Currents
Happy Birthday (To Texas and a Song)
Some of the topics we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

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    Happy Birthday originated as a kindergarten song in Kentucky.
    Bart Browne
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    K.R. Wood, a member of Pedernales Electric Cooperative, tells the story of the Chisholm Trail through songs, poems and action.
    Bart Browne

A Texas Star

Texans celebrate Independence Day on March 2, the date in 1836 when the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed. George C. Childress is widely credited with writing the document, with which Texas broke free from Mexican rule. Ten days later, he offered a resolution providing that “a single star of five points, either of gold or silver, be adopted as the peculiar emblem of this republic.”

 

Happy Birthday to a Song

The song most frequently sung in the English language came into being 125 years ago. Kentucky sisters Patty and Mildred Hill composed Good Morning to All in 1893. Patty sang it daily to her kindergarten class. For birthdays, the lyrics were changed to the Happy Birthday song that we know today.

The original lyrics:
Good morning to you
Good morning to you
Good morning dear teacher
Good morning to all


In 2015, a U.S. district court ruled that the copyright to the lyrics was no longer valid, placing it in the public domain, meaning anybody can sing the song anywhere without having to pay royalties.

 

Hit the Trail

The Chisholm Trail, the path followed by millions of cattle from Texas to Kansas, celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2017, prompting cowboy entertainer K.R. Wood to create a Western variety show in its honor. The next staging of the Old Chisholm Trail Western Variety Show is March 17 in Fredericksburg as part of Celebrate Texas! at the Texas Rangers Heritage Center.

Wood, a member of Pedernales Electric Cooperative, and his troupe tell the story of the Chisholm Trail through songs, poems and action.

“I call it historical and hysterical,” Wood says. The show includes a trick roper, pistol twirler, bull whipper and wrangler.

Wood is enthusiastic about the Chisholm Trail’s place in history.

“It helped elevate Texas out of the post-Civil War depression,” he says. “It established the legend of the cowboy.”

Wood’s album, Songs and Tales of the Old Chisholm Trail, won the 2017 President’s Award from the Western Music Association.

 

Congress Makes Time

One hundred years ago, Congress authorized time zones and approved daylight saving time. The Standard Time Act was passed March 19, 1918. Daylight saving time, which goes into effect March 11 this year, was repealed in 1919 but re-established during World War II.

 

Did You Know?

Idaho was accidentally included in the central time zone, an error that wasn’t corrected until 2007.

 

By the Numbers: $24,832,006,000

That’s the annual value of agricultural production in Texas, which ranks third among U.S. states, behind California and Iowa. Hug your favorite farmer March 20, National Ag Day.

 

Worth Repeating

“I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”
—President Lyndon B. Johnson, announcing to the nation 50 years ago, March 31, 1968, that he would not seek re-election

 

Women at Work

International Women’s Day, March 8, is a fine time to celebrate electric cooperative lineworkers. That’s because Texas women are climbing the ladder—er, utility pole—in the field of electric line work. In 2017, women lineworkers distinguished themselves in training programs and competitions as well as in the field.

The first known female to compete in the Texas Lineman’s Rodeo joined the field last year. And the Power Line Worker program, offered at Victoria College in conjunction with Victoria Electric Cooperative, produced its first female graduate.

Both women now work as apprentice lineworkers at their respective co-ops—and both downplay their groundbreaking status, preferring to focus instead on doing their jobs well.