Friday, October 22, 2010

Mable Paisley Mason

Mable Paisley Mason was born sometime around 1995ish. The first two years of Mable's life are a mystery, ending in April of 1997 when she was abandoned at the Lubbock Animal Shelter. Mable was pregnant and alone. After giving birth and having her puppies (which were all adopted immediately), Mable languished in the Animal Rescue Kennel (ARK) for three months.

Meanwhile, I was wishing for a dog. I had decided that on my next payday, I would go adopt. On July 15, 1997, I went to the ARK looking for a beagle puppy, whom I planned to name Paisley, keeping with the tradition of "P" names in our family. Upon arriving at the ARK, I found out that not only were there no puppies (it was Parvo season), but there were also no beagles. In the cacophony of barking and howling coming from the cages, I noticed an angelic face, sitting quietly in the corner. I asked to see that dog... her name was Mable and she not only knew her name, but also knew how to sit. Mable, a cockapoo, weighed only 16 pounds (a little more than half what she should) and had no hair on her tail. She was cut like a Schnauzer and wasn't the prettiest dog in the shelter... but she was meant to belong to me. When I sat down in the floor to talk to her, Mable crawled into my lap and my heart.

It took Mable a while to leave behind her former life. She didn't like men. It took her a year or more to grow a full tail of hair. She also never got over the fears that she brought with her... an odd fear of cameras, flashlights, storms and candles. But eventually Mable grew to be a beautiful cockapoo with fluffy, curly hair and a beautiful wagging tail. She loved walks and toys and all kinds of food. She found out that not all men were bad, as evidenced by the loving kindness of her Grandpa.

Mable was the perfect dog. She was sweet and loving. She didn't shed or pee in the house or chew on things. Mable was tolerant of just about anything. She didn't care when Emma pulled the hair on the top of her head. She let me trim her toe nails without even a whimper. She would go nose to nose with a deer with only an abundance of curiosity; no fear. She wouldn't run away from a pit bull. She let me snuggle her and give her baths, even though neither were her favorite thing.

In the summer of 1999, Mable and I bought a house. Shortly before moving in, we went with our family on a vacation to Estes Park, Colorado. All throughout the trip, Mable explored with gusto. She went off the trail into the underbrush and came out cheerfully tired. Little did we know that somewhere along the way, she was bitten by a tick and contracted Ehrlichiosis. Mable became so ill that she was at death's door. She lost a lot of weight and was hospitalized for several days. But she pulled through and was extremely healthy for the rest of her life.

Mable was the center of my world for seven years, at which time she was joined by a new sister, Meg. She didn't ask for a sister... she liked being an only dog. But she adjusted to Meg's presence just like she did everything else.

They both loved to go in the car, whether it was to the park or to Sonic or both. Sonic tater tots were Mable's favorite treat. Mable also loved to go to Lorenzo to visit Grandma and Grandpa. The absolute best thing about Lorenzo: Getting so many burrs in your fur that you're unrecognizable and you are forced into some one-on-one quality time with mom, a brush and some scissors.

Mable lived a long and fruitful life. So many people loved her and were touched by her sweet spirit. She defied the odds by surviving an illness that threatened to compromise her immune system at a young age. Mable went on to outlive many of her doggy friends and family. The vet always called her the energizer bunny... she kept going and going and going. In the end, though, Mable's body simply gave out. She trotted off to paradise on Friday, October 22, 2010.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lonesome Dove

The other day I was looking at some church records from Bear Creek Baptist Church (which doesn't exist anymore) and came across a "Brother Gideon" who visited from Lonesome Dove Baptist Church. The entry wasn't dated, but most of the others were around the 1850-1880 range, so I'm assuming this visit was during that time period. Anyway... this precipitated a search for Lonesome Dove Baptist Church, which is still in existence and has a cemetery associated with it. So today's lunch trek took me across the city limit into Southlake for a visit to Lonesome Dove.

As I've mentioned before, as I drive around this area I see signs all around me of the lifestyle that used to be here... before wealth and prosperity began to push the old out to make way for the new (and sometimes ridiculous). Driving down Dove Road is a prime example. You cross areas that are still heavy with underbrush, where it seems the Texas wilderness wants to reclaim its lost territory. In other places, it's so developed that you can't imagine a place without brick, concrete and trimmed grass.

Lonesome Dove takes you back at least a few decades to before Southlake was "ritzy." The church building is nice, but dated compared to some of the homes around. The cemetery isn't nearly as beautiful as Bear Creek, but it still has its fair share of old headstones.

I can see the family lines who made this place home... the Cates, Jones, Dwights, and others. But no Gideons in this place. At least not buried here. I didn't see very many unmarked graves, so I'm fairly comfortable stating that the Gideons are not here.

Interestingly, there were several above-ground graves... at least partially above-ground. I haven't seen many of these since our trip to Georgia, but there were several here. Unfortunately the inscriptions were mostly worn away.

Driving back, I passed areas where old wooden fences were encroached upon by new ones... saw the rise of the Gaylord Texan in the distance... and wondered once more what our ancestors would think about this place now. How much has changed in only 150 years!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The longer I work in Grapevine and research the area for genealogy the more connected I feel to this area. I can sit in the parking lot at lunchtime and look through the trees at the Moorhead Branch Creek and just imagine how it was when the Gideons and Hudgins first came here.

I can imagine them riding their horses past the Terrill-Payne-Fuller house (which is the oldest house still in existence in Grapevine - built 1865) on their way to the Methodist church. I drive by it now on nice paved roads in my air-conditioned Korean car. It's been recently refurbished after the passing of Alice Fuller and is now on sale - fully furnished - for $499,000. Click here for pictures.

I've been researching the cemeteries of Northeast Tarrant County in my (so far fruitless) quest to find Gaylon Bohave Gideon's final resting place. What I've found is that there are cemeteries all around that I never knew existed. Many are abandoned (hopefully the bodies were moved to a peaceful place). But some are still there. I've been driving by the Payne Family Cemetery every day for the last five years and never knew it. It's on the Nash Farm property.

It's like being on a genealogy road trip every day over the lunch hour! I really love this place. If I could move over here - even though I'm not that far away in Euless - I definitely would!

Monday, October 11, 2010


I have to admit... I complain quite a lot during stewardship campaign. Just ask Trudy. I've decided that I'm going to start calling it "Stew." Like the name of an odd uncle you cringe to see coming, not like the name of the comfort food. (No offense intended if your name is Stu.)

This year, we're trying our best to entertain Stew online so we don't have to spend a lot of time and resources mailing stuff [that people will probably throw away]. So I've spent the last few weeks designing, editing code, and tweaking the web pages that will make up Stew 2011. I think I'm finally finished!

Now, whether you're a kid, youth or adult, you can just go online and commit your heart out! Commit, commit, commit! Just don't expect me to do it too. No me gusta committing to things.

I'm ready to do something fun... like redesign the whole website. So that will be the next project! Can't wait!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Journey

This morning I went to church at First Methodist in Colleyville for the first time. The pastor was starting a series of sermons about the journey of Christian life. Was it a coincidence that just yesterday I was reading about one man's journeys through Texas?

A man named Barclay Gibson has spent the last few years wandering Texas and photographing what he sees. I found his outsider's look at Lorenzo interesting ( What would you take a picture of if you were going through your town for the first time?

Maybe if we looked around us with new and interested eyes, we might come to appreciate what's right in front of us. Part of the sermon this morning was focused on enjoying the journey... not being afraid to backtrack a little... not being so solely focused on making it from point A to point B. That's how I'd like to live life, actually. I'm not so concerned about point B (i.e. death)... it will come when it does. But what about the living to be done until then?

After church and some other wandering around, I found myself hunting for Bear Creek Cemetery... wondering if we might eventually find our long lost cousin Galen Bohave Gideon's final resting place. This little cemetery was so enchanting... so peaceful in spite of the airplanes overhead and the golf carts whipping by just across the fence. But sadly there were many, many young lives entombed and memorialized there. I wondered if it was because of the view of the golf course.

I didn't find any sign of Galen or any other relatives, but I did find yet another special connection to the history of this area and its people. I'd like to explore more and take Mr. Gibson's lead by chronicling the area's history in pictures. Hopefully I'll get moving on it before I reach point B.