Jacksonville, TX

Today, I presented my Civil War program at the West Side Elementary School in Jacksonville, TX. What wonderful young scholars and what great teachers! We divided the school up into 4 sessions, and I performed and presented to every student in the school. There’s a great deal of interest in the Civil War here. I left the school and visited Rice Elementary in Tyler and the public library. Both of those calls were fruitless as the decision makers were not in, but I did set up a signing at the Hastings Bookstore here in Tyler, Friday, March 7, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Tonight, I’ll be with the Tyler, Texas Pulpwood Queens, who were gracious enough to ask me as a visiting author to attend their reading group. I look forward to this little soiree. I happened to time my trip at the same time as their monthly meeting, so instead of taking a hotel in Lufkin, I found one in Tyler, not far from where their meeting is. The Pulpwood Queens (of any chapter) are always a hoot, and these women are some of the brightest, most beautiful, and most interesting people I’ve ever met. The Tyler Roses (as this group style themselves) were the winners of the Pulpwood Queen club competition in Jefferson in January.

Jacksonville, which began as Gum Creek in 1847, is an interesting city. It is known as the “Tomato Capital of the World.” You can learn some interesting facts about the city and see some photos of historical Jacksonville and Cherokee County here: http://www.tomatocapital.com/gallery3.asp

Tomorrow, I’ll have a long day at Brookhollow Elementary in Lufkin, Texas, then a signing at the Hastings Bookstore there. I hope I can get some rest tonight because I slept little last night, and it looks like I won’t get any tomorrow.

Pardon the short entry, but I need to read some, write some, do some online work related to the online class I’ll be teaching soon, practice my guitar, and perhaps catch a nap before I leave for the Pulpwood Queens’ meeting. I may add some more to this post later tonight.

A Rant Against Speed Traps:  A Job I’d Hate to Have:

Wouldn’t you hate to be the officer who gives tickets at speed traps? Talk about a job that should hurt someone’s conscience! One that a person should be ashamed to admit they do.  Face it, the purpose of speed traps is to generate revenue. Think of a speeding ticket as another tax if you would. (How many ways does the government want to get our money?) Speeding tickets to most civilians don’t save lives as might be claimed (a cliche is still a cliche, especially when the government says it) but speeding (and other tickets) do complicate our lives, and create pain and discomfort.  I’m not talking about a true construction site where workers are in danger of being hurt if speed is not lessened. At such places, usually the presence of an officer or an officer’s vehicle is all it takes to control traffic speed. I’m thinking of those areas where a construction sign is just thrown up, or areas where a speed limit is suddenly or arbitrarily changed.  So much real crime in our country and instead of targeting it, we turn on our own working civilians for doing something that has nothing to do with morals or character.  Officers must know that many people they ticket do not speed on purpose, and they must know that the tickets they give are REAL hardships for many people. I think that they must not care either. Our policies effectively generate money, but speeding tickets and such to not make us better people or even make our faltering society better.  It’s rather sad I think. It must also feel degrading to an officer (who wanted to help and serve society) to be assigned such tasks. If a person can find nobility or pride in such tasks, there must be a certain amount of self-delusion working.  It is not noble. Such jobs are just plain meanness.