Don’t look, Ethel!

Erath County, an hour’s drive southwest of Fort Worth, is known for cow-milkin’ and Dr Pepper-drinkin’. Locals think that when media folks land there in numbers, they’re ‘sniffing out’ whatever the college kids at Tarleton are up to. But, times they are a-changin’. Something big, fast and mysterious streaked across the night sky there recently, and some 50 people saw it. They’re ruling out just one possibility’it was NOT the cow jumping over the moon. Whatever it was has perked up the economy a ‘right smart,’ as my old mama would say’ *** Accounts are getting stranger and interest is growing stronger as the news ripples around the world. News items are spanning the globe from as far away as Afghanistan, and I’m not making this up. Dublin Rotarians, pumped by a program on tourism, invited the media and others to convene at their place for a meeting and news conference. To sweeten the deal, they offered free Dr Pepper, the ‘old original’ version still made with sugar at the world’s oldest DP plant a block away. MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) officials, earlier opting to meet at a livestock sale barn nearer Stephenville, accepted the Rotarians’ invitation. Little did they know that more than 500 people would show up, including more reporters and photographers than you could shake a stick at if you rounded up all the sticks in the county’ *** It could be the county’s media event of the century and an inspiration for poetry, books and songs. If Ray Stevens hadn’t already given us ‘The Streak’ back in the 70s, he could hit an even richer payload with this latest ‘streak.’ You remember Stevens, don’t you’ ‘Don’t look, Ethel,’ he yelled at his wife when they encountered a supermarket streaker—-‘ ‘nekked as a jaybird,’ as he put it-‘over on the tomato aisle. The song was inspired by a streaker who interrupted the Academy Awards telecast. Streakers also struck numerous campuses across the land. Some college presidents at the time thought this outrage to be the worst problem ever in higher education’ *** Visitors to Erath County are bound to increase, what with this new visibility. And there’ll be media reps from ALL hemispheres. Does this sound more impressive than merely saying BOTH hemispheres’ A few days ago, a newspaper columnist mentioned former Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Troy Aikman’s reference to ‘all ends of the spectrum.’ We’ve heard of BOTH ends, but I guess the mother of all spectrums might have multiple ends’ *** Forgive my digression’again. What I’m trying to say is that future coverage of the phenomenon may be stretched a bit. It may not be like the news wafting from the Rotary hall, where media people pledged to follow Rotary’s ‘four-way test’–the one about truth, fairness, goodwill, etc’ *** Really, though, does it matter what the stir is about’ It’s gotten people excited. They’re talking to each other, old with young, serious with skeptical. Quotes in newspapers and interviews on radio and TV are providing ’15 minutes of fame’ for dozens of people who looked skyward at the same moment. Who cares if it was weather-related or meteoric, or if it happened to be a space ship operated by three-headed creatures from many galaxies away, or if it was as big as a Wal-Mart’ In past years, Tarleton students donned outlandish garb for athletic contests, rodeos and Sadie Hawkins Day. (Last year, a few students chose the opposite of streaking. They dressed like Aunt Jemima clones, but this anomaly didn’t last long.) These days, T-shirt vendors are coming up with new offerings daily, and students are going the limit with funny hats, tinfoil antennas and boomerangs masquerading as flying saucers. Fads like telephone booth- stuffing are so 20th Century’ *** I particularly enjoyed seeing a TV interview with one of the witnesses who claimed that the whatzit ‘hoovered’ (hovered’) ‘Hoovered’ In my youth, vacuum cleaners all seemed to be ‘Hoovers.’ Early on, some of the first to use the machines no longer ‘vacuumed.’ They ‘Hoovered!’ I cast my vote with those who saw something extremely rare in the dark skies. But if the ‘hoovering’ witness is correct, they may be able to lay off the street sweeper’ Dr. Newbury is a speaker and author in the Metroplex. He welcomes inquiries and comments. Email: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site:

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