Tell Me Something About Yourself That Sounds Made Up But Is 100% True

I posted “Tell me something about yourself that sounds made up but is 100% true.” Hundreds replied,  all interesting, some incredible. Here are some of the answers. “✔” received the most attention.

Kathy Alexander Power: I was electrocuted and died.

Ray Morris: I had a small part in a porn flick

Johnny Means: I spent a night with headhunters on the island of Borneo.

✔Karl Link: My dad n 8 other crew members in a refueling plane in Air Force, were lost in Bermuda Triangle in 1962, when I was 4 n my brother was one.

My mom still has all the telegrams, from Air Force telling her what was going on, during those 6 weeks. Their little story in a book called Limbo of the Lost…I’ve carried a copy of that article in “all” of my wallets, since I was 20… my mom had a rough beginning, first dad goes missing, then I’m 10, n brother dies at 7 from leukemia…

just me n my mom from then on, she finally remarried when I was about 25. They were married about 30 yrs. n he died from a stroke. She’s 81 n still living in Helotes, by herself, but has a ton of church friends, who keep an eye on her for me. I live in Dallas. I’ll move her up here, if the time comes.

Yeah, my whole life, the looks on people’s faces, or their reactions, when they hear about my dad n the triangle…

I guess not too many people know anyone who has experienced the triangle mystery. What’s even worse is he was in for 2 years, civilian life for a year, but couldn’t find a good job, so re-enlisted, then bam…I remember reading one of the last telegrams, about 6 weeks after missing, that said not one piece of anything from plane was ever found…

Holly Friesenhahn: I can shoot the bird with my middle toe

Deborah A. Clary: I write upside down.

Donna Brady: I can sing the National Anthem with a fabulous soprano voice without missing a beat or the lyrics.

Valerie Loop: I don’t have a belly button.

Chuck Ellenwood: I have a green thumb.

Dortha Ayres: I hitchhiked from San Antonio, TX  to Denver, CO.

Sandy McCulloch: Owned/operated  18wheeler, hauled cattle, chickens and produce throughout U.S.

✔Catherine Schwartz: I was abducted when I was 4 1/2 years old after becoming seperated from my mother and younger brothers while shopping in downtown Liverpool, U.K. (birthplace). A well dressed young woman told me she would help find my mummy. We got into a backseat of a car and sped off. Long story short, I left through a back door while the couple were fighting. I believe to this day, God led me out of that dangerous situation. Was found by police walking on a road. Had been gone 13 hours. Police told my mother she was lucky to get me back. I’ve been ‘lucky’ ever since.

Carlene Gladman: I called the Chamber of Commerce in Cincinnati and pleaded my case for tickets to see Elvis in March 21st 1976… I told him, I just had to see him, as I never am in time to buy the tickets….he told me if I can get to Sears in 45 min…they will come through their teletron, he’d only be in his office for that amount of time, if they would say there are sold out, then call my number, and Sears did, and my tickets came through…..almost down in front… who would ever think of calling the Chamber of Commerce, it just came to me, best time of my life!!!

Denise Cryer Haenel: I used to wear real lizards as earrings.

✔Susan Jackson Belsey: I am related to Micheal Jackson,  cousins.

Michael T. Dennis: According to my wife(since I can’t see it), I have a nipple on my left buttock.

Kathleen Richardson-Prager: 1. I have over 100 Dopeys , yes Disney’s Dopey , they are all different. 2. I have photographed 57 of Prince Edward Island’s 60 lighthouses ( 3 are accessible only by boat).

Jamie Joslin: I survived a yard dart to the noggin’.

Cindy Oates Couch: I have giving birth to 3 sets of twins.

Tina Zoe Carpenter-Kannady:  I’ve had 6 back surgeries.I saw Elvis Presley in concert in 1976 when I was 14 years old.

✔Bill Barrett: I fell out of a bed of a truck when I was 10 years old ,the truck was traveling between 40-50 mph didn’t even get a scratch !

Kristen Springer: I have belly danced with lights on my costume,  the downtown streets of San Antonio in the pouring rain  Fiesta flambeau 2013

Geneva Lang: I married when 15 years old in 1961 still married to the same man!

✔Kyle Brittain: I once blew myself up while attempting to clear a gas leak. Leak successfully cleared!  It was pretty epic! It blew me off my feet and I landed on the prep station. My friend on the other side of the line said the entire kitchen was a fire ball, wall to wall. Not sure how I didn’t get burned.

Patti Ortiz: My dad use to throw fireworks at me on New Years or 4th of July when I was a kid.

Mitzi Keeton: I once cleaned human brains off the floor and walls after someone committed suicide in my son’s home.

Kathy Callahan Cury: I ran away from home and joined a circus

Mike Clary: I once nearly blew myself up while trying to ignite a very old jar of black powder !!! 勞 Thanks to my brother John Clary…
Oh and I had a 5-1/2’ pet Rattlesnake in my bedroom in a aquarium for several years…

Roger Robinson: I performed on stage with Willie Nelson

Joe Bernal: I worked at the airport in San Antonio for American Airlines before I moved to Arlington. I upgraded a couple going on their honeymoon from coach to first class. Elsa Anaya (high school classmate) was the bride in that party of 2.

Christopher Tebo: I am direct decendent of Leopold I, II and III the Princes of Anhalt-Dessau. Two of these were Fieldmarshalls in the wars of Austrian, Spanish and Bavarian Successions; and  also during the Seven Years War all fighting for the kings of Prussia.

Also decended from William of Orange. Albert the Bear who founded Berlin. And am descended from William the Conqueror too.

I am also related to Catherine the Great(she is from the House of Anhalt too) Empress of Russia (she was crazy). And am decended from the House of Hannover which later became the Windsors going back to George the 1st but my connection is further back. This also means I am related to the Kaiser of Germany and Czar Alexander of Russia. As well as the current queen of England and her family.

All of this from my mother’s side of the family. Technically she is the Baroness Von Seherr-Thoss. The old land holding is in Braunfels, Germany belonging to her great grandmother. I have no clue as to the disposition of the property since WWI or WWII. As her only child, I would inherit her title if ever reactivated.

I only discovered much of this, this month. My mother did tell me of being descended from William the Conqueror but I thought it must have been of indirect decent.

On my father’s side we had an ancestor that fought in the American Revolution for only a few months. This means my ancestors fought on opposing sides of the Revolution… lol
He changed his name from Frankenburg to Frankenberry due to anti-Hessian sentiment.

Marvin Hepworth: I once spent an hour trying to talk a cop out of arresting me for something I didn’t do, while my cousin hid in the bathroom.

Patti Herred Werley: My grandfather donated Santa Anna’s pistols to a museum in Austin.

Bob Berger: My uncle was a demolition engineer in Hitlers Army during WWII. 

Debbie Berger: I was a disco dance instructor

Peg Watson Malicki: I am more Native American Indian then Elizabeth Warren!

Sheryl Marker: I was John Schneider’s (aka Bo Duke) bodyguard during an event in San Antonio.

Dodie McMeans: I met Jimmy Buffet when he had his recording studio on the island of Montserrat. Before the volcano blew.

Debbie Anderson Crowther: I have 2 grandchildren who are descendants of Lucy Maude Montgomery.   For those that don’t know who she is she wrote Anne of Green Gables

Dominique Marie: I was invited on the Ellen and Oprah show ‍♀️

Linda Bachhofer: I jumped off a moving train!

Barbara Cullum Masters: I broke my back rollerskating down parking  garage ramp

Jennifer Manning Dunmire: I took accordion lessons when I was in elementary school.

Judith Coghlin Lewis: Years ago I saw Mohammed Ali in the Atlanta Airport I ran up to meet him and on my tiptoes I could barely tap him on his shoulder.  He was very nice to me !!! I am 5’7 inches tall and my head was just a bit above his waistline.   He was huge

John Anglin: I’m related to LBJ

✔William Hammac: I was hit by a car when I was 6, ran over by a car when I was 10, and ran into a van when I was 14, and fell out of a van when I was 18. 

Lisa Thomson: I’m not a natural blonde. No it’s true.

Wallace Dunn: I flew on Con-Air shackled hand and foot.

Michael Kotze: I used to race pigeons as a kid with my grandfather.

Gary Roe: I was in a play at Magik Children’s Theatre.
I was also in the movie, Johnnie B Good.

Stephen Moody: I once swam a flooding San Antonio River to kill a 200lb hog my dogs had bayed.  He jumped in the river, swam towards me and we wrestled in the rushing water until he drowned. 

✔Diane Runyan Johnson: I was pronounced dead at 18! My dad said no she’s not! I could hear him but I couldn’t answer! I was above the bed and watching them work on me! And I’m here today cause my dad keep telling them I wasn’t dead! I’ll be 69 this year! (I can remember it like it was yesterday)

Traci Doherty Mercui: I jumped off a ferry into the Atlantic the day after a shark tournament for the swim leg of a triathlon on purpose… three years in a row.

Vicki DiMambro: I was so shy in school that I couldn’t talk to anyone, but now I have over 20.000 YouTube subscribers.

Glenda Coyle: I carhopped for a restaurant in Florida wearing short shorts and roller skates!  Lol!

Dale Inman: I spent 13 hours in a hyperbaric chamber

Rick Linn: I wrote and recorded a blues/r&b song that was actually played at a wedding.

✔Bill Schoening: I was the AP Radio correspondent for 29 lethal injections at the Walls Unit in Huntsville. 

Walls Unit, Huntsville, Tx

Steve Butcher: I once sat in the back seat of a limo alone with Joey Heatherton.

Melody Green Booth: After engaging in conversation and Bible back & forth for over an hour, a Jehovah’s witness said he had to go when his people were gathering and waiting for him.

LonnieandJeanneMurdock: I once flew in a piper cub airplane with my Dad & we went so low that we were under the high line wires! Scared the bejesus out of me!

Susan Banta Farris: I arrested Ann Richards. (Former Governor of Texas).

✔Nancy Davis: When I was 15 I met a rock n roll band, was held up in their hotel room while everyone was looking for me

Abigail Hepworth: I once crossed a flooded river jumping over logs and stuff on the way so I could get my dance bag that I then had to carry above my head on the way back so it wouldn’t get wet. Wasn’t even late for ballet class

Walter Hepworth: Myself and my crew were held hostage and forced at gunpoint to make pizzas for 10hrs… Patrick Swayze was a frequent customer of mine at Pizza Hut.

✔K.C. James: I’m 60 and have never had a soda of any kind in my life..

Martin Klein: I rode an elephant in my backyard…My grandmother was my dad’s first wife. Had she lived I would never have been born.

Roy Stroman: Was part of a movie in Japan

Lois Pickart: I have a picture with Tina Turner backstage at one of her concerts.

Gayle Brown Land: I was at a party with Telly Savalis, Bo Derek, Gene Hackman, Wayne Rogers, and behind Jimmy Conner’s at a concession stand buying a hamburger.

Gayla Huerta: I bribed a Mexican prison warden to spend the night in their not so nice facility.

Roger Perry: Does being friends with Elvis’s cousin count , or dinning with General Patton’s Grandson, or flying with a cousin of Alvin York, or meeting the pitcher whose first MLB game tossed a no hitter?….Mork is my cousin!

Sandra Kivett Leonard: I am seventy plus & have never been drunk; not even close!

✔Sherry Freitag: I fell out of my family’s car on Military Drive.  Lost my two front teeth, split my lip, and hurt my big toe. 

Belinda Creekmore Zimmerman: I was a pregnant roughneck in the west Texas oilfields in 1980. I broke my back 3 times and am still not paralyzed.

Cindy Pozos: Ramon has swam in the Aegean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico before he was 13 years old… Ramon and I climbed to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun and saw both ends of a rainbow in Mexico on our honeymoon

Allison Clark: I caddied in a foursome in Heidelberg, Germany in 1969 with General Westmoreland, General Polk,  Lieutenant General Hinches and Lieutenant General Taylor.  General Westmoreland had relinquished command in Vietnam and the Pentagon sent him to Germany for R&R.  He arrived in street clothes. The golf club gave him new clubs, new bag and new golf shoes and sent him out to play.  We all rode-in in golf carts from the 15th hole because Westmoreland said the new shoes pinched his feet…I met President Reagan at Walter Reed AMC and Bush 43 at Madigan AMC, Ft Lewis when they came to visit.  I met SecDef Rumsfeld, twice in the same tour, in Baghdad in 2007.  I gave Toby Keith a hospital tour when he visited the same year…I met Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long in Kosovo in 2003…My great, great, great, great grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War with the New Jersey state militia in 1777. His son,  my great, great, great grandfather fought in the War of 1812, US 15th Infantry Regiment, 1812 to 1817.

Carol Watson: I’m 55 and use to play rugby league

Rosario Perez Polanco:  one year I took my children to the public library where they had arts and crafts and the media took my photo along with two of my children. We came out in the paper.
On TV, I was working the Santa booth, part time, and TV crews snapped a video of me taking pictures of kids with Santa and saying, “say cheese”.

John Marsh:
I received 2nd place in a Texas State swing dance competition in 1987.

✔Carol Nowell: Elvis kissed me four times!! 

✔Tim Langston: I was named by the Big Bopper

✔Suzanne Pope Kirchstein: I had Ozzie Osborne kicked out of a night club in 1982.

Kay Lett: Well I did play hooky and go roller skating the day JFK got shot. Yes sisters got home before me and I was in some kinda trouble.

✔Susan Galle Garner: My ancestor Johann Gottfried Galle helped discover NEPTUNE (it’s also in the National Space Museum in Washington) and therefore is a crater on the moon named Galle and it looks like a smiley face.

✔Patricia Hensen: I lived a block from Lee Harvey’s Oswald. Did not know his family!!

Andrienne Hurley Wagenknecht: Rode on a plane and Ted Nugent  he sat just ahead of us.

Doug Clark: In my party days, I use to stand on my head and drink a beer

Joanne Cruz Tenery: I’ve got 2:  (1) Pete Incaviglia has my number and calls occasionally regarding his baseball teams.  (2) I first talked with Don Henley as we crossed the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin.  I knew he looked familiar, and I thought he might have been someone from high school or college.  The second time, we were paying our checks at Mia’s Tex Mex restaurant in Dallas, and chatted about the food.  I have never encountered my next door neighbors ANYwhere, yet I’ve chatted with Don Henley twice.

Bob Haenel: I have been on the federal taxation rolls since I was 13 years old.

Ted Shedd: As a kid.   I jumped off a 3 story building in a snow pile I just shoveled off a roof in Vermont

Connie Winters Hearne: I was robbed at gun point  a few years ago at Rollings Oaks Mall.  Only had $5.00 cash. Lol

Bobbe Bergen Dennis: I had lunch with Isaac Perlman, ultra violinist. Just the two of us and an interviewer.

George Cook: 1985 I dreamed about the Space Shuttle launch and explosion in October and 3 months later on my mother’s birthday January 28th 1986 it happened…1986 I met Barbara Eden at the Emmy awards in Pasadena California. I was driving limousine and she thought I was her driver! I said “I wish I was!” Then we both turned towards the media and smiled.  I looked good in a tuxedo!

Debbie Riddle: I got to visit with Debbie Reynolds as we rode in the limousine together going to Bush Intercontinental Airport. Also got to sit next to Charlton Heston at a special dinner. But the best of all, I get to be the wife of Mike Riddle and enjoy an amazing life with him. We also are so blessed to have all our kids and grandkids. That is an amazing blessing…I was named chairman of a gala – so I could choose the theme. Because I love Audrey Hepburn I wanted it to be the theme of “Run For The Roses”. My dress was made in NY an exact replica of the one Ms. Hepburn wore in My Fair Lady. We brought some of our show horses & Clay Walker brought some of his horses. We walked those horses down the center isle at Shirley Acres (it was new) & everyone had a great time. Clay Walker even sang a few songs! It was an amazing and most unusual evening!

✔Dawn Anthony: I almost drowned in a hotel swimming pool at Rockport TX when I was 7, and had an outer body experience. I ran into the Street when I was eight and let a car drive over me because I was centered, they were pissed. My coat got caught in the door when my mom drop me off at school like we are you were in fast and knocked on the window she stopped. I was hit by a truck’s side mirror on graduation night at 35 mph, Threw me on to the hood of my car, I was standing by my door. I ran into the back of a delivery truck, pushed the dash into my lap. I blocked a suicide bomber from entering the dining facility in Afghanistan.A sniper came within 6 inch from my head in Afghanistan. I survived a horrific storm in a small private plane. I survived a fire on a commercial airline and got to go down the yellow blowup slide. I survived the big earthquake in Seattle 2001. I received a direct commission on my birthday and the next morning 9/11 occurred. I shattered my right ankle in an accident last year.

Jane Fore: I kissed George Straight at a New Year concert!

Howard Kern: Won a regional acting award

Carey Hill: Married my husband 20 May 2000, he was 29 & I was 47! Yes, you read that correctly! On Friday the 13th of June 2003 I was laid off from Southwestern Bell after 29 years & 7 months but because I had turned 50 the November before, I actually got to retire.

During Thanksgiving week 2005 I started school for 3 weeks for my next career & in January 2006, I became a team truck driver w/my husband & our dog – our only child, our daughter (she was his by then because he adopted her 13 August 2003) was in the US Army  stationed in South Korea, so why not? In 18 months, my hubby, our dog & I saw 41 states! This is one beautiful country. I called myself a PPT – a paid, professional tourist!

My ride came to an abrupt halt when we lost our wonderful son-in-law to a sniper bullet in Afghanistan 23 June 2007 when his son, my only grandchild was only 9 months old (he’s 13 now & the light of our lives!). At our daughter’s request I got off the truck, a wonderful ole Freightliner to stay w/her & the baby. My 49 y/o hubster & I (I’m 67 now!) will celebrate 20 years of marriage in a coupla weeks on 20 May 2020 & that’s my greatest accomplishment – my family!

Delicia Dawn: I was a bud light girl ambassador for Budweiser!

Bailey Watson:  I was dropped from an 8 story tower.

Mi Mi Chucki: It was my experiences documented that had a Governor illegally jailed, pardoned, and Clinton being forced to sign United States Public Law 103-150
The “Apology Resolution”  For it I have lived in quarantine for the last 22 years forced to close my business doors over night to stay alive just like everyone else is now. I am like JFK Jr  Andrew Breitbart and many many others who chose life

Deborah Buckner Grona: My niece married the Governor of Michigan, John Engler, and had triplets in 1994.

✔Cheryl O’Keefe Sjodin: Elvis kissed me and it was awesome

Wesley B. Fletcher: I’m a licensed contractor who has 3 diff jobs!

Perris Marie: I was named after a squirrel in a Disney, live-action adaptation of a children’s story book, “Perri, the squirrel”. My mom loved the name Perri but she didn’t think it would be a good name for a grown woman. So, she added an “s” to the end.

Sandra Heflin: I was in a Coke commercial at age 3.  In spite of being abandoned by my parents and raised solo by my Grandmother who lived in abject poverty, I had a Nanny who took me all over the globe from 8 weeks until I was 8 years old. 

I have a history of “just doing” things like walking into a newspaper office and asking for a job.  I walked out with a Reporter job at the age of 16.  A couple of months later, a teacher suggested I audition for a play in a nearby town.  I accidentally got the lead role and then had to figure out how to travel 20 miles to rehearsal. 

In college, a Professor complained that the Honors Program was being defunded.  I called the Texas Governor’s office and got us an appointment to talk about it.  The program was saved and mysteriously got double the funding the next year. 

I became the Matriarch of my family at age 32.  I’ve almost died twice.  I took a startup from seven states to 24 states and 7 countries with zero marketing budget and some creative LinkedIn tactics.  I now have a Marketing/PR firm and I get to build other people’s companies, which is so much fun.  I have a TEENAGER who has no attitude.  I have been married/divorced twice and finally met the love of my life last year.  It’s been a rollercoaster and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Steve Yancey: I spent a few hours with Robert Redford on a trip to Rome in 1974.  Late night flight to Rome from JFK. I was on my way to Tehran. It was via Pan Am. (note to Jack…You know why I was on that trip)

John Tice: A six time world championship shootist (James Ted Bonnett) wanted me to join his team after shooting against me

Mitzi Keeton: I once covered my house and car with polka dots to piss off the homeowner’s association.

Lora Miller Machost: I went to an elementary school football game at the local deaf school to see one my new stepsons play, on my wedding day, after the limousine dropped us off at the hotel…

✔Linda Robbins: The FBI knocked on my door, and asked me what I knew about the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.     I had lived in Michigan, but was living in New Jersey, had an Italian boyfriend who was road manager for a popular group, all Italians. I had dinner with their friends many times.. “Italian businessmen.”.   I told them I only knew what I had read, and heard, and though a family member, and some friends had worked in the auto industry, been in the Union, I never met the man.   Within a month, for several reasons, I had moved to another state, away from my Italian friends.

Elizabeth Ames Coleman: I was yelled at by incarcerated terrorists at our Guantanamo Bay detainment facility ( jail) which was by the way state of the art, cushy, and provided organic olive oil to those terrorists who demanded it) 

Guy McKeon: I have actually touched a nuclear weapon, ah more than once!

Doug Becker Sr.: Guy McKeon me too

Marvin Hepworth: I met and told Bob Hope a Joke.  He didn’t laugh.

✔Marrianne Sorhi Lonergan: At the age of 5 or six I was with my Dad in a small Wisconsin town almost to the upper Mi. peninsula. There was a pin ball machine near me but Dad had no change. A man he was having a beer with said: “Here kid!” and handed me some change. It was Ralph Capone- Al’s brother.

Walter Ripps: I had three holes drilled in my head

Another Solution for the Negative News Blues

We received blessings due to the struggles and challenges of spring and summer 2020. Stressed from the pandemic lockdowns, furloughs and news in general, we made significant life changes.

Beyond enjoying and experimenting more with cooking, baking, walking, biking and creative adventures, we went into radical and serious mode.

Our make ‘lemons to lemonade’ strategies included moving further away into the Texas Hill Country, spending more quality time with family, and cutting costs big time.

Along the way, traveling and visiting close ones, we naturally gravitated to a destressful interest.

Birdwatching might be the perfect hobby or getaway in your own backyard.  

You don’t even need to order anything from Amazon to get started.  All you need are ears, eyes, and an outdoors view.

At a recent long overdue visit to an old high school friend’s home, we noticed he had several bird feeders set up outside windows of his house.

Randy Potts was able to identify several bird types, Cardinal, Mockingbird, and Woodpeckers. He keeps a birdwatching guide on hand when he needs help.

We learned that stepping out into our own backyard is a great way to get started while breaking cabin fever.

I dusted off my own guide to determine what birds are native to the area we live in or where we are traveling. It’s also easy searching the internet.

We discovered there are good birding apps available for downloading. Some of the most popular and easy to use are the Merlin app and Sibley app. These include a map of our area, and information about the birds we are likely to see. It’s also a good opportunity to use the pair of binoculars I had lying around.  No worries. We’re able to spot many different species of birds with the naked eye.

Some researchers keep a journal, or record of the birds they spot.

During road trips in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas we’ve noticed that birds we spot in the early morning often differ from the late afternoon visitors. Spring is a particularly great time to start birdwatching as migration and nesting season are underway.

Peach Lovebird near Phoenix.

When I was a kid and heard my parents or grandparents get excited about a bird or some wildflowers, I just nodded and didn’t give them much thought.

Not only am I appreciative of those memories, but have found myself captivated by different colors and markings on different birds.

Dodie engages all of her senses and it’s caused me to realize how my ears are a great birding tool. Like in childhood, I take a moment to listen to the sounds the birds are making.

It’s sometimes difficult to tell which bird is making what sound when you’ve spotted a cluster in a tree. A bird singing in plain sight is a great way to connect the sound to the bird.

With some time and effort, I’m recognizing different species of birds by sound alone.

A benefit has been developing more patience and persistence. They are key.

Eventually we’ve determined what time of day birds in our area are most active, and we start spotting new birds.

Keep these Dos and Don’ts in mind to make your time birdwatching a fun and educational experience:

DON’T go crazy worrying about the right equipment or the perfect space.

DO work with what you have, even if it’s simply your two eyes and two ears. No perfect space required. Enjoy birdwatching from your backyard, a patch of land in the front yard, or a small balcony off your city apartment.

DON’T beat yourself up if you have an ‘unproductive’ outing. View any time you spend outside or gazing out the window as an opportunity to build on your birding knowledge.

DO keep in mind that you are getting fresh air and Vitamin D.

DON’T make yourself crazy with birding goals that may not be attainable. If you become obsessed with spotting some rare bird, you will miss the birds that are right under your nose.

DO be sure to focus on the sights and sounds of whatever birds visit your backyard.

Birdwatching during quarantine or on our road trips has become good antidote to cabin fever. It’s a chance to get some fresh air and sunshine, and a great way to keep our eyes and ears sharp.

It’s good for our souls and gets us closer to nature. It feels like we are doing more than just existing in front of a television, video game or Internet.

Whatever Happened to Ann Margret?

In November 2019  actress-singer Ann-Margret was presented with the first-ever Bob Hope Legacy Award for her many contributions to the USO and American servicemembers.

She deserved it.

In March 1966, Margret went to remote parts of  Vietnam with entertainers Chuck Day and Mickey Jones for her first USO tour. Not only in Vietnam, but they performed for servicemen throughout South-East Asia.

Today she continues her sincere affection for veterans and refers to them as “my gentlemen”. In November 2005 Ann-Margret, Day, and Jones reunited for an encore of this tour for veterans and troops at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

Recently, Navy Veteran and high school friend Ray Hammonds posted a wonderful story from a wife of one of those soldiers in attendance during one of her USO tours:

Richard, (my husband), never really talked a lot about his time in Viet Nam, other than he had been shot by a sniper. However, he had a rather grainy, 8 x 10 black and white photo he had taken at a USO show of Ann Margret with Bob Hope in the background that was one of his treasures.

A few years ago, Ann Margret was doing a book signing at a local bookstore. Richard wanted to see if he could get her to Sign the treasured photo so he arrived at the bookstore at 12 o’clock for the 7:30 signing.


When I got there after work, the line went all the way around the bookstore, circled the parking lot, and disappeared behind a parking garage. Before her appearance, bookstore employees announced that she would sign only her book and no memorabilia would be permitted.

Richard was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her know how much those
shows meant to lonely GI’s so far from home.. Ann Margret came out looking as
beautiful as ever and, as second in line, it was soon Richard’s turn.

He presented the book for her signature and then took out the photo. When he did, there were many shouts from the employees that she would not sign it. Richard said, “I understand. I just wanted her to see it.”

She took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes and she said, “This is one of my gentlemen from Viet Nam and I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did for their country and I always have time for ‘my gentlemen.” With that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss on him. She then made quite a to-do about the bravery of the young men she met over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she appreciated them. There weren’t too many dry eyes among those close enough to hear. She then posed for pictures and acted as if he were the only one there.

That night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet. I’ll never forget Ann Margaret for her graciousness and how much that small act of kindness meant to my husband.

Later at dinner, Richard was very quiet. When I asked if he’d like to talk about it, my big, strong husband broke down in tears.. ”That’s the first time anyone ever thanked
me for my time in the Army,” he said.

I now make it a point to say ‘Thank you’ to every person I come across who served in our Armed Forces. Freedom does not come cheap and I am grateful for all those who have served their country.

Ann Margret’s first major movie role
was 1963 as the all-American teenager Kim from Sweet Apple, Ohio, in Bye Bye Birdie. Producers wanted Elvis Presley in the title role but were turned down.

The next year Ann-Margret met Elvis Presley on the MGM soundstage when the two filmed Viva Las Vegas.  She recorded three duets with Presley for the movie: “The Lady Loves Me”, “You’re The Boss”, and “Today, Tomorrow, and Forever.”

Only “The Lady Loves Me” made it into the final film and none of them were commercially released until years after Presley’s death, due to concerns by his manager Colonel Tom Parker. He was cautious that Ann-Margret’s presence threatened to overshadow Elvis.

In July 1967, Ann-Margret gave her first live performance in Las Vegas.
Elvis and his ‘Memphis Mafia’ entourage came to see her during the show’s five-week run and to celebrate backstage. From thereon until his death In August 1977, Presley sent her a guitar-shaped floral arrangement for each of her Vegas openings.

Ann Margret, turned 79 on April 28, 2020. Many don’t realize she is a natural brunette. The same hairdresser, Sydney Guilaroff, who turned Lucille Ball’s hair red, did the same for Ann Margaret. 

Born in Sweden as Ann-Margret Olsson, she became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. in 1949, at age 8.

She was originally offered the title role in Cat Ballou in 1965 (it went to Jane Fonda), but her manager turned it down without telling her.

Ann-Margret was an early choice to play the role of Sandy Dumbrowski in the 1978 film Grease with John Travolta. At 37 years old, she was ultimately determined to be too old to convincingly play the role of a high school student. The role went to Olivia Newton-John with the character being renamed “Sandy Olsson,”  in honor of Ann-Margret’s birth surname.

Elvis fans remember her riding a motorcycle along side the King in Viva Las Vegas. She was an adept keen motorcyclist and in 1966 rode a 500 cc Triumph T100C Tiger in The Swinger.

Later drove the same model, fitted with a nonstandard electric starter, in her stage show and her TV specials.

She became featured in Triumph Motorcycles’ official advertisements in the 1960s.

In 2000, she suffered three broken ribs and a fractured shoulder when she was thrown off a motorcycle in rural Minnesota.

In 1995, she was #10 in Empire’s 100 Sexiest Stars in film history.


Mind In The Clouds

In April, a post (below) from my friend Pastor Jack Comer Jr. reminded me of a simple, but profound moment when my son Brady Dennis was six.

I was a very busy executive at H-E-B Food/Drugs over the Facilities Management division working up to 60-70 hrs a week. But we had a family tradition called ‘Daddy Day.’ 

Usually a Saturday, I took turns with each of my four children with that day devoted just to one of them.

We’d usually know what we were going to do ahead of time.

On her Daddy Day, Jennifer and I  would usually going to a museum, a play, zoo, craft show, out to a mall, shopping…generally whatever she wanted.

Mark enjoyed movies, visiting one of the Missions, the Alamo, to a cave, a park for hiking, etc.

Jack liked sporting events, theater, library, book stores, dining, magic shows, ane exploring.

Brady loved amusement parks, car shows, swimming, train trips and movies. But on one particular Saturday informed he didn’t want to go anywhere.

Brothers Jack and Brady ‘camping’ in our backyard overlooking the Texas Hill Country, 1999.

“I just want to stay here with you Daddy,” he said seriously.

“Stay here? What do you want to do?”

“I want to look at the clouds,” he proclaimed with a huge enthusiastic smile.

With that cue, I prepared a picnic to enjoy in our back yard overlooking the Hill Country, northwest of Boerne.  It was an awesome panoramic view facing the direction of New Braunfels in the far horizon.

We ate and enjoyed the breeze. Then laid back on a blanket. He grinned as we watched the sky. At first I was antsy.

But as we gazed up and noticed figures in the clouds (much like Pastor Jack Comer describes below), I looked over at Brady.

He was glowing, shining with excitement just by us “being still” and appreciating God’s natural gifts.

Brady peers out the Amtrak train window on an extended “Daddy Day” weekend trip through Texas, March 2003.

I began to tear up. Realizing I was so busy (and I mean SUPER BUSY) all the time. Taking moments to have decent amounts of conversations with people were rare.

Just the day before, a Friday, friend and employee Phil Buys knocked on my office door and asked if he could talk to me. I was busy concentrating on the task at hand but stood up sort of hoping he’d ask me a question and go.

“Yes Sir, Phillip, what’s up?”

“Nothin’ much Boss,” he scratched the back of his neck looking serious. “I just wanted to come in and say and see if everything is OK? Seems like we’ve all been busy wrapped up in ever’thang that we don’t have time to even talk.”

His words hit profoundly.

I asked him to sit down. We chatted and laughed for about 20 minutes.

It was refreshing. I missed it.

When Phil walked out I went to the restroom to wash my face. Reality slapped. We were so wrapped up in our work that we had to almost force ourselves to just “be still” and have a decent conversation.

Brady innocently reinforced that as we laid back and looked at the clouds the next day.

My favorite verse:

☁ ☁ ☁
“Be Still and Know That I Am God.” –Psalms 46:10

Thanks to Pastor Jack Comer of Circle Drive Baptist Church in Bridge City, Texas for this message that particular day:

Yesterday,  upon receiving news and prayer requests,  I went to the back patio that we have and begin to pray for these people that had these special needs.  My prayer was simple but sincere, asking our Lord to let these know that He loved them and cared.  I prayed that they might have a peace and might know of His presence, along with their various needs might be met.  I prayed also for their family members and for the struggles and concern that they had as well.  When I finished praying, even though my heart was heavy,  I felt an emotion that said,  “God would be there for these.”

Now not to sound unspiritual,  I then began to watch the clouds.  Yes,  I’m a cloud watcher.  There are times when I just like to sit and watch the movement of the clouds and also try to see what images I can find.  Yesterday I saw a little lamb,  a bunny rabbit and a cocker spaniel dog.  Of course I saw a monster or two,  but that may be due to a childish mind.  (LOL)   Some of these clouds were darker than others and some were moving quicker than others.  And every once in a while I would see the blue sky behind the cloud.  In fact,  I know that there is blue sky behind the clouds, even if I didn’t see it.

I think there is a spiritual lesson there,  not that we have to spiritualize everything.  But we have clouds in our life. (troubles, inconveniences,  sickness, hardships) Some are much darker than others.  But on the other side of the cloud, there is blue sky.    Perhaps Paul understood this,  when he wrote

‘For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  2 Cor. 4:17′”

Quick Guide to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2020

The 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will take place August 7 – 16

Plans for the 2020 City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally are currently moving forward and the odds are very favorable it will go on.

In the last few years Main Street was totally resurfaced and bump outs were added on each street corner. The City planted flower and trees in the bump outs to add beauty and increase the overall aesthetic of Main Street.

Harley-Davidson Way will now be open for both motorcycle parking and vehicle traffic. On Main Street, there are approximately 40 – 50 fewer motorcycle parking spots due to the bumpouts on the street corners, but with the increased spots on Harley-Davidson Way, it amounts to nearly the same motorcycle parking capacity as before.

Historical attendance peaked in 2015, with 739,000 estimated partcipants, but average attendance is closer to 500,000 the past decade.

It’s difficult to determine 2020 attendance due to the many concerns brought forth by the COVID-19 situation.  A final decision on whether or not to hold the Rally will be determined in two meetings. 

The Sturgis City Council will hold a special meeting on June 8 to discuss this topic.  On June 15, the City Council will hold a regular Council meeting and will make a final decision on holding the Rally.

The Sturgis Motorycle Rally is home to 10 days and nights of some of the best music in the country. From local, home-grown bands to up-and-coming regional acts to full-blown, national concerts, here are the scheduled concerts:

Concert Line Up

August 7: Puddle of Mudd
August 8: Shinedown, The Takeover, Cody Johnson
August 9: Lynard Skynard, Colt Ford, TDWP, Fozzy
August 10: REO Speedwagon, Light The Torch, Killswitch Engage
August 11: Willie Nelson & Family
August 12: ZZ Top, Motionless In White, Hairball
August 13: Jackyl
August 14: Skillet, 10 Years, Crobot

Billed as a very emotional exhibit, Remembering Our Fallen will be displayed at Sturgis Community Center to remind Americans of the ultimate sacrifice made by those who died from wounds suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan while wearing our country’s uniform.

The memorial includes 32 Tribute Towers with military and personal photos of over 5,000 of our nation’s military Fallen since 9/11/2001. This memorial was unveiled nationally at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in late 2017.

This will be an incredible moving experience for everyone who attends the Rally” said Jerry Cole, Director of Rally & Eventsfor the City of Sturgis. “The Rally is one of the greatest patriotic events in the country. This exhibit along with the Gold Star family in attendance will make this a must-see exhibit

In 2019 the Rally generated $655,090,000 of direct spending by visitors, $65,509,000 in additional indirect spending, $615,116 in funding for local non-profit and charitable organizations and $1,165,688 in net profit to the City of Sturgis.

Schedule of Events

The Legendary Sturgis 5K Run has a $40 entry fee and is held Sunday, August 9, 2020. 7:00 am – 7:50 am – Check In/Registration with an 8:00 am Run Start at Fort Meade Softball Fields. It finishes at the Woodland Park Shelter.

Participants get a chip timed event,
Event t-shirt  (If registered before July-1-2020) Post Race Breakfast,
Signature Collectors Challenge Coin, and bus transportation back to the start.

Other significant events:

Sunday, August 9, 2020 – Drag Races. Move In, Test and Tune 1 PM – 5 PM, “Run What Ya Brung” Event 6 PM ($5 passes)

Monday, August 10, 2020 – AHDRA Nitro Drag Qualifying 1 PM – Until Finished

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 – AHDRA Nitro Drag Finals 1 PM – Until Finished

Wednesday, August 12, 2020 – Held open for Rain Day / BAKER “All In To Go All Out”

Spectator & Racer Arm Bands

August 9th – $10.00

August 10th – $20.00

August 11th – $20.00

Entire Event Arm Band (All 3 Days) – $40.00

Notes of Caution

Every year, motorcycles are stolen during the Rally. Expensive custom bikes are popular with thieves,  please take some precautions to lower the risk of your bike being stolen:

 Be aware of where you park.
 Avoid dark, poorly lit areas.
 Pay attention to people standing around who seem to take particular interest in your bike.
 Do not leave leathers, cameras, souvenirs, etc. on your bike.
 Factory ignition switch locks are easily overcome by thieves. High-quality disc locks, wheel locks and heavy cable or chain locks are recommended in addition to factory installed devices. Inexpensive locks are generally of poorer quality and are easily broken or cut.
 Determined thieves can steal any motorcycle, but common sense and taking these extra precautions will reduce your chances of being a victim.

City Ordinances

Indecent Exposure – $111

Open Container In Public -$61

Deposit of Filth – $86

Disorderly Conduct – $111

Careless Driving – $91

City Park Violations – $10

City trespassing – $111

Dog Running at Large – $56

Exhibition Driving – $66

Parking in Handicapped Zone – $100

Reckless Driving – Custody Arrest

Truck Routes Violations – $91

Use of Sound Amplification Device – Court Appearance Req.

Driving on bike path/sidewalk – $111

State Law

Cancelled License – $144

Violation of Restricted License – $94

Revoked Drivers License – Custody Arrest

Furnish Alcohol to Minor – Court Appearance Req.

Open Container in Motor Vehicle – $94

Possess of Controlled Substance – Custody Arrest

Possess of Drug Paraphernalia – $244

Possess of Marijuana – Custody Arrest

Possess of Substances for High Abuse (Distribution) – Custody Arrest

Juvenile Laws

Underage Alcohol Poss/Consump – Court Appearance Req.

(Continued) in Motor Vehicle – Court Appearance Req.

Underage Purchase of Cigarettes – $69

State Motorcycle Laws

Carrying Loaded or Uncased Gun – Custody Arrest

Cyclists Overtaking in Same Ln – $94

Eye Protection Required – $20

Helmet Required (under age 18) – $94

Illegal Handlebar Height – $20

Operation W/O Motorcycle Endorse -$94

South Dakota Motorcycle Driving Laws

Every motorcycle must be equipped with at least one but no more than two headlamps.

The handlebars of a motorcycle must be no higher than the shoulder height of the person operating the motorcycle.

All persons under the age of 18 must wear motorcycle safety helmets that are approved by the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

A person riding in an enclosed cab attached to a motorcycle does not have to wear a safety helmet.

A motorcycle operator must wear an eye protective device unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windscreen of sufficient height and design that protects the motorcycle operator. When headlights are required to be on, a motorcycle operator cannot wear protective eye devices that are tinted or shaded to reduce the light transmission of the device below 35 percent.

Motorcycles must have at least one tail lamp, which when lighted emits a red light visible for a distance of 500 feet.

Noise Limits: Every motorcycle must at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise.

COVID-19 Studies Reveal Skin Disorders Up From Excessive Personal Protection Use, Handwashing

Dermatologists across the globe are noticing an increasing number of patients experiencing unexpected skin disorders since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“Together with our social, occupational, and personal life, the new corona virus poses novel challenges for all physicians, including dermatologists,” an abstract and article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health warns.

“Despite the virus not being dermatotropic, several skin conditions have emerged, mainly as a result of prolonged contact to personal protective equipment and excessive personal hygiene,” the report reveals. “Pressure injury, contact dermatitis, itch, pressure urticaria, and exacerbation of pre-existing skin diseases, including seborrheic dermatitis and acne, have been described.”

The skin complications in COVID-19 infection are mainly due to the hyper-hydration effect of Personal Pprotective Eequipment (PPE).

For instance the excessive and out of ordinary use of eye protection goggles and masks is causing friction, epidermal barrier breakdowns, “and contact reactions, all of which may aggravate an existing skin disease.”

These skin manifestations “are far different from those recorded during the Influenza Epidemic of 1918–1919.”

⚫Erythema, papules, maceration, and scaling are the most commonly reported skin changes due to extended wear of PPE.

⚫Symptoms have included burning, itching, and stinging.

⚫Such findings have been attributed to the use of PPE in 97% of 542 frontline healthcare workers (HCWs).

⚫The most commonly affected skin sites were the nasal bridge (83% due to the use of protective goggles but not the hygiene mask, cheeks, forehead, and hands.

⚫The prolonged contact with masks and goggles may cause a variety of “cutaneous diseases ranging from contact and pressure urticaria or contact dermatitis to aggravation of pre-existing dermatides.”

⚫A previous study found out that more than 1/3 of health care workers complained of acne, facial itching, and even dermatitis from wearing a N95 mask.

⚫Protective hats and the “accompanying occlusions may induce pruritus and folliculitis or exacerbate seborrheic dermatitis.”

⚫Long-term use of protective gloves leads to “occlusion and a hyper-hydration state of the epidermis clinically observable as maceration and erosions,possibly leading to the development of contact dermatitis.”

⚫”Exaggerated hand washing with detergents/ disinfectants can impair the hydro-lipid mantle of the skin surface and may also be responsible for irritation and even the development of contact dermatitis.”

Two-thirds of health care workers will wash their hands over 10 times a day, but only 22% are applying skin protective cream, the study discovered.

Whataburger With Ralph

Lesson One: The Invisible People

The man who reminded me of a cross between Walter Brennan and Popeye, in the blue colored plaid shirt, was a world class gravy sopper. It was the second thing I noticed about him, but I was paying attention this time.

WWII Navy Veteran Ralph Watkins at age 94.

Eleven minutes before, it was only eleven steps to the front door from where he parked. From the safety of my panoramic vantage point inside, I wondered if the unpretentious figure would wait it out a bit in his black truck. But the Ford Ranger door swung opened. He didn’t run into Whataburger. Instead, he held on to the brim of his cap and peered into the back bed.

“What’s he doing?,” I thought. “Just get in here. You’re getting soaked.”

His right leg raised up as he fumbled to reach over the sidewall.

I wasn’t sure what was so important that needed to be retrieved during this pouring storm, but I could at least go meet him with the door open.

When I reached the entrance he was still leaned over the side trying to fetch somethin, apparently out of his reach.

“Just leave it there,” I whispered. “It’s too late. Whatever it is, it’s already soaked.”

The determined man pulled on a tube and his walker lifted out.

Whirling wind, hard rain, and lightening clashes in dark clouds fought as he assembled it open along every humble first step of the way.

He paused in front of me just outside to shake the wet off his black cap.

“Thank you,” he caught his breath, proudly put his cap back on, smiled, and winked. “Thank you kindly.”

I went back to the security of my table, second from the door, with the window view of the furious downpour.

“Welcome to Whataburger, Ralph,” the girl behind the counter greeted.

Funny, but I was a regular most mornings and hadn’t notice him before. He’s obviously here enough for the friendly young lady behind the counter to know his name.

My father, Walter “Corky” Dennis, was an officer and later a detective in the  San Antonio Police Department from the late 1950s to the late 1970s. Afterwards He was a U.S. Marshal. He taught my sister Bobbi, and me to continuously be aware of our surroundings.

My father, Detective Walter A. Dennis giving criminal profiling (long before it was called ‘profiling’) presentation at San Antonio Police Department, 1969.

My regular table at Whataburger #1101 in Leon Springs, Texas, or any restaurant anywhere, was selected so I could see the entrance, view outside and be aware of conditions around me.

Dad drilled us to notice the “invisible people”– mail carriers, janitors, the cable guy, cooks in the kitchen and FedEx or UPS deliverers—those some consider accessories in life.

“These are real people, with real lives,  emotions and feelings,” Dad would say. “Appreciate and thank them. But most of all notice them.”

“But also pay attention to others,” he would preach. “Discreet people who don’t belong, like those walking along and peering through car windows in parking lots. Someone, anyone, who walks up to you in or out of a grocery store. A vagrant.”

How was it I had never noticed this man named Ralph?

There were 46 unoccupied seats. He mosied over to the one closest to the counter, directly in front of me.

The rain had prompted me to stop in on my way to work for a quick bite. I changed my order from just a chorizo taquito to add a Breakfast on a Bun with sausage after a call from Phil Wiese at Fair Oaks Ranch Country Club said the golf courses would be closed.

“Don’t bother coming in,” Phil announced. “We’re being pelted and you’d probably need a boat instead of your cart to marshal the courses if anyone dared to show up.”

I laughed and thanked him with relief, “not really wanting to be outside in this weather anyway.”

Shift Manager Eli Reyna brought Ralph his orange tray of biscuits and the two exchanged quick pleasantries.

I’d finished the Sausage BOB and was buttering the inside of my taquito as Ralph earnestly took his first biscuit swipe at the white gravy.

This man was pleased. The grin on his face and twinkle in his eyes said it all.

“You’re looking at one satisfied customer,” he smiled up at me. “Yes Sir-ee, I’m definitely one happy man!”

My reaction?  I buttered my taquito with greater enthusiasm.

Note: This is an excerpt from a work in progress, a book about lessons in life from people who lived it! See Lesson 4 excerpt here.

Elvis Presley Movies Ranked

Every Elvis Presley Movie ranked (by box office success, IMDB, Ultimate Movie Ranking).

Jailhouse Rock (1957)

Loving You (1957)

Love Me Tender (1956)

King Creole (1958)

Viva Las Vegas (1964)

G.I. Blues (1960)

Blue Hawaii (1961)

Follow That Dream (1962)

Flaming Star (1960)

Girl Happy (1965)

Roustabout (1964)

Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962)

Elvis: That’s the Way It Is (1970)

Kid Galahad (1962)

Tickle Me (1965)

Fun in Acapulco (1963)

Wild in the Country (1961)

Elvis On Tour (1972)

Speedway (1968)

Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966)

Kissin’ Cousins (1964)

Spinout (1966)

Frankie and Johnny (1966)

Charro! (1969)

Live a Little Love a Little (1968)

Clambake (1967)

It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963)

The Trouble with Girls (1969)

Double Trouble (1967)

Easy Come, Easy Go (1967)

Stay Away Joe (1968)

Harum Scarum (1965)

Change of Habit (1969)

Posters of the 60s-70s Baby Boomer Generation

Baby Boomers are responsible for the most dynamic cultural changes in American history.

From music, art, language and fashion, almost radical like emphasis was placed on distorting boundaries between the sophisticated elites and the creative have-nots.

In art, “Pop” permeated into packaging, television, advertisements, comic books, and movies.

In fashion, we evolved from greaser crewcuts to ducktails, pompadores, Beatles mops, sideburns and hippy hair. Bobby Soxers moved to mini-skirts, Go Go boots, love beads, capris and tie-dyes. Turtle necks and Nehru jackets became mod.

Accessories consisted of metal squares, nailheads, rattling chains, zippers, brass buttons, clamps and chain belts. 

After WWII in 1945, an economic boom hit the U.S. thus, the Baby Boomers started arriving. Between 1945 and 1957 nearly 76 million babies were born in America. By the middle 1960s, most of these kids were young adults or teenagers.

From Rudy Valle, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, out popped Elvis Presley, Little Richard, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix.

As with each generation, Boomers questioned the “Establishment” materialism, cultural and political norms. 

We addressed faced controversial issues — civil rights, Vietnam War, nuclear proliferation, drugs, sexual freedom, and nonconformity.

Music festivals and concerts were a prominent feature of the 60s and 70s landscapes. A unique artform found expression in band posters and album covers. Especially “Psychedelic” posters. Taken from Latin, the word “psyche”, meant mind, and the Greek word “delos” means to manifest, or awaken: “to awaken the mind.

Here are some representative posters, beginning from my hometown, of the 1960s and 1970s era for you to “keep on truckin,” “groove out” and “trip on.”

San Antonio Related

Music and Concerts

Culture, Travel, Transportation

One Determined Lady Broke the Records!

Back in the days of tin foil on rabbit ears, necessary to watch all three television channels, my Gillette Elementary School third grade classmates and I enjoyed Friday mid-mornings because it was when our Weekly Readers would arrive.

We were first introduced to them in the second grade by Mrs. Lydia Dudek, a golly geeze swell teacher. Mrs. Florence Barnes, nice but a bit more regimented, continued the welcomed tradition of us taking turns reading our very own newspapers out loud.

Talking about each article-usually about space exploration, a record breaking sports achievement or new national park or monument in the works– from these small tabloids before cafeteria lunch fueled our imaginations just in time for recess play activities.

One particular article fascinated me because the topic was about a woman who shared the same first name as Mrs. Barnes.

Florence Chadwick was a typist who grew up swimming often where she was born and grew up in a long distance place called San Diego, California.

I liked that city’s name because it started with “San,” like my hometown of San Antonio.

For 18 years, as an amateur swimming in ocean races off the California coast, Chadwick went to work typing for the Arabian American Oil Company so she could begin training in the Persian Gulf.

Her lifelong dream was to swim the infamous English Channel from France to England. She was determined to do it.

But in a 1950 half-century contest sponsored by the London Daily Mail, she was denied entry. This didn’t stop her.  Chadwick went about conquering the Channel at her own expense, paying for a boat, trainer, and navigator.

In July she made her first attempt and failed after being in the water 14 hours.

On August 8, at age 32, she left Cape Gris Nez, France and crawled ashore at Dover, a record 13 hours 23 minutes later.

“I feel fine,” she told reporters. “I am quite prepared to swim back.”

The following summer, she became the first woman to swim the Channel from England to France (16:22) and the first woman to swim it both ways.

Her initial successful crossing swimming from France to England, she finally breaking the women’s record (14:34) set by Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim it.

Eleven others had made the Channel between Ederle and Chadwick, but all in slower times. Chadwick’s thirteenth ever women’s crossing lowered the record by an hour and 11 minutes.

Counting males as well as females, Florence was the 32nd person to complete the crossing, called impossible until Capt. Webb accomplished it in 1875. No other man made it until 1911 and Miss Ederle was the first woman in 1926.

In 1952, she attempted to swim 26 miles from the coast of California to Catalina Island. After 15 hard hours, a heavy fog began to block her view.

Chadwick became disoriented. She gave up.

To her embarrassment, she learned that she had quit just one mile short of the Catalina shoreline.

Two months later tried it again. Guess what happened? A very thick fog settled in, but this time Chadwick continued on. She did it. By reaching her destination she became the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel.

This time Chadwick said she kept an image of the shoreline in her mind when she couldn’t see it.

Florence Chadwick congratulating Bill Pickering, who had just broken her World record by 36 minutes. She got it back barely 6 weeks later, beating his time by 11 minutes.

Enjoying those Weekly Readers was helpful. As time went on, reading became a passion. My wife, Dodie spends about an hour each day reading the Bible and devotionals.

I don’t read it as much as she does, but am glad I have often over the years. When problems of life and news cloud our vision, it’s a blessing to have opportunities to learn to see our goals with the eyes of faith.

The New Testament letter to the Hebrews suggests we “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (12:1-2).

Like Florence Chadwick, when we feel like quitting, this is our signal to remember not only what Jesus Christ suffered for us, but what He now helps us to endure.

Besides her accomplishments at the English Channel, Chadwick went forward to become the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Bosporus, and the Dardanelles.

Twisted Sister: The Texas Legendary Hill Country Motorcycle Ride Begins in Medina

A Pictorial Guide for Bikers

The ride begins in Medina, near where the North and West Prongs of the Medina River and Elm Creek meet.

🔹Highly recommended for breakfast and a stop off before you begin is Keese’s Bar-B-Que. Coming into Medina from Bandera, it’s the friendly restaurant on the left where locals and bikers mix to swap stories, prepare for their day and enjoy breakfast or lunch.

🔹The Patio Restaurant at the Apple Store at Love Creek Orchards serves delicious sandwiches, burgers, ice cream and such.

The first leg of the legendary Twisted Sister motorcycle and touring ride officially starts at the corner of State Highway 16 (SH-16) and Ranch to Market Road 337 (RM 337) in Medina, Texas.

The first 9.8 miles from this point opened on November 25, 1975 to join an existing RM 337 that first began in 1945 connecting Camp Wood eastward to Leakey. It eventually expanded into Vanderpool by 1968.

Cyclists are urged to check weather events the days BEFORE the intended ride, conditions the day OF the actual ride, and FORECAST for the region.

Rocks, branches and debris can have fallen, scattered and left from flooding and high winds.

Beware that although it may not be raining where you’re riding, storms can occur at nearby higher elevations causing flash flooding on your route.

Only experienced and smart cyclists should attempt the Twisted Sister. As of this writing (March 9, 2022) 13 people have lost their lives motorcycling RM 337.

Passage through the Hill Country canyonlands, northwest of San Antonio can be treacherous and deceiving.

It’s a common phenomenon to experience dichotomies of simultaneous breathtaking nature and deceptions. Those who have survived going over the edge, or off the road, tell of experiencing spectacular beauty, synchronized with the horror of disillusionment.

A description of the experience follows:

1. The first pass over water is over the Medina River, “The calmest river in Texas.”

2. A few minutes later Elm Creek passes over and meanders on the left for awhile. At this point the typical cyclist is enjoying the view and likely thinking “this is smooth, pretty and a piece of cake.” In actuality, hairpin switchbakes are waiting ahead.

In April 2006, Texas Monthly deemed RM 337 as #18 on their “75 Things We Love About Texas” list.

3. Next comes Elam Creek, followed by Love Creek, goats, sheep, horses, cows and bulls all on the left. But here is where the deception usually begins.  Most didn’t see the deer jumping the fence line from the right. The most unfortunate actually hit one and the trip had just began. 

4. Again, on the left are the wonderment of cliffs and hills peering above a spectacular Siesta Valley Ranch. But beware, on the right could be fallen rocks cascading from higher slopes above the comforting asphalt.

5. Nature opens up to striking panoramic views, most likely the kind you were hoping for. But  preconceived ideas can be far from reality. Trees and landscape suddenly tighten up as if to squeeze the road inward, only to spread and curve in ways not expected.

The most intelligent of us realize by now not to let your guard down. But is it possible? Yes, just remain careful. Instinct and reading the lay of the land will tell you the road is curving one way, but truth can prove you dead wrong.

6. Soon enough the ride begins to leave the big ranches and “T”s at Vanderpool. Take a right on Highway 187 until you see the Lost Maples General Store.

6.b. Here is a good stop to consider an option. Just a few miles straight on 187 will take you the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum. Not only is it a favorite of riders passing through, it’s a nice place to gather your wits, calm down and contemplate the joys of why you ride. Afterwards, just backtrack back and turn right to go West on 337 to Leakey.

7. If you didn’t go straight on RR 187 to the Museum, a left on 337 takes you to Leakey.

More views appear, but this time the concert of sceneries are not visually in sync. Signs warn of multiple curves and speed limits. They’re not suggestions. They are mandated musts to keep you alive.

8. Mill Creek and Evans Creek await, but first, you ramble, twist and meander your way through sidewinding inclines and serrated passages. It’s becoming fun if you stay sharp and wise. This is not a rollercoaster. It’s the first Twisted Sister.

People die here. Don’t be one of them. It’s all about enjoying survival amongst the spectacles without be lured. Winners do this with a kind of brave elegance and with grace.

9.  The quick turns soon descend into the Little Dry Frio Creek Valley. After crossing the Sabinal River Bridge, 337 takes you to an intersection with choices of Utopia or Leakey.

In Leakey, a Stripes at 83 and 1120 South there are 10 gas pumps.

Note to RVers: We did not see any motorcoaches or pulled trailers on 337. A suggested route would be from Bandera to Tarpley via RR 470 westward. For 29 miles take a left on RR 187 to Garner State Park or right to Leakey. 


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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

How Our Father’s Junk Saved People

A few years ago, when Johnny Jennings was just 86 years old, he gained a bit of positive notoriety when he donated some money to the local Georgia Baptist Home for Children.

It wasn’t a small chunk of change. The Ringold, Ga. resident was not wealthy.

Johnny Jennings at 86.

Mr. Jennings had been collecting junk and recycling since 1985. It started out as something for his son, Brent and him to do together. It was a way to bond and show his only child the value of working and earning money.

“We used to use it as time together,” Brent Jennings told ABC News in 2017. “We’d walk roads and pick up cans and sell it and take the money and put it in a savings account. When I bought my first house, I had enough from recycling to make my first down payment on my home.”

After Brent left home at age 20, his father continued to recycle. Mr. Jennings wore out three trucks and countless sets of tires in the process.

He began donating the proceeds to the Home for Children along the way. By 2016, Jennings donated just enough money to make his grand total donated $400,000.00!!!

Yes you read that right!!! Mr. Jennings, at age 86 donated $400,000 to the Georgia Baptist Home for Children over a time frame of 32 years!

An account of his Recycling Report that year (2016) revealed….

Paper Sold 401,280 lbs (201 tons)
Aluminum Cans 51,565 (cans)
Pennies collected 32,040

Total for 32 years
Total Paper Sold 9,810,063 lbs
Total Pennies $20,275.20 = 24 miles
Trees Saved 79,000

Mr. Jennings (right) presents another donation.

During each weekday residents would likely see Jennings driving around town picking up paper from local businesses and churches and taking it to the Chattanooga Recycle Center on Central Avenue.

From there he would head home and load the truck up again with recyclables that people have dropped off at his house. Jennings normally loaded his truck by himself. In 2020, his donations coupled with monies others have contributed due to his influence, are closing in on $1/2 million.

At 86, when the rest of the world found out he’d experienced two mini-strokes, neighbors began to pitch in and help with some of the lifting and loading.

The Christian ministry that provides care for troubled children and families has been a focus of Brent Jennings since he was a teenager.

Mr. and Mrs. Jennings (early family portrait)

“He went with a member of his church and when they got ready to leave, three little boys grabbed his legs and asked him if he would be their daddy,” Brent said of his father. “He said right there, ‘I’m going to do what I can as long as I can for the Georgia Baptist Children’s Homes.'”

Jennings, has been a trustee emeritus, delivering a check usually in the range of $10,000 to $15,000 to the charity every year at their annual board meeting. As long as his father is able, Brent Jennings drives his dad the three hours to the nearest campus.

“They’ve been a mom and dad to thousands of children through the children’s home,” said Brent. “My dad doesn’t see the $400,000. He sees the faces of those kids.”

My own father was a natural junker. I started out at age five, living on the Southside of San Antonio, accompanying him on his junk routes. (Years later, my sister Bobbi would join us. As I became busy with important things like Little League, sometimes she’d go solo with him.)

On his days off, Dad, or San Antonio Police Officer Walter “Corky” Dennis, would strike out early mornings on his route that included places like Precision Manufacturing, Walter Keller Battery Company and H-E-B Construction (Yes, of H-E-B Food/Drugs fame. Ironically, years later as Director of Facilities Management for them, I officed at that same location).

Our father, Walter ‘Corky’ Dennis managed my Little League baseball team in 1966 and 1967.

I learned to sort and separate different types of metals (copper, iron, tin, aluminum…) into 55 gallon drums on the back of his 21 foot “junk trailer.”

For years our goal was to strip as much copper wire, haul as much metal and gather as many used batteries as we could to get them to Newell Salvage, Monterrey Salvage, Ashley Salvage or other recycling centers before they closed each junk day.

I suppose, being born after the Great Depression and during the rationing days of World War II, junking was in Dad’s blood.

Once my Grandpa Jack L. Dennis announced to his grandkids he was going to start a fund for each of us. The deal was, for every penny, nickle, dime or even quarter we saved and put in the Rexall pill bottle with our individual name on it, he would match it.

Immediately, on the days Dad was at work and couldn’t junk, I’d hook up  my red wagon (modified with a ‘fence’ to maximize loads) to my banana seated bike. My mission: gather and sell as many soda (.03 cents each) and beer (.05 cents) bottles as I could.

Pulling that wagon on Commercial Avenue as far south as Gillette and north to S.W. Military Drive (including the motherlode areas of Six Mile Creek), I’d earn a good $4-$6 a day. It might have taken 2 or 3 loads to Paul Woodall’s beer joint on the corner of Hutchins and Commercial, but I’d get the job done. Every now and then, on especially hot days, Mr. Woodall would treat me to a cold Big Red in an ice cold frosted beer mug for good measure.

Well, eventually Grandpa Dennis had to put a halt to the grandkids savings accounts. He’d swear to me for years that he stopped after I’d “graduated from pill bottles to Foldger’s Coffee cans. Grandma said we couldn’t afford it anymore.”

Now Dad was always helping people out. In my preteen and early teenage years he owned a used car lot with another police officer, Sargeant Doyle Soden, on Commercial. I worked there washing cars, charging batteries, and repairs.

We’d spend a lot of time going to automobile and truck junk yards to salvage parts for not only his cars for sale, but many times to rebuild junk cars TO GIVE (yes, for free) to those in need.

Usually these were starter cars for teenagers that were in some kind of trouble, or maybe they were from a broken or abusive home. But on at least half a dozen cases he would give a car to some guy he may have arrested or found drunk and took him home instead of to jail. It didn’t matter if they were Mexican, Black or Anglo, I saw (and often helped) him get cars ready and give them away.

“If they’ll stay out of trouble, be good to their family and get a job, I’ll give them the title,” he said.

Being a policeman, Dad saw some of the worst in people, but he also didn’t mind helping anyone who was willing to help themselves.

During the later 1960s and early 70s, when there was floods from hurricanes or bad storms, Dad and I would take his wrecker and we’d actually go rescue people stranded in their cars or in trees. Usually it was along Six Mile Creek, but also around areas south if Espada Park.

He’d wade out with a rope attached to his waist, holding some rigging and the hook from the cable of the wench. Sometimes it would be pouring, but I’d wait for his signal. At the right time I’d turn the handle and the next thing I knew there’d either be a vehicle or a person attached with his rigging being wrenched toward me. It was an amazing thing for an 11 or 12 year old boy to see–and actually participate in.

At age 14, I sold my first car at C&D (Corky and Doyle) Auto Sales. It was a 1958 Edsel. When he came home from work that evening and found out, he was so proud. I earned $50 and it was more money than I had ever had in my wallet. Today that’s the equivalent of $368.54.

With that $50, money from selling bottles and buying stamps for a U.S. Savings Bond booklet in elementary school (Mom was Homeroom Mother and sold them each Wednesday, grades 2-6) and other odd jobs, I opened my first ever savings account with San Antonio Savings Association with a balance of $212.56 (worth $1561+ today).

On my 16th birthday, in 1971, after I blew out the candles and we cut the cake, I opened up a present–a small box, gift wrapped–and inside were car keys.

“Your car is outside waiting for you,” my Dad grinned.

It was a seven-year-old 1963 Chevrolet Impala, freshly painted green and gold, McCollum High Cowboys school colors. What a proud moment, but I worried how my parents could ever afford such a nice car for a present.

Years later, my mother told me how. When we would go junking and recycling over the years, Dad would keep some of the day’s earnings in a hidden spot. Together, with the proceeds he held from the profits of selling that Edsel a couple of years prior, he was able to buy and paint that Impala.

Today, my sister and I both have empathy and special feelings for those who recycle, reuse or repurpose anything.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso… This is Mr. Jennings favorite quote and he sure lives by it.