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May 22, 1997

Letter from the editor:

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I have about two dozen old friends and acquaintances I try to keep
track of, whether it be with an annual phone call, a letter or as is
becoming more common, e-mail.

One is a high school buddy named Noble Wagnon. After graduating from
Texas A&M, Noble went to work in the oil patch until everything went
south a few years ago. It had been a while since I had talked to Noble.

When I talked to him last week, I specifically avoided asking him about
what he was doing for work now. I figured I would just let him bring up
the subject. We talked about old friends and I told of those I have seen
over the past few years.

He told of several friends he had seen in the course of his job over in
Breckenridge. After one particularly good story about someone he bumped
into, I finally broke down and asked him where he was working now.

"I'm a prison guard for TDC."

This summer, the Monahans News will be looking for weekend getaways.
Come'on neighbors, let's rid ourselves of a few of those "best kept
secret" spots where we go to unwind from our day-to-day existence.

Camping, boating, sight-seeing, dining, historical significance... let
the Monahans News share some of your favorite spots with our readers
this summer. All that we ask is that the destination be someplace within
"comfortable" driving distance for a three-day weekend. If possible,
please provide us with details about where to stay, where to eat, what
to do, where to shop, etc.

Try not to be too general. We all know that Big Bend National Park is
great, but where specifically are the best places to go and why. Whether
it be expensive or cheap, rustic or refined, off the beaten path or in
the middle of the big city... write us and tell us your favorite place.

If I receive a good response to this modest request, we will publish
some weekend getaway pages this summer... in July... when it's soooooo
hot the rattlesnakes will crawl into a fire just to get in the shade of
a skillet.

I am pleased and proud to announce that Jerome Curry has been asked to
serve on the board of the Friends of the Sandhills State Park. Before
any other groups rush in and try to snag some of his time, be
forewarned... Jerome only gives his volunteer time to projects he
believes in strongly.

You have been warned.

I've a scamp in my house who is 8 years old. I'm considerably more
mature than him, so I should have known better last Saturday than to
scamper after him up the side of the Million Barrel Tank during the
Great Annual Fajita Cookoff Saturday.

With a belly-full of fajitas and cold beverage, I decided I would go up
the side of the tank and discipline my middle son. I almost made it.

My descent began on my right elbow for a few feet until I switched to
my left elbow, then one knee and the other... thank goodness the skid
was not that far or fast. Later, a cookoff official politely informed me
climbing the tank was not allowed. Thank you.

Monahans' Well

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By Jerry Curry

About a thousand years ago this Spring I was graduated from high school.
You'll notice the proper use of the verb there. We worried about such
things a thousand years ago. Listen up now. You are about to receive an
English lesson. You do not graduate from high school. You are graduated
from high school. You don't understand. I was afraid of that.
Based on a contemporary student of my acquaintance who is said to have
a straight "A" average at an alleged institution of higher learning
(read that University of Texas), I am not surprised. The contemporary
student to which I refer has trouble with knowing what a verb is. But
there is some hope. I have conversed with three or four current Monahans
High School students who are graduating next week. I am here to announce
that all of them understood what I was talking about in that first
paragraph of this essay. Further they all know what a verb is. None of
them is a straight "A" student, which shows there is hope for the
American system of public education.
As I was saying, I was graduated from high school, no matter what you
may think. I wondered then why the graduation ceremonies were called
commencement because commencement begins the beginning, not the ending
which is what graduation really is. A pedagogue I once read argued that
graduation ceremonies are called commencement because they mark the
beginning of new life. I said then and I say now that the argument thus
made is as valid as Snow in July. I suspect that somewhere back there
abut the Nihilistic Age, some straight "A" student from the University
of Texas prepared the program for a high school graduation and, because
he was a straight "A" student from the University of Texas, called the
graduation, commencement.
Now I do not want to receive a tornado of calls from University of Texas
alumni who will maintain they know the difference between graduation and
commencement. I am making these comments because anyone who thinks
steers is a synonym for longhorn needs more help than I could reasonably
offer. I do wonder about such people having the gall (or ignorance) to
tell scurrilous lies about graduates of Texas A&M University. It's
probably jealousy. If you don't know the definition of steer, it is
highly likely you're a straight "A" student at the University of Texas,
perhaps even something worse. Who might say? Only God knows.
In the next week and the week following, there will be many high school
graduations (commencements) and at nearly everyone someone will say that
the assembled graduates are there to leave their footprints on the sands
of time, or that those assembled graduates will leave a legacy that will
live forever, or that these assembled graduates are poised for that
great leap forward into the next golden age, or that these assembled
graduates will prove to be better than their parents because at least
some of them know the difference between steer and longhorn.
All of these boring platitudes simply are not so.
What this group of graduates are is pretty good people. Some of them
will go on too great things. Some will not. Most of them will be
mediocre, which is not all that bad.
Being mediocre, right now, as I near the sixth decade of my life, seems
to be a pretty good option. My goal now probably is to be mediocre.
Mediocre might be a synonym for maturity. I would like to grow up then
before I reach 60 years old.
Some of those kids graduating out there are going to be just like me and
they, like me, probably are going to wonder if they ought to grow up by
the time they hit 60.
Happy Graduation all you who will be commenced in the weeks ahead.

Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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