More of the Best of 2010!

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We’ll continue our look back at 2010 with some “Best of…” posts today, but first I want to remind you of what you missed if didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s entries about my hometown and some other of 2010’s best and most popular posts, including a very emotional and powerful post on the anniversary of 9/11. Sit back with a hot cup of coffee and enjoy a recap of what you, the reader, determined to be our most popular posts of 2010.

  • The Rio Grande Starts HereI was kind of surprised when I looked at the blog archives and noticed that this was our most- read Colorado Chronicles post of the year, but it was. 
  • Caught – This was, without a doubt, my personal favorite post of the year. It’s about “going to church” with a fishin’ pole at a pond way up in the Rockies. A place where God and I have a Father-Son talk amongst the majestic Rocky Mountain peaks, the brilliant sunshine and of course, a fishin’ hole. To me, that’s “church”. Can I get an amen from the readership?
  • Tomah JosephAnother personal favorite and you guys liked it, too. Tomah Joseph was an Indian who lived in the early 20th Century near where my wife grew up in Eastport. He was an amazing man with an amazing life story. When you click over to the story, be sure to click the links embedded within the story. it really is a great read.

The three posts I listed up there ^^^, are well worth the time to take a look at… not because of my legendary literary skills ( I just made that part up…), but because the subject matter is something that you won’t find anywhere but where I found it or right here on Three States Plus One. Thanks for making these posts easy choices to be in the “Best of 2010”. You done good.


The Best of 2010 – Irving, My Hometown

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The Mustangs of Las Colinas

Back on July 28, I wrote a post about something I was very familiar with – my hometown of Irving, Texas. Although I hadn’t been home in a million years, I still had memories of my childhood and high school years as fresh as the day they were made. A lot of my readers, who happened to friends as well, enjoyed the ride back in time also. I got some good feedback in the comment section of the post and a ton of feedback on Facebook with other people’s memories of Irving.

Here is that post, reprinted in its entirety.

I know many of my friends back in Texas will relate to this post. So many of them, like me, grew up or lived in Irving long enough to call it “my hometown”. I moved to Irving the summer before my 10th birthday in 1966, and the population of Irving was, if I recall correctly, about 40,000. Now over 200,000 live in the City. Wow! My little town has grown up! Irving was founded in 1903 by J.O. “Otto” Schultz and Otis Brown (who was later mayor of Irving) and is believed to be named after author Washington Irving who was a favorite of Mrs. Brown. I haven’t been to Irving in at least nine years, therefore I can only guess how much it’s changed during that time. However, I do remember how Irving was when I was a little boy riding my Schwinn 5-Speed Stick Shift bike (even then the chicks dug a cool set of wheels ๐Ÿ™‚ ) literally all over town – from near Wakefield’s Grocery and Mr. Wood’s Barber Shop on Shady Grove all the way to the 183 Apartments where my Dad lived. As a kid , that was as cool as riding a Harley, pure freedom. Here are some other things that come to mind when reliving the ’60’s in my hometown, in no particular order…

  • Cliff’s Donuts (and later next door Cliff’s Pizza). Mr. Shasteen was a very nice man who on occasion let a group of young men of drinking age have all night get-togethers with FREE pizza ! Almost 40 years too late…thanks, Mr. Shasteen. Oh, yeah…Cliff’s Donuts were a Sunday morning tradition for Sunday School at the Baptist Church just up the street on Story Road.
  • Denny’s on Hwy.183…I spent many after partying hours eating chili there with Tommy Thompson and Mark Hardesty. Tommy’s now dead (RIP BROTHER) and last I heard, Mark is a long-time guest of the State.
  • The 183 Drive-In – Where The Duke his own self, John Wayne stood on top of the concession stand with rifles a-blazin’ for the World Premier of True Grit, in which Wayne won an Oscar for his role as Rooster Cogburn.
  • Texas Stadium – not only for all the Cowboys’ games I attended there with Randy Randle, but for the thousands of fellow Nimitz High graduates who walked the stage passing from schoolkid to welcome-to-the real world young people.
  • Dar Roedel and Linda Staggs – These two ladies were more than teachers or counselors, they were friends and second Moms to an untold number of kids, me included. I love them dearly and will never forget the impact they had on my life. 
  • Friends – too many to mention, because there were/are so many of you. From waaaaaay back : Keith Story and Mark Warren. I have known those guys for over 40 years and I’ll never forget them. Randy Randle, Marvin, Dee Dee, Dewayne, John and Marty. They treated me like one of their family and to this day, I consider them my family. Tommy Thompson…maybe the best friend I ever had, and that’s saying something. I loved Tommy like a brother and wish I could have just one more beer with him. I hope I was half the friend to him that he was to me. Mark Hardesty… Mark was, shall we say, “rough around the edges”, but he was a great friend. I would say more, but I’m not sure the Statute of Limitations has run out. All the friends I have re-connected with through Facebook. I love you guys and I can only say “It was fun” or “I’m sorry”. You decide which camp you are in. ๐Ÿ™‚

I could carry on for hours, but that will be for another time, perhaps. What are your memories of Irving? Or your hometown? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to know

A Look Back at September’s Best Posts

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Things Got Rollin’ in September

September found Three States Plus One really getting a solid foot hold in the blogosphere. It seemed like all of the sudden we went from being virtually unknown, which we were, to getting readers from all over the world. We started off well in Texas and Maine, but that was to be expected, because I have many friends and family members in those two states, and, just to be supportive, they’d have read the Uncertain, Texas phone book if I posted it. Silly people. But, I digress. From my point of view as a Blog Owner/Administartor, each time I looked at the Flag Counter that appears on each page of the blog and discovered a new country’s flag added to the roster, I began to believe a little more in what I was doing…that people, complete strangers in most cases, actually found value in what I was writing. That said, I am not a writer. I am a more verbal kind of guy. Hell, for over 15 years I was a radio DJ. Listeners depended on my verbal skills in order to digest the information I was feeding them. If you could listen to what I write, I think it would be a lot more effective in getting across the tone and inflection of what I write. Those of you who know me understand what am talking about.

Here’s a list of a few of the most popular posts from September:

  • Hungry Maine for Texas VittlesThis was our first “blockbuster” post, receiving over 100 page views. This was a big deal for me. It was validation that this blog thing might work out if I stuck with it long enough. 
  • Special Edition – 9/11 – This post was HUGE for me. It was the first time I really went off on any given subject. Dirty words and all, this was a smash. I find it a bit ironic that soon after I posted this one, I began to get a lot of attention from Muslim countries. Go figure. Asswipes.
  • An Almost Clean Getaway – I remember when I wrote this post I was in a hurry to make an appointment or something. Anyway, I found something real fast and scribbled down a post and didn’t think twice about it. It was basically a space-filler at the time. But it ended up being one of the most popular posts of the month! Don’t ask me why. But thanks!

That’s a good start to our look back at the first six months of Three States Plus One. I’ll be back in a little while with more bullshit award-worthy literary brilliance and insightful observation. ๐Ÿ™‚

Our First Six Months – A Look Back

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Blog Archives Stored Here

It’s hard to believe that this blog is now six months old. During that time we have experienced what I suspect that any new blog, or even many more established blogs, experience. The ebb and flow, ups and downs, highs and lows… you get the picture. Since it’s the end of the year, I thought it might be kind of neat to look back at some of the most popular topics we covered, as well as some of my personal favorites from the past six months.

I would also like to get your input as to what you thought were the bests posts of the last six months. Maybe you bookmarked a post or sent one to a friend (who will never forgive you for doing that) that you think should be highlighted (lowlighted?). Just drop me a note in the comment section or shoot me an email at threestatesplusone AT gmail DOT com with your suggestion and we’ll definitely give it another posting.

I will now don my Hazmat suit and be off to peer into the hermetically sealed Budweiser box that houses the archives to Three States Plus One in a quest to find the worst best of 2010.

Texas History: The Civil War and Beyond

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The Lone Star

The Civil War was undoubtedly one of the darkest chapters in the history of the United States. The war’s effect on Texas was quite different than its effects on other states in the Confederacy and the Union. While 70,000 Texans served in the Confederate Army and participated in just about every major battle in the conflict, no major battles were fought on Texas soil. The main role of Texas at this time was as a supply state to the Confederacy. Other than manpower, beef, ammo and cotton were the most vital contributions made by the state during the war. When Union troops blockaded Galveston and other Texas ports, cotton was traded with European countries and Mexico for supplies to aid the Confederate Army in its war effort.

While the overwhelming majority of Texans supported secession from the Union, there was significant opposition to such a move, spearheaded by none other than Sam Houston his own self. From Wikipeadia , “Houston was probably the premier “Unionist” in Texas. Like most of the same in the South, he strongly believed in the doctrine of states rights, and even assured his fellow Texans he would personally lead the state out of the Union should matters justify such. However, he thought secession at the moment in time was “rash action,” and certain to lead to a conflict sure to favorโ€“ in the long runโ€“ the industrial and populated North. He predicted: “Let me tell you what is coming. After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives you may win Southern independence if God be not against you, but I doubt it. The North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery impulsive people as we are…but once they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum of a mighty avalanche, and what I fear is that they will overwhelm the South with ignoble defeat.” Houston was clairvoyant with his words.

Texas, of course, rejoined the Union.However, her rise to prominence on the national stage lay ahead of her. She had survived a war for independence, a stint as her own country, Civil War and Yankee Carpetbaggers during Reconstruction, but she would rise to meteoric heights in the future with the same dogged determination and courage her people had displayed during the toughest of times. She is, after all, “the damnedest lady you ever saw”. She is Texas. Long may she live!

Texas History: The Alamo

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The third nation to fly its flag over Texas was the most notorious of the six – Mexico. This is an era in Texas History that more people are familiar with than any other. The War for Texas Independence has been memorialized in books, films, TV shows, and text books. However, it is a single battle of the War that is world famous and is seen as an act of courage, patriotism and man’s yearning to be free that will forever remind all generations that freedom demands constant sacrifice and vigilance, lest it be wrested away by tyranny.The battle of which I speak is the Battle of the Alamo, a military engagement that set in stone the meaning of sacrifice and a desire to be free of dictatorial rule in the face of overwhelming odds. The defenders of the Alamo numbered about 200. Their Mexican adversaries, several thousand. Yet, the men at the Alamo waged a fierce defense of their position, knowing that surely each of them would die at the hands of General Santa Ana. Perish they did, but the courage displayed by these men remains unparalleled in the history of warfare, in my opinion. From February 23, 1836 to March 6, 1836, facing insurmountable odds, they fought with the resolve that has since been a trademark characteristic of Texans throughout the last 174 years.

Some five and a half weeks later, the men at the Alamo were no less present in the hearts and minds of a ragtag Texan Army under the command of the larger than life Sam Houston, when they revenged their fellow Texans by routing the powerful Mexican Army and it’s leader General Santa Ana on the bayou at San Jacinto. The Republic of Texas was born.

Texas History: The First Europeans Visit Texas

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First of the Six Flags

The first Europeans to land in Texas did so in 1519, while on a voyage to find a passage from the Gulf of Mexico to Asia. Alonso Alvarez de Pineda and his men landed in Texas while on the previously mentioned mission for the Governor of Jamaica ( read Spain). Alvarez de Pineda mapped the northern Gulf Coast of Texas, thus writing the first recorded document in the history of Texas.

One of the survivors of this expedition was a man named Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca. Between 1528 and 1535, Cabeza de Vaca and another survivor of the Pineda expedition spent six and a half years in Texas as slaves to local Indians and as traders. Cabeza de Vaca was the first European to explore the interior of Texas. Thus began the European exploration of Texas. Spain would then lay claim to Texas for well over a century and a half.

In 1685, France would be the second European country to declare Texas as one of its colonies. The French rule lasted only five years when Spain reclaimed Texas for the Spanish Throne. The Spanish would maintain control of Texas until 1821, when Mexico won its independence from Spain and Texas became a state of Mexico.

We know where the story goes from here, and that’s what we’ll look into on our next post later this afternoon as we celebrate the annexation of Texas into the United States on December 29, 1845. Hasta la vista!

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