Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dandy's Yogg


     My Lady  borrowed this from a dog lover's post on FaceBook:
 "He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dogl You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." 
     Now, I had never before given much serious thought to a dog's life, but the quote above seems to be pretty descriptive of what we want to be. 
     I know that as an inside dog, I am one of the fortunate ones but I hear daily warning about the extreme heat being dangerous for all of us. Some are being left in locked cars and almost die before they are rescued.  Others are dying daily from lack of water or other neglect. These instances are seldom newsworthy. We're only dogs!
      Sometimes we get left behind when the family moves and no longer want the bother or expense of keeping a dog...or cat. I hate to admit this, but I've never known a cat to be helplessly kept in a back yard as dogs often are.  They are escape artists. How sad and how unfortunate that we much more intelligent (ahem)  dogs don't have the same skill. 

A well cared for and loved cat.
When I was new to this house, I was
 not sure I should be up here.
Checking out my surroundings. I think
I will like it here.
     A recent happening passed on from a North Texas resident, has My Lady upset. She says it is heartbreaking and I agree. It seems that a small dog was tied with a short leash that allow it to rest in the morning shade, but did not allow it to escape the hot afternoon sun. Day after day its water bowl was empty and was filled by compassant neighbors. The little fellow always greeted them with happy barking but he may not have been getting food or the heat may have been weakening him, for his barks became whines and then he was found dead. 
Another well-loved dog. but she's
a bit fiesty for an old fellow like
    Woof! That's a bad thing. I think someone should have reminded that dog's owner of what was happening. Maybe the police should have been notified. I have heard that there is a Humane Society that helps when animals have such bad troubles.
     My Lady keeps raving about "responsibility." I don't have a large vocubulary, but from the way she says it, I've decided it's a good word: Responsibility...  It has a nice sound, doesn't it? I think better things happen when there is responsibility.

     My Lady says to mention that three "C" words describe neglect: Cruel, Callous, and Criminal.

Being patient with my friends'
Woof, Woof!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Open Road

       Did you know that in addition to our town"s historical courthouse and marvelous old homes, it also has a bit of history preserved in a portion of the old Bankhead Highway? The Bankhead extended from Washington, DC to San Diego, CA and was a part of the National Auto Trail system. It was a symbol  of our nation’s modernization. It made possible travel from coast to coast, which in 1930 was considered quiet a feat. The route was marked by a pole marker that was white with yellow stripes on the top and bottom and the letters "BH" in black. 
          The Texas Historical Commission is charged with focusing attention on historic highways and byways of Texas, and we can hope the Bankhead is on its list.  
           Like many other highways of that era it had many branches or splits.  In Texas, there were a total of 11 splits as it took different routs through the state before they all came together at El Paso,
           . The main route passed through Texarkana, TX, before arriving at Fort Worth, where it turned into former U.S. Highway 80, and continued westward, going on through Midland and Odessa before rejoining the branch route at El Paso. The route from Fort Worth to El Paso is now followed by Interstates 20 and 10.
        Browsing through the records of that bygone era, will soon make it evident that standardizing the system was a great improvement. Never mind that we sometimes take the wrong exit or in a complicated interchange get on the wrong highway. Believe me, what we presently have is a vast improvement!

    Todays signs are highly 
    visab even on 
     foggy days.
    Steep grades on today's
    have deep sand escape lanes
    for runaway trucks

    Four lanes are far
    differentfrom old
     dirt roads of the past.

    Even mountains don't stop the
         Today we expect nothing less than a well maintained route to get us to our destinations as easily and quickly as possible. For most of the present generations of travelers, good highways have always been a fact of life but not too many years ago, at least in the memory of some of our oldest citizens, navigating the country was a totally different experience. It was time consuming and at times, hazardous.
         In the 20s most of the roads were hardly more than the old wagon trails they had once been. The highways that were paved were usually in major cities and were, of all things, cobblestone.
         For years they were not marked until several trail association initiated change and by 1925 there were over 250 named highways.
        The first named was the Lincoln Highway: there was a Jefferson Highway, a Dixie Overland, the Glacier Trail, the Great White Way, and well over 200 more including the Bankhead Highway which ran from Washington, DC to San Diego, CA
         Each highway had their own type of colored signs and they were placed haphazardly on barn roofs or other flat surfaces that faced the oncoming traffic. Signs were sometimes placed on telephone poles.  
         The Federal Government recognized the confusion that was developing and advanced the radical idea that the highways should be standardized with a numbering system and standard signs. This proposed change was not popular: people had bonded with their highways’ names and disliked the idea of substituting numbers which had no meaning.

          It becomes easier to understand how the road system was so slow to become more efficient when you remember that in those years only the rich had automobiles, making extensive highway use nonexistent. Most people contented themselves with their horse and buggy or of streetcars in some of the cities. Longer trips were made by train. Only a few of the more daring automobile owners ventured out on sightseeing trips. At the time, to do so was an adventure comparable to an African safari.
    Trouble on the road.It was a brave
    person who dared take a picture of
    a man with car trouble.
          Think of them, wearing their dusters, poring over poor maps, and hoping they were fully prepared for emergencies, with cans of water, gas, spare tire a tire tool, and a tire pump.
         All  that changed with the popularity of Henry Ford’s Model “T”, They were affordable to almost anyone with a well paying job, dropping down to under $300 in 1920. Although they were not known for comfort, they made possible increased travel and an  increased demand for good roads. Thus our present highway system came into existence.  

         Although the names have mostly disappeared from our maps, the nostalgia remains. The people of those days of change were correct in their belief that the numbering system was a colder, less personal one, and the only numbered highway to find a special place in our memories is Route 66. The pathos of the travelers of the 30’s led to it being immortalized in song and fiction.
          The name is a magnet that pulls us to its old route and Texas has a small section running through Amarillo. That it was lined with antique stores was an added enticement when we occasionally visited that town, for in years past, I seldom willingly passed an opportunity to share with them most of my available cash.
          It appears that I am fascinated with the old days  and the changes that have been made. See more highway nostalgia in the July 16, 2010,Rocking Chair Journey.