Between the Lines


Where the buffalo roamed

The Panhandle and Panhandle Plains regions were once home to large herds of American Bison, which most of us know as “buffalo.”

Of course, there was a buffalo population in excess of 60 million in the late 18th century roaming the grasslands from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico, so this area certainly had its share. By 1884, however, commercial hunting and slaughter reduced the number to only about 300 wild buffalo left in the United States.

All this was an early prelude to the era of progress in America, the Internet, and story hour at public libraries being led by drag queens.

Some people think things are better now. We have less buffalo on the plains, life moves too fast to stop and enjoy a Panhandle sunset, but we have high speed Internet service. So, some think this sort of evens things out.

The buffalo has made a very modest comeback in North America. About a half million currently exist on private lands and another 300 thousand roam government preserves. You can still see them in the wild in Yellowstone Park. You can also see a small private herd in a pasture across the street from the owner of LK Media Group.

They don’t bother anyone (if you don’t get too close). They just poke along and graze all day, just like they did on the prairies and plains of Northern Texas 200 years ago.

Too bad the buffalo are so scare these days. But there is something that would be more disastrous than the demise of the buffalo in the Panhandle and on the Panhandle Plains. It would be the loss of the cultural patrimony of the people of this area. That is, their sense of heritage, their “sense of place” in the world.

I had dinner this week with a Panhandle native who expressed that very concern.

The folks around here are proud of their cattle, cotton, history, and even their weather. They may not love the weather, but they are proud of it because it’s theirs. Folks in this area are proud of being Texans, and they are particularly proud of their sense of place in this unforgiving but enchanting region of Texas.

People need a sense of place in the world, and they need to preserve it. The faster our mobile modern society changes, the more important this sense of place becomes. It is not merely a location or natural environment. It is the unique collection of qualities and characteristics that help give us meaning – and it is imparted in significant measure by the communities and towns in which we grow up.

To have a sense of place in the world is to be rooted. To be without a sense of place is to be rootless, shallow, and untethered from what gives us substance.

Vision, boldness and courage built the communities in the Texas Panhandle and Panhandle Plains. Tradition, custom, and continuity preserve these characteristics and qualities, among others, and ensure they are passed on to future generations.

The cultural patrimony of all the best places in Texas are in danger today from those who have lost touch with their own heritage. There are a lot of shallow, rootless people in the world, and they seem to be growing in proportion to the distance they are away from the Panhandle and the Panhandle Plains.

In our current educational, political and cultural climate, it is not possible to preserve the good things without reflection, prudence and action. That’s especially true when it comes to hanging on to, or rekindling, our cultural patrimony.

It’s just my opinion, and that’s not worth much. But I think it’s not a bad idea for the good people of the last best place to band together and take deliberate and bold steps to preserve all that makes this part of Texas great.

At one time folks around here must have thought the vast herds of buffalo would roam these plains forever. But now they are gone.

Cultural patrimonies are not like buffalo. Their disappearance is more like the words of the song by Joni Mitchell, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

From My Desk By Elizabeth Tanner


Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Our snowman and snow dog that was featured in The Post Dispatch. The caption reads: With a winter storm blowing through Garza County almost every week, residents are getting more creative with “snow yard art.” This very tall snowman with his snow dog was spotted on W. 12th Street after the snowfall earlier this week.”

Like most West Texans, I’ve never been the biggest fan of the winter. I don’t enjoy bundling up and braving the ice and wind. However, snow is a different story.

I don’t think there has been one snow that I haven’t taken advantage of. Every snow that we’ve ever had, I’ve built a snowman. In fact, one year, our snowman and his snow dog were featured in the newspaper.

I was around nine at the time and had been on the mission to build the world’s tallest snowman. He was easily over six-foot-tall and to get his head on we had to call my dad out into the cold to help. I also insisted that he have a dog. So, from his stick hand, a red leash trailed down to his sock-eared snow dog. My grandmother was the one to call the newspaper and insist that our snowman and snow dog be featured. The snowman had already begun to melt by the time the photographer got there and one of his acorn eyeballs had fallen off which is noticeable in the picture provided. However, Granny still cut out the photo and framed it in the den where it can still be found to this day.

This year’s snow creation was definitely not as successful. I had started out with an idea I saw on Pinterest. It was of Snoopy laying on top of his doghouse. I had felt confident enough in my snow sculpting skills to attempt the design. However, after an hour of wrestling with snow that wasn’t sticking, Snoopy turned out to be more of an undistinguishable blob. I went inside feeling much like the boy who turned into a snowman in the famous Campbell’s Soup commercial.

Even though our snow Snoopy didn’t turn out the way I wanted him to, I still enjoyed riding around town looking at other folks’ winter wonderland creations this year. There were snowmen, snowwomen, snow forts and snow castles all throughout town. Some even gave me some inspiration for the next snow.

There’s just something about the snow that brings out a child-like giddiness in me. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of sitting in front of TV on a snowy morning waiting for “Post” to pop up on the list of cancelled schools scrolling at the bottom of the screen. I’m not sure what it is, but I know that it keeps me from thinking I’m ever too old for playing in the snow.


Yesteryears by Elizabeth Tanner


70 Years Ago:  H.C. and Sam Garrard of Tahoka cosigned one of the highest priced bulls at the sixth annual auction held in Big Springs by the Howard County Hereford Association. On average, one bull was typically sold for $471 and one cow was sold for $325. However, H.C. and Sam Garrard received over $1,000 for one bull.

Post grade school added almost 100 students to the roster. The total enrollment hit 520 students in the 1950 spring semester. E. E. Pierce, principal, stated that the school lacked only six more students being enrolled in order to hit the 100 mark.

As of Wednesday, Feb. 15, Post had a February moisture total of .21 inches according to the Double U Property. The moisture total was thanks to a light rain the following week accompanied by a snow storm on Monday.

Pure Food Market, owned by Ira Greenfield, advertised the following weekend specials such as White Swan Peaches for 25 cents a can and Sunshine Crackers for 25 cents a box.

Pure Food Market advertised the following weekend specials in a February 1950 edition of The Post Dispatch.

60 Years Ago: Levi’s Restaurant hosted their annual “Sweetheart Day” on Sunday, Feb. 14. Levi’s advertised the event by offering free corsages for the “sweethearts” brought to dinner.

Post ISD students got a surprise vacation Feb. 17 when a fast-moving snowstorm dumped an inch and a half of wet snow in a two-hour fall. County Agent Lewis Herron reported .44 inches of total moisture for February and 1.52 inches for 1960.

Due to the purchase of a portable x-ray unit, Garza Memorial Hospital was now able to perform bone surgery. The unit was a total of $2,038.90. The machine allowed staff of the hospital to take pictures in the operating room or in patient’s rooms when necessary. The hospital also purchased a portable whirlpool bath for $365. The bath was used for hydromassages and physical therapy for patients recovering from muscle injuries.

Coach Pete Murray and his high school Antelopes went to the cage playoffs for the first time in 42 years. The Post Antelopes were named 3AA district cage champs following a title-clinching triumph over Tahoka with a score of 66-38. Curtis Didway had led the game with 19 points. Not too far behind was Forrest Claborn with 10 of his own. The Post Antelopes rounded up district with a 22-2 record and an undisputed district championship title.

Standing (left to right): Richard Ray, Hoss Smith, Forrest Claborn, Bobby Beard, Glendon Washburn, Scottie Pierce, Dan Rankin, Derwood Mayberry, Curtis Didway, Benny Schlehuber and Jimmy Minor. Kneeling is Leslie Acker. Not pictured is Donnie Hays.

Post’s victorious District 3AA Basketball Champions hoisted Coach Pete Murrary onto their shoulders after their title-clinching game over Tahoka.

40 Years Ago: Wynelle Smith, local artist and owner of the Cactus Flower Art Gallery, was nominated to be a national associate member of the Smithsonian Institute of Washington D.C. She was also nominated by its president and trustees for membership in the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and her name was recorded in the National Trust roster.

Post Public Library patrons checked out a total of 794 books. 202 were adult non-fiction books, 263 were adult fiction, 156 were mystery and 66 were western. Librarian Pee Wee Pierce said in her monthly report that 21 new books were added to the library, most of them being gift books. This brought the library total to 13,381 books.

To make Heart Month plans, the Garza County Chapter of the American Heart Association met in the community room on Feb. 6. Attending were Carolyn Moore, regional director for Lubbock; Mike Flanigan, president; Edwin Lewis, vice-president; Janet Peel, secretary; Ida Wilks, publicity director; David Hart, campaign chairman, and board members, Henry Wheatley and Rene Fluitt. It was decided that Coffee Day would be Feb. 14 in which all local restaurants would donate their coffee money to the local heart fund. Other plans were discussed which included: a benefit dance, potluck supper and the “Heart” quilt.

Members of the Garza County Chapter of the American Heart Association met to plan projects for Heart Month.

Nancy’s Notions by Nancy McDonald


Veggies for Breakfast? Yes!

Fruit fits easily into breakfast, but vegetables can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you wake up your fruit and vegetable appetite:

• Stir things up. For a quick breakfast, add raisins or chopped dates to instant oatmeal, or stir blueberries, strawberries or sliced banana into whole-grain cereal with fat-free milk.

• Get scrambling! Add fresh or frozen chopped spinach, mushrooms and diced tomatoes to scrambled eggs or omelets. Really, any veggies will work!

• Make a breakfast sandwich. Top a whole-wheat English muffin with either reduced-fat peanut butter and banana slices, or hummus, sliced cucumbers, tomato and fresh spinach.

• Batter up. Add grated carrots or zucchini to pancake, quick bread or muffin batter.

• Drink your produce. Combine carrots and fresh orange juice in a blender for a refreshing breakfast beverage.

• Say “Olé!” Make a breakfast burrito by wrapping low-fat cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs and diced bell peppers in a whole-wheat tortilla. You also can make a vegetable-and-cheese quesadilla in a nonstick pan with a scant amount of canola oil.

• Pick a fruit pizza. Spread reduced-fat dinner rolls in a pizza pan and bake. Top the pizza with orange sections or slices of kiwi, apples or strawberries, and drizzle fat-free vanilla yogurt over the top.

• Make a quick white or sweet potato hash. Grate the potatoes—they cook faster that way. Place the potatoes in a glass bowl and microwave about three minutes or until hot; drain any juice. Heat a skillet or frying pan on the stove and then stir-fry the potatoes with a teaspoon of olive oil until crispy.

• Make it savory. While fruit is more commonly added to oatmeal, switch it up by adding sautéed vegetables like mushrooms or onions to unsweetened instant oatmeal for a savory twist. Sprinkle it with cheese for added flavor.

The amount of vegetables you need to eat depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. The amount each person needs can vary between 1 and 3 cups each day. Those who are very physically active may need more. Recommended total daily amounts and recommended weekly amounts are on the website.

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.

Based on their nutrient content, vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups: dark-green vegetables, starchy vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, and other vegetables.

In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the Vegetable Group.

Be creative as you include vegetables in your first meal of the day!


Do You Remember by Vonda Beth Gradine


People are always asking me where I get my in- formation for my column. Today, I will release one of my informants. They are one of the sweetest couples in town. Since today is Valentine’s Day, I want to give them the title of Do You Remember Sweet- heart Couple of 2020. This is Gene and Velta King.

The Kings are both in their eighties, but they act like they are thirty years younger. Their friends are all ages. Both can relate to a junior high person as well as one of their own classmates.

Gene was born in Post to James David King and Lucy Mae Hammett King. He was the fifth child of six, having two brothers and three sisters. He grewup in Post. Graduating in the class of 1951.

Gene worked for T. L. Jones at the Ice House during his high school years. One of his duties was to deliver ice to all the cafes in town twice a day, at noon and evening meals. Not too many months ago, I wrote about the cafes and restau- rants Post had in the earlier days. I asked Gene if he could help me. He gave me his route from the first delivery to the last. That was more than sixty years ago.

After graduation, Gene joined the army. He ended up in the Korean War. There, he received the GI Bill and went to West Texas State College in Canyon, Texas.

Velta was also born and grew up in Post, on the west cap off the Tahoka highway. Her parents were George Carpenter and Ruby Girley Carpenter. She was the younger sister to her only brother, Wayne. Wayne dealt her mercy most of her younger years. Of course, that is what big brother’s job is. She had only boy neighbors to play with. Some of those boys were Mack and Bobby Terry, Larry Waldrip and Bobby Cowdrey. A girl moved down the road from Velta for a while. She tried her best to do just what her parents wanted so she could play one afternoon a week with her girl neighbor. She graduated in the Post High School Class of 1954.

When Gene came home from the service, he and Velta dated for a while. They married on May 26, 1956 in Post and moved to Canyon for Gene to go to school. Velta worked during this time. Next time you see Velta, get her to tell you

the story of her job at a café. It will make your day. Another column I wrote was about Mrs. Stallings. Velta brought her photo album of their wedding and shower, where Mrs. Stallings’ singers preformed. She took them out of her album so I could take pictures.

After Gene graduated from West Texas, the couple moved to Hereford. Gene had three positions during his employment. His positions were: Warner Seed Co. as Accounting Manager, Community Grain/Easter Grain as Manager and Brown Graham & Glover, CPA’s as an Accountant.

The Kings lived in Hereford for forty-five years. Their family was started and raised there. They had two daughters, Rhenalea and Marsalyn. The girls attended and graduated high school from Hereford.

The Kings were very happy in Hereford, even after the girls graduated from Tech, married and moved off. But Velta’s mother, Ruby was needing some help. They moved back to Post. Their plan was to help Ruby for the rest of her life, then move closer to one of the girls. They liked Post so well they decided to stay. We are the lucky ones.

Gene has had several serious health problems, but it hadn’t slowed him down. He was a Post Antelope and is still interested in the Antelopes. They drove to Dallas so their grandson could take them to the state game this December.

Don’t let me fool you. Their life is their family. Like any other grandparent, the Kings will be glad to bend your ear if you want to hear about their grandchildren. The grandchildren are all grown with interest of their own. Gene and Velta are involved in each of them. Rhenalea married Curt Beck and lives in The Woodlands. Their children are Kelsi, Austen and Kaylen. Marsalyn married Jim Motley and live in Southlake. They have three boys Aaron, Nic and Dillon.

Kelsi, their granddaughter lives in New York City. Gene and Velta went up there for Thanksgiving one year. Velta cooked a Texas Thanksgiving dinner for her and her roommates. Nic, their grandson played baseball in college and semi-pro. Gene enjoyed going to his games in several places. Gene will be glad to show you Nic’s baseball card.

I want to thank their daughter Marsalyn and their niece Pam Humble for all the information on this great couple. Next time you see Gene or Velta, congratulate them for being Valentine Sweetheart Couple of the year. I am truly blessed to call these two my friends.


Peggy’s Corner


By Post Public Library Staff—

We are catching up this week due to a couple of short days last week. We love the snow as long as we have enough books to get us through school and business closures. But Winter has returned this week in the form of ICE. We hope you have enough books to keep you busy and remember the Winter Book Sale is still going on.

Two new fiction books set in Alaska arrived this week just ahead of the Winter Weather Advisory.

We have received two fiction books set in Alaska. Raymond Fleischmann has written “How Quickly She Disappears.”

The story takes place in a tiny Alaskan town in 1941. The time period is crucial to this story, to the utter isolation Elisabeth Pfautz experiences during the book. She can’t escape the haunting, cryptic dreams of her twin sister Jacqueline, who disappeared twenty years earlier, though she strongly believes to still be alive. She is drawn into the web of a murderer when a stranger promises to lead her to her sister. Elisabeth can almost hear her sister’s voice saying, ‘Come and find me.’ And so, she will, even if it means putting herself—and her family—in danger. This is Fleischmann’s debut novel, but sure not be the last.

Dana Stabenow’s newest novel “No Fixed Line” has arrived. This book is also set in Alaska on New Year’s Eve, nearly six weeks into an off-and-on blizzard that has locked Alaska down, effectively cutting it off from the outside world. There are reports of a plane down in the Quilak Mountains. With the NTSB responsible for investigating aviation incidents they are unable to reach the crash site, ex-Trooper Jim Chopin is pulled out of retirement to try to identify the aircraft, collect the corpses, and determine why no flight has been reported missing. But Jim discovers survivors: two children who don’t speak a word of English. Meanwhile, PI Kate Shugak receives an unexpected and unwelcome accusation from beyond the grave, a charge that could change the face of the Park forever.

Come into the library and ‘Get Caught Reading’…also you can follow the libraries programs and newest books on Facebook – search for Post Public Library and like us to get updates.

We will be closed on Monday, Feb. 17 in honor of President’s Day.


The 501 by Hanaba Munn Welch


My man Mahomes

My favorite new football player is Patrick Mahomes.

It all started when my husband and I thought we knew someone who would win $60,000 if Mahomes could lead the Chiefs to a Super Bowl win over San Francisco. We would have watched the game anyway, I suppose, but we watched with greater interest because of the bet – a risky wager made back when the Chiefs were a long shot. (Turns out he won only $6,000 for his $1,000 bet, but during the entire game we watched at the $60,000 level.)

For me, watching a game means taking a walk during the first half. Why get stressed? Sure enough, when I got back to the house, the score was tied. It was time for the much anticipated halftime show.

We switched channels and watched part of a British drama on Masterpiece Theatre. I later read comments on the halftime extravaganza.

If halftime had been a movie, would it have been X-rated? R-rated?


After perusing the history of movie ratings and explanations thereof, I’m thinking it’s complicated. Some critics of the system are more concerned about sex than violence and vice-versa. Either way, both sell. Sandwich sex at halftime between the violence of clashing football teams, and you’ve put together an enticing package.

As for movies, ratings are necessary to let you know what to expect before you spend money on a ticket. Or take children along. Right? Regarding the Super Bowl, the lewd gyrations of suggestively (my mother’s word) clad women performing to music you may or may not like is free. How nice.

What if a different channel offered an optional Super Bowl halftime show – something like the most sensational plays from past Super Bowls, starting with the very first game? Just a thought. Would anyone watch? The ads wouldn’t cost as much.

Back to Mahomes. I want a shirt with his number and name.

Sometimes I smile when I see guys wearing shirts with players’ names emblazoned across their shoulders, thinking they don’t even come close.

But don’t we all like to identify with talented athletes? Even those of us who don’t watch many games?

When it’s third and long, if I’m really caught up in the action, I put myself in the shoes of my quarterback – rejoicing if the pass is good, wincing if we get sacked.

When it comes to baseball, I’m either the pitcher or the batter, depending on which team I back.

But, until now, I’ve never thought about spending money on any star player’s look-alike jersey, whatever the sport.

Ah Mahomes! We watched with great interest and anxiety as he ultimately took Kansas City to victory over those formidable 49’ers.

Mahomes just seems to take everything in stride. I’d like to be able to deal with life that way — to look ahead with aplomb even when the other team’s ahead. Then throw a bomb. It’s nice to be able to just keep going like nothing’s wrong. And then win.

I need that shirt.


Every Crook and Cranny


By Elizabeth Tanner

Stuffed bell peppers are a great dinner idea. However, if you are looking for a meal that is a little more stand-out, then try this Betty Crocker recipe that we found and have been using whenever we want a break from the norm stuffed bell pepper.

Taco-Seasoned Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients: 2 medium bell peppers, ½ pound of ground beef, 2 tablespoons of chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of Old El Paso taco seasoning mix, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 can of tomato sauce, ¼ cup of sour cream, ¼ cup of shredded cheddar cheese, ¼ cup of chopped tomato

Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Seed and cut bell peppers in half lengthwise. In a 2-quart saucepan, heat 6 cups of water to a boil. Add bell pepper halves; boil for 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in an eight-inch nonstick skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until meet is no longer pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning mix, drained and rinsed kidney beans and tomato sauce. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. In an ungreased eight-inch square glass baking dish, arrange the pepper halves. Spoon ground beef mixture evenly into each. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until peppers are tender. Top individual servings with sour cream and cheese.

For a heart healthy option, use ground turkey instead of beef.

Feel free to add whatever toppings you prefer. Sometimes, we like to add a few extra diced tomatoes on top of ours.

Share your recipes and comments with us at


From My Desk by Kendall McCullough


The dangers of technology

My family decided to play Family Feud as part of our Christmas celebration. One of the questions was where are the top 5 places kids spend their time at. My parents, aunts, and uncles wanted to say things like movies, roller arena, dance halls because those are the places they grew up hanging out at. But times have changed. The answers for today’s kids is in their rooms, on their phones, as well as school and sports which haven’t changed.

Innovation has always propelled America. However, technology has often moved faster than our chance to predict and protect from negative consequences. Often, we’re left trying to repair and pick up the pieces after the impact of something new has done its damage. In this instance the internet, social media, and smartphones are still greatly hurting our society. The internet is full of inappropriate and dangerous things, especially for children. Social media is full of people either trying to look like their life is perfect or people spewing hate at others with differing opinions. Smartphones keep us distracted and isolated from truly connecting with each other.

The sum negative consequence of social media, smartphones, and the internet is a loss of community. Community obviously is the backbone of society and our nation as a whole. Isolation is not healthy for anyone and it breeds a host of mental illnesses. Recently, in the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in public shootings especially teens in schools. Most of these teens were loners who had online history of violence and disturbed thoughts.

The building block of community is families. Families are not doing so well in America as well. How much technology has to do with that is unclear? But I suspect that the availability of porn and potential alternative partners on the internet does not help. Your phone is very powerful and also very easy to keep things private from partners, more than in any century before now. Marriages also thrive when they have family, friends, and social/spiritual community around to support them. Now that community is breaking down marriages are not supported as well and are failing more often which then affect how well community is doing. There is a circular ecosystem effect.

In conclusion, technology has many benefits for culture, but there are pitfalls we need to think about as well. As we continue in the innovation age we would be wise to think ahead and prepare for potential negative impacts of future inventions/developments. I think in order to help improve community we need to lessen our consumption of technology (TV, internet, phone, social media, etc.) and work to create significant relationships. If we do not do this I fear for our future and the future of our children.


Between the Lines Column No. 1


A new beginning in the last best place

If you’re reading this, you likely already know there is a new owner of The Post Dispatch and its sister papers. The LK Media Group, LLC purchased Blackburn Media Group the first week of December.

And I, as the president of LK Media, am pleased to be the new publisher of these fine newspapers. During the acquisition process, I worked extensively with the outgoing owners Chris and Sharon Blackburn.

Not only were they great to work with; they leave big shoes to fill in the local newspaper business. I know they will do well in their next chapter of life, and I wish them the best.

By way of a little background, LK Media is part of a hodgepodge of companies involved in construction, commercial and residential real estate, outdoor advertising, hospitality and newspaper and online media. Believe it or not, there is an interesting connection between these assorted companies.

They were all the brainchild of Mark Hicks, who never saw a backroad he didn’t like, who can’t sit still unless he’s driving on one of those backroads and who loves small downtowns in Texas.

I know these things because I have covered many miles of backroads with this man who thinks John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is the world’s greatest opera. I have followed him around and looked inside countless boarded up buildings with a flashlight and listened to him talk in glowing terms of the rebirth of downtowns none but him can see.

When he is not driving Texas backroads, he creates companies dedicated to the business of revitalizing and promoting the historic downtowns he falls in love with. That’s how LK Media made its way to the Panhandle and Panhandle Plains of Texas.

Mark introduced me to the beauty of this region. He explained his vision for the area and his attraction to the people. I, too, was captivated on my first trip to Childress and Paducah (who wouldn’t be?). Upon our return home, Mark asked me to write a short piece for Facebook to introduce a couple of renovation projects in the area.

Here is the first paragraph of that piece: “The stars at night shine remarkably bright under the clear skies of the Texas Panhandle Plains. And, whether it’s pioneer history or the famous ranches of Old Texas, there is more history in and near the small towns of the Panhandle than one can adequately explore in a lifetime. But, perhaps best of all are the Panhandle Plains people, —who still want their schools to refrain from assigning homework on Wednesdays, who know the pledge to the Texas flag by heart, and who may be the only people left on earth who still know how to put a horny toad to sleep. The Panhandle Plains may just be the Last Best Place in Texas.”

So when the opportunity to purchase Blackburn Media Group arose, it was what is known in the Hicks business world as “a no-brainer.” Not only do we get to spend more time in the small towns of our adopted Panhandle and Panhandle Plains region, we get to write about the places, the events and, best of all, the people. I intend to do that routinely in the paragraphs of this column that I am calling “Between the Lines.”

But I need your help. I need our readers to send me all the information they find interesting about the area, the towns and the history. I am interested in names, locations and stories. I am also interested in hearing about your family and your current events – past, present and future.

If your granddaughter is marrying, or married, a freckle-faced young man who works on a ranch in Cottle County, I want to know the details – the date, place and names of all the family members who drove in from Amarillo. If you recently attended a family reunion, tell us where and when. Tell us if the family printed matching T-shirts commemorating the event and, if so, what was written on the shirt.

I think you get the idea. At our newspapers – actually, your newspapers – we are interested in reporting on real events and real people in perhaps the Last Best Place in Texas. We aren’t unconcerned about people and events on K St. or Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. (at least a few of us aren’t). It is just that people who know how to put a horny toad to sleep are just a heck of a lot more interesting.

We’ll leave world diplomacy, impeachment and cocktail parties to those who have more time on their hands; we want to know the name of your grandson, who is graduating from college, and what is happening all over the Last Best Place in Texas. I am looking forward to hearing from you at