BACULITES AND LITTLE LEAGUE, AUGUST 21, 2014, #1346

Many people living within a few miles of North Sulphur don’t appreciate the fossil treasures which abound there. Understandably, not every person is interested in the same thing, but for those interested in fossils, North Sulphur is a place some paleontologists drive hundreds of miles to visit. For as long as I can remember I have looked in channel gravel for sharks’ teeth. Thousands of years ago this part of Texas was under water and many kinds of ocean animals left their fossils. While searching for shark teeth I would sometimes find other fossils such as some that looked like backbones. Only during my college years did I find they were not vertebrae but parts of the shell of animals called mollusks that include the octopus, squid, and snail.

Imagine a long, straight, sharp horn of an antelope, not the pronghorn. Baculites are the kind of mollusks that had a shell resembling one of those horns. When the horn shape was found intact it is sometimes called a walking stick rock. The “horns” have sections separated by crooked grooves called sutures. Sometimes the sections separate and resemble a joint out of a backbone. While we visited Carol and Junior last week Carol showed me one of those sections she thought was a vertebra. About as big around as a quarter and a quarter inch thick. All I could remember was it was not a backbone. To be sure I called John Silman who teaches about fossils in his eighth grade classes. He quickly refreshed my memory about the baculites. Search the internet for North Sulphur fossils and see gobs of pictures of those like you might find in North Sulphur or in roads/driveways made of its gravel.

Last week I got a call from The Cooper Review to stop by next time in town. They had a picture for me. At the office I found an 8 by 10 that classmate Larry Whitlock left for me. It showed our 1955 Indian Little League team. I never remember seeing one before. Jean and I recognized about half of the fifteen players. Larry said our coaches were Joe Daniels and Jerry Simpson, the Charleston Jerry Simpson. For some reason I only remembered having Harry Ward as a coach. Larry said he was the coach in 1956.

See if you know any of the players shown in the accompanying picture. Front row. Danny Kesler, Fred Little, Gerald Lawler, Benny Brack McDonald, Pete Yarborough, Jimmy Waters. Back row. Eddie Trapp, Eddie Wheeler, Gene Patterson, David Poteet, Jimmy Ainsworth, Randy Poteet, Larry Whitlock, Randall Choate, and Lester Worden. I sure look small in the picture but was only nine years old. What were the age requirements back then? A few years ago Hoyt Kennemer and I hunted north of Honey Grove on land owned by a Pete Yarborough. The same Pete on the 1955 Indians?

Jean recently had left knee replacement and as I sat in a waiting room in Paris I read several magazines. One I found interesting was Texas Monthly that had an article about the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo. Figuring the subject needed exploring I went to the internet. The restaurant opened in 1960 on Route 66 but moved to Interstate 40 in 1970. One of the main attractions is the Big Texan Challenge. If you can eat a four and a half pound steak and the trimmings in an hour’s time you get it free. When you go in you tell them you want to try the challenge. You pay $72 and if you finish the big steak you get your money back.

As of March, 2011, 50,000 people had tried the challenge with only 8800 successful. For twenty one years Frank Pastore held the record with a time of 9.5 minutes. Competitive eating champ, Joey Chestnut broke that record with a time of 8:52. In May, 2014, twenty five year old Molly Schuyler that weighs 125 pounds broke the record with the unbelievable time of less than five minutes. After only a few minutes’ rest she asked for another. Both were finished in a total time of 14:57. That’s nine pounds of meat, two baked potatoes, and salad in less than fifteen minutes. See the amazing video of this feat on You Tube. Warning. It is not a good video for kids in table manners training. She eats with her hands and keeps her head down right in the plate almost. She can be beat though if you open the contest to wild animals. A Siberian tiger ate one of the 72 ounce steaks in ninety seconds.

At home before I started to school I learned to take turns and not talk while someone else was talking. In school additional life skills were learned such as lining up. We lined up to go to recess. We lined up to come in from recess. We lined up to go to lunch. We lined up to come in from lunch. Shall I go on? The point is, what happens to that learning when reporters attend a press conference? Our country is supposed to be one of the most advanced in the world but how I cringe as everyone tries to ask a question at once. A suggestion: At the door have a big pile of 3 X 5 note cards. The cards are shuffled and spread out face down with a number on the front. A reporter picks a card as he/she goes in and has to wait their turn to ask a question. When it comes your turn you hold up your card and show it is your turn. Figure ahead of time how many questions will be allowed and only number that many cards. This card system would sure make us look a little more civilized in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Places to go department. September 12-13 at Longview Convention Center will be the Annual T Bone Walker Blues Festival.

A man was touring a winery and fell in a big vat of wine. His wife came and asked some of the crowd if her husband suffered before he drowned. One guy told her, “Naw, he got out four times to go to the bathroom.”
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