A good crowd gathered at the Lakeside Pavilion on Monday, September 11, for the Marble Falls Noon Rotary Club’s annual Day of Remembrance, held this year in conjunction with the “Remembering Our Fallen” exhibit hosted there for the weekend by Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home to honor the nearly 600 Texans killed in the War on Terror since 2001. This photo was taken just before the ceremony began at noon. See more photos on page 7 and on the “Highland Lakes Weekly” Facebook page.
There are weeks when I really, really wish that I had more pages to work with. It’s not that I have too much idle time on my hands; it’s just that I have so much material that I’d love to share with you. This is one of those weeks.
Of course, I’m at my most productive when I’m a little behind schedule, and I started Saturday perfectly by sleeping thirty minutes longer than I had planned (I had stayed out too late the night before). Once I got on the road (not until 9 a.m.), it was 12 hours of hurrying from one great photo op to another.
The biggest event was the spectacular Highland Lakes Air Show, and I did stay there taking pictures for almost three hours. But the high point of the weekend was the wonderful homecoming of one hundred Vietnam veterans who had been on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. I don’t usually cover Austin events, but my friend George Banks (from Burnet) was on that flight, and he had invited me to come to the “Welcome Home” celebration. I am thankful for his invitation, and very thankful that I made the hurried (but perfectly timed) trip to the airport.
The lobby was packed with well-wishers of all ages when I arrived, many of them children holding signs and flags. The cheering started even before the veterans arrived, and when they did arrive, there was near-pandemonium. Several of the veterans were in tears as they walked through a gauntlet of excited welcomers, and all of them seemed amazed (and very pleased) by the reception. I saw Mr. Banks toward the end of the line and he, too, seemed very appreciative. It was a wonderful event!
I think my record (set when I was a little younger) is fourteen events covered in one Saturday. I “only” covered eleven last Saturday, and I missed two that I had planned on attending. One was the Golf “Fore” Life tournament at Lighthouse Country Club, which started at the same time as the air show, and the other was the car show in Lampasas. That’s not in my territory, but at least two of my friends were there (Bill Edwards with his custom hot rod, and Robbis Storm with his “Elderly Brothers” band), and I thought I’d try to squeeze it in between Kids Day Out and the skydivers who kicked off the air show. I was too far behind by then, and had to stay in Burnet.
The Oatmeal Festival was great, and there were several other good events last weekend, but Hurricane Harvey, and those affected by it, continued to dominate the news all week. The reason that I keep mentioning it in my good-news-only newspaper is because of the amazing and heart-warming response. Of course, the desire to help is certainly not limited to the Highland Lakes area; people all over Texas and across the United States – even from other countries – are sending help or showing up in person to do whatever they can. But I mostly see what’s happening right here, and I have to say that I have never been more proud of my neighbors than I have been this past week. There are heroes all around these Highland Lakes.
I wouldn’t dare to try making a complete list, because I know I’d be leaving out others even more deserving of recognition than the ones I’ve been watching. I was at Inks Lake State Park, where almost 200 evacuees took refuge, when Angel’s Pizza donated stacks of pizzas for their lunch. A lady there told me, “Don’t forget to say a big thank you to Bill’s Burgers (who had donated a meal the day before). Those hamburgers were delicious!” I know that Grant and Donna Barkey (of Kona Ice) were preparing breakfast tacos each morning, and that Joseph’s Pantry and Kingsland First Baptist were involved in that effort. But that was only one of many, many different good deeds that were done; I have pictures from a few in this week’s paper, but I’ll probably never hear of half of them. Thanks to everyone who is helping!
The recovery from the massive storm will take months or even years, so there will be opportunities to help for quite a while. One local effort this weekend is the “Texas Strong … Fitness Strong … Hurricane Harvey Relief” workout fundraiser at the Marble Falls High School stadium from 9 to 11 a.m. this Saturday. At least ten area fitness facilities have joined together to raise funds for Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, Port A & Aransas Pass (each Facility is raising funds through the end of September). Saturday’s workout will be appropriate for all fitness levels, and will be fun for everyone. A $10 donation will go into the fund. Online Giving is also available through Lakeshores Church to use for a one-time gift: https://lakeshores.aware3.net/give/ (VERY IMPORTANT: select "Rockport" in the drop down menu.)
I was here all last weekend, and normally I’d have a whole lot of pictures to fill the pages of my paper. Unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey intervened. Not only did several local events get canceled or postponed, but I spent a lot of the weekend watching the news. My daughter, whose Baton Rouge home was devastated by flooding last year, had just moved to Kingwood, and I cringed when I saw footage of flooded streets near her new home. She was in Dallas for the weekend, but I’m afraid she and her husband will have another long ordeal ahead of them. Of course, their predicament is multiplied by hundreds of thousands of times in the southeast Texas area, and many, many people are worse off than they are. That knowledge makes me even more proud of my Highland Lakes neighbors, who have joined with thousands of others from all around Texas and other states to do whatever they can to help those affected by this disaster.
I was particularly interested to hear that my friends from Smoking for Jesus Ministry, who just last Sunday celebrated the 12th anniversary of their “escape” from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in New Orleans, were in the forefront of efforts to help evacuees from Harvey on Monday and Tuesday. They are certainly not alone; I’m sure that I don’t know everything that has been done (or is planned) to help those in need right now, but I do know that a contingent from Texas Baptist Men and another from the Kingsland VFD (plus several local individuals) have been on the “front lines.” Several different local groups are taking up collections to help those caught in Harvey’s destructive path. Everybody I know is helping at least a little by donating what they can, and thousands of prayers are going up at any given time.
I’m told that there are close to 200 evacuees at Inks Lake State Park, and that they need food and a variety of personal items. You can check with the First Baptist Church in Kingsland for details. The Kingsland VFD is collecting supplies and cash to take to Dickinson (one of the hardest-hit towns, but one place where the water has gone down dramatically as of Wednesday), and several Kingsland businesses are serving as collection points. I know that Hurricane Harvey is not “good news” for anyone, but the neighborliness of Texans (and others – I was thrilled to hear that the “Cajun Navy” is in action once again, here in Texas) IS good news.
By the end of May, 1917, the war in Europe was dominating the news – even in the small town of Llano. A banner headline on the May 24 issue of The Llano News announced “Tuesday, June 5 is the day when EVERY man between the ages of 21 and 31 MUST register.” One of the stories under that headline was titled, “Army Registration to be made on June 5,” and another advised young men on how to answer the questions on the registration cards. A third front-page story reported that the Germans were holding several Americans as prisoners in Belgium, and a fourth listed five Llano volunteers who had already signed up to serve in the U.S. military.
There was a little bit of local news that week, too. George Watkins was at Scott & White Hospital in Temple for “diagnosis and medical advice.” G. Ehman had come from Brownwood to take a job as tailor for the Johnson & Byfield store. And local members of the Woodmen of the World were planning a banquet “next Saturday night” at the Don Carlos Hotel.
The same banner headline was repeated on May 31, as the June 5 deadline approached, and a front-page story noted that the German newspapers had reported the top-secret landing of American ships in England four days before it happened (and that the harbors were mined by German submarines the day before the ships arrived in England). A Llano volunteer in training for the U.S. Navy (Lee Anderson) died of pneumonia.
This will NOT be a “normal” edition of the Highland Lakes Weekly! I thought I could fly back to Walla Walla for my mother’s funeral and still be able to cover some of this week’s news, but it seemed like I had underestimated a few obstacles. One thing that made travel a little more complicated last weekend was the eclipse; thousands of people had apparently decided that Washington state was the best place to see it, and airline seats and rental cars were hard to come by. My sister got me a ticket with her bonus miles (she travels a lot), but I had to take a circuitous route at very inconvenient times. Then the return flight was for the wrong day; I got another flight, but didn’t make it back to Austin until Tuesday afternoon. By then I was so tired that I forgot about the three events I had intended to cover that evening!
Most weekends, I spend a lot of time taking pictures (as anyone who looks at the Facebook page can attest), so I usually have a lot more than I can fit even before people start sending me more pictures. This week, I’m taking advantage of several pictures (and maybe even a press release or two) that I received by email while I was gone. Fortunately, I had already written a history article before I headed north.
I’m also including a few pictures from last year or the year before to give you all a heads-up on some of the annual events planned for September and October. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but it’s definitely a sign that this paper is slightly abnormal.
As war clouds gathered in Washington D.C., The Llano News reported on April 4 (1917) that a large crowd had gathered in Llano to celebrate the raising of the American flag over the courthouse tower. New “turning posts,” with “Go to the right!” painted on them in bright red, were installed at “some of the busiest corners” in Llano; the front-page article described the bases as “circular affairs of considerable dimensions, making it hard to turn the posts over.”
The Llano Business League called a meeting for that evening to organize assistance for “the opening celebrations of the Hotel Don Carlos.” The Llano National Bank received a “costly and beautiful painting from L.C. Smith of Kansas City.” An unnamed (but apparently quite famous) artist had painted a scene from the ranch of Will P. Edwards, near Big Spring, and the bank displayed it proudly on the wall.
The volunteer fire department held a meeting at the opera house to elect a new slate of officers. E.H. Qualls was chief, I.C. Callaway was assistant chief, and A.H. Willbern was recorder. In city elections, John W. Davis was elected as tax assessor/collector; A.H. Willbern and D.L. Carl were elected as city council members.
A front-page advertisement on April 12 announced that the War Department was seeking 1,000,000 volunteers as the U.S. seemed on the brink of war with Germany. The ad mentioned that if the quota was not met, the government would begin “selective conscription” in the very near future. In the meantime, a munitions factory blew up in Chester, PA, killing 121 people.
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