High Points| from El Camino Real

by Chris Davis
Courtesy Photo
Attending State Game Warden Karen Gray’s retirement party were Wardens Brandon Thacker and Danny Kessel, pictured with Gray (middle). Thacker and Kessel are both from Alto and worked alongside Gray in Anderson County. Courtesy Photo
Attending State Game Warden Karen Gray’s retirement party were Wardens Brandon Thacker and Danny Kessel, pictured with Gray (middle). Thacker and Kessel are both from Alto and worked alongside Gray in Anderson County.

Folks along El Camino Real are beginning to wonder if this drought we’ve been going through for the past few months is ever going to end. We get a little shower here and there but nothing to give any real relief as ponds and creeks continue to dry up. I thought all my news was going to dry up too, but fortunately I was able to come up with another six bits worth just when I thought it had all dried up.
The big news this week was the fire in the pine plantation just north of town by Mr. Anthony Easley’s house. The timber was really dry and the fire quickly spread to the top of the pine trees that were less than ten years old. The Alto Volunteer Fire Department, with assistance from several other fire departments and the Texas Forest Service, managed to get the fire under control with out any homes lost.
We often forget about what a great job our dedicated firemen do until we have a big fire like this one last week and are reminded. Cherokee County is now under a burn ban and it will take a significant amount of rainfall before it is lifted. Most people should have sense enough to not start a fire with conditions like we have been having for the past few weeks, but for those that don’t we have a burn ban. Fires can get started in a variety of ways when things get this dry, so please think before you do anything outside that might cause a fire.
A big thanks goes out to all of our fire departments for the great job they do in keeping us safe. There were some big smiles on the faces of the Jones family on Saturday as Tanner Jones walked across the stage at Stephen F. Austin State University to receive his Bachelor Degree in Agriculture Engineering. I saw a picture of Tanner’s grandpa Carlton Jones and he was grinning like a possum. I know his parents Jay and LeAnn Jones were just as proud. Carlton always thought he knew everything there was about farming but now he has a son and a grandson with degrees on the subject. I’m proud of Tanner and I’m proud that Cherokee County has been able to raise such a good crop of Lumberjacks.
On Saturday night I drove over to Palestine for a retirement party for my good friend Anderson County Game Warden Karen Gray. A huge crowd showed up to send her off into retirement which is a testament to how much Karen is thought of.
Of course her fellow game wardens were there and I must say I had to smile with pride seeing her two partners were Danny Kessel and Brandon Thacker. Two of our good old boys from Alto. I watched these two boys grow up and I am very proud of both of them. I know that Karen did everything she could to train them good before she retired. When I was a little boy with my first Red Ryder bb gun I had a fear of game wardens.
My mother always told me that if you killed a mockingbird they would put you in jail. Ms. Bea Langston down the road from us was paying 10 cents a piece for every jaybird we killed out of her fig tree. I don’t think I ever collected a dime, but my brother did. I never was much good in the killing business with that Red Ryder bb gun.
After I got to be a teenager our neighbor Omie Jones called me one afternoon and asked if I would come down to her house and kill a big mean rooster that wouldn’t let her hound dog get to his food. I snuck around the house and killed it before that old dog starved to death. After I got older and started squirrel hunting I always wanted to kill over my limit and I even thought of elaborate places to hide my extra squirrels, like in the breather on top of the carburetor, but I never managed to kill my limit, so my great idea went unused.
I guess I never could shoot straight enough to be an outlaw hunter and now all the game wardens are my friends. I never did kill a mockingbird with that Red Ryder bb gun, but then again I never killed much of anything with it but a few windows. Karen Gray was a good warden and she is going to be missed, but I do want to wish her the very best on her retirement. Hopefully the Alto boys can take care of things until they get someone new. In service for teachers in Alto started on Friday and one of the speakers who presented was Anthony Robinson. He graduated from Alto High School in 2004. He spoke on at risk kids in the educational system.
Its good to see the alumnae come back and let the teachers see that their hard work pays off in our futures. Don’t forget, Meet the Teacher and Meet the Jackets will be on Thursday, August 16. This will be your chance to go and introduce yourself to all the new faces on our campuses and help kickoff another Yellowjacket football season.
School starts back in Alto on Monday, so you better be on the watch for the big yellow buses and the school zones. We want to keep our children safe as they head into another school year.
Please pray for all the teachers, students, and parents as they begin another school year. The parents that are sending their kids to school for the first time need a little extra prayer and word of encouragement. I can still remember when I took my first born to school for the first time. I felt like I was taking him to a concentration camp. He loved it and I realized it was a lot worse on me as a parent than is was on them. By the third child it was a piece of cake.
I guess I’ll wind this up and move on to something else. We got a little rain while I was writing this column, so maybe complaining in print did some good.
I’ll see ya next week!
And remember, Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned.