Tourin Texas Monthly Newsletter
Tourin Texas Letters to the Editor

Have a favorite day trip you'd like to let folks know about?
Did we miss one of the best places on our trip?
Just want to say howdy?  Please write.


2004 (Below)    /    2002 (click HERE)  /    2002 (click HERE)

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July 8, 2004  Ira, I wanted to let you know that I am still around and still working on the Kelly/Kelley Family History.  Have made progress and now have Professional Genealogists in Salt Lake City, UT at work on the history with me.  More about that later.
       I was afraid something was not right in your life but I didn't want to e-mail and ask a bunch of dumb questions about your personal life.  Therefore, I was very glad to receive the latest newsletter from you and to see you so open about your problems.  I am making every effort to keep in touch with my Kelly cousins as all of them have been important to this "family history" thing and am glad to be back in touch with you.
       I hope you are making a good job of recovery.   You seem to be.  Good luck.  I've been down that road and know what it's like however, we are made of tough stuff and we can always pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and pick another road.  --Take care, D. S. "Dodie" Ford

Dodie, Thanks for the genealogy update (not posted).  For general information, our 3 x great grandfather was Tobias Kelly born in AL abt. 1805.  He pledged and Oath to the Republic of Texas in 1837 and received 1/3 league of land in Coryell Co, TX.   --Ira

July 8, 2004  Glad to see you're back in the saddle. --Hugh D. Lester

Hugh,   Thanks.  I hope I don't get throwed again. --Ira

July 8, 2004  Ira, Good to have you back. -- JJackson

Jan, Glad to be back & thanks for the donation. --Ira

 July 8, 2004  Dear Ira, First let me say, "welcome back". I've been wondering from time to time where my monthly (monthly?) newsletter filled with new destinations, adventures and witty writing has been. Now I know.........
        Second, I understand your financial situation but I have a problem too..........I'm lazy. Is there some way I can "donate" to the cause via a credit card so I don't have to lick a stamp and walk all the way to the mail box?
       Finally, where did you get Nigel and why in creation do you drive a Land Rover? What's wrong with a good 'ole F150? You KNOW the insurance is less, you can haul more and believe me Ira, it looks a LOT more Texian! Think about it, please?
       Anyway, as I said, glad you're back. Keep up the great work and get back to me on that credit card thing, will ya?

Jeff Cunningham-Magnolia, Texas
       oops, read the instructions further (why don't guys read directions?) and found out you DO accept e-donations. Sent you 50 bucks......ignore the request, thanks, jc 

Jeff,   First let me say Thank You!  If you will send me your address I'll send you a nice signed and numbered print. (They don't sell anyway.)  About Nigel the Land Rover... I didn't know nothing about them machines.  The salesman said "You interested in a good deal on a used Land Rover?"  "I already have a good Hog Dog what do I need with another critter?" So he straightened me out on that score and and well... there's no good excuse.  But it'll be all mine sometime next year, then I can get the windows to stay up without duct tape. 
       Do F150s come with four wheel drive?
       Why don't guys read directions?  Lack of proper training.  If there were real complicated instructions on how to open a longneck we might'a been prepared for life's more annoying details early on.  These days, what with all the different gas pumps all operating first one way and then the other, I pretty much put pumping gas right up there with a trip to the library.  (Too bad those pumps don't come in braille for those times when I forget my reading glasses...) --Ira

July 8, 2004  Ira, I'm so glad your Funny Bone is all healed up! WHY DON'T HE WRITE? made me laugh out loud ... for a long time. (What a relief. I'm not the only one whose plea's for "more time to pay" don't seem to translate well when I'm talkin' to those new-found friends in India.)
       And DID I SAY THAT? made me think Will Rogers reincarnated real fast! Matter of fact: you're funnier. Cherokee's both of you, still he (as Ann Richards put it) "caint hep' it" ... He was only an Okie. A real disadvantage for a Cowboy. You and your friend Ollie are the real McCoys! (Er, whatever you call the real deal when that's a hilarious Cherokee Texas Cowboy Humorist.) Keep those tours coming. --Linda C, Austin

Linda,   I'm getting kinda lightheaded what with all the kind words and such from folks.  If   I'da known this was going to happen I mighta quit writing for a spell some time back.  Truth be told it makes me want write more real quick like.  Like Ollie was telling me when I was stuck in the big middle of the last missive, "You've got two personalities.  Use one of them.  Better yet, you do the alter-ego part and I'll get this thing done quicker than thought."
       What do you call a hilarious Cherokee Texas Cowboy Humorist?  "Nut case" comes to mind.  --Ira

July 7, 2004  Hey Ira!  Well, I KNOW you will be OK NOW.....cause your back in the territory you love! That - I can sure identify with! Ira, you get your strength from this "Enchanted" land - so stay put - put on a big smile and enjoy life again!   I'm sorry about you and Holly - but life ALWAYS comes up with "Suprizes" and sometimes they are great - and sometimes - they STINK!
       Ira, YOU were the one with all the talent - YOU are the one we all looked up to - YOU are the one that has the opportunity for a new, great beginning! Go for it! We are all right behind you! I was thrilled to see the newsletter message today! I too had been wondering where you were - but thought I neglected to subscribe - or something stupid like that!
       Maybe we need another Writer's Rendezvous - to bring back great memories and help "Jump Start" it all again! 
       Take Care!  -- Pam Moorman, Arlington, Texas

Pam, Thanks for the kind words. (blush)  For the folks who were out of the old loop -- The Writer's Rendezvous was an annual event on Triple Creek Ranch for all of the writers for Enchanted Rock Magazine.  Barbecue, beer, tall tales -- all of the rituals Texans hold sacred.  Actually Cork and I have been planning a similar event: Tourin' Texas at Triple Creek Ranch. Anyone interested? (Details later.) --Ira

 July 7, 2004  Dear Ira:   Sorry to hear about you "getting single again", however, it has been my experience that it isn't all a bad thing.  But a truly good thing is that you are publishing again and we look forward to seeing you pop up on our screen pretty regular.   --Jackie Wayman, Cleburne TX

Jackie, Well, I've been throwed a time or two before and fortunately my funny bone is on the mend.  --Ira

July 7, 2004  Ira - Thanks for the plug in your letters to the editor.  Also, I appreciated the "links" to your site and the opportunity to read some of your writings. After reading some of your experiences, I have decided to keep looking over my shoulder to see if you are following me in in effort to obtain material for your next writings. You know, "Dumb and Dumber" or "Whachawannadothatfor?".  Thanks, Lyndell Rogers, Merkel (Abilene), Texas

Lyndell, Who knows I just might be there.  Remember, "If you don't care where you are you ain't lost." --Ira

June 5, 2004  I have read your article about all the events in Gruene, Texas, however, I am lodging a complaint that I feel you should know about since you seem to "taut" the events.
       I live near Abilene, Texas.  My daughter lives in San Antonio, Texas.  My daughter asked my wife and I to come down and we would all (other friends of hers included) go to Gruene for diner and an evening of entertainment.  Reportedly, Couter Graw was playing at Gruen Hall, his performance was advertised in the Internet to start at 9:00PM and a sign inside the Hall also stated 9:00PM and another stated 9:30PM.
       However, we were early after having a fine dinner at the local "Grist Mill" and arrived around 8:00PM at the Hall and around 8:30 a band started playing that must have been found in someone's garage - you could not understand but a few of their words, the music (??) was extremely loud and consisted of a lot of twanging and banging without regards to music notes what-so-ever.  We tried to endure because we knew Cooter Graw would be coming on stage in a short while.
       At 9:50PM, we finally decided we had all the garbage can racket we could stand, so we approached the "manager", asked for a refund of our money because we had been grossly mislead -- their advertising was obviously a fraud and we had been duped into buying $15.00 tickets falsely.
       We did not get our money refunded!  Management agreed we had a right to be upset and feel mis-represented but stated they had no authority to refund our money.  By the way, we finally got out of the Hall at 10:15PM and Cooter Graw still was not performing!  The impression left on us will be one that extends to all of the businesses in Gruene, Texas, I am sorry to say.   The rest may be as good as our experience with the restaurant, however, just one enterprise, which was largely our attraction and main reason for going, ruined our experience completely.
       Just so you would know, your glowing report has a "briar patch".  Hope you are proud.  When you-all come to "West Texas", you will find satisfaction is guaranteed and the "hospitality" outstanding.  --Lyndell L. Rogers, Merkel, Texas 79536

Lyndell,  Jeez, I don't know why you are all over me for something that happened at Gruene Hall. Yes I did have a good time at Gruene Hall and I hardly feel responsible for something that happens two years and five months later in a business I have absolutely no control over.
       I am proud of my work on and just so you know, most complaints to me are about the critical comments I make regarding a particular community or business. I write what I experience.
       By the way, I had to look up "taut" in the dictionary to see if there was a usage of which I was ignorant. I don't think that's the word you were looking for ( tout works), but your upset came through loud and clear. Out of curiosity, did my article inspire you to visit Gruene or am I just a convenient soul to which you can vent your displeasure?
       I have no doubt that the hospitality in West Texas is outstanding. You've convinced me on that point.

Ira,  Sorry to dump on you.   Perhaps you should think about re-visiting Gruene to re-validate your experience or remove the site from the Internet.
       Your article was inspiring, without a doubt - I loved it!   I think the Internet is a wonderful tool and use it quite a bit when visiting points which may be of interest.   My daughter had heard of the place, mentioned it and we looked it up to see what was there.   I pay attention to sites like yours because it is not generally someone blowing their own horn (advertising).  The experience written is personal which I can relate to.  --
Lyndell L. Rogers

Lyndell,  With your permission I will post your letter to the editor, my response and your reply which I appreciate. -Ira

Ira, Thank you. You are welcome and I appreciate your kindness. --Lyndell

May 24, 2004    Ira,  What with life getting in the way, it just dawned on me that I hadn't received your newsletter in a while.  Checking in, I discovered you have been going through major "life changes".  Having done this myself SEVERAL times, you have my sympathies and best wishes. 
       What's the saying, if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger...some years I seem to be headed toward becoming Hercules!   Anyway, glad to see you are 'coming back' and I look forward to your future newsletters.  Do I need to subscribe again to get them?   Sincerely, Darlene VanEvery  (Psychology Professor, USAF Retired and, after living there on-and-off for 14 years, Texan at heart)

Darlene, You don't need to subscribe again, I just need to get my head straight and write again. --Ira

April 4, 2004  I have lived in Texas for the last 20 years but have seldom traveled outside the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It's time I got to know this wonderful state. I would enjoy receiving your newsletter.  Thank you, Mike Funk

April 8, 2004 Just was browsing through the internet and found one of your articles about your visit to Richland Springs in San Saba Co. It just occurred to me that I haven't gotten a newsletter from you in awhile. Are you still doing it or did I get dropped from your mailing list? Charlotte Epps

Charlotte, You didn't get dropped.  And I apologize to you and everyone else for the long delay.  Please see the Commentary page... -- Ira

March 23, 2004  Thanks!  I love your site and look forward to recieving your newsletter. -- Rita & Ken

March 4, 2004  Ran across your site by accident, looks very interesting, looking very forward to the news letter. --Johnny Shouse

May 1, 2004   Child of Kerr County---finding this site is, well, actually finding an oasis in the Oregon rainforest.   THANK YOU!  --Clare 

February 8, 2004  Love the site!  Best regards,  G.D. Sanders 

February 18, 2004  Not only am I interested in your unique interpretations of my homeland of Texas, I am thrilled to discover how many other people's lives were directly affected by the people of 1970's Luckenbach.
       I am a self-proclaimed "Child of Chili" and spent much of my childhood weekends at chili cook-offs around the state.  I was born Jan. 1969 and Mother and Daddy discovered chili early in the 70's.  They were very much a part of the early days of chili cooking, before Luckenbach had PLUMBING and an official parking lot. 
I remember Willie Nelson playing dominoes under the oak trees outside the general store and Jerry Jeff Walker recording his live album in the dancehall.  I attended a multitude of "First Annual" Women's State Chili Cooking Championships, eventually graduating to adult status in the 90's and being allowed INSIDE the judges tent for more than slave labor. 
       A.W. "Tex" Schofield was my "uncle" and bestowed me with a nickname, as he did with all those he loved.   I was his self-appointed assistant, setting up games like the egg toss, the lemon roll and the mosey contest.  I raced armadillos with Sam Lewis and received "bladder balloons" (blown up condoms) from the SackaHockey Indians.  I learned to 2-step on my Daddy's boots in the dancehall.  I manned Tony Shamroski's art booth outside the blacksmith shop, while he roamed the cookoff in search of beer or chili samples.  I was paid in pen and ink drawings, which are now framed in handmade wood frames bought from the then starving artist Janie Schofield.   I watched streakers, singers, and washer pitchers.  I sat on Hondo's lap and Ken Morgan was one of the funniest people I can remember. I used to travel with Mother to Houston on "stuffing weekend" for the Goat Gap Gazette.  We'd sleep on Hal John & Judy Wimberley's floor (surrounded by the outhouse collection) and help fold and stuff the GGG for mailing.  I remember many trips to the printers with Judy to pick up the still damp GGGs.  What amazing people I have known in my life.
       Thank you for unknowingly playing a part in my current walk down memory lane.  I wonder if you have pictures from cookoffs in the 1970's.  I am a burgeoning artist, and want to do a series of paintings of the characters of my childhood.  Any images you could share of people like Hondo Crouch, Hal John & Judy Wimberley, John Raven, Sam Lewis, Maggie Montgomery, Shorty Fry...would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Sara Lynn "Lynnie Tin Tin" Leatherland-Grindy, Milpitas, CA 

Sara Lynn, Sorry but I don't have any.  I once had some 8mm footage of Hondo and G. Kooch (?) pickin' and grinnin' on the Post Office porch, but it got stolen. --Ira

February 28 2004   We’re trying to locate information and pictures of six of our former sheriff’s. We feel fortunate to have located as many as we have. If you feel you might run across some info and would like to pass it on, I would appreciate it. Also would like to get on the newsletter list.  -- Nila, Llano Co Sheriff’s Dept

Nila, Thanks for joining up with Tourin Texas!   I don't have any photos myself but I'll ask around and if any of the readers can help I'm sure they will. --Ira

February 15, 2004  Please include me in your  list to receive the newsletter.  Love to "road-trip.:  Thanks   Judy O'Rourke

January 29, 2004   Hi Ira, I happened across your Touring Texas newletter and of course it brought back more than a few memories---I am not sure if you will remember me- I bartended in Ben Archer's bar while in school there. I didn't finish at Southwest but went on to Tech and finished there in 78. I have been in Virginia since 85. I recently reconnected with Boyd and he visited me out here on the coast of Virginia a few times last time slips away... anyway, I hope you will add my address to your mailing list for the newletter and I hope this finds you well. Sincerely yours, Debra Brown

Debra, I tended bar at Ben's Fat Friar's too and remember you well.  Thanks for the note.  BTW Boyd's letter is posted below.   --Ira

January 29, 2004          \\\///
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                                  (| (.)(.) |)                Cliff McCullough
                             (    )   Oooo.
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                               \_)     ) /            

January 27, 2004   Hello there.  Absolutely love your website!!!  Just found it tonight.  We had to move away from San Antonio last year, and I miss it so much.  Please add my husband and I to your e-mail list for the newsletter:  Thanks!   Stephanie

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