Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Out & About • Patrick Lacombe | Flying solo

Man has always looked to the sky and wondered what it would be like to soar with the birds. I was 14 years old when I flew for the first time. I was a member of the Civil Air Patrol and our Officer in charge arranged a flight in a small four seat Cessna for those of us who had never flown. I didn’t know what to expect, and as we lifted off I became a little queasy. It was warm in the cabin until we reached an altitude of 2000 ft. I then began to settle down and enjoy the flight. It lasted twenty minutes and when we touched down, I couldn’t wait to fly again.
After I joined the Army, I flew to and from training, then across the Atlantic to my duty station in Germany and back. By then I was getting used to flying and never gave it another thought. I dreamed of taking flying lessons for years, but never could afford it and even if I did, I did not own a plane nor could I afford one. Then in 1986, I was introduced to the world of “Ultralight aircraft.”
My neighbor Bill, owned an ultralight. For those of you who aren’t familiar with ultralights, They are basically a lawn chair with wings and a motor. Bill had a nice one with an enclosed cockpit and double fabric wings.  He invited me to fly with him the following Saturday, so we went to a small grass strip where he kept his plane. He took me up and we flew around for about an hour before landing back at the strip. I fell in love with the idea of owning my own plane that was easy to maintain and cheap to run. I took lessons and got my certification to fly ultralights.

LOOKING UP • JOE BAISDEN | ‘Come Before Winter’ hits the road

For 33 consecutive years during my ministry with the Belton Church of Christ the first Sunday evening in October was devoted to a lesson from 2 Timothy 4:21 in which the Apostle Paul, a prisoner in Rome, urgently requested that his former co-worker Timothy come from Ephesus to be with him in his last days on earth. In the very early years of the tradition, once the lesson appeared a few Sundays late, when I tried to abandon the series.
When it did not happen at the usual time, the strong voice of Elder Alton Martin was heard asking, “When do we get ‘Come Before Winter’ this year?” I meekly replied, “How about next Sunday?”
There have been a few sporadic revivals of the tradition in Belton during these ten years of my retirement. This year my former youth minister and associate who worked with me for some 15 years, Allen Ritchie, now the minister of the Church of Christ in Lake Jackson, summoned me to bring the tradition to his congregation last Sunday, October 6.
A great deal of preparation and publicity preceded the event, and a large crowd was on hand. It brought great joy to my heart to again work with Allen whom I considered my son in the faith. The morning service was followed with a fellowship meal and a devotional.
When Allen first called about my coming, I thought he said that there would be an assignment for me Sunday evening.  When I asked him about it, he replied, “I’d like for you to lead a couple of songs at the devotional, but after that, there is no assignment.  We will go home and watch football, which we did!

GUEST COLUMN • Mark Magnan | Survival of the fittest

We have all seen the TV shows, documentaries, about how nature has a way of breeding out the bad characteristics of animals. Of course there has been much written about this over the years, often in controversy. But the simple explanation is that the slower or “dumber” animals get weeded out, leaving only the better bloodlines.
We do a version of this with our domestic animals. The livestock shows are full of these examples. But for generations the slower or poorly advanced antelope in Africa get eaten by the faster and smarter lions. It just keeps on going.
One might think by now that all of the slow antelope might have been bred out, leaving only a super fast breed. I don’t think that has happened, just as the lions have failed to evolve to follow along. If this theory was true we would have jet powered antelope being chased by rocket powered lions.
To a degree, this evolution does help clean up the herd. It removes sick and less powerful animals, leaving the better ones to keep the bloodlines strong.

Out & About • Patrick Lacombe | “Rain”: A Beatles Tribute

Beatles fans get ready to revisit your past and your love for the “Fab Four!” “Rain” A tribute to the Beatles is coming to the Bell County Expo Center on Tues., Oct. 29, at 7:30 p.m. “Rain” is currently touring the United States after their huge success on Broadway in New York City.
“Rain” is a tribute band, meaning that they play your favorite Beatles hits note for note and even dress the part. The band members have carefully studied the original Beatles on stage movements and mannerisms and if you close your eyes, you would swear you are actually hearing John, Paul, George, and Ringo live. They make costume changes throughout the show to represent the different eras of their music. Their stage production also includes old video footage from the sixties and seventies.
If you are a “Beatles” fan, you won’t want to miss this concert. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at the Bell County Expo Center box office, or online at www.bellcountyexpo.com or by calling Texas box office at (512) 477-6060. I already have my tickets, so I hope to see you there.