BY SAL GIARRATANI
“You can go to hell but as for me, I will go to Texas.”
I just got back from my annual vacation to America down in Austin, Texas. Our nation seems to becoming what it never was before. Once Boston was America where we were proud of our heritage and rather than run from it, we embraced it. They still embrace America in Texas, even liberals in Austin. You see the American flag flying everywhere and you see just as many Lone Star flags flying too. People down there are proud of America and proud of Texas. You can feel the unbridled spirit of independence in the Texas wind.
Down there the Austin Fire Department has an Engine 13 Company nicknamed «Lucky 13.» As one member of that fire company told me, We’re Texans. We make our own luck.” I also saw a poster of the City of Austin and stating, “Austin: A place that will get into your blood and stay forever.”
This was my 9th trip to Texas. The first trip was involuntarily. I enlisted in the US Air Force and landed in San Antonio for Lackland, AFB. After that, my trips were by choice. Dallas. Wichita Falls, San Antonio and finally Austin.
My nephew and I traveled to a San Antonio flea market to meet a hatter. This guy is well known for his work and my nephew wants a «Billy Jack» hat. The guy took his order and soon the hat will be his. He told me Billy Jack wasn›t me but I would look great in a Butch Cassidy hat. I took his card and am stilling thinking about it.
By the way, I already have two cowboy hats. I bought the first one up in the Panhandle over 30 years ago and the second at a cowboy supermarket three years ago. So do I really need a third hat?
I will return there again and may not even wait until next July. After all, as I said Christmas is nice and warm down there and no one ever has to own a snow shovel which is a big plus after last February here.
DANNY O’NEILL, RIP
My friend Danny O›Neil passed away last week after a long struggle with an ilness that finally took him from us. To me, Danny was one of the best writers I ever knew. A great story teller and a great guy who loved his community so well. His non-fiction pieces captured the essence and soul of what it meant to be from Charlestown. His short stories in the old Charlestown Patriot were must reads. I will miss Danny and know he was a gift to Charlestown. His family is left behind in his passing and hope this little piece here gives them some extra comfort.
THE McTEGGARTS IN TOWN
I love good Irish music and often take the time to enjoy it in person. The McTeggarts are a great local Irish band and you can often hear them play over at the Black Rose in the Quincy Marketplace. If you take them in, tell Jim that Sal sent you.
CHARLESTOWN POST OFFICE TURNED RECORD SHOP
The Bunker Hill Mall Post Office now has those new Elvis Presley stamps on sale «forever.» They also are selling a great Elvis CVD with some great tunes on it. Check it and those new stamps honoring the King of Rock and Roll.
THOSE HAYES SQUARE FOLKS ARE AT IT AGAIN
This coming October 10 folks who came from the Hayes Square area will be holding another reunion at the Knights. Stay tuned here for more information on this time.
WALKING REBEL WITH NEIL ARMSTRONG
I noticed last week, the photo of Boston›s newest hounddog that is in need of a name. The public is invited to join the name search by going to [email protected]
However looking at that big little puppy with monster ears and paws, I was reminded of both my dog from wayback when I lived on Pearl Street. I still remember taking “Rebel’, a purebred German shepherd for his walks. I still remember stopping by the wrought iron fence at the High Street health center to listen to Walter Cronkite tell us that Neil Armstrong had just stepped foot on lunar surface. It was August 20, 1969. Forty six years ago this week.
If I could name this new police puppy, I would go with «Rebel 2.»