Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

December 21, 2010

Rach Family – Christmas Carols at Hemphill Care Center

Filed under: Hemphill Care Center — Freddie Keel @ 1:02 am










‘The Rach’s’ entertained residents and guest with Christmas carols on Sunday afternoon.

They did a super job  and everyone enjoyed their signing.

December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Dear (12/21)

Filed under: Family — Freddie Keel @ 10:27 pm


December 19, 2010

A Good Time had by All

Filed under: Family — Freddie Keel @ 8:21 pm

Our dysfunctional  family is evident in this photo

(notice Stephen on left)

(and Dave – third on left)


Or maybe it is just something in the water!

December 18, 2010


Filed under: Misc — Freddie Keel @ 1:17 am

Prior to running the table, prior to winning their last 10 games and capturing their first Super Bowl, the ’71 Cowboys believed divine intervention really might be playing a role in their season. How could they not believe? Tom Landry embodied the very definition of the word. And while Landry kept his personal business mostly private, he lived a very public life that exuded stoicism … self-assurance … belief … faith. His players saw these things on a daily basis.

In 1973, Landry’s spirituality was captured in comic-book form. Big pictures. Fast read. It’s simply titled: Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys by Billy Zeoli and Al Hartley. It sold for 35 cents. Landry agreed to the project because, after all, a comic book can reach young readers. And as a young person himself, Landry felt an “emptiness and restlessness inside” that nearly bankrupted his life. No matter how much Young Tom achieved … it was never enough for Young Tom. His internal strife, strangely enough, came during some of his greatest deeds on the football field. A whole cornucopia of achievements, awards and adulation came his way while he was at Mission High School, the University of Texas, then the New York Giants. The 32-page, full-color comic book starts and ends with an artist’s rendering of scenes from SB VI (Cowboys 24, Dolphins 3), and the locker-room celebration that followed. Lilly. Ditka. Staubach. Hayes. Morton. Niland. Harris. Panel by panel by panel … each one speaking in word balloons. Landry’s word balloons tell young readers to “never give up” …. “play by the rules.” Stuff like that. But central to the theme is Landry’s Christian faith, and how he found it. From chapel to champs “I remember that comic book. I think I have a copy around the house here somewhere,” said Calvin Hill, who played five seasons for Landry and became the Cowboys’ first 1,000-yard rusher. He also remembers Billy Zeoli, who was the team chaplain in the early ’70s. “Billy was an important a part of what happened to us that 1971 season,” Hill said. “We ended up winning the Super Bowl, but we were 4-3 at one point. Something definitely was missing: Confidence. Focus. Belief. All of the above. Chapel service, which was held before each game, became a bigger and bigger part of the ’71 season. Landry sat in with the players. He never missed. “Billy Zeoli was dynamic. Great personality. He was able to relate stories from the Bible to situations we were facing on the football field,” recalled Hill, who attended SMU’s Perkins School of Theology while with the Cowboys — and, on occasion, even dropped by Landry’s office after divinity class to share what he had just learned. “We had good discussions,” said Hill. “Sometimes, we disagreed.”

As for the comic book that captures the trials and tribulations of both the ’71 Cowboys and Landry’s life, Hill doesn’t doubt that the words and stories on these pages are authentic, because of Zeoli’s close involvement with Landry and the team. Landry’s ‘biggest victory’ Ditka’s 7-yard TD catch. Mike Clark boots the final point. A Cowboys cheerleader tosses her hat in the air. Inside the postgame locker room, No. 73, Ralph Neely, sums up all the kudos for Landry: “There’s something special about the man.”

The story line quickly shifts to Landry’s life. An unidentified man in a business suit stops Landry on the street. He tells the 33-year-old Landry, “Tom, I attend a Bible discussion group every Wednesday morning. How’d you like to join me?” Landry admits he wants to “say no,” but he knows the guy and agrees to try it. The study group meets at a hotel. “The biggest victory of my life took place on a street corner in Dallas in 1958,” says Landry, as he reveals his salvation seven pages into the comic book.

Landry had been raised in a church in the Rio Grande Valley. But these weekly group meetings suddenly apply scripture to daily life. “I missed out on a great deal during those first 33 years,” Landry tells his young readers. He’s most touched by the biblical parable of the foolish man who built his house on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). At this point, Landry feels the Bible talking directly to him. Time to quit football? The mind floods with memories of past achievements on the football field, as the comic book presses on. Team titles and individual accolades at Mission High School, followed by more of the same at UT (“We played in the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl, and won them both.”). He’s drafted to play in New York. He makes All-Pro as a defensive back. He becomes a player-coach. Then, the ’56 Giants win the NFL championship by beating the Chicago Bears 47-7 in what is Landry’s first season as a full-time defensive coach.

Yet, Thomas Wade Landry is unfulfilled. He becomes “really confused” and decides “maybe athletics were not the answer … so I began to make plans to leave football.” After all, he had college degrees in business and industrial engineering. He has an epiphany. His face peers out from Page 15: “I’d been standing on sand all these years.”

Much later, Gil Brandt, Cowboys’ longtime personnel man who knew Landry as well as anyone in the organization, learned that the genius of Landry was in his mathematical mind to design schemes and plays. “Tom always kept a slide rule in his desk,” Brandt said. “I never knew what for.” Looking back, in all probability, that slide rule was going with him, if Tom really had decided to leave football before he could sign on with the ’60 expansion Cowboys for the next 29 seasons.

What had gotten Landry through his moment of doubt? A chance meeting on a street corner in Dallas in 1958. God, family, football Landry was religious without knocking you over the head with religion. “Nobody thought Tom Landry was perfect,” Calvin Hill said. “He was mortal and fallible like the rest of us … [but] he was earnest in his faith. I don’t think anybody could disagree with that.”

At the start of each season, Landry carefully laid out team rules, fines, goals, down-and-distance situations … along with an affirmation of his own priorities. “I had the sense that Coach Landry would use his faith in God to sum everything up. It was ‘God, family, football.’ Everybody else had different goals, but those were his goals.”

In the ’73 comic book, Landry tells of his early life when “football was really my religion.” Seven pages later, he says: “Football was no longer my religion. And I stopped playing games with God.” Landry became a football coach/father figure to many of his players. “He was patient with us. Oh, was he patient,” recalled Frank Clarke, the team’s first big-play receiver who carved out an eight-year career with the Cowboys after floundering on the bench for three seasons in Cleveland. Under Landry, Clarke felt the patience of Job. Until Sept. 9, 1961 — Cowboys vs. 49ers at Sacramento in the final game of the exhibition season. This became Clarke’s defining moment as a pro football player. “Coach Landry called me to his room at the team hotel. We were playing later that night,” Clarke said. “He told me, ‘I have a feeling that you can be a really outstanding football player, but I don’t think you know that yet. Frank, I’m at a place where I need to get my players together that I can count on.” And with that, Landry said: “It’s time, Frank. You’ve got to produce.” That night against the 49ers, Clarke ran a crossing route early in the game. Don Meredith delivered a high pass over the middle. Clarke went up, took the hit … and came down with the ball. No one was more surprised than Clarke. “It dawned on me while I was on my back that I didn’t drop it,” Clarke recalled. “That was the moment that I knew I could be a good NFL player … and I attribute it all to Coach Landry talking to me in his room earlier that day.”

The Landry doctrine Perhaps a comic book really is a strange place to find out what a man is feeling in his heart. Basically, Landry wants his young readers to believe anything is possible as long as you remain grounded in your faith. Hard work is mandatory. Winning should be the objective. But losing can make you stronger, too. “I think, in a very real sense,” Landry says on Page 19, “some of the defeats of my life have been more important than the victories.”

Interestingly, his thoughts on prayer in sports are also covered in the comic book. “I’m not saying God directly intervenes in an athletic contest, although He certainly could if it were important to His plan,” Landry says. “But … indirectly … [faith in God] gives you power to cope and to achieve your potential.”

Epilogue Efforts to contact Billy Zeoli were unsuccessful. He’s thought to be living in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he has worked in gospel media. He once served as White House chaplain for Gerald Ford.

Co-collaborator Al Hartley died in 2003. Zeoli and Hartley wrote at least two comic books: Hello, I’m Johnny Cash in addition to Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys. Super Bowl VI was a logical place around which to build the Landry story, since this was a benchmark for the franchise and their coach. After this game, the Cowboys were “Next Year’s Champions” no more. Zeoli and Hartley assign the final few panels of the comic book to Landry, who suggests a simple prayer and informs young readers that while a “Super Bowl trophy is a great award” … the gift of faith is even greater. Landry says in closing, “That’s what life is really all about.”

December 17, 2010

talk about a big pig!

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 9:12 pm

I tried to convince my grandsons that this pig came from the land adjacent to our hunting area, but the really big pig got away and headed toward our hunting land so be ready while we are walking to the hunting blind prior to daylight or after dark.


December 16, 2010

nice toledo bend crappie

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 8:18 am

December 15, 2010

On the Bright Side – 12/15/10 – Mary Howell

On The Bright Side

Mary Howell

In a recent edition of “60 Minutes” I heard Andy Rooney share memories of special gifts that he had received during his childhood years.  This commentary brought memories to my mind about some unforgettable gifts that I received during my lifetime.

When I was four years old, I asked my sister, Clara, to write a letter to Santa Claus and even accompanied her to the old Hemphill post office which was then located on the old courthouse square between Parker Drug Store and Cavey Woods Barber Shop.  I made sure my sister dropped my Santa Claus letter in the mail slot. To my surprise, my letter appeared in the pages of the Sabine County Report the next week.

My mother and daddy always made Christmas special for Jane, Clara and me.  They enjoyed playing Santa and got a special joy of seeing our faces on Christmas morning.

My most memorable Christmas morning was when I walked in to the living room and saw three teddy bears sitting at a red table which was set with play dishes complete with cookies and milk.

Jane remembers receiving a shiny bicycle when she was in the second grade.  Bicycles were really special for young girls to receive from Santa Claus.

Clara’s precious Christmas memory was the year she received a baby doll with a complete wardrobe of hand-made doll clothes from Santa. She remembers our mother quickly putting away her sewing basket at different times before Christmas eve.

Christmas is all about giving and not receiving.  The joy of the season comes when I give gifts to my family and friends.  Gifts do not need to be expensive.  They can just be simple expressions of love and friendship.  A Christmas card and a cheery note can brighten the day for a friend that we may not see for several years.

A plate of homemade cookies or Christmas fudge brightens the season for those who take the time to make and to those who receive the treats.

Christmas is a time when we remember that God gave the greatest Christmas gift of all when He sent His son, Jesus, into the world to bring life, love, joy and peace.  Let us not forget that Jesus is the “Reason for the Season”.  I pray that each and every one have a blessed Christmas.  Let us thank God for Jesus.

December 15, 2010


December 14, 2010

Natural Gas Compressor Station in Sabine County?



I’m over my head when trying to describe this facility.

I’ll call it a natural gas processing plant or compressor station.

It is located on the s/s Hwy 21 in Sabine County, Texas.

December 13, 2010

more cold weather crappie

Filed under: Fishing & Hunting — Freddie Keel @ 8:23 pm

It must have been 25* about 7am this morning as I motoring to the crappie.

They were waiting on me.

Kept 25 nice crappie.

Largest weighed slightly more than 2.25 pounds.

December 12, 2010

Pendleton Golf Winners for December 2010

Filed under: Buddies — Freddie Keel @ 9:43 pm

This team of sand baggers waxed the field in the Pendleton Harbor Golf Scramble for December 2010.  Tom Shoemaker was the worst sand bagger of the bunch, then Kevin Dutton with a 20 handicap(ha), Honest George Johnson and finally One Eyed D. C. West the only golfer with a certified game. Ah probably just sour grapes on my part as being on a losing team.  Wait til next year is our chant.

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