Baylor: Take Action Now

I have written a bunch of stories on the Baylor football Bears, and I have really enjoyed their success—2010-2015. They won two Big 12 titles in that span, played in six consecutive bowls and won three. Baylor’s finest half-dozen-year stretch in its history.
The victories made for good reading and writing—for me—I graduated from BU in 1965.
I would get—and deservedly so—a D- if I failed to address what is happening now in Waco.
It is beyond disgraceful. One sexual-assault charge after another against Bears’ football players. There can be one flimsy defense: the players are innocent until proven guilty. Does that mean the school (and the NCAA) should wait a couple of years until their trials are over to take action? I say no.
Art Briles, the highly regarded, highly likeable head coach, should quit or be fired. I have no line-in-the-sand opinion on Athletic Director Ian McCaw nor President Ken Starr.
The NCAA should place Baylor on three years’ probation, which, of course, would mean no bowl games. Also limit the Bears’ scholarships.
Please, please don’t try to make me feel better by saying it happens at other schools. Totally irrelevant. Baylor—a proud Baptist institution—has been caught, with the evidence painfully overwhelming. It should serve its time.
Losing a few, or more than a few, football games; a drop in attendance; and erasing the pride in the new stadium and great campus atmosphere, will be unfortunate, but what has happened far outweighs—negatively—the result on a scoreboard above a gridiron.
Some good can come of this: maybe younger football players will learn from the terrible mistakes of the guilty parties. Maybe coaches and teammates will be reminded of the importance of knowing more about the players who seem to be heading for trouble—a close watch is mandatory. Less tolerance has to be the norm.
The actions of the players accused of sexual assault are far worse and much more serious than the joy of hoisting a bowl trophy.
The football team in Green and Gold has lost for many years, and we all survived. We’ll survive defeat again, but we cannot survive—as a school—if these horrific actions don’t cease.
There are numerous other sports at Baylor and thousands of wonderful students and athletes. Their predecessors are glad they are there, and we hope they will carry the torch on a long journey toward a healthy soul.

Life on the Rocks

Old Yeller

It is just about summertime, although you wouldn’t know it by the thermometer. The blazing heat of the past ten years has turned into a tropical steam bath with temperatures topping the high 80s. It feels like living in Houston, which is much like life in a plastic bag. As my former mutha-in-law, Miss Scarlett, used to say, “This wetha makes your hayah curly, and ya skin soft.” I’ll take a little humidity over the desert of recent years any day. At least I won’t have to hear anyone say, “It’s a dry heat.”
Public school is now out for the summer. If you were near the Yacht Club pool this past weekend, you know this, and many of you are hosting your grandchildren and probably their friends. Who doesn’t want to hang out at the lake, in the lap of luxury, and let granny and granddad wait on them hand-and-foot? I would have died and gone to heaven as a 10-year-old in this place, but that didn’t happen. About the most exciting thing in my life as a kid was the arrival of the Book Mobile. Within it, my escape from the farm and all it’s boredom existed. Perhaps you were more fortunate with access to an honest-to-goodness library? In retrospect, the Book Mobile was the iPhone of the day, and I still hear my mother say, “Would you please put down that dad-burned book and help me?” Some things never change.
As I looked at all the children scampering around the pool this past weekend, I asked myself which book in the world I would put into their hands that would hold their attention and their hearts for a few hours. Through this book, I would also want them to realize this part of Texas was once a wild place where children were an important members of the family workforce and animals, especially dogs, were also part of the division of labor around a pioneer cabin. My choice for a book would be Old Yeller.
The author of Old Yeller, Fred Gipson, was born on a farm near Mason in 1908. Who better than a Hill Country man to describe the life of his parents’ generation? Rare is the building which still stands from this era, but I am fortunate to know one. This photo is of a corn crib much like the one Old Yeller was locked into while the sickness developed in his body. This particular corn crib belongs to one of my relatives, and the story goes that he had an extraordinary horse he was afraid the Comanches would steal. Nightly he locked this horse into the corn crib. Not to be denied, the raiders cut the chink from the logs and shot the horse full of arrows. If they couldn’t steal him, they would just kill him.
Find a copy of Old Yeller, take the iPhone from their little hands and tell them they can have the phone back when they finish the book. Please, don’t take the easy route and have them watch the movie. Provide a box of tissues nearby for the ending and be prepared to talk afterward. You will have made a memory with this young person. I just happen to know where a few first editions of Old Yeller are available for sale in an antique store in Llano. For a few dollars you can buy a priceless treasure that speaks to all generations.

Life on the Rocks

Doctor Yourself?

This past December, my hands hurt so badly and were so inflamed I thought I wasn’t going to be able to play golf anymore. Many of you can empathize with this situation. Getting old is not for sissies and repeated motions tend to take a toll on a 60+ year old body. Sometimes, we accept these pains as the price paid to continue living. I do not believe that, so I began to work the problem.
Nutrition is a greater passion for me than golf. I wish I had focused on a Registered Dietician certification during my education so I could have some “street cred,” but I did not. With the invention of the iPad and instant downloads (thanks to ZeeCon), I can research to my heart’s content. During a recent tournament in Dallas, I listened to 12 hours of speakers expounding on nutrition, and its direct relationship to cancer, heart disease, dementia, blindness and arthritis. These are all the booger-bears we face as old folks, and my goal is to do an end-run on all of them, but back to December and my burning hands.
During 2015, my beloved and I followed a low carbohydrate diet. My Sky King has done quite well on this ketogenic regimen, but I suspected I had not, and inflammation was running rampant in my body. I could feel and see calcium deposits beginning to form on top of my knuckles, and the cuboid bone in my right foot was killing me. My hand pain was akin to branding irons stuck to my thumbs. A trip to my podiatrist gleaned the suggestion I put a piece of tape on my big toe and try to roll my foot toward it when walking (groan). A chiropractor produced plenty of popping noises, but little relief. My poor little mother had blown a hole in her stomach by using anti-inflammatory drugs, so I wasn’t going there. Having raised enough farm animals in my lifetime, I knew I must change my feed to get myself out of this mess, or I could say adios to the golf course.
I stumbled upon a story written by Andrew W. Saul, PhD. Saul is an Orthomolecular Biologist. He has written over 20 books, but the title of his last one, Doctor Yourself, caught my eye because it was exactly what I wanted to do. One story was about a housekeeper in her late 70s who could barely open and close her hands. She called Saul because she had no insurance and had to keep working to support herself and her husband. Dr. Saul put her on raw vegetable juice for eight days in a row, followed by light eating for three days, and a raw-food diet for ten days. She was not happy but stayed with the program of juicing and a plant-based diet. Her calls to him were fewer as time passed. A year later, he saw her in the grocery store and barely recognized her. She said, “I can bend, reach, sit and walk without pain. I can work!” I couldn’t wait to try it along with Dr. Saul’s recommendations for large doses of Vitamin C. “Bowel tolerance” needs no explanation for the amount of Vitamin C a body can hold. You will know it when you reach it.
Sometime in January, the pain in my foot disappeared. I bought a Champion brand juicer (made in America) and started drinking vegetable juice once a day. By March, the fire in my hands had stopped. This month I noticed the calcium deposits on my knuckles were gone. I just completed 14 consecutive days of tournament play and I’m still upright. To be honest, I feel better than I did ten years ago. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE! I am only telling how I became my own lab rat and how I doctored myself.
Legend has it that back in the 30s, Will Rogers was on the board of directors of an airline. At a board meeting, discussion about the possibility of issuing parachutes to customers began. They also mentioned if parachutes were available, most would not have time to get one on and get to an exit. They concluded by saying that of the dozen or so passengers on the flight, probably one would be saved. Rogers put his boots on the table, tipped his hat over his eyes and said, “But wouldn’t he be just tickled.” I’m very tickled about my hands.

Life on the Rocks

You Don’t Have to Be Big

What is conjured in your mind when you hear the word “ranch?” This morning, a friend of mine who once wrote for The Cattleman magazine sent me a copy of The Land Report’s 2016 listing of the Lone Star State’s largest landowners. Back in the day, I used to be in the same room with some of these folks, but the list has changed somewhat since that time. Tio Kleberg, heir and current general manager of his family’s King Ranch, was at Texas Tech with me in the late 70’s. He was a quiet, unassuming young man with a long mustache that curled at the ends. I remember he mainly wore Wranglers and a white, starched shirt. Their brand, the Running W, was on his belt buckle. Years later, his wife intimated over a cocktail that she often checked her hip to see if the brand had not appeared on her body during the night. During my tenure as a ranch wife, I had the same feeling many times, but never felt the need to check for a brand on my hip.
The list has changed somewhat lately. The Waggoner Ranch of a half-million acres sold this past February to Stan Kroenke who also owns the Los Angeles Rams and the Denver Nuggets. A Lubbock realtor oversaw the transaction, and I’m sure his wife did a little zippety-do-dah dance afterward. Kroenke has amassed another 800,000 acres not in Texas. Wow. I believe he is the definition of a land baron, but all of his acquisitions leave him number five on the Texas Land Report list. The King Ranch is still number one.
Even Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has bought land in Texas near Van Horn. On two occasions, he has launched rockets 100 kilometers into the atmosphere. If I were going to look for a place where no one would notice such shenanigans, just north of Van Horn would be a good spot. I doubt, though, if he and his bride plan to summer there.
The Four Sixes Ranch is still in the hunt at number 10 on the list with 275,000 acres. If you have ever traveled the big empty space near Guthrie, you might have noticed the 6666 painted on the roofs of their red barns. Anne Marion is the President of Burnett Ranches, which owns the Four Sixes. Her great granddaddy, Burk Burnett founded the ranch in 1868. The rumor of a winning poker hand of four sixes is apparently unfounded. The first cattle purchased for the spread had that brand, so Burnett kept it for his own.
I remember my daddy scolding me for using the word “ranch” when referring to our property. In his mind and in everyone’s we knew, ranches are measured in sections (640 acres in a section). They are so large you can’t ride around them in a day. Crops were not associated with ranches as far as my daddy was concerned and he took great offense toward anyone who asked how many acres we owned. “None of their dad-burned business,” was his answer.
These large acreages conjure images of large herds of cattle kicking up clouds of dust followed by a gang of cowboys whooping and swinging ropes. In reality, the majority of cattle raisers in our state have only 20 to 30 cows. It isn’t just the big boys who provide all the beef and even a small herd is no hobby. It is work!
Whether you’re grazing three mamma cows who are so tame they come when you whisper their names or whether you run a thousand head on a spread so large that it takes a motorized vehicle to get from one end to the other...there’s just something special about being a Texas rancher.

Help Your Mother Prepare for Retirement

Mother’s Day is almost here, so start shopping for the flowers or candy for Mom. But this year, why not also go beyond the traditional? Specifically, if your mother is still working but getting close to retirement, consider providing her with a gift that can help make her days as a retiree more pleasant.
Here are a few suggestions:
• Contribute to her IRA. As long as your mother is employed, she can contribute to an IRA, and she may already have one. If so, help her fund it for 2016. You can’t contribute directly to her IRA, but you can certainly write her a check for that purpose, and by doing so, you can make it easier for Mom to “max out” on her account this year. Assuming your mother is over 50, she can contribute up to $6,500 per year to her IRA. As you may know, an IRA can be a great way to save for retirement because it offers significant tax benefits. Contributions to a traditional IRA are typically tax-deductible, while any earnings can grow tax deferred. Roth IRA contributions are not deductible, but any earnings can grow tax free, provided the account owner meets certain conditions.
• Give Mom some stocks. You know your mother well, so you are probably familiar with the products she likes. By giving her shares of stock of the companies that produce these goods, you will provide Mom with a feeling of ownership that she may enjoy – along with the benefit of possessing investments that could potentially increase in value.
• Discuss retirement income strategy. Even if your mother has made some smart financial moves, such as investing in an IRA and her 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan, she may still need some advice on how best to initiate and manage her retirement income. To cite just one action she needs to take, she must start making withdrawals from her 401(k) and traditional IRA once she turns 70½. But if she withdraws too much each year from these accounts, she could deplete them sooner in her retirement years than is desirable. To develop a solid retirement income strategy – one that can help her avoid outliving her income – she will need to coordinate withdrawals from her retirement accounts with her Social Security payments and any other sources of income she may have available. Because it’s so important to put together an appropriate income strategy, it’s a very good idea to consult with a financial professional. If your mother does not currently work with one, encourage her to meet with someone you know and trust.
Of course, your mother may be married and have her finances commingled with those of her spouse. Nonetheless, every one of the suggestions mentioned above is applicable and relevant to your mother, whether she is singled, married, divorced or widowed. Women must be prepared to take full charge of their financial situations, no matter their marital status.
Anything you give Mom on Mother’s Day will be appreciated. But if you can add a gift – whether in the form of investments or knowledge – that can help her make progress toward an enjoyable retirement lifestyle, you will be providing her with an enormous “thank you” for all she’s done for you over the years.
This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.
Follow me on Facebook, and as always, feedback, questions and suggestions are appreciated at [email protected] or by calling 830-598-2419.

Life on the Rocks

Girls Golfing

This past week, I was honored to be invited to play in the LPGA Volunteers of America Texas Shoot Out Pro-Am at Las Colinas Country Club in Dallas. My playing partner and friend, Leslie Henry, Esq., will be the next president of the Texas Golf Association. In the past few years, the Women’s Texas Golf Association merged with the Texas Golf Association. This means the boys and girls are now playing together, literally not figuratively. Henry donated her legal expertise to facilitate the merger, which is the best thing to happen to women’s golf in the State of Texas. The Texas Golf Association has been a boy’s club for a long, long time and to have a woman at the helm is a huge step. Do you hear a glass ceiling breaking?
We were asked, kindly, to wear our western duds for the pairing party. Perhaps I was invited because I am well endowed with cowgirl attire. I did not disappoint and my caddie, Sky King, was also starched and booted with ostrich. We had a fine old time at the party until we spied the pairing sheet. We were scheduled to play the last tee time of the day at 2:20 p.m. I quickly did the math and realized we wouldn’t get home until well after midnight. Even airplanes go into the shop and we were relegated to the car. This tee time was not good news.
The real reason I was invited to play in this event is the responsibility of several generous folks here in Horseshoe Bay. Earlier this year, I agreed to play 100 holes of tournament golf to raise funds for Girls Golf in Texas. We are also celebrating the 100th year of the Women’s Texas Golf Association, but the real reason for raising the funds is to provide scholarships to young girls, ages 7-18, for golf instruction and internships. My goal is to raise $5,000 and to date $3,950 has been donated. Heartfelt thanks go to Rona Valadez, Emily Gaylord, Jim and Judy Granger, Daryl Nels, Laura Jo Thompson, Jeanna Wolf, Marty Johnson, Sissy Curtis, Brenda Gray, Toni Covin, Sue Winborn, Robin Kehoe, Sue Stubbs, Vicki Wash, Fran Creighton, Ravelle Kundinger, Alice Pawelek, Diane Studer and Judy Nissen. You are the reason I was able to hobnob with LPGA players and walk a beautiful course with my beloved Sky King carrying my bag. If you wish to donate, my link is on the Horseshoe Bay Women’s Golf Association website (hsbwga.com).
We played with Sei-young Kim our first nine. She is a lovely 23 year-old South Korean with four LPGA wins and nine professional wins. I admired her silky-smooth swing and her ability to throw iron-shots at flags as if they were darts. She was fluent in English, has a home in Farmer’s Branch and hopes to attend college when she finishes her professional golf career. The way she plays, she may be an aged freshman. The back nine, we played with Sadena Parks. Sadena is only the fifth African-American to earn her LPGA playing card. She is also the most fit person I have ever seen. She posed in the ESPN Body Issue. My goodness gracious! I just Googled her and the photos are nude, but don’t tell Sky King. Lawzy, I do love golf.