Whitlow family visits miles and miles of Texas October 11, 2011

Watch Asleep at the Wheel sang Miles and miles of Texas as you read this story from the Whitlow Brain.

On September 27 Big George, Sweet Angela, and the Whitlow crew packed up the Phantom 309 for the Whitlow Smoke School Nation down through the miles and miles of Texas. Our first whistle stop was LBJ Ranch near Austin Texas. The ranch was very beautiful and we watched the deer, antelope and jackalope play. Along the way we stopped to eat lunch at IHOP where Angela had her first encounter with Wile E. Coyote's  roadrunner. I stepped out of the restaurant for a Winston while Angela paid the tab. I noticed the road runner standing on the sidewalk by our truck. Angie walked out and I asked her to take out her IPHONE and get a picture of the roadrunner. She moved a few steps in that direction hesitated and said the sun was not right. I told her to get down and duck walk around the truck and sneak up by the back bumper, then take a picture. I laughed my you know what off. She stepped out behind the truck and the roadrunner took off down the sidewalk. Angie with camera held at eyeball level took out after the bird. She chased the bird for an hour and a half from one end of the sidewalk to the other and never did get a good picture.



For weeks before our Texas road trip Angela had been following the CNN coverage of the Texas drought and wildfires and had noticed hundreds of 18 wheelers loaded with giant bales of round hay headed west on Interstate 20 out of West Monroe, Louisiana. I had been concerned about the health and wellbeing of the Texicans. I heard that every lake in Texas was dry. This part of Texas was cattle country, but the pastures were all brown. We could smell smoke from the wildfires in the air. We passed through the charred brown remains of some mosquito forests along the way. That night as we neared Stonewall, I said a small prayer and got out of the truck and did a rain dance. I wonder if I could make a living rain dancing, because it worked. I could see heat lightening flashing in the darkness of the Texas hills.

We had dinner at El Charro Mexican Restaurant in Johnson City. I had something that looked like a medium well rib eye steak, cut up in bite size slices and cooked on a bed of string beans. It was very tasty and they really piled it on. Then the waiter said the string beans were cactus. Why did a thorn not get stuck in my teeth.  I stepped outside for a Winston and noticed a cloud the shape of a man’s hand and that the heat lightning and thunder had gotten closer. Then it started to rain. I was amazed, stood up and shouted praise the Lord.  Who would a thunk it? Ain’t rained in a month of Sundays and Whitlow comes to town, prays, and does a rain dance and lo and behold.

I ran back into the restaurant. There must have been a hundred people, soccer moms and kids, eating and making small talk, just going about their lives as if nothing great had happened. I stood by the door and shouted, “IT IS RAINING- PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!” You guessed it, they all looked at me like I was an idiot.

We learned from our new extended Texas family, that the Tecicans are resilient people. They are preparing for a record 10 year drought. The cattleman are using windmills to water the cattle, the pants plan to use gray water to operate, and the towns plan to dig wells and convert salt water into drinking water. This is home and we are not leaving.

Lets take a time out so I can dry the tears I'm crying. Thank Y'all so very much from the bottom of my heart for allowing the family to bring the Phantom 309 and Whitlow Smoke School Nation to serve you in Texas, and in particular Galveston. Some of my fondest childhood memories were of a Marine Corp tent with mosquito nets and folding Army cots, and listening to the waves splashing on the sandy beaches of Galveston. We would wade out into the Gulf and sing this song that you are hearing now. The song and the beaches helped keep me sane during all of those years serving in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. Galveston is one of the most romantic, beautiful, and historic places on God's green earth. Galveston has many historical places that have miraculously survived the hurricanes. We have the privilege of using one of those magical places for smoke school. I really love to reminisce while watching this video of Glen Campbell singing Galveston.  GALVESTON.COM: Official Website of Galveston Island, Texas Tourism & Marketing: Includes some of those historical places, things to do, where to stay, and where to eat. Just a note: Some of the best things in life are free. We saw more dolphins in the free ferry than we did on the Dolphin Tour.

This is the Menard House our Galveston Smoke School location


Introducing a little photo album of things Big George and Sweet Angela saw duing our last visit in early October 2011

    Big George and Sweet Angela self portrait. Romance on the beach.



    Jesus was there

    Galveston Beach was not very crowded on this early October school day. I guess these girls must have played hooky to make a tripod.

    We were amazed by this dog chasing the ball all up and down the beach

    The Victorian Hotel: The spectacular view from our hotel balcony. I was sitting out there watching the waves when I heard a fire truck coming. Later there were 5 fire trucks, 6 police cars, and 3 ambulances. The noise woke Angela up. Angela saw them plugging into the fire hydrant next to our 3rd floor balcony and said this is for real. The firemen suited up and climbed to the second floor of the building on your left, which was part of the hotel we were in.  Several people in the upper floors of the building were standing out on the balcony just looking around at the beach. I yelled out "HEY- Your Building is on Fire!" Who would a thunk it?


    The sunset from the Galveston Ferry

    The ferry proudly displays the Lone Star Texas Flag. How about that sunset?

    The view of one ferry from another.

    It takes all kinds of people to make the USA. This long haired hippie guy on the ferry never grew up. He is wearing a hand made deer skin jacket which his daddy made and died with berries. They were vacationing from Wyoming. I guess I'm  little deaf, hard of hearing on one ear, and can't hear that good in the other one. I asked him 3 times to get his daddy to make me a jacket. Angela finally yelled in my good ear and informed me that he said that his daddy was dead. I said well, get him to make me a deer skin berry died jacket anyways. 

    The Bishops Palace: Angela and I loved this tour. It was built by a Civil War Veteran and a politician. After he passed away, his wife survived the Great 1900 Storm. She stood on her front porch and saw mass destruction all the way to the beach 3 miles away. She rescued several people from the rubble and allowed 200 refugees stay in her house for a year. Can you imagine? She committed herself to a mental institution for rehab.  I would too. Before she died she sold the house to the Catholic Church for $30,000 so it would last forever. The Bishop lived in the house for a while.


     Sacred Hearth Church next door to Bishops Palace

Glen Campbell Galveston
Galveston, oh Galveston, I still hear your sea winds blowin'
I still see her dark eyes glowin'
She was 21 when I left Galveston

Galveston, oh Galveston, I still hear your sea waves crashing
While I watch the cannons flashing
I clean my gun and dream of Galveston

I still see her standing by the water
Standing there lookin' out to sea
And is she waiting there for me?
On the beach where we used to run

Galveston, oh Galveston, I am so afraid of dying
Before I dry the tears she's crying
Before I watch your sea birds flying in the sun
At Galveston, at Galveston


If you enjoyed this fish tale, then you will love my novel about my childhood fishing tales.

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It ain't over until the fat cat sings