Tag Archives: Texas

How to become a native

Did you know?


After I retired on December 31, 2016, I got extremely bored.

When I get bored, I get depressed.

I endeavored to find something to do with all the time I had available to me (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), so I decided to try to find something to do which I had never done before.

After several months of searching, I settled on driver.

I got positions delivering packages for Amazon Prime and people for Uber.

Both companies suck, but it took me six months with Uber and eight months with Amazon to finally call it quits.

Zoey the Cool CatBoth were minimum wage jobs, which really didn’t bother me per sé, but neither Uber nor Amazon allowed tipping. Courtesy of Microsoft Excel, it was very easy for me to determine that neither of the two jobs could provide long-term income to put a roof over one’s head, food on the table, clothes in the closet, and feed Zoey the Cool Cat.

Once one added in gas, maintenance (brakes, tires, etc.), and special insurance for multi-stop professions, a long-term driving job like these two would put one into bankruptcy unless one had a spouse who also worked, or had a higher-than-minimum-wage job, or more than one job.

Uber, however, could provide short-term income, especially if one’s car was bought and paid for by mom & dad (high school graduation present), a situation that I found was quite common, and insurance and maintenance also was provided by mom & dad.

College students would drive for Uber but not on a daily basis. Usually just on weekends, especially Friday & Saturday nights in nightlife areas. By sticking to those areas, and with Uber paying every Monday, one could make a couple hundred dollars for the weekend. For someone with a family, not good pay. For a college student whose expenses are paid for by mom & dad, said college student could make a little money so that mom & dad weren’t always lecturing said college student on how much money said college student spent, as if mom & dad really cared anyways.

One day I had an Uber request from an 87-year-old man in a wealthy area of San Diego. He needed to go to Irvine, about a 60-mile drive. Sounds like good pay, but unless one can find someone in Irvine coming to San Diego, the pay for 60 miles turned into pay for 120 miles roundtrip. Now the pay doesn’t look so good.

I took the excursion because it would eat up some time in that 24-hour day.

He was a talkative man, and friends (husband, mostly) say that I like to hear myself talk, so we had quite a good conversation about many things.

About half-way through our journey, he said, “Your accent sounds like you might be from Australia or the southern United States.”

Great Nation of Texas“Texas,” I replied.

We talked about Texas and how long I had been in San Diego.

After a few minutes, he asked me if I was a native San Diegan.

Well, in his defense, he was 87.

I told him again that I was from Texas.

“I know that,” he said, “but are you a native San Diegan?”

“I don’t understand.”

He said, “You are a native when you no longer go home because you are home.”

Well, then, by that definition, I became a native San Diegan on April 30, 1993, after having spent four days in San Diego. I never went “home” to Texas again, and only set foot in the state 4 or 5 times between 1993 and 2001.

And that’s how you become a native, regardless of where you were born!

San Diego Panorama


Halls of History—Blaming Walmart & Amazon

Halls of History

When I was a juvenile delinquent living in Brigham City, Utah, I think I did everything except rape and murder. My most prolific delinquency task was theft. I was pretty good at it, even for a child whose age still was in the single digits.

I had gotten involved in stamp collecting (philately) when I joined the Boy Scouts. Sadly, every Boy Scout den I joined closed just weeks after my joining. Hmmmm. Maybe they knew something. Anyway, my interest in stamp collecting took me to the attic of our house, where the Boy Scouts manual said old letters and envelopes with stamps could be found. Sure enough. Unfortunately, though, I found a ton of letters addressed to me from my grandmother in Texas. All unopened, but all saved. The stamps intrigued me.

I took all the letters and hid them, taking them with me to Texas when my grandmother adopted me in 1965. I showed them to grandma, at which point she understood why she had never heard from me after mom had taken us there. Four years in Utah. As a juvenile delinquent.

When President Carter signed the extension of the Freedom of Information Act, I went to Brigham City, Utah, to get my juvenile delinquent records. I got them. I was amazed at the things I did as a child.

One of the things that WAS NOT on the 39-page list documenting my delinquency was my theft of a Harris Liberty Stamp Album from the Ben Franklin Five & Dime store.

Harris Liberty stamp album

I had taken the album with me to Texas, and had it until April 1993 when I left it in College Station as I abandoned the State looking for a new life. In 1978, though, while in Brigham City, Utah, I stopped at the Ben Franklin store, which was just a block from the Courthouse, asked for the manager, explained what I had done 15 years ago, and gave him $20 for the $4.95 album. Interest….

He was surprised, to say the least. When I was in Brigham City on July 25, 2018, I stopped by the Ben Franklin store. Sadly, it was there no more. It its place was a vacant storefront, Union Block Marketplace.

Brigham City, Utah

I was a little sad, wanting to blame Walmart and Amazon….

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Did You Know?—Deep Space Network, Goldstone Antennas, and InSight

Did you know?

I was fascinated yesterday when the InSight successfully landed on Mars. Facebook memes immediately began cropping up. This is my favorite:

Mars landing meme

When I joined the Boy Scouts in 1966 after my wise old grandmother had adopted me, I became fascinated by the stars, the clouds, the sky. Space Boy Scouts Space Exploration merit badgeexploration. The Boy Scouts’ newest merit badge was the Space Exploration merit badge, created in 1965.

I was on it.

To help me along, Gene Roddenberry created “Star Trek, debuting on television on Thursday, September 8, 1966. On Thursday nights, my wise old grandmother forced me to study or practice my violin.

School nights.


TV Guide "Star Trek" coverFriday afternoon, though, were daytime repeats of the previous week’s shows, and TV Guide indicated that “Star Trek” would be televised at 3:30.

I was on it.

School let out at 3:00.

I was home by 3:15,
grabbed a loaf of bread,
a butter knife,
a jar of peanut butter,
a jar of jam,
and sat myself in front of the television from 3:30 to 4:30
to watch “Star Trek.”

I was mesmerized.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I have been a “Star Trek” fan my whole life.

A Trekkie.

A Trekker.

Mesmerized by space exploration television shows and movies. Books. Museums. Exhibits. Just cannot get enough of them.

St. Gertrude Catholic Church in Kingsville TexasWhen Apollo 11 landed on the moon, a landing to be televised live, I was the saddest kid in the world because the landing would be at 12:17 p.m. on Sunday. I would be in church with my wise old grandmother. I’m not sure what I did to convince her that the moon landing was more important than church on that day, but we did not go to church. I watched the moon landing, and collected Corpus Christi, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston newspapers the next day with their bold headlines and pictures. Sadly, the newspapers got left behind in April 1993 when I escaped Texas and settled in San Diego.

Corpus Christi Caller moon landing paper

When I was in Barstow, California, on July 30 & 31, 2018, the historic Harvey House railroad depot, renovated and re-purposed, had a Goldstone Deep Space Network Visitor Center and a permanent exhibit about the Deep Space Network and the Goldstone Antennas.

I was on it.

Trains at the historic Barstow rail yard took a back seat for an hour.

Deep Space Network

Goldstone Antennas

NASA’s Deep Space Network is a worldwide network of spacecraft communication facilities specificially for United States spacecraft. Russia, China, India, Japan, and the European Space Agency have similar networks. NASA’s is located in Barstow, California; Madrid, Spain; and Canberra, Australia.

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Each facility is located in bowl-shaped terrain surrounded by mountains to help shield against radio frequency interference. The facilities provide nearly 120-degree separation, which allows for constant observation of spacecraft as the Earth rotates, thereby making DSN the largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications system in the world. The Deep Space Operations Center is at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Deep Space Network Visitor Center in Barstow, California

Deep Space is defined as more than two million kilometers from the Earth’s surface, so missions to the Moon do not qualify to use the network. Missions to Mars, however, do.

The antennas are located on government property northeast of Barstow, near Fort Irwin. According to staff at the Visitor Center, they are not visible from any roads since they are in a bowl surrounded by mountains.

Deep Space Network locations

And now, we return you to trains and the historic Barstow rail yard.

Barstow rail yard

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Magic Mountain

A Weekend Away: Poetry by Russel R. Kirk (1993)


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

King High School in Kingsville, TexasMy high school senior English teacher at King High School in Kingsville, Texas, was Mrs. Edith Head (but not THAT Edith Head — Google her). Mrs. Head taught me an appreciation for poetry — William Wordsworth, e.e. cummings, William Butler Yeats, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, Walt Whitman…. those are the ones I remember off the top of my head.

I started writing poetry and even had one of my poems published in the high school poetry book. I have not been able to find the poem, but I remember its name: J.K.L. RAM.

From 1973 to 1993 I dabbled in poetry, but it’s all lost to history. However, today, as I was cleaning out some old boxes, I found the last poem I wrote. It’s titled “A Weekend Away” and was composed on October 3, 1993, by Russel R. Kirk, my name at the time.

I had arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993. By October, I was convinced that suicide was not the answer and that I could live happily as an openly gay man right here in San Diego. It’s now 18 years later.

The poem describes the events of the weekend of October 1-3, 1993 — driving from San Diego to Los Angeles to go to Gay Night at Knott’s Berry Farm, visit West Hollywood (a gay mecca), and Gay Day at Magic Mountain. I drove my 1989 heavily customized (Texas style) Mustang GT and took two new San Diego friends with me. We would meet others in Los Angeles. I guess you could say that, at the age of 38, I “came out with a vengeance.”

With traffic tickets, stolen license plates, towing fines, parking fines, and gas — threw gas in there just for fun — the weekend cost me about $1,600.

The poem is quite long — Hey! It does cover the whole weekend! — but here it is.

The following poem has some bad words
that would not be approved of by
my wise old grandmother,
as well as some soft graphic visualizations.
Hey, I had been out only six months and I was still rebelling!

A Weekend Away
Russel R. Kirk
October 3, 1993

Ford MustangFriday the first of October, I say
A day off from work, to just get away.
The Mustang is ready—used quite a few tools.
It’s north to L.A.—a town full of fools.

Hopped in the car with my baggage and books,
Three stops in Hillcrest—a couple of looks.
With Chuck and with David, with me there’ll be three,
All in my car on the road by the sea.

HillcrestDavid’s in back, I’m reading gay rags,
And doing some planning, arranging my bags.
I in the front seat, not driving, you see,
Chuck drives the car, though temporary.

A stop at Capri near the Oceanside Pier
A gay bar—gay rags, maybe gay beer.
We needed The Edge for locations of bars—
West Hollywood, Saturday, out near the stars.

Onwards toward Santa— northward, you fool—
San Onofre State Beach, where the water’s so cool.
A five and a one to get into the park,
The road is so crooked, you could miss your mark.

Trail Number Six is why we are here.
The trails are all numbered; six is not clear.
We found that ol’ trail leading down to the cliff.
We walked and we walked—one foot getting stiff.

We’re looking for gays, in the nude would be fine.
I think it would help if they’d put up a sign.
A ways down the beach, we saw our first nude
And then a few more, one being lewd.

I wanted to shout, “Yes, we are here.”
Those men with tan bodies, I long to be near.
Strolling along in the heat and the sand,
One with a chair—I’d give him a hand!

We went past the fence where the women were sparse;
A gay and nude beach, Onofre’s no farce.
Marine helicopterMarines overhead in their low-flying choppers
Spying the guys to see all the whoppers.

Over an hour of walking along,
Turned to go back. But wait, something’s wrong!
I did it for all, my first at Ono—
Off with my clothes, next time the show.

Unbeliever you are. Well, yes, I have proof:
David’s pictures of me; I’m just so aloof.
Believe it or not, I was naked that day
On the sands of Camp Pendleton, out by the bay.

Back along shore to Beach Trail Number Six,
Nudity, sun, and sand—quite a mix.
Put on my clothes to prevent any stares,
Have hidden it all, put away all my wares.

Onofre State Beach, could have stayed all the day.
Knott’s Berry Farm calls, though, we’ll be on our way.
Knotts Berry FarmIt’s time we must eat for too long on the sand.
Come, young Marines, and lend me a hand.

Our waiter was gay for he just “looked” that way.
The cute, young Marines—Oh! Please let me stay.
Just hours away is Gay Night at the Farm.
We’ll do what we want for all night, no alarm.

I’m driving along in the new carpool lane.
The taffic is faster. We’ll get there quite sane.
“Carpool Lane Ends,” says the sign up above.
Moved back into traffic, disdain and no love.

Traffic slows down—I go back to the left,
Over the yellow, so smoothly, so deft.
I think you can guess the end of this tale:
The cop up ahead gives me some hell.

She waved me along; that’s what I saw.
She gave me a ticket; I’d broken the law.
Arrived at the hotel, room two, one, and one.
Gay Night at the Farm, gonna have us some fun.

Stanton and Beach, the Travelodge way,
Just blocks from the Farm; all must be gay.
We went on the rides, ate and drank our fair share.
I looked and I looked. Who cares if I stare?

From seven p.m. until one the next day.
We stared and we stared. “He’s cute!” one would say.
And “He’s cute!” “You’re cute!” “They’re cute, too!”
And “He’s cute!” Yes, but just “cute” won’t do.

They’re all so cute. We must find a way
To tell who is cute without being so gay.
We all had or favorites, blonde hair and dark,
Just how to tell one that the other’s a shark.

Adjectives flowing off of our tongues,
The breath they requied expended our lungs.
Adorably cute and then hearththrob cute,
So may men, I considered them loot.

Fucking cute and the too young cute,
More and more men—that one’s a beaut!
So many words took too much away
From our night at the Farm with so many, so gay.

We found us a way to describe those we saw:
He’s AC, HC, FC,…—it’s law.
The night’s at an end although morning next day.
It’s over too soon. More time’s what I say.

Back at the hotel, sleep is at hand.
Oh, for some more guys out on the sand.
Up at midmorning for shower and shave,
The key is turned in by one of us—Dave.

UCLAOff to the towers called UCLA
Gays playing volleyball—not by the bay.
They’re inside the Men’s Gym; that’s what I read.
No—perhaps finished; gone to plant seed.

It just can’t be over, too early this day.
Where else could they be—across the way?
Men playing volleyball over at Pauley,
They’re AC and HC and some too FC.

Four hours of gay volleyball not enough;
Number nine, number six, number two—such stuff!
And look, fifty-seven, he’s coming our way.
Oh, thank you, Lord, for a wonderful day!

Don’t take me away; I’ll not go with you.
Off to the museum—the tombs of Peru.
Antique vases and silver and gold,
The tombs could not speak, but everything told.

Footless bodies with children and dogs
Buried in tombs with decorative logs.
The silver collection was really quite neat,
And so were the headrests, but my aching feet!

A walk around campus to see what we could:
Inverted Fountain and buildings and wood.
Into the book place, a map we do need
Of UCLA to find us some feed.

It’s back to the games. Lord answer my prayer:
“Let nine and six and two still be there.”
Oh yes! Oh yes! Too good to be true,
Nine looked at me, thought—”I’m waiting for you.”

His Iowa shirt gave him midwestern charm.
Speak to him, Dave, can do us no harm.
Alas, but oh no, he’s leaving this place,
My head in my hands, sad look on my face.

Back to the car underneath Wooden Center.
I hope nine and six’s team was a winner.
Of to Van Nuys, another hotel,
Closer to MM and heat hot as hell.

West HollywoodTook a short nap, turning on the AC,
Off to West Hollywood, guys—one, two three…
Found us a spot pretty close for the car,
Around just one corner and not very far.

Santa M. Boulevard, found us a store,
Half-price shirts and books by the score.
Money for shirts, all stuffed in a sack,
Off to the car and I’ll be right back.

The car is not there. “That’s where it should be.”
Tow trucks by twos is all that I see.
The car has been towed, why I don’t know,
Been here one hour, such a low blow.

Chuck did some talking, was obv’ously pissed.
No sign anywhere, so what could we have missed?
But a sign up ahead, retroactive they say?
That’s foolish and stupid, can’t be, no way.

Good officers point to a spot at our feet,
“The hole in the ground was a sign on the street.”
“But it’s gone now,” we say, “So how are we to know
That there’s no parking here or else they will tow?”

“Agree with you, yes, that there’s no sign here now.
But we have been told we must tow anyhow.”
The phone steals my money, a dollar is gone,
A quarter, a bus ride—and on and on.

Now at the tow place, and my car is there,
Papers and license is all that they care.
No registration, from Texas, you see.
No owner papers? No car for the key.

We argued and argued before he would check
Proof of insurance—Oh, what the heck.
I got my car back. You don’t want to know
Just how much it cost. A lot of dough.

High on the windshield, “WHPE
STR 10-2-93”
Just ‘neath the wiper—oh no, we’re not through—
A ticket for parking, and more money due.

After parking the car, looking for missing signs,
We walked down the Boulevard, followed the lines.
Stores and bars; men and thugs;
Old and young; some on drugs.

We bought us some food and some alcohol, too.
Chuck was still pissed, but nothing could do.
Not a great night; I’ve had better care.
West Hollywood’s fine, but drivers beware.

Back at the hotel. It’s been such a day.
I had a good time, but again? No way.
I wanted to go home with cute number nine.
My body’s in bed with Chuck next to mine.

Went out to Chatsworth to see relatives,
Had wrote them a letter to see what gives.
No hate in their hearts for me sexually.
They said that they loved me; I am what they see.

Magic MountainOur next stop was magic—the Magic Mountain.
All day on the rides in the heat and the sun.
Dressed in the rainbow—my shirt, arm and neck.
Some people looked, but they thought, “What the heck.”

The Mountain was great though compared in no way
To Gay Night at the Farm, for all men there were gay.
We went on the rides—Revolution and Viper,
Colossus and Ninja—all made me hyper.

The day’s at an end. We saw quite a lot
Of men with hard bodies. Oh! Give me a shot.
On down IH5 to Knott’s Berry Farm
To meet my first man who brought me such charm.

He’s due in from Phoenix, just for a stay,
Hugging and kissing will end a great day.
My heart is a-pounding, pulse rate ninety-five,
My eyes all aglow for to see him alive.

I’ve talked to him, written, and he’s called me, too.
But without him in person, nothing will do.
But alas, “He’s not here,” says the dark-haired clerk.
His trip has been cancelled ’cause things did not work.

My heart rate drops from a hundred to one.
It’s time that I face it: My day is now done.
San Diego we go, it’s back to the south,
Bad words for L.A. not yet from my mouth.

My head keeps a-pounding, last ride we went on
Has scrambled my brain; won’t make it ’til dawn.
So, “Chuck, will you drive? Can’t take any more.
Take us out of this place, to Diego’s shore.”

The weekend just past was so like the rides:
Up and down and bumpy besides.
Words in my thoughts, bad words indeed,
L.A.’s good times overshadowed by greed.

Had a good weekend, had a good time,
Want out of L.A., though, away from the slime.
The good in L.A. can be found in S.D.
Big cities are bad, but in L.A. there’s greed.

Can’t shorten this poem, they’ll be no such luck.
Four syllables left now: “L.A. YOU SUCK!”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray (that’s me!)Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Right here in urban San Diego….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out & About San Diego


Friends back in my native Texas, in the East Texas Piney Woods, experienced a 4.3 earthquake a few days ago. They were rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’, and there were no Beatles involved. I read reports of fallen pictures and things knocked from shelves. Out here, of course, most of us would never suffer that kind of damage from a 4.3 earthquake. Pictures are hung with earthquake hangars and things we don’t want knocked from shelves in minor earthquakes are appropriately attached to the shelves with earthquake goop or earthquake tape.

I have always been fascinated by earthquake faults. I wrote my first term paper on earthquakes in 1969. I was 13 and wrote it for a customer of my typing/research enterprise. He was a sophomore at Texas A&I University, and he (I) got a B+ on that paper!

Television documentaries showing a helicopter flying over a fault zone, usually the San Andreas Fault somewhere in remote California, would enthrall me.

Right here in urban San Diego is the Rose Canyon Fault:

Southern California showing Rose Canyon Fault


Seismic experts say the Rose Canyon Fault has the potential to unleash a 7.5 earthquake. As you can see on the map, the Rose Canyon Fault goes right underneath downtown San Diego. When that 7.5 earthquake happens, I’m sure it will be considered “the big one” as far as San Diegans are concerned.

If you know where to go, you can actually see the Rose Canyon Fault on the ground surface.

Rose Canyon Fault Zone


Using the descriptions in the picture above, here is the “50 million year old Eocene sandstone of the Scripps Formation”:

Eocene sandstone of the Scripps Formation


Notice the houses, too, built right on top of that sandstone formation. Their foundation pillars probably go pretty deep.

On the other side of the canyon is the “half-million year old Pleistocene conglomerate,” which the pine trees seem to like.

Half-million year old Pleistocene conglomerate in Rose Canyon


In between the two formations is “a major strand of the Rose Canyon Fault”:

Rose Canyon Fault


Considering the location of the baseball field, I guess it was built by some parents with unruly children.

Specific location:

Location of rose canyon fault

View Larger Map


I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County? I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor with Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re just looking for a home inspector,
I can highly recommend Russel Ray; that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Coyote or fox?

Who knew there was so much life in a cemetery?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out & About San Diego


My home inspection yesterday was across the street from a huge cemetery. Cemeteries are rare here in San Diego, certainly much rarer than in my home state of Texas where I think there were just as many cemeteries as there were churches.

Although we used to play in the cemeteries in Kingsville, Texas, when I was growing up, and they have tours of cemeteries in New Orleans, I had not been in a cemetery in 20 or 25 years.

I took 357 pictures in the cemetery in a little over two hours. Here are fourteen of my favorites:

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)


Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)


Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

How long you gonna watch me?


Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

I wonder if he has friends. Better check over here....


Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

....and over here....


Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

....and behind me.


Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

Now that nobody's looking


Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

Let it all hang out


See ya later!

See ya later!


The cemetery was actually quite relaxing, and I wasn’t the only one who thought that:

Mallards, a snow goose, and turtles

Mallards, a snow goose, and turtles


Squirrels were frolicking everywhere but were wary of me:


Where'd you come from?

Squirrel on a eucalyptus tree

Squirrel on a eucalyptus tree


I saved the best for last. I don’t know if the gal in this picture is a coyote or fox. I’m thinking it’s too big and too light to be a fox. Anyone?

Coyote or fox?

Coyote or fox?


I was at Mt. Hope Cemetery, a municipal cemetery for the City of San Diego. Two other cemeteries are nearby: Holy Cross Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery; and Greenwood Memorial Park, an endowed care cemetery, which means you have to pay big bucks to be buried there.

San Diego cemeteries

View Larger Map



Cremate me, scatter my ashes one-third at Blacks Beach in San Diego; one-third under the Century Oak at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas; and one-third on the railroad tracks at the Union Pacific Railroad yard in Omaha, Nebraska. Then forget about me and get back to enjoying life.

Oh, by the way. Ask me how many living people I saw in the cemetery in two hours.

YOU: Russel, how many living people did you see in the cemetery while you were there?

ME: Three. A San Diego Gas & Electric employee was hiding out in his company truck parked under a tree. He was sleeping. Probably wore himself out at the Padres game the day before when we beat the dastardly Dodgers 8-4. A groundskeeper was mowing the lawns. A lady was pulling weeds from around the headstone at the grave she was visiting, obviously not happy with the job the cemetery was doing.


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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

An inherent desire to help others

Alpha Phi OmegaThis post is dedicated to the men and women of Xi Delta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, National Co-ed Service Fraternity, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

Throughout my life I have had this inherent desire to help other people. It started at Henrietta M. King High School in Kingsville, Texas, when I joined Key Club, a service organization that is in many high schools throughout the nation.

It continued at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, when I pledged Alpha Phi Omega, National Service Fraternity. Texas A&M was founded as a military college in 1876. Women were admitted for the first time in 1964, and social fraternities finally found their way to campus in the mid-1970s. Alpha Phi Omega was one of the first Greek letter organizations allowed on campus; Xi Delta chapter was founded at Texas A&M in 1962.

Alpha Phi OmegaAlpha Phi Omega introduced me to Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Red Cross, American Heart Association, blood drives, assisted care facilities, animal shelters, and so much more. I became aware of the world and the people who were suffering, hungry, homeless…. Xi Delta chapter at Texas A&M awarded me its Distinguished Service Key in 1977, its highest honor.

I remained involved with Alpha Phi Omega for fifteen years after college but I also broadened my experiences by becoming directly involved with Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Red Cross, and American Heart Association.

When I moved to San Diego from College Station, Texas, in 1993, helping other people had to take a back seat to helping myself get established in a new locale. Although I haven’t spent a lot of time helping others since 1993, I do make it a point to donate money to the organizations that I was involved with in the past. They need money just as much as they need volunteers.

Xi Delta is celebrating fifty years of service to its members, the Texas A&M campus, the Bryan/College Station community, and the United States of America.

Here’s to another fifty years of service…. In the Southeastern Conference! Gig ’em, Aggies!

Texas A&M University

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat