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Thoughts While Thinking - March 2011

March is a really great month in Texas. The temperatures are moderate, and the Spring flowers are ready to do their thing before the month ends. But my calendar doesn't show any holidays. It doesn't even indicate that any great Americans were born during the month.

So my good wife and I have decided to fill the void. Well, I guess we didn't really do the deciding, but we were both born in March. And we were both born in the homes of our parents. You've seen it in the movies. The doctor comes with a little black bag, goes to the bed room, and sends the husband to the kitchen to boil water. I don't recall ever seeing what they do with the hot water, but I suppose it keeps the new dad out of the way.

My wife's folks lived here in Austin in a small house on what is now 30½ Street and North Lamar. Her Grandparents, Great Grandparents, and her Dad's sister all lived with a two minute walk. Her Great Grandmother Hehl operated a country store for the scattered residents of "North Austin," and for the cedar choppers to the west.

I was born in the little town of Copperas Cove on the edge of the Hill Country. It is now a bedroom city for Fort Hood. My Dad worked at the lumber yard, and Mom took care of my brother and me, raised vegetables in the garden, and, of course, did the canning. Last week we had a three page letter from my Aunt, who is 105, telling me about the day I was born, and how she and her mother came to help out. I'm sure that my grandmother was taking care of me--and my Aunt was washing diapers. We didn't have the throwaway kind at that time. Mine were made out of sacks that flower came in -- the flower that Mom used to bake bread.

It's been a great life. A number of years ago I told my three kids that they better study hard, and then work hard, because I probably wouldn't leave them a lot of this world's goods. But I also told them that I wanted to leave them a good reputation. I did not want them to have to overcome a "bad family name." I told them that my formula for keeping a good name was simply this: Always keep your word.

So, that's my take on March. I guess we should both thank our parents for "planning ahead" and picking such a nice month for our birthdays. And for also teaching us to "Always keep your word."