OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — President Obama came to this tiny middle American town Tuesday to invoke the spirit of a long-ago Republican president in a speech that laid out, in his sharpest language yet, the economic and social arguments he will probably use against Republicans in 2012.(1)
Osawatomie, Kansas…It’s a small town now. On January 7, 1907 when my Grandpa Sewell was born there it was just a bit smaller. But, when 30,000 people were in town for the dedication of the John Brown Memorial Park to hear President Theodore Roosevelt give his speech on August 10,1910, Grandpa was already living in far south Texas.
I know of Osawatomie from the biography about my Great-Aunt Helen(2) that was published many years ago. Grandpa, you see, was much too young to remember anything about the town. He was barely past his first birthday when the family rode the train south to Hebbronville in Starr County on the Texas Mexican border.
So, you can imagine my surprise as I was driving yesterday to here the name rolling off the tongue of the news announcer. Reading a little history today, I see that the town wasn’t all that happy with the last Presidential appearance they had. I can only imagine their reaction to yesterdays speech.
The number of people moving through the house this past week has higher than at any other time since we began. Stone work, texture, cabinets, trim carpenters, painters, electricians, plumbers, counter-top measurement techs, storage building delivery…It’s been almost nonstop. We finished it off with a birthday party on Saturday afternoon…Whew.
One hundred and seventy five years ago today a group of men came together just a few miles to the northwest of where I sit this morning and proclaimed Texas and independent nation. I can imagine what it might have been like that morning walking the streets of Washington-on-the-Brazos. Early March in Texas can be challenging in any year
In the story of Texas independence from Mexico, the courageous work of the men assembled in Washington is often overshadowed by the fall of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. After all, at the same time these men put ink to paper, the blood of their fellow Texans was being shed at the Alamo, where men like Colonel William Barrett Travis and Jim Bowie fought to their deaths and became folk heroes.
The history books often lose sight of the delegates courage and clearheaded determination as they labored against a backdrop of fear and uncertainty. They knew the desperation of Travis and his men. They received word of his dire circumstance twice during the Convention. The Alamo was only a few days march from where they convened, and rumors that Santa Anna was just down the road kept them on edge.
Some of the men wanted to recklessly rush to Travis aid without a military or governmental structure in place, but calmer minds prevailed.
After beginning to meet on March 1st, the delegates to the convention formally declared their independence from Mexico on March 2nd. They continued to work on the constitution until being forced from town ahead of the advancing Mexican Army led by Santa Anna on March 17, 1836.
The legacy of these men is still felt today. Though last years return to the 19th century and talk of secession should the conservative base in Texas not get what it wants was taking things a bit far (as you can read in the related articles below, it’s still a movement alive and well in Texas). The not quite decade of independence for the Lone Star Republic did set a tone and a flavor for the state that has never been subdued.
The delegates, who voted unanimously for independence, were:
Badgett, Jesse B.
Barnett, George Washington
Blount, Stephen William
Bower, John White
Bunton, John Wheeler
Byrom, John Smith Davenport
Carson, Samuel Price
Childress, George Campbell
Coleman, Robert M.
Crawford, William Carroll
Everitt, Stephen Hendrickson
Fisher, Samuel R.
Gazley, Thomas Jefferson
Goodrich, Benjamin Briggs
Hardin, Augustine Blackburn
Lacey, William Demetris
Latimer, Albert Hamilton
LeGrand, Edwin Oswald
Maverick, Samuel Augustus
Menard, Michel Branamour
Moore, John W.
Mottley, Junius William
Navarro, Jose Antonio Baldomero
Penington, Sydney O.
Roberts, John S.
Robertson, Sterling Clack
Ruiz, Jose Francisco
Rusk, Thomas Jefferson
Scates, William Bennett
Smyth, George Washington
Stewart, Charles Bellinger
Swisher, James Gibson
Taylor, Charles Stanfield
Woods, James B.
Zavala, Lorenzo de
Happy 175th Texas Independence Day.
And making this day a little more personal to my family…
Sitting at the computer this morning I looked out the window and saw my second Bluebird in my entire 57 years upon this earth. I was so surprised I had to lean forward for a closer look.
I still remember the occurrence of my sighting. Sherry and I were new home shopping almost 25 years ago. We were wandering through the model homes in a subdivision on the far southern extreme of Pasadena. As we wandered through the house I happened to look out the patio doors , and there in the grass of the back yard was a gloriously blue bird. I recognized it at once even though I had never seen one, an Eastern Bluebird. Just like in all of the cartoons I grew up watching.
The interesting coincidence in all of this bluebird history is, here we are once again in the process of building a new home. Should I take it as a sign of some sort? The last time it didn’t turn out quite like we expected. Though this time we are proceeding with a better idea of the pitfalls and trials that go into the process…It is still only our second home to build from start to finish.
Around my neck of the woods, whenever I see a rust colored belly on a bird I instantly think Robin which we have in abundance all winter long. Though, thinking back over the past year or two I don’t recall seeing as many as in the past. A decade ago, all winter long, flocks of upwards of 50 to 100 robins would feed through our yard during the winter months. They would take turns with the bluejays, or most common bird of a blue hue, feeding through. This year not so many of either have been around.
In other bird news, I had hummingbirds return to my feeder today. I do not know if this is one of the one’s that over winters or if the spring migration is starting early. All I do know is that the feeder has been up all winter and this is the first hummer that I have seen since last November.
The weather this month has hit the extremes…From days and days of freezing earlier in the month with the heater running non-stop to days and days of upper 70’s lower 80’s with the AC running in the afternoons. And we are just barely through February. This will be one month I dread the arrival of the electric bill. At least the winds keep blowing to generate more of the power I am paying a premium for. Even though the state is producing more wind power on most days than the transmission lines can carry.
Late last week I was out back with both grandkids spending time in the Trek Light hammock I received last year. It was so warm and the sun was so bright I had to use an umbrella to keep “Baby Habby” (as Cameron calls his baby sister) from being burned or blinded.