Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
July 30, 1998
By Jerry Curry
Once upon a time, a great man (Edward Teller. Look him
up.) said to me:
"Verily, verily I say unto you. 'If you don't tooteth
your own horn, ain't nobody going to tooteth it for you."
The occasion was one of those hotel interviews where
enterprising reporters catch unsuspecting targets looking
bleary-eyed into their first cup of coffee about dawn.
This little quote I scribbled in a notebook that morning
many years ago seems particularly apropos this week in
Monahans, in Ward County. We've got some world class horn
players in this little town.
It's time to toot.
It's time to howl.
Monahans High School's Big Green Band may not be the best
that ever played its way into, through and over a state
level competition but they'll do , they'll do.
They rode out of the desert, technologically speaking,
across the Great Comanche War Trail and swept across Texas.
Because this group of horn players is basically too modest
to brag, I decided I would do it for them. They are not
responsible for any bragging I do on them.
Director Tony Gibbs and associates John Zalman, Mike Glaze
and Mike Eckerty took this band of Lobo musicians and
earned the 1998 Texas AAA State Honor Band Award.
For the uninitiated, that means State Champs.
That means the best there is.
That means continuing a tradition of Monahans High School
Say it again. It rolls off the tongue with a mellow slide.
Tony Gibbs probably would be the first to note the reason
for the state honors is the musicians. They, of course,
would say the reason for the state honors is Tony Gibbs. I
believe both are right.
This concert band is comprised of a group of Gibbs-led hard
working, talented young musicians who just might, if the
chips fall right, do a lot more after high school than they
do in high school.
This will not be the high point of their lives. But it will
be one of the high points. I promise there will be more.
These musicians already were the best concert group in the
state. Gibbs and his associate directors knew that. Their
friends and relatives knew that. The whole of Monahans knew
that. Anyone who has heard them play knew that. More
importantly, the musicians themselves knew it, although the
great majority are too shy, or too diplomatic, to say it out
What happened then was a validation of what most of us
already knew but it's nice to know the whole state agrees
with us. It is a certification, of the quality that can be
produced by combing hard work and talent. Talent is nice.
Hard work is better. It is an intense combination of the
two seasoned with a little magic that makes a champion in
anything. Magic comes from tradition and leadership,
leadership in this case from Tony Gibbs and his team of
directors, from their talent and from their dedication to
the talent and work of their charges.
In this year, in 1998, Tony Gibbs and the Lobo High School
Concert Band are nearly complete. After the celebration,
after just looking at the wall for a few hours and being
proud (even if they do not say it out loud), the work gets
harder and the dedication more intense. When you're the
best and intend to remain the best, that's reality.
And you do need to tooteth your own horn once in a while.
AP story off base
Until the past few months and the Saga of the Meteorite 7 in
Monahans, we absolutely never thought the Associated Press
was a devotee of an axiom first proclaimed, we believe, by
the Original William Randolph Hearst: "Never let the facts
get in the way of a good story."
But, even after earlier correction by this newspaper and
others, the Associated Press is not getting this story of
the seven kids who found the space rock right. The AP
persists in telling the tale of a city government crazed
with power (the City of Monahans) and how this power mad
city government attempted to steal the meteorite from the
kids. Good story, except, it did not happen.
We say again. The City Council of Monahans absolutely never
refused to give Monahans 98-I back to the kids. In its only
action on the meteorite, the Council voted unanimously to
give the kids the rock.
Let us look at how wrong the Associated Press has been in
reporting the Meteorite 7 story. We will focus only on the
latest AP dispatch, a report on the internet auction of
M98-I last weekend.
The AP - "In March, firefighters took the soccer ball-sized
meteor from the front of the Lyles home so it could be
studied. They promised it would be returned as long as NASA
determined it was not radioactive."
FACT - M98-I is about the size of the fist of the editor of
the Monahans News, a fist that is not comparable to the size
of any competition soccer ball, not even those used in the
Under 6 youth leagues. In space, the rock is a meteor. When
it hits planet surface, it is a meteorite. M98-I fell in a
vacant lot close to the Lyles home and could be said to
have fallen in front of the Lyles' home only by the wildest
stretch of the definition of "front." A comparable use of
words might be: "New Mexico is in front of Monahans City
Hall." Police officers took custody of the rock, not
firefighters. There is no documentation of any kind that any
official ever was afraid of or said anything about the
possibility of radioactivity.
The AP - ". . .when the family asked the city to return it,
the mayor sent a letter politely declining. The material, he
said, was city property."
FACT - Mayor David Cutbirth did not send a letter to the
Meteorite 7 or their parents about the issue, polite or
otherwise. Still, if the mayor had sent a letter, we are
certain it would have been polite; so we might be able to
say the AP might have been almost right in their reference
to "polite" - if the mayor had sent a letter, which he
didn't. Meteorite 7 spokesman Orlando Lyles says he has no
idea what the AP means because no such letter was written.
It means something is awry in what once was an icon of
journalistic credibility and integrity.
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Joe Warren, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.