Idle American

(Editor’s note: This is the first column submitted by Dr. Newbury, former president of Howard Payne University. If you enjoy this and would like to see more of his writing in this publication, drop us a line. Call 597-2959 or email us at Carl Everett, the Texas Ranger outfielder who was bonked on the noggin by a cellular phone hurled by an idiot fan in the cheap seats out in Oakland, maybe should be charged with an error for ignoring the heckler who threw it! The heckler had been screaming for attention, but Everett concentrated on gazing straight ahead. That might explain the note he found, wrapped around the phone: “Can you hear me now’,” it read. Someone said the heckler likely was simply out of minutes. The “hecklee”‘however, was not, and Everett pressed the button on his phone to file charges. A hero in many games these days, Everett took a bit of scorn in a subsequent game at home against Boston. Essentially, he dropped a fly ball in right field, allowing the Red Sox their only lead of the game. As is often the case (provided you have a filter on your “listening ear”), the best line of the day didn’t come from a media person in the press box, but from a leather lung in the right field seats. No doubt, it was a “lubricated fan,” who may or may not have been rooting for the Red Sox. Anyway, he screamed, “Everett, were you distracted by a cell phone’ You didn’t need to be’it missed you two feet!” Texas won the game, 16-5, in its biggest offensive show of the season. The parade of pitchers by both teams was longer than most at the circus, and when a total of 14 runs cross the plate in the first three innings, yet another fan, who maybe was confusing the Ranger and Dallas Maveric games, yelled, “Hey, if we score a 100 this game, do we get free chalupas'” Speaking of sports, over at Baylor University, where they are trying hard to figure out what it takes to win in Big 12 Conference football, some of the Baptist faithful are lamenting that the new coach they REALLY wanted got away. The prospect: Strom Thurmond, who, at age 100, is giving up his Senate seat to pursue other opportunities. “It was THAT close,” a Bear insider said, holding his index finger maybe a quarter-inch away from his thumb, “But Strom said he had to have a 10-year contract….” The saga at American Airlines reminds of economic downturns 20 years ago, when plunging oil prices played havoc with Texas’ economy. One banker out in West Texas summed it up: “We have found out that just about all Texans, many without knowing it, are in the oil business.” Another banker of that era defined an optimist as being a bank president who took his lunch to work in the morning expecting to get to eat it there. Sadly, one PR type observed that American no matter what happens for many years was “something special in the air.” Now, it is something special in despair…. A hard-of-hearing guy, out in the sticks, listens faithfully to radio news, static and all. When he heard a while back about the Texas Tech professor allegedly involved in displacement of vials of bubonic plague germs, he got his facts a bit muddled. This did NOT, however, keep him from “sharing the news” with any neighbors willing to listen. “I heard over the radio about a college professor at Texas A&M doing research on baboonic play. I guess them Aggies are trying to come up with a better monkey!,” he rattled…. It’s taken ’til about now for us to get “settled in” to Daylight Saving Time. Some neighboring hog farmers years ago just hated the time change routine. “We’d feed the hogs on the new time, and they’d wait an hour to eat….” (Okay, so maybe you have to have a rural background to appreciate this one….) Dr. Don Newbury, longtime educator and former president of Howard Payne University, is now an author and speaker. He and his wife now reside in Burleson. His column appears weekly in several Texas newspapers. His first book, “When the Porch Light’s On,” was published last fall, with two more scheduled for publication this year. More information is available via his website, E-mail:

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