Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Accepting That What is....Is...

     Made it back in yesterday.    McAllen had 103 F. for a record-setting high of 94 set back in 1955.     Brownsville made it up to 101 F. but did not break a record.    One-hundred degree days in March and early April are not common, but they are also not un-heard of.    I remember Frank Blair....who was the news and weather reader on the old Today show for NBC....when he had to report that McAllen had reached 101 F.  degrees on February 3rd...I think in 1959 or so....but Jack Lescouli and Dave Garroway would not believe it,
     The winds kicked in during the mid-afternoon as well.....dry, hot, and dusty.     We had various reporting stations with 50 mile-per-hour sustained winds (sustained velocity enduring one minute or longer).    The front went through....dry....and then the evening cooled off quickly and briskly.    Many places in South Texas were in the 50's this morning at the dawning.
       This high temperature phenomena is not caused so much by the hot sun beating down, or by Al Gore throwing pieces of broken dinosaur bones out in exactly the right direction and at the correct stage of the moon.   Here in South Texas, as well as at our little place in front of the mountains, this heating is caused by the descent of dry, continental air coming from the due west....falling off of the Mexican highlands.....and then coming down sharply in elevation until reaching at or near sea level.     Places near the coast lose their "sea-breeze advantage" because their winds are coming from the "wrong direction".    The air compresses as it falls....heats up that way as well as by travelling over already warmer terrain.....and the air-temperature shoots up...sharply.
      Sorry Al, but it has been going on for centuries....and although George Bush did not stop it from happening....you haven't done anything about it either.....so we might as well become accustomed to it all.

      The 1st of April marked my father's 100th birthday.    He was born in Gwinner, Sargent County, North Dakota on that date in 1911.    Five years later he moved to South Texas with his mother (Esther Lee Christian) and his father (Norman Newton) where they would join up with the already in-place Peter Bonesteel Christian (Esther's father) who lived in the newly founded frontier town of Donna, Texas.       Those were hairy, scary, wild, and interesting days on the border with Mexico....with the Revolucion still pretty much underway and the opening of large tracts of previously undeveloped land being opened up to plow agriculture by the thousands of acres per month.
      During my father's life he went through being a late-in-life, pampered, only child born into very comfortable, monied circumstances....to being suddenly abandoned by his parents by death coupled with the calamity of the Great Depression.    During the earliest days of the collapse, his father essentially lost everything, primarily due to certain illegal acts and manipulations of banking interests both on the Border and back in North Dakota.   My father went into the Army, training in the mounted cavalry at Fort Sam Houston, and then serving back on the border as a cavalry soldier and officer....He married in 1933 and established himself in civilian life as a grove-care operator and farmer in area around Edinburg, Texas.    Grove care was an important, profitable, and gruelling business in the Lower Rio Grande Valley during those years....much of the profit coming during World War  II when citrus operators were pretty much under orders from the War Department to "Produce, Baby, Produce"....
      For almost a quarter-century, Milton Birchard Newton provided his grove care service and farmed cotton, vegetables, and corn, both on land he owned and land he would lease or use in return for payment on debts owed to him.  He became a school teacher during the early 1950's and finished his first degree.....gradually moving into a calling that had appealed to him....possibly because of the influence of his parents who were both studied and educated people.
      He became a full-time teacher at the secondary level, establishing a presence of positive effect at the Mission High School in Mission, Texas where he taught geography, history, economics, and civics for many years.   During this time he also finish a master's degree in psychology and began to consider administration in education....and perhaps even a move to Central Texas, around Austin.    It was a favourite area for both him and his wife, Nola Frances Neal.   By 1966 they had established themselves in Austin, and my father continued his studies at the University of Texas, completing an Ll.d. in psychology.....working as a guidance counselor at Del Valle, Texas...and then finally ending up as Superintendent of the Austin State School for the Mentally Retarded a position where he served for about seven years.

      There are hundreds...nay, thousands of antedotes....about my father's life that would interest folks...I shall continue to invest them in our widening audience as the days go by.    But, right now....
       We also celebrate my Compadre's birthday....my granddaughter's and her great-grandmother's birthday and mine all during these days.   It seems a shame that we no longer can really state our dates of birth on line...but I will allow that the three latter named individuals all have the same birthdate.   The first one is but a few short days earlier.    Quite a cluster.


    And briefly, it will be next to impossible for my prized flamboyan trees to make a significant comeback this year.    After investing much useless optimism and hope, they are just not doing what is necessary to engendered further hope.   They have recovered to survive, but not to prosper....perhaps next year will be the charm.

More Later
The Old Gringo