Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
By Peggy McCracken
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
back rain memories
While doing research for my memoirs, I found some photos of the 1950
flood that washed out the bridge on a river between Quitaque and
Flomot. Also a newspaper clipping of Leon and his friends who rafted
down the river while it was at flood stage. Last week when rain fell
for several days, I was beginning to think we might have another such
We have had some big rains in my 51 years in Pecos, and two of them
flooded the town. The first came in 1973 after a general rain that fell
steadily for 11 days. The whole country was saturated, and there was no
place for the water to go. Even the shallow aquifer filled to
overflowing, and water oozed from the ground for weeks afterward.
It was on a Sunday that flooding reached its peak. Water was pouring
out of fields, gushing down barrow ditches, overflowing creek banks,
making canals of streets, and invading homes.
I was managing editor for the Enterprise, so I grabbed a camera,
enlisted my husband as driver, and we headed out to record the
phenomenon for the Enterprise and for the history books. Everyone on
the staff who could handle a camera had the same idea, as did Alton
Hughes, who was writing a historical column for us at the time.
As a result, Monday's paper had full coverage of the flood, and our
picture page helped win the team effort award that year in the
Associated Press Managing Editor's contest.
I had retired as managing editor and was writing for the San Angelo
Standard-Times about 10 years later, when we had another 11-day rain. I
heard on the scanner that a wall of water was heading for Pecos from
the mountains to the west and called my editor to warn him that
flooding was imminent. He sent a columnist and a reporter to help me
Again, Leon took the wheel while I operated the camera, and we got
some outstanding pictures. My story and photo appeared on the front
page of the Standard-Times, and I was able to follow up with some
One involved the late Sheriff Raul Florez, the most colorful
character I dealt with in my tenure as a reporter and editor. One of
the rumors coming out of the flood was that the bridge over the Pecos
River near Mentone had washed out.
I had been to Mentone during the height of the flooding, and the
river wasn't even up much at that point. But to satisfy my editors, who
had heard the rumor, I asked Sheriff Florez if the bridge had washed
"No, the bridge was not washed out," Florez said. "Me and Ras (DPS
Sgt. Melton Rasberry) were up there, and if the bridge had washed out,
you would find my drawers in the Imperial Reservoir."
Knowing my editors at the Standard-Times, I changed the word
"drawers" to "pants," and the quote survived the cutting board.
I didn't enjoy covering the floods, despite the good stories and
pictures they provided. However, I think covering the drought that has
lasted more than 10 years has been worse.
After the Quitaque flood, the whole state of Texas was dry for the
next 10 years, evoking a plethora of stories. San Angelo's Elmer Kelton
wrote, "The Day It Never Rained" to chronicle the suffering of ranchers
and farmers during that decade.
We at West Park Baptist Church sing a "rain" song every once in
awhile as a prayer for God's intervention in our drought situation. The
Sunday before it started, we sang "Showers of Blessing," so are taking
the credit. You ranchers can send your donations to our treasurer,
"We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself
intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." Romans 8:26b,
EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is the business manager of the
Pecos Enterprise whose column appears every third Tuesday of the month.
She can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nuking Hiroshima was a good thing
The Enola Gay exhibit opened up at the National Air and Space Museum
last month amid a chorus of whining from the weenies of the world.
The Enola Gay is the B-29 Super Fortress heavy bomber that dropped
the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945. That bomb, along with the
one dropped on Nagasaki, ended the war.
So, why are the weenies whining?
Because the exhibit fails to mention that the bomb killed more than
140,000 Japanese civilians.
For once, I agree with the weenies - at least in part.
Peter Kuznick, a professor at American University, backed by the
likes of Oliver Stone, is leading this charge of the Light Weenie
If it had been up to Pete and Oliver, we would not have used nukes
to end the war.
Of course, the Weenie Brigade is also opposed to nuclear power in
general, a United States that does not kowtow to the would-be socialist
world government known as the United Nations, eating red meat, moms,
baseball and apple pie.
It really chaps this crowd that we should display this killing
machine in any way that makes America, the plane, and the men that flew
her look good.
They want to use it as a pulpit to preach their no-nukes, America is
evil, socialist Europe that brought us the horrors of two world wars is
wonderful, no one is responsible for their own actions, blather.
In their history book Japan is the poor victim of capitalist America
rather than the devil that killed over 1,000 Americans in a sneak
attack on Pearl Harbor and who then waged war in a manner so brutal it
would make an Apache warrior blush.
Well, like I said, I agree with the weenies on this one.
On one point.
I agree completely that the display of the Enola Gay replica should
mention the 140,000+ Japanese lives taken that day.
It should do so proudly.
If it were up to me I would paint 140,000 stick figures on the
fuselage under the cockpit with x's over them, just like our boys did
for missions flown, aircraft shot down, etc...
I am cruel and heartless, right?
Maybe. But I have known a lot of men who were sitting on islands and
boats across the Pacific waiting for that final invasion. I have read
about the Japanese preparations and listened to firsthand accounts of
what our boys would have faced when the ramps went down on the landing
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the Publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at: email@example.com
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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