I seem to have a lot of things on my mind

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - Ken Her­man

While we’re breath­lessly wait­ing to see what the Texas House does with the bills breath­lessly OK’d by the Texas Se­nate dur­ing the first half of the spe­cial ses­sion, let’s take a breath for a few things I haven’t had time to deal with dur­ing this sum­mer of our leg­isla­tive dis­con­tent.

Thing 1: Tues­day was the last day for on­line bid­ding on the kid­die train and other rides from Kid­die Acres, the North Austin amuse­ment park that closed at the end of June af­ter 39 years of mak­ing kids smile. Own­ers Joe and Ma­rina Herring are re­tir­ing.

As bid­ding ended Tues­day morn­ing, looks like the high bid on the train was $17,500 and the top bid for the carousel was $10,500.

I’ll try to find out who bought the train and the plans for it.

And though the Kid­die Acres auc­tion is over, there’s still time to go to the Jones Swen­son Auc­tions web­site and bid on some fun stuff, in­clud­ing gear from the now-closed Alamo Golf Club in San An­to­nio.

You know you’ve al­ways wanted a Toro Green­sMaster 3050 Triplex Greens Mower or a Golf Ball Picker, one of those awe­some caged-cab ve­hi­cles you drive around to scoop up balls on the driv­ing range. Could be help­ful in clean­ing up the kids’ rooms.

Also up for bids are “Props, Cos­tumes, Set Dress­ing and More!” from the lo­cal film­ing of “The Long Road Home,” a TV se­ries about U.S. forces in Iraq. In­cluded are lots of prop weapons, two “Iraqi bi­cy­cles, Dutch style, dis­tressed for movie,” three hookahs, a “prop mum­mi­fied dog” and a wheel­chair “used by the star in the film.” There also are Col­lege Sta­tion and Craw­ford signs. Thing 2: Is it pos­si­ble that you left a work of art at what used to be La­guna Gloria Art Mu­seum and now is known as The Con­tem­po­rary Austin? If so, the mu­seum wants to hear from you.

It has listed about 700 works of un­clear ori­gin to make sure it re­ally owns them. The mu­seum needs to clear that up as part of the trans­fer of the art to the Blan­ton Mu­seum of Art at the Univer­sity of Texas.

Hence, a re­cent pub­lic no­tice in which the mu­seum said it “hereby pub­licly an­nounces that the fol­low­ing art­work is aban­doned, un­less TCA re­ceives a ver­i­fi­able claim within 65 days of this no­tice’s fi­nal pub­li­ca­tion.”

“If TCA re­ceives no such claim, own­er­ship of the be­low prop­er­ties ir­re­vo­ca­bly vests in TCA,” says the no­tice. And be­cause it’s art, some names on the list make you say “Huh?”

High­lights: “The Nine­teenth Hole & Bug-ABoo,” “Mo­tion­less Tor­rents, 1963,” “Oc­cult Cham­ber,” “Hen and Hawk, 1937,” “Pro­pri­o­cep­tion,” “Black Draw­ing #21,” “Paint­ing of ten­nis player, by un­known,” “Photo of nude woman in mask,” “Photo of man on couch,” “Make it Hot for the Cook-off ” litho­graph and “Cor­ru­gated Card­board Space.”

And, my fa­vorite: “Joe Ely, How to Make Jail Hot Choco­late, 1992-1993, 10 prints.”

If any of this rings a bell, con­tact the mu­seum at 512-453-5312 or ex­hi­bi­tions@the­con­tem­po­raryaustin.org.

Thing 3: Back in 2015, I told you about Cedar Park res­i­dent Les Over­street’s touch­ing prac­tice of an­nu­ally plac­ing a Fourth of July obit­u­ary in this pa­per for his brother Fred Leroy Over­street Jr., who was wounded in World War II com­bat on July 4, 1944, and died a day later.

I was dis­ap­pointed, and con­cerned about Les, when I didn’t see the obit in the pa­per this year. I’m happy to re­port he’s fine.

The an­nual obit ran in the pa­per for about 30 years, un­til this year, when Les Over­street, 86, told me it was time to end the tra­di­tion be­cause most of the folks who re­mem­bered Fred have passed away.

“It al­ways felt good to see that they re­mem­bered him,” Les told me. “They

would com­ment and say, ‘Hey, I saw your brother’s pic­ture (in the pa­per).’ Af­ter a while, they all died off.”

Les, who also cited the in­creas­ing cost of obits in the pa­per, said he still thinks of his brother most ev­ery day: “It was worth ev­ery penny I ever spent.”

In­deed. Thanks for keep­ing alive the mem­ory of a great­est gen­er­a­tioner who gave his life for our na­tion.

Thing 4: I was driv­ing east the other day on Ce­sar Chavez Street, obey­ing the city law against tex­ting, talk­ing or do­ing anything on my cell­phone that might make me a dis­tracted, law-break­ing driver. My at­ten­tion was fo­cused on my driv­ing. Then I saw some­thing the city in­stalled to dis­tract me. It worked.

“Dazed and con­fused?” asked the elec­tronic mes­sage over the road­way. Well yes, I thought, I’m of­ten one or the other or both. Thanks for ask­ing, city of Austin. Fig­ur­ing there’d be a fol­low-up mes­sage, I kept my eyes on the sign as I drove. The fol­low-up: “Stop star­ing at your cell phone.”

Good ad­vice, but is there some­thing to be pon­dered about a sign that, brief though it was, dis­tracted me to re­mind me of the dan­gers of dis­tracted driv­ing?

Thing 5: As Edi­tor Deb­bie Hiott re­cently wrote, thanks to all who have ex­pressed con­do­lences to us on the death of beloved col­league John Kelso. It was touch­ing to see how many were so touched by Kelso dur­ing the many years he so en­ter­tain­ingly re­minded us about the odd­i­ties of life in Austin.

And spe­cial thanks to the hun­dreds of read­ers who, at my re­quest, sent him get-well cards last year when he be­gan an­other bat­tle with cancer. The thoughts and good wishes were deeply ap­pre­ci­ated by him.

Rest in hu­mor, Kelso. kher­man@states­man.com; 512-445-3907


Les Over­street of Cedar Park holds a photo of his brother Fred Leroy Over­street Jr., who was wounded in World War II on July 4, 1944, and died a day later. For about 30 years, Les placed a Fourth of July obit­u­ary in the States­man to honor his brother.


Joe and Ma­rina Herring, long­time own­ers of Kid­die Acres, de­cided to re­tire and close the North Austin amuse­ment park that was open for 39 years. The park’s rides were sold at an auc­tion that ended Tues­day.

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