keyboard, again focused on the plate. I pushed him backward, then forward, but he weighs more than twenty pounds and is passive aggressive. He stayed where he was.

I finally gave up and let him cross in his own time, but not before he’d typed gggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg and sent an email comprising one sentence, one fragment, and the line of g‘s. It was a business email. By the time I realized it had been sent, it was too late to Undo.

At that point, I wanted to say something that wasn’t baby talk but I kept my peace. William ignores criticism. Orders. Suggestions. Requests. Invitations. Pretty much everything. It all has to be his idea.

I’ve just realized this post has taken an unfortunate turn. I began by praising myself for being an intelligent cat talker, and am ending with a story about allowing my cat to send an email. Which suggests the cat is pretty high in the IQ department. And maybe I really am three points below the sea sponge.

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*A relative I won’t identify used to ask her little boys what they wanted for lunch–eggy-do or soupy-doup. I have not yet fallen so low.