On August 4, 1949, celebrating the wild west got a little too real in the Big Spring rodeo arena that was once just off 11th Place immediately west of today’s Howard College campus. Most of the 2,500 fans missed the drama of the night at the roughshod wooden bleacher arena, but the script of the night would be one of the most unnerving dramas in the Big Spring Rodeo’s history. In 1947, bad blood had started between bad-ass 38-year-old Henry Preston (Buck) Jones and 32-year-old Herbert Frizzell when Jake Monroe had dragged Frizzell into a conversation over Jones’ timing calls … Continue reading BANG! BANG! BANG! …HE SHOT HIM DEAD – By James Johnston

On A Quest To Buy A Truck

On the day after Thanksgiving in 1977 Kenny and I went to Cross Plains, Texas to look at a potential truck purchase to haul our equipment with. We started out from Smithwick. We were both there with our families where we were spending the holidays with our mom and dad. Being a 3 hour trip up to northwest we left early in the morning and arrived in Cross Plains by 8:00 AM. We had seen an ad for this used truck dealer in a magazine. When we got there, they had a sea of trucks on the lot. We test … Continue reading On A Quest To Buy A Truck

The Gatesville State School For Boys

When I was a kid growing up in the 60s, The Gatesville State School for Boys was the primary place that juvenile delinquent boys were housed. That place had a long and not always a glorious past and was closed in 1979. Following is some history of that place that brought fear in young boys when they were told “You’d Better Straighten Up Or You’ll End Up In Gatesville”. Believe me, we understood that language. Continue reading The Gatesville State School For Boys

I Could Never Pass Up Tools Laying In The Road

It always amazed me how often I used to find tools, like wrenches, hammers, screw drivers and the like laying on the road when I was traveling from place to place. I always accused my careless mechanic of being the one that lost most of them. Almost any day I could drive out of the yard and find something he had left laying under the hood or on the bumper that would fall off. Of course he wasn’t too worried about it as long as I had charge accounts at all the parts houses in Austin. This mechanics’ carelessness fed … Continue reading I Could Never Pass Up Tools Laying In The Road

Come Along With Me On An Odyssey

We have all lived through a hellish nightmare for the past two years. We lost relatives and close friends. Many of us have endured sickness like nothing we have ever experienced. People have suffered financially. We have been unable to do the things we have been accustomed to. Others have lost their jobs and their careers upended by this epidemic. I decided to explain to my friends what I have personally gone through. Not as a way to garner sympathy, but hopefully give certain people some level of comfort. I’ll explain what I mean as we go along. First off … Continue reading Come Along With Me On An Odyssey

Pete and the Boulder Busters

Times have changed a lot in the 50 years that I’ve been in the construction business. The only economical way to excavate rock for installing underground utilities in the first 10 years was blasting with dynamite. It tapered off over the next decades to where that method is rarely even used today. We blasted up and down streets in very congested areas. In my first 4 or 5 years there wasn’t even a city permit required in Austin to transport and use explosives. Anyone dealing with the City of Austin now, would find that hard to believe. Now you need … Continue reading Pete and the Boulder Busters

Hauling Guns Into Mexico

In the fall of 1984 I had a very big real estate deal happen that made me think I’d never see another poor day. So what did I do? Went and bought a new Lincoln Sedan. It was the Cartier addition. Very slick ride. It wasn’t for Madeline. No way she could get all the kids and their friends in it. She drove a suburban. I had a pickup or a suburban or both. I’m absolutely positive there was a reason I bought the Lincoln. I don’t think I’ll be running in to ask Madeline about this. If I remember … Continue reading Hauling Guns Into Mexico

A Year Long Wait, For Nothing

It just occurred to me that I seldom order anything that I can’t get next day shipping. If I buy something I want to touch and feel in right then and there or at least the next day. People ask why I don’t order new cars or trucks, so I can get them exactly like I want them. I always think, what if I order it and it takes 2 or 3 months to get it, and then it isn’t exactly what I want. That could happen, easily. I can order a pizza for delivery and I’m pacing the floor, … Continue reading A Year Long Wait, For Nothing

Something I Will Always Regret

Back in 1985 I had the opportunity to sell a 50% stake in my construction company to a well established building contractor. It was a transaction that was mutually beneficial to both parties. For me it would allow me to bid whatever size project I desired and have the financial backing to really excel. I had had many years of struggles, with the ups and downs of the economy and me not always making the wisest decisions when it came to the business and financial end of things. By merging with this other company I would still have my own … Continue reading Something I Will Always Regret