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Fifty years ago tomorrow a county wide election was held. May 4th was a hot and humid Saturday.  It was an important day to my family as my dad was up for re election for Hardin county tax assessor. It was a position dad had held with pride and distinction for 10 years.

He wanted one more four year term, then retire.  I would be out of school and he could garden.  The dye had been cast as far as he was concerned.  He worked hard, was fair and treated everyone equally. Dad expected the same from the citizens of Hardin county.

It is often a mistake to assume life is fair. Dad should have known better but the simple farm boy never seemed to grasp some fundamentals in life.  His opponent was a so called friend. Dad considered this action a betrayal.

This person whose name not worth mentioning had worked for my dad.  Dad hired him when no one else would.  It was a brutal turn of events and all the more shocking when dad lost the election.  The voters had gone to the polls and supported shame.

In retrospect the election was sealed a year before. Dad was scheduled to testify in court regarding land value. A federal judge visited our home with an offer of a bribe of $10,000.  Dad refused and the judge’s chilling words “You’ll  regret it. You’ll lose the election. We’ll see to that.”  They did, with the skill of a hired assassin.  They had the money and the know how.

Dad was too trusting for his own good. He learned voters can be fickle and loyalty fleeting.  The sage old saying expecting the world to be fair to you because you are a nice person is like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.

The year 1968 was terrible in many ways.  Dad’s loss just one of its sordid legacy.

The years moved on. Eight years later the tide had turned. The office of tax collector became available when cancer claimed the life of my dad’s former friend and employee.

The county judge and commissioner’s  court offered Dad his old job back. He thanked them but refused. He had gotten  use to a stress free life.

His garden was far more interesting than the tawdry world of Hardin county politics.

My mom use to say Dad would go to all his enemies funerals.  He did outlive many of his foes who sought to destroy him and his family

Dad died January 1, 2002. He rests next to Mama at Hooks  cemetery. His tombstone says it well, Public Servant.



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Kountze Korner

Forty years ago  May 11, 1976 will always be a part of my memory – and should be for anyone who lived in Houston, TX that day.

The day began like any other – partly cloudy.  High humidity – a Tuesday.  I was working for Hodge Mason Maps in the Greenway Plaza area.  A radio in the background alerted my boss and I to the unfolding disaster so close to us.  An ammonia truck had over turned and the area was covered in a lethal white cloud.  We could see the cloud from our office windows.  We were told to shelter in place.  

I lived very close to the carnage.  A quick call to my apartment manager confirmed the situation was dangerous however she had turned off the ac.  She encouraged me to stay where I was.  We did stay and little work was completed.  Houston had suffered a…

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March 8, 2018 · 3:59 am



Kountze Korner

Everyone has their memories of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  I sure do.  Here in Texas it was a sunny day.  I got up early and checked on my dad who had suffered a stroke earlier that year.  He was sleeping peacefully so I prepared coffee.  I went outside to retrieve the newspaper and to pet the dog.  Star’s nervous running alerted to the fact she was ready for her breakfast.  I fed the animals and settled in for a cup of coffee and my daily devotion.  The phone rang and disrupted my morning.  My brother Tom called and said to turn the tv on.  I did so and watched in horror as the world as we knew it changed.  Tom walked over from his home next door and together we viewed the unfolding drama and carnage of thousands.  As the first building fell Tom stated all those people have died…

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Kountze Korner

Last week-end my nephew and his wife welcomed their second daughter into this world.  Her last name is Bean.  She is the great-granddaughter of Willie and Eloise Bean who purchased five acres of land and a home shortly after their marriage in 1937.  

My parents raised three children in a home on the land – which fronts Highway 69.  Dad planted and harvested a handsome garden year after year.  Mama created many a tasty meal from the vegetables which the land produced.  As the progeny grew up and left the nest- grandchildren filled the old home.  Family celebrations continued.  Mama made an Easter bunny cake, many a yummy meal for Christmas and Thanksgiving.  Birthdays were celebrated as were anniversaries until age caught up with Mama and Daddy.

 Mom passed in 2000 and Daddy in 2002.  The halls became eerily quiet and the celebrations ceased.  My brother and his progeny…

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Kountze Korner

It may seem impossible to realize but 30 years ago the Challenger exploded soon after lift off and filled the skies with death.  I remember it well.

It was a sunny Tuesday morning.  I had opted to sleep in as I was off that day.  The sounds of my radio reminded me it was time to get up.  My two cats also crawled over my bed, over me.  Disc jockeys Lee Jolly and Chuck Schramick joked back and forth as they usually did in the morning.  They mentioned the space shuttle had ice hanging off the outsides.  The launch was postponed an hour.  Another song played and I pulled the covers over my head.  

The golden oldies song was interrupted.  Lee asked Chuck if he could hear ok?  Lee thumped his hand on the mic.  Then the news which created dread and sadness was announced.  The Challenger had exploded…

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