Claim to fame

It appears that Spring has sprung at least in Texas where Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch have taken to spending their winters of late. You always can tell when it's close as the Big Box Stores load up on flowers and vegetables by the pallet load. It must be lucrative as the dickens as those same box doors often catch a late frost which kills every plant they have in stock. Regardless of the risks, the stores all rush and hurry to be the first with tomato and pepper plants on the shelves.

We have been busy as the proverbial beaver as we are building a house and doing most of the work ourselves. It's quite a task to take on at my advanced age but it appears I may actually pull this one off. So chasing materials gets to be a weekly occurrence as I use it up about as fast as I can buy it. Which gets me out and about driving to and fro at least in the immediate area.

Why, just the other day I found myself driving through Kingston, Texas, a wide spot in the road, and saw a sign declaring it as the birthplace of Audie Murphy.

I think that most of the readers have probably heard of him but if not, he was the most highly decorated soldier ever born. He worked to support his family after his father ran off leaving the mother with 12 children to support and so in the 5th grade found himself picking cotton instead of going to school.

Long story short, he enlisted in the Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor and due to some unbelievable heroic actions, became a famous soldier. Returning home to the USA, he became a movie star and so you may see him on the television even today in some Western movies.

Seeing the sign about his birthplace I am reminded of how towns will grasp at the birth of some famous person as though their very presence at that juncture in life makes the town noteworthy and famous, too. I recall growing up reading about Dwight Eisenhower and that he was from Abilene, Kansas. But later in life I learned he was actually born in Texas but grew up in Abilene and Kansans thought enough about him to build a whale of a museum there.

For you see there is just not enough famousness going around for towns to have someone important born there so towns will just tag-along on celebrity coattails if that person even visited there once. That’s why in these parts of Texas there is the birthplace of Audie Murphy, the homeplace of the Murphy family, plus several towns have Memorials declaring Audie Murphy “a son” of their fair township.

And not to be outdone by having actual heroes or people of renown being from or passing through a place, we have also begun to celebrate where made up persons have been. Why just the other day I saw where the bench where Forrest Gump sat for a movie scene is quite the tourist attraction and people come from far and wide to see it and sit in it if possible. Now don't get me wrong, it was a good movie, all things considered, but I have to wonder if people actually think Forrest was a real person to be celebrated as such.

I guess it sells tickets and in this day and age that seems to be what is most important. So today as Ol’ Dutch drives into town I am going to take special note of Audie’s birthplace sign just a few short miles from here. And maybe, just maybe erect one of my own announcing “Ol’ Dutch was here” for future generations to ponder and wonder.


Kevin Kirkpatrick and his Yorkie, Cooper, fish, hunt, ATV or hike daily. His email is [email protected]. Additional news can be found at