Thursday, September 13, 2018

Living in amazing Baytown Texas!

 FLASH/CRACK/BANG! My bride and I both stood in shock realizing the bolt of lightning hit way too close for comfort. We were in our living room and I cautiously walked over and looked through my front door window. I was sure I would see destructive evidence of the bolt of electricity, but no. Nothing. No fire, no confusion... no confirmation, or so I thought.

Back about 25 years or so ago, I transplanted 5 Kenefick area loblolly pine trees in my yard and anywhere else I could put a tree. Back then Chaparral Village had an rental exodus, as homes here sold and the street I live on had a lot of foliage-free lots and many vacancies. I began offering trees to anyone who would plant one. Some I dug up in the forest around Livingston and others I got from the city's free tree give away program. Needless to say, I planted close to 30 trees here in Chaparral Village.

Imagine my surprise when talking to my neighbor Jerry LeCompte, when he pointed at his loblolly and there is a great lightning bolt groove down the trunk of the tree almost 2 inches wide. He explained he was just opening the door on his Jeep when the instantaneous blast of electricity went through the tree next to him. If I remember right, the power intrusion knocked out some stuff in his house and maybe his Jeep. It goes without saying that Jerry came very close to being incinerated. What a memory he has to pass along.

I recently rescued an Eastern box turtle while participating in the memorial walk for Sam Wingate. It was in the middle of El Chaco Drive and I don't think for one second a resident there would harm it, but someone not paying attention could run over it, so I intervened. I took it about a mile and turned it over to the local turtle whisperer. Yes, he now has 4 in his spacious backyard and as amazing as it sounds, he calls to them with breakfast and they all come to the patio to feed.

This all began a few years ago when his pet dog died and his bride asked that it be their last dog. I can't imagine life without dogs, but he did the next best thing when a lone box turtle crawled under his fence. Well, since this day, 2 more have came along and he had a wooden fence installed. Some would claim this was cruel, but these turtles are living in relative safety and security and each have been named. I asked what he would call it and he said his granddaughter would get the honor. I'll have to get back to you on what she chose.

Walking the Blue Heron Park trail has became a staple for many and isn't without the sharing of information and the gradual mitigation of constant litter and the group slowly catches on that picking up trash not only gives you ab work, but makes the trail and street look nicer. Baytown Parks Super Dustin Schubert has agreed we need a trash can at Barkuloo and Blue Heron Parkway and it will probably be installed at the end of the trail coming behind Chaparral Village. Stick-carrying Mike Williams not only paid a couple of grand to have 2 benches installed, but he is out and about like clockwork each morning at an estimated pace of 4 miles per hour. We exchange information about litter and the current number of walkers and move on.

Jose is a colorful Hispanic man of about 70 who jogs from Baker Road to JC Holloway Park and back nearly every day and is a walking/talking/jogging machine who always shares an interesting tidbit or two. We shared information on the American persimmon tree on the sidewalk close to N. Main Street. Persimmons are like seed-filled candy when ripe and if you pull lightly on the fruit and it drops into your hand, it is ready to eat. Better hurry though, as they are ripe. Each fruit has 6 seeds and they can be planted, but understand it will be 5-6 years before you have fruit.

I bet your neighborhood has similar characters out and about and the only way to meet them is to get outside. What better place to be than right in your neighborhood getting exercise and talking to neighbors? Grab an empty grocery sack and hit the trail. It'll benefit your abs and you might just meet one of the most interesting people of your life.


Anonymous said...


I enjoy reading your column in the Sun so keep up the good work. While reading today's article about your encounters along the Blue Heron Trail I noted a misspelling of J.C. Hollaway park. Mr John C.. Hollaway, a long time business man in Goose Creek and Baytown, was my wife's uncle. He and Aunt Ozelle were salt of the earth citizens, and their three children, who are now senior citizens, still reside in Baytown. Sometimes it helps to know the person behind the name in order to fully appreciate how landmarks get named.


Ernie F. Battle
Lufkin, TX

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your Thursday column today. Keep up the good work. BG

. . . . . said...

Note: I spoke to the turtle whisperer today and he said the new turtles name is Shorty.

Anonymous said...

Mike Williams

10:39 PM (7 hours ago)

to me
Hey, Bert,
I appreciated your mention of me in your Sun column today. It's good that you are getting the word out about our nice little park and trails, as well as the interesting variety of people who are morning regulars--"the usual suspects,"as I call them--who use it. I know that there are many other park regulars at different times of the day, particularly in the late afternoon, when I have many times seen the parking lot full when driving by. Once the weather cools, I plan to vary my walk times occasionally to meet some of them.
Please let me know if there is ever any movement to organize BHP users into some sort of informal support group to make recommendations about adding some of the features you and I have talked about. I would like to participate in something like that.
I'll see you on the trail.

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