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What a wonderful story about the Donna Redskins [“Huddling Up in Donna,” August 2011]. Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, I remember those Friday nights [in 1961] when Donna won the state title. At Edcouch-Elsa High School, we were rivals of the Redskins, but in the Valley, when a team advanced to the playoffs, everyone supported that team all the way to state. The one big thing about the Redskin games was that when the team needed a boost, the band would play a very loud Indian war chant, followed by an equally loud drum section playing staccato eighth notes with an accent on every fourth note. Then the team would suddenly perk up and start hitting harder and running faster.
The opposing team would wonder if a new team had been brought in. It was amazing to see the effect of that relentless Indian beat!
Ed Zamora, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative
The story on Donna football claims the team overcame prejudice, yet denigrates Native Americans. Many schools with cruel and outdated nicknames such as Redskins have changed their mascots. Shame on Donna for not doing the same.
Jay Workman, Nueces Electric Cooperative
Teachers are being laid off all around the country and in Texas, and yet Allen is building a $60 million football stadium??? Shocking. Probably worse.
Jay Silber, Farmers Electric Cooperative
As much as I enjoy reading your publication, and as much as I enjoyed reading the article on the Donna High School football team, it seems at least the writer could have paid homage to some of the most successful programs in the state, notwithstanding a short mention of Allen and Zephyr. Schools like Abilene High, Abilene Cooper, Plano High and Odessa Permian that have dominated their classifications for years.
And of course, I’m totally biased about the Celina Bobcats. We moved to Celina, a then small town, in 1990. Under the coaching of G.A. Moore and Butch Ford, the Bobcats have seen 23 consecutive winning seasons, 17 consecutive playoff appearances and have won 66 out of their last 77 games. Two of those losses came in state championship games, and five were to eventual state champions. The Bobcats hold these records for all classifications: most consecutive wins (1998-2002), most state championships (eight), most consecutive state championships (1998-2001, tied with Sealy) and most consecutive playoff wins (1998-2002).
I, of course, type this as a proud papa of three boys who amassed eight “gold” and one “silver” state football championship medals. To me, Celina is a place where average kids perform in an extraordinary fashion. I hope the lessons and achievements carry them to extraordinary accomplishments in their personal lives.
Phil Prosser, Grayson-Collin Electric Cooperative
Your article about the Donna Redskins football team brought back memories for me. As a 1955 graduate of Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School, I am very familiar with the Redskins. Donna is the only team from the Rio Grande Valley to ever win a state championship in football. My school went to the Class 3A state finals in 1962 and 1963, but lost both times. Thank you for the memories.
D.U. “Buck” Buckner, Pedernales Electric Cooperative
I thoroughly and tearfully enjoyed reading Jim Dent’s story about Freddie Steinmark [“Courage Beyond the Game,” August 2011]. I was a student at The University of Texas from fall 1968 until my graduation in May 1972. I was there to see Freddie play football, to hear crowds cheer for Freddie and the Longhorns, to see Freddie walk out on crutches at the Cotton Bowl. I was there … and I hadn’t thought about this era of my life in a long time. I was back home in La Marque for summer break when he died in 1971, but I’ll never forget hearing of his death. My tears were orange that day. Thank you, Jim Dent, for helping to recall those dynamic years of my life.
Alice Buttery Johnson, Bryan Texas Utilities
Thank you for the coverage of CASA [“Co-op CASAs Stand Up for Children”] in the August 2011 issue. We are so grateful for the opportunity to share the word about CASA. Thanks to this wonderfully well-written story by Ashley Clary, you’ve helped raised awareness about CASA and the impact it can have on children in foster care throughout Texas. Ashley, you captured the essence of our amazing volunteers and the heartbreaking and heartwarming stories they have to share. Thanks for giving Ashley space to tell the story so beautifully.
Katherine Kerr, Communications and public relations manager, Texas CASA, Austin
Armadillos [identified as the official small mammal of Texas in the August 2011 Who Knew] feed at night by digging into the ground. Well, the only places soft enough at our house are where the crape myrtle, fig bush, peach trees and rose bushes are. They dig little holes, and that’s where I water. It’s a cooperative program!
Terry Miller, Farmers Electric Cooperative
Your article about the staged train crash at Crush in 1896 [“The Deadly Crash at Crush,” August 2011] says no railroad ever elected to repeat it. However, at several events, including the 1913 California State Fair, the Iowa State Fair in 1897, 1921 and 1932, and the 1933 Minnesota State Fair, head-on train collisions were staged, but not by a railroad. There were others—Google can provide links to video of the events. It was apparently not all that uncommon.
George Cosson, Pedernales Electric Cooperative
I want to say how much I enjoyed the article on Brackenridge Park [Hit the Road, July 2011]. I grew up in San Antonio during the Great Depression, and the park provided free family outings. There were playgrounds, picnic areas, swimming in the San Antonio River and burro rides. There was a tearoom at the Japanese Sunken Garden, and Easter sunrise services were held there, weather permitting.
My most treasured memory is that in 1945 my husband proposed to me, and 66 years later, we both hold fond memories of that day in Brackenridge Park.
Sylvia Felton, Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative
Growing up in San Antonio, we had a family outing at Brackenridge Park every year. That was a tradition that started when my mother, Helen, was small. I carried it on with my children, at least when we were in San Antonio. And I’ve taken my grandchildren and niece there. Five generations of our family have ridden the train. Every year of elementary school, there was a field trip to either the zoo or The Witte Museum, always followed by a sack lunch in a park pavilion and playing on the swing slides, etc.
There used to be a riding stable across the street from the polo field/driving range/first tee. People could rent horses and ride through the park. Broadway, in front of the park, was where people used to race horses before cars.
Jewel Chipman, Concho Valley Electric Cooperative
Thank you very much for choosing my mural photograph for publication (Focus on Texas, June 2011 issue). I wish someone could tell me who painted it. It is amazing that these talented artists often go without the proper accolades. I love your contests as well as the articles, and I look forward to seeing what the photo contest is each month. I am an amateur and retired. The contests get me on the road.
Linda Tipton, Nueces Electric Cooperative
Editor’s note: According to City of Aransas Pass officials, it appears that the artwork that Tipton photographed has either been painted over or torn down.
Martha Deeringer’s article on Blue Lacy dogs [“The Official Dog of Texas,” July 2011] is a good introduction to this breed of dog but barely covers the positive attributes of a very well-rounded animal. We have had Lacys in our family for well over 60 years. Not only are they very good at herding and roundup purposes, but also for hunting and trailing. They can be quiet and well behaved when not working. They follow instructions very well and are quick to respond when they are summoned for an activity. The Lacy is an all-around dog. Thanks for the article.
John Baylor, Central Texas Electric Cooperative
Thank you to Melissa Gaskill and Texas Co-op Power for the terrific article [“Beneath the Surface,” July 2011] about how scuba diving is helping disabled veterans rehabilitate from their combat injuries. As an organization that has helped over 800 severely injured veterans rebuild their lives through sports this past year, we know firsthand how sports build self-confidence, promote fitness and reunite families in healthy, life-affirming activities. One point of clarification: Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba is a chapter of Disabled Sports USA, which runs the Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project.
Dave Simonson, Disabled Sports USA, Rockville, Maryland
Wanda Evans [letter to the editor, August 2011] talks about people in the 1880s hunting animals for food, but she fails to realize that that was then, and now we are living in 2011. When was the last time she and her family had rabbit stew, or alligator meat or a squirrel or two for dinner? In my opinion, hunting and killing just for the fun of it is disgraceful. You only kill an animal if you are going to consume its meat. Stuffed animal heads in homes, restaurants or businesses are offensive and really telling of the people who do that. She calls others hypocrites if they kill roaches, flies or mice. Does she not know the difference? Those things are carriers of filth and disease.
M.A. Garza, Magic Valley Electric Co-op