Roadrunner Afternoon

August 17, 2015 10:40 pm

When I looked out the front window, I thought at first that there was a very skinny rooster on the sidewalk eyeing our birdbath. No, it was a roadrunner. That’s not so unusual in Texas; but in suburban Austin, yes. The closest thing to open prairie or desert near us is the soccer field at the end of the street and the adjoining dirt dry water retention reservoir. Otherwise, it’s miles of three and four bedroomers partitioned by privacy fences warping and graying in the heat. I’m guessing that the 45 straight rainless days has piqued his thirst. Our modest birdbath must have sent out a moisture signal across the miles and he came running. Drink well, my long legged friend, I keep it filled for you and the doves, jays, sparrows, mockingbirds, cardinals, hummingbirds, squirrels,  dragonflies, wasps, bees and anyone else seeking relief from the drought.

Is the Moon Waxing or Waning?

July 31, 2015 3:11 pm

After leaving the ‘Testify – No One Believes Me’ theater event last night at the Spider House Ballroom, near the UT campus, we were walking in the brilliant light beaming from the full Blue Moon. Other attendees were walking past, chatting about the evening’s performances, discussing the show’s topics – growing up with cop parents, being a chunky male model, reinventing the truth about a grandmother’s suicide, pervasive racism, a subtle kidnapping and escape in Brazil. Lively chatter and laughter were coming from all the nearby bars and restaurants that were filled with students returning for the fall classes.

And there on the corner near where we had parked, two young men were having a very convivial conversation about whether the moon was waxing or waning and how to tell by using its position in relation to north and south. They turned and pointed up to different parts of the big Texas sky, deciding where was north and what that meant to the moon. All the while, the magnificent full moon lit them and the ground around them like a stage. It made us miss campus life just a little bit.

Peter Borders

July 4, 2015 2:23 pm


11540929_918770738190278_2938524188140919246_nThis is the story, in his own words, of the military service of my great-great-great-grandfather, Peter Borders, one of my Revolutionary War ancestors. He re-upped several times, even substituting for others, and near the end was taken prisoner of war and escaped. And he waited until he was 77 to claim a pension. This testimony comes from Southern Campaign American Revolution Pension Statements & Rosters,

“In 1833 in Allen County, KY, Peter Borders applied for a Military Pension as follows (Record in Washington D.C. is #19590):

On this the 8 July 1833, Pension Application, Peter Borders, age 77, and resident of Allen County, swore the following:

That he was born 4 January 1756 in Bucks County, PA. That he was living in Rowan County, NC, when he entered the service of the United States, that since the Revolutionary War he moved to Greenville County, SC, and from there to Tennessee, and that he now lives in Allen County, KY.

That in June or July 1778 he became a Private of militia infantry as a substitute for Peter Workman in Captain David Smith’s company and in General or Colonel Reatherford’s regiment. That he marched from Salisberry to the western part of the State against the Indians who were committing depredations on the frontier settlements. That after several partial engagements with the Indians, and having burned their villages and destroyed their corn, he marched back to Salisberry and was discharged in the latter part of September or first of October 1778. That he served not less than 3 months.

That in the Spring of 1780 he was drafted out of Captain Hetterick’s militia company in Rowan County, NC, and was placed as a Sergeant in Captain Wright’s company and Colonel McKifsick’s or McKusick’s regiment, that he marched from Salisberry to near Camden, and was in that battle, after which he retreated to Charlottesville and from thence to Salisberry where he was discharged in October 1780. That he served not less than 6 months.

That in February 1781 he again entered the service in Guilford County (his residence still being Rowan County) as a substitute for Adam Powers and served as a Private in Captain Jones’ company of horse and in Colonel or Major Blout’s regiment. That he marched to Guilford Courthouse and was in the battle fought there. That Captain Jones was killed and Captain George Smith took over the company which retired to the Iron Works and from thence to the neighborhood of Camden and to G_______ in South Carolina. That he served not less than 5 months.

That at G_______, SC, he enlisted as a Regular Soldier in August 1781 and served as Private in Captain Power’s company of Dragoons and in Colonel Washington’s regiment for not less than one month, when he was taken prisoner by the British at Eutaw Springs, SC, and that he escaped from there in the Summer of 1782 and made it to Dorchester where General Green gave him a discharge or permit to return home. That from the time he was taken prisoner until he obtained the permit or discharge from General Green was not less than 8 months.

He recapitulates his service as follows: I served not less than 3 months in 1778. I served not less than 6 months in 1780. I served not less than 5 months in 1781 as a substitute for Adam Powers and not less than one month as a Regular Soldier. I was detained as a prisoner of war by the British not less than 8 months. Making in all one year 11 months, and for such service I claim a pension.”