Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
Oct. 29, 1998
By Rebecca Jones
If you discovered you had only a day left to live, what
would you do?
This is a question you've probably been asked before, and
one that your brain undoubtedly flung in the
stupid-hypothetical-questions file. After all, you say to
yourself, that kind of situation doesn't happen in real
life. Either you die or you don't; nobody gets a 24-hour
notice in advance.
Well, maybe you're right. But if you stop and think about
it, none of us are guaranteed another day, another sunrise.
There's no written contract that states you will live to see
age 94. So why not go ahead and seize today as if it were
Go on, do it. Call up the love of your life, be it your
spouse or seventh grade boyfriend, and tell them how much
you love them. Paint your living room fire-engine red, and
hey, while you're at it, dye your hair red too. Make peace
with your enemies, and wear roses in your hair.
That's all very nice, I can hear you say, but I've got
obligations. I've got to work untold hours a day and cook
sensible dinners and read the paper every morning. Well, no
one's telling you to quit all those things (especially
reading the paper- definitely don't quit that), but to
paraphrase H. Jackson Brown, no one on their deathbed says,
"I should've spent more time at the office."
So I say, make this day, and every day, something
extraordinary. Seize it and embrace it and make it your
own. Eat cheesecake for breakfast and watch the sun rise,
have a picnic with your kids and send your grandma flowers,
and whatever you do, definitely remember to leave your mark
on this world because you just might not get the chance to
do it tomorrow.
By Jerry Curry
Halloween is no Christian holiday, no matter how the
Christian fathers have tried to spin it and roll it and make
it that way. All Hallow's Eve and All Saints Day just don't
cover the vestiges of the old pagan religion.
First Halloween is Samhain. You pronounce it "sha-mane" and
it is one of the major festivals of the old Celts whose
modern descendents include people like me, today's Irish,
the Scots, the Welsh, a few Brits, some French and, I am
told, a National Basketball team in Boston which does not
know how to pronounce Celtics.
Samhain was celebrated by the Druids. One of the Druids, I
am told, was an ancestor. It is not a particular matter of
pride or shame. Having a Druid as an ancestor might even be
a plus factor when it comes to Samhain.
You see witches really did walk (if you consider a Druid of
the female persuasion) on Samhain. So all those children,
shepherded by all those parents on Halloween night, are
celebrating reality when they dress as witches and other
Samhain began (as the secular Halloween does) at sundown on
Oct. 31. It ended at sundown on Nov. 1. Celts, like the
ancient Jews counted days like that.
While Samhain was in progress, it was either fun, or horrid,
depending on whether you really got along with the dead.
Samhain is dangerous which does not mean it is particularly
bad. It simply means Samhain is dangerous.
It is so dangerous that several particularly bad Hollywood
films have been made about what happens when night falls
and Samhain begins. Bonfires are nice to have. If you have
to walk around, you need a big hollowed turnip with
fantastical faces carved on it. Inside this you place a
candle, the things that walk on Samhain tend to run when
they see these original jack-o-lanterns. You see the
original jack-o-lanterns were carved from turnips. It is
only in recent era that the cutting edge technology of the
pumpkin jack-o-lantern replaced the turnip which worked and
did its job which was to scare ghosties and ghoulies and
long leggedty beasties and things that go bump in the night
- especially on Samhain (Halloween).
Essentially this is what we are talking about here.
After dusk falls and the wind begins to freshen and the moon
hides behind the clouds, the barriers between this world and
the Otherworld and the Underworld began to shimmy and shake
and blind in a particularly stressful way. Everything goes
wrong in space and time. Humans and other things, some too
unspeakable to name and some of which smell bad, begin to
wander into realities where they would not wander on any
other night (or day).
Donn (pronounced Don) is the old Irish God of Death. His
spirit legions hold forth from Annwn. It is said that Badbh,
who is one of the Celtic war goddesses, who is a little
promiscuous, who is a lot mean, particularly likes to prey
this night on unwary young men who can't tell the
difference between a woman and Badbh.
You can't miss Badbh.
She's the one in a long black dress with flashing blue eyes
who does not need a flashlight to get around in the dark.
She is the one who moves in the trees and through the towns
on a wisp of winds. She is the one who is a lot worse than
Donn, whose only real danger is he doesn't like walking
around in this world anymore than the other residents of the
underworld. Donn and his minions will panic a little if this
world gets too stressful and might run over someone trying
to get back to Annwn. But they will not mess with Badbh.
You'll know Badbh if you see her tonight.
She appears in threes.
She will be hideous.
She might be dressed in black or naked. If naked, she will
Black is the color of death.
And on Samhain in the olden times, the ancient Celts were
accused of human sacrifice on this night to counter the
terror of the wandering spirits and the Badbh. Nobody every
proved it though. We Druids don't sacrifice people. Only
politicians do that.
Celebrate waste dump defeat
It looks like we won one last week when the Texas Natural
Resource Conservation Commission rejected licensing a
nuclear waste dump in Hudspeth County near Sierra Blanca.
The rejection came after a 17-year, $50 million propaganda
campaign by the Austin crowd to have the dump approved so
Austin could get checks from Maine and Vermont at the
expense of citizens in West Texas. Make no mistake, the
so-called low level nuclear trash that would have headed for
Sierra Blanca would have been driven down Interstate 20 and
Interstate 10 posing a potential, and irreversible, danger
to Ward County as well as most of the region.
It seems the state finally discovered the earthquake fault
under the proposed dumping site. This was the same fault
citizens have been screaming about for more than a decade.
This fault was not hard to find. It had been on geological
maps ever since there have been geological maps of West
Let us be thankful. The state finally saw its duty and did
Even Republican Gov. George Bush, who earlier had favored
the Sierra Blanca dump site, supports rejection by the Texas
Natural Resource Conservation Commission.
Says Bush, who is running for reelection against Democratic
nominee Garry Mauro: " I have said all along that this
regulatory decision should be based on science and fact. The
state's environmental officials have determined the site is
not safe. Therefore, the dump will not be built at Sierra
So here's a note of congratulations to the governor who
finally saw the light.
We can celebrate for a few moments. But do not forget, there
also are plans afoot to start trucking radioactive junk down
Intertate 20 past Monahans for a sharp right turn to the
waste facilities in Carlsbad, N.M. Those trucks also pose a
danger, a danger just as real as the trucks that would have
taken the Yankee nuke garbage to Sierra Blanca.
Voting is not a privilege
Tuesday, Nov. 3, is Election Day. Early voting ends this
Friday, the day before Halloween. If you wish to vote
early, you may do so at the Ward County Courthouse from 8:30
a.m. to 5 p.m. If you don't vote early, vote on Tuesday,
In a Democracy like ours, voting is not a privilege, it
approaches an obligation. If you need a reason to vote,
remember this. The professional politicians and the
spinmeisters in Austin and Washington don't want you to
vote. If you vote, you throw their carefully laid battle
plans into turmoil. Both incumbent Ward County Judge Sam G.
Massey and his Republican opponent, Candido Gutierrez, have
urged you to vote. Follow their advice.
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Joe Warren, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.