PT Boat vets hold last meeting

April 30, 2007

Fading memories of World War II — In December it was the Pearl Harbor Veterans who held their last planned reunion — too many of the vets wer too old to think many could comfortably travel to another reunion. This week, it’s the PT boat veterans who held their last planned gathering, for the same reasons. Those who have the most vivid memories of the war dwindle in number to a precious few.

According to the Associated Press in the Navy Times:

The 16 elderly survivors — down from 21 last year — of Peter Tare, Inc., an organization for former officers of PT boats, lined up next to the boat Friday, taking one last sail down memory lane.

For them, World War II is really almost over now.

“It’s sort of pitiful the way the crowd has dwindled,” said William Paynter, 90, who commanded both a PT boat and a squadron in the South Pacific.

“The executive secretary is just getting over a stroke and it seemed like the best time to do it,” he said of this past week’s reunion.

The group, which began meeting in 1947, has better than $25,000 in assets, Paynter said. Originally the plan was to turn the assets over to the sole survivor, but as the years passed, that seemed impractical.

Of course, there’s a story about “Peter Tare,” too:  Read the rest of this entry »

Marfa lights — seriously, does anyone know what they are?

April 30, 2007

Another of the great quirks that makes Texas, Texas, is the Marfa lights. Marfa is in far west Texas — alone, a tiny city in a very arid area. It’s desolate enough that Hollywood thought it would be a great place to film much of the movie “Giant,” which needed to use part of Godforsaken* County to make a point about how desolate Texas can be.

And way out there, there is a hill where one can stop after sundown, and watch the mysterious dancing of lights coming from the not-too-distant hills. So far as I can tell, no good explanation exists for what the lights might be. Physicists have ruled out mirages, and the lights were there long before auto headlights anyway.

Marfa hosts the “Mystery Lights Festival” over Labor Day Weekend (as the story cited above notes, the same weekend as Alpine, Texas, hosts its balloon festival — two West Texas happenings in one trip, perhaps).

Marfa lights, 2004 photo by Julie McConnell

Do you know of a good explanation? Anybody got one?

  • * No, there is not really a Godforsaken County among Texas’s 254 counties. Teachers wishing to use this in the classroom may want to be aware that there is a very short video of the Marfa lights mystery on “Texas Country Reporter’s” DVD collection commemorating 25 years of stories. Texas Country Reporter also has a DVD collection of visits to Texas State Parks, which is a good source of information about Texas geography. I suspect other DVDs from this company would offer other good geography and history supplements (Texas Country Reporter is broadcast on Channel 8 in the Dallas area, and on other television stations throughout the state).

Time! Last call for contributions to Fiesta de Tejas!

April 30, 2007

Set to publish May 2, today’s the last day to submit nominations for the next carnival of Texas history and Texana, Fiesta de Tejas!

Submissions can be e-mailed to me, but better, send them via the blog carnival submission form, found here.

Thanks for the nominations you’ve made already — we can use more!

Pequin pepper plant from Little Bend Nursery

Pequin pepper plant (Capsicum anuum), photo from Little Bend Nursery, between Lago Vista and Marble Falls, Texas – all rights reserved.

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