HOWDY! “Hey, Local News, stay LOCAL“

Do your job, Stay Local! The Internet has made us mad at each other, allowing media to ” incite to riot”. Local news should stay local. Unless the incident directly endangers national security, leave reporting same to network news, most especially when it comes to racial issues. “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas” makes sense for all of us. We would have fewer “riots” if local news stayed local. Think about it! How many communities have incidents of police brutality daily? Yet tragic occurrences in Milwaukee get headlines and everything goes sideways in Dallas. What is good about that? It is my opinion, based on past experience, that today’s news borders on “GOSSIP” and has no redeeming quality of edification. We focus on negative when, with some factual news gathering JOURNALISM might just find something good to report. Oh! Perhaps Local News should return to the basics of JOURNALISM. It’s a lost art, donchaknow. Really. An that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

HOWDY! “Music of Life”

From the age of five, music has been my life. I started performing at five in my county fair production of “Tom Thumb Wedding”. I must have done it annually since I have a photo of me a bit older. My first choral directing job was at First Baptist Mt. Pleasant and the Adult Choir performance of a Christmas Cantata. I led revival services all over East Texas from high school through college. I began a scholarship playing my cornet in 1949 at East Texas Baptist College, Marshall and completed my Bachelor’s in 1953 at SHSTC, Huntsville, where I was given opportunity to direct the College Choir on tour of Texas The high school ools for two years. My first teachIng job was at Willis, a few miles of from Huntsville. I was allowed to teach for pay instead of a semester of student teaching. I taught at Cedar Bayou, 53-54, while Marilyn completed her degree in Physical Education. She, Martha and I drove to Pampa up in the Texas Panhandle and joined the faculty at Pampa Junior high. There I decided to apply for part-time at KPDN. Surprised by a phone call that afternoon, I began on-air that same night. I had been promised the high school job by the Superintendent upon hire, but the Principal turned me down. “ Mr.Austin looks younger than the senior boys. They would chase him off, he said. I resigned and took a radio job in Amarillo. We eventually moved to Bryan and back to school-teaching. Carl Best left me a very fine choir. I coasted in with a great year. The choir earned respect from everyone, including Roger Wagner. We closed that first year with a June trip for Texas Rotary as special guests at the International convention. They also appeared live on NBC. My first duties were at Jones Junior High, SFA high and Lamar Junior High. Unfortunately, the Principal at Jones didn’t care for me, so my next year included morning Study Hall, a girls choir and A Capella choir at SFA and two afternoon choirs at Lamar. I got to know my Lamar students very well since most stayed in choir for 6 years. School politics and I didn’t mix, so after 14 great years, I left my first love off Teaching for other endeavors, including broadcasting. I can honestly say that my time in the choral classroom was the best time of my life!

And that’s what I get from My box of chocolates. AMEN

HOWDY! “Scriptural Script”

“In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:4) For all Americans who doubt that there is a GOD of The Bible, consider these words and check your legal tender. Why on earth would anyone put this phrase on every item for purchase and not believe it? Obviously all of us do not believe ALL scripture, but I would like to know exactly what part you do believe, if any. I am most certain that we lack internalizing all scripture. We’ve lost our “Loving” feeling. Or perhaps we’ve really never had it. It’s not for me to say, donchaknow. I can only speak for myself and for me and my house, we serve the Lord.

And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

(beginning tomorrow I will take us through memorable years in the classroom)

HOWDY! “Who, ME?!”


However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.(Acts 20-24)

I have continued to remind myself (and you) of my life wading upstream and the Grace and Mercy of a Loving God, sustaining me and forgiving me, all at the same time. I am ‘wading’ through whatever I have felt important in my files. So much has been lost over the years. I have nothing but vague memories of the National Tour II that consumed nearly four years. Of my years in Television and Radio, there are scripts and writings, a few photos and an award from Nevada Broadcasters. My bi-vocational service at various churches in Mount Pleasant, Huntsville, Cedar Bayou, Bryan, Pampa, Amarillo and Nevada, covered the major part of my life. The only churches I never served were Catholic, Pentecostal or Church of Christ. I sang for a dozen Texas State Conventions held on the Campus of Texas A&M; Boy Scout Jamborees; announced the Annual Cotton Pageant at A&M for years; Judged beauty contests and worked public address announcements for years. I was blessed with fine young musicians while teaching at Bryan and for a year at Northside Christian Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina where we performed a special Christmas concert at the Biltmore Estate in Ashville From the Bryan High School Choir, over a tenure of 14 years, we placed 12 in All State Choir; 148 medal winners in UIL solo competition; 212 members in All Region Choir; won 5 Sweepstakes Trophies in Region III contest; brought home 6 Superior awards and the SFA A Cappella Choir was honored as the “State Honor Choir” in 1964 and “Honor Choir of Region III” in 1971. Couple all this with a great career in broadcasting and a twenty-six city, National Tour of a hit “Broadway” Show…well, you get the picture. It has been my privilege to do my best at blessing lives utilizing the gifts given my by my Father. As time goes by, I can’t but praise God for all the wonderful years of serving, not for any glory on my part, but only to say, “Praise God from whom all Blessings Flow”. I’ve floated on many, for sure. And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

HOWDY! “Welcome Home!”

Sam and Mattie Austin 119 South Church Mount Pleasant, Texas

This is the last picture I have of my folks, taken while we were on tour break. We had spent a few days painting 119 South Church and had just finished Sunday lunch. This was in the final stages of alzheimer’s disease for my Dad. It was the last time he and I really had a conversation. (Note the cap on the shelf at the left of the photo. It was there for him to wear as he ‘inspected’ our work. The house was my final home base before I left for college and it was the ‘headquarter’s’ for the annual Tabb Reunion where my son and I spent hours cranking Mattie Tabb’s home-made Peach Ice Cream. My parents were solid in belief and open to anyone who graced our door. 119 South Church is a monument to Sam Austin and his integrity. It was completed my senior year by good friends who made up my Dad’s crew on every fine home he built. (Some bear “Texas Historical” markers. Those men worked all day and would come over around 6:30PM to spend three or four hours “helping Sam and Mattie and Jimmy build their home”. It took nearly a year of ‘volunteer’ work and was truly a labor of love. I learned the importance of that and always felt that the opportunities God gave me had that same ingredient of respect and integrity. This house was sold to a lady who had been our maid for years. She and her husband never missed a payment and provided a home for a bunch of her off-springs. It doesn’t look the same today, but it’s still standing and still providing shelter in the storm of life. I will always think of 119 South Church as “Down Home”. A house where Love Lived, donchaknow. Really

And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN

HOWDY! “For The Good….”

Back in my “Talk Radio” days in Vegas, there was a faithful listener named Peabody, who always called in with a gem. The first time we chatted, he said. “For the Good of the Station and all who go forth here, let there by light and compassion and peace and truth.” I never forgot that. All the years I hosted “Talk of the West”, I consciously listened and responded respectfully to my listeners, even when they were somewhat ‘off the wall’. Here are some other tidbits my friend shared:

“The tongue is a very small part of the body, but it can start a fire that consumes everything it touches.” “To understand the other guy, it’s best to listen to what he’s saying'”. “Before you strike out in anger, put yourself in the other fellow’s shoes. It could be that something you did or said just might have made them “too tight”. “Youngsters do some things right, so look for the good things and praise them for it”. “The next time you hold a grudge, hold hands. It will shock to see how communication improves.” “The mess we made today will still be there tomorrow, unless we clean it up tonight”. I miss Peabody. Other than these little gems, all he was interested in was his corn and ‘taters. I bet he was a Deacon in his church, donchaknow. Really.

And that’s what I get from My Box of Chocolates. AMEN