High points from El Camino Real

by Chris Davis

Folks along El Camino Real are half-way through the first month of the new year and it hasn’t been too bad so far. The big news this week was the great storm that was going to blow us all away on Friday night.

Fortunately we received some mercy on our end of it, so I won’t be having to report any storm damage in this eight bits’ worth of news.

If something got tore up at your house, I hope it was minor.

I went to the hospital in Tyler on Saturday and visited with Ray Penn. He was sitting up in the bed and looked like he needed to be up and doing something, but the doctors say he can’t put any weight on his hips for a few more weeks.

Getting run over by a tractor is not an experience I want to have. I got a first hand report from Ray on what not to do if you want to start your tractor safely. Basically if your butt is not in the seat, then don’t turn the key. I’ve done exactly what Ray did 100 times, but I’ll think twice before I do it again. Maybe I’ll put a picture of Ray on the side of my tractor to remind me not to start it standing in front of the wheel. Keep Ray in your prayers until he is up and at’em again.
My sister-in-law, Dianne West is recovering from back surgery and seems to be doing some better. Gerald is a good husband and has been tending to her since last Wednesday when she had the surgery. I’m afraid that before she gets over this, poor Gerald is going to think that the pain that was in her back is going to become a pain in his rear end. Keep Dianne and Gerald in your prayers until she is up and running again. Get well soon, Diny!
All of the talk on the news about the big storm coming on Friday had an already gun shy community battening down the hatches and getting ready for it. School let out early so the kids could all get home before it hit.
Folks went to the café early so they could get their bellies full of fried catfish and get back home before the storm. I figured the best way I could keep from going airborne was by weighing myself down with catfish ahead of time. We went home and waited for it to hit, but I got sleepy and wound up sleeping through the whole thing.
I guess I should have left my wind chimes up, so I could have heard it coming through.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so I’m glad we get good reports ahead of time, even if sometimes they aren’t as bad as they thought they were going to be.
The Caddo Mounds had their reopening ceremony on Saturday afternoon. It was cold on the Mound Prairie, but a good crowd of people showed up to plant a cedar tree by Snake Woman’s Garden and bless the place. They still have a long way to go before the museum is rebuilt.
You can’t really blow history away as long as there are people working to preserve it.

A big thanks to all the volunteers and staff that have worked hard to preserve this historic site.

They painted over the old map on the side of the building at the red light last week.

It was big talk for a day or two and then I never heard anything else. You can’t get paper maps at gas stations anymore either, so I guess the big ones on the sides of buildings met the same fate.
When people come through Alto they can Google it if they want to know what went on here. We’ve got ancient Caddo burial mounds; the grave of the mother of the first Anglo child born in Texas; the possible site of the great French explorer La Salle’s murder and grave; Fort Lacy; the Delaware Indian Village; a Nazi prisoner of war camp; and numerous other sites. In fact we have so much history our town doesn’t have any buildings big enough to hold an accurate map.
The Stella Hill Library got a nice face lift this week. The old metal that was on the front of the building was taken down and along with that old air conditioner that stuck out through a hole in the front of the building. It really looks nice. If you want a good dose of Alto history the library is a great place to visit.

I said good bye to an old friend in Athens on Saturday morning.

I first met Richard Sanders back in 2003 when he was the regional director for the 5th Congressional District of Texas. Richard, Judge Bentley and I became friends quickly.

Former Congressman Jeb Hensarling would come to town and do his speeches, while Richard, Bascom and I laughed and joked and did what great friends do.
After Richard tired of federal politics, he ran for county judge of Henderson County. He was a great county judge and I always told people that I was training him.
Good friends don’t come around everyday. I have a place in the middle of the hay meadow behind my house that I can’t drive through without thinking of my friend. Richard called me one evening as I was leaving my deer stand and told me that he had been diagnosed with cancer and they said he only had two months to live. That was four and a half years ago.
I never saw a man fight as hard as Richard did. He would go to Commissioners Court meetings after taking chemo treatments and continued to serve his county until the end of his term.

Anytime I called him he said he was doing pretty good. I told every body that I could about how my friend was beating cancer. He lost that battle last week, but his strength gave him four more years with his grandchildren and his family.
He was a testament to not giving up. It’s funny, I still can’t go through that spot in the pasture without stopping and praying for my friend.

Please keep his wife Kathy and the rest of the family in your prayers as they mourn his passing.
I guess I better wind this up and get ready for next week as I work to straighten out all the crooks and turns along the King’s Highway. I’ll see ya next week!
And remember, Don’t compare yourself with others. Instead, recognize what makes you happy and focus your energies on doing that well.