Gary Borders

Gary Borders has been an East Texas journalist and editor for more than 30 years. He is currently the editor and publisher of the Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune and also writes online each week at garyborders.com.

During his career Gary has taught journalism at Kilgore College and served as editor and publisher of newspapers in Longview, Lufkin, Nacogdoches and San Augustine. He began writing a column in 1982 and has written at least once weekly since without fail, though there are quite a few he would like to take back. The New York Times News Service distributed his column nationally from 1995 through 2009. His pieces have been published in the Detroit Free Press, Miami Herald, Austin American-Statesman, Palm Beach Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and — his personal favorite — the Maui News.

Borders has published two collections of columns, the “Loblolly Chronicles” in 2010 and “Behind and Beyond the Pine Curtain” in 2005. The University of Texas Press published “A Hanging in Nacogdoches” in 2006, his account of a brutal murder in 1902 in the state’s oldest town, and the trial that followed. He is currently researching another book, but is nowhere close to being finished.

Borders and his wife, Dr. Julie Teel-Borders, a professor at LeTourneau University, live in Longview with their daughter, Abbie, a freshman at Longview High School. He also has two grown daughters, about whom he has been writing columns since Ronald Reagan was president. They have long ceased to be embarrassed about it, though Abbie protests occasionally.

I drove by the old S&H Green Stamp store on High Street in Longview the other day, on the way to taking Sam the Dog to the veterinarian for routine vaccinations. One has to have been on this planet a while to remember S&H Green Stamps. But I bet many of you reading this at least remember your moms collecting the stamps, even if you did not personally do so.

Let us pause a moment to acknowledge the death of America’s most famous headline writer. Vincent Musetto died Tuesday from cancer at 74 at his home in the Bronx. He was retired from the New York Post, famed for its screaming and often outlandish headlines.

Newspaper offices and trains have gone hand-in-hand throughout my checkered career. This current gig is no exception.

We moved our office downtown last August, on my birthday. It was not my intent to celebrate the final year of my sixth decade on this planet by sweating profusely and risking back injury while moving desks, filing cabinets and the like. But that is how it worked out. Football season was set to begin the following Friday, and I wanted us settled in our new digs before that commenced.

The opening scene of the first episode of “Newsroom” is vivid. Jeff Daniels portrays anchor Will McAvoy, who is seated at a panel discussion in a university auditorium. A student asks, “What makes America the greatest country in the world?”

Others on the panel respond with the usual patter about freedom and the American way. McAvoy tries to avoid answering the question. But the moderator keeps pressuring him to respond, and he finally does. It is a tough scene to watch. McAvoy replies,“It’s not the greatest country in the world, professor. That’s my answer.”

In the course of a recent day, I did the following:

• While driving to work, listened to music stored on my phone and played by some miracle on my vehicle’s stereo through Bluetooth technology.

• Bought tickets to an upcoming Red Sox – Rangers game and stored the tickets on my phone. When we get to the ballpark, all I had to do is let the person at the turnstile scan my phone screen.

• Watched video on my laptop of B.B. King playing “The Thrill is Gone” in a tribute after his death.

It was a lovely night for a rodeo, the storm clouds dancing around the area but never landing, a sweet spring breeze wafting through. The nearly incessant rain of previous weeks meant the dusty haze that usually fills rodeo arenas was absent. The Mount Pleasant Rodeo was kicking off its 51st year.

The Mayor of Bluesville is dead. B.B. King, the legendary guitarist and singer died in his sleep May 14 at age 89.

We celebrated our nephew Connor’s 10th birthday in a time-honored East Texas manner: grilling hamburgers, pitching washers — and plinking balloons and Diet Coke cans with pellet guns. The clan sat outside on a Saturday afternoon enjoying a rare respite from the incessant rains.

Since the party was at our house in a quiet subdivision, we had to settle for pellet guns and leave the heavy ordnance in the gun safes. Previous family get-togethers out in the country have allowed us to indulge in another Pine Curtain tradition: Blowing Stuff Up.

When “A Prairie Home Companion” first went on the air, Richard Nixon was a month away from being run out of the Oval Office. “Annie’s Song” by John Denver topped the pop charts. The Ford Pinto and the Plymouth Valiant were the best-selling cars in America, and the median price of a home in America was $37,400. It was July 1974, and Garrison Keillor and his troupe took the stage for about a dozen people in the audience in Saint Paul, Minn.

I wrote a few months back about getting rid of stuff so that my daughters or wife do not have to go through the arduous task of doing so after I’m gone. Both my wife and I had to help dispose of our parents’ possessions after their deaths.

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