A 120-year-old oak tree stands on the campus of Texas A&M University-College Station. Its majestic limbs stretch out over the sidewalk and lawn creating a canopy of history.
Matthew and Molly Mastrilli were childhood sweethearts. Growing up in Rowlett, Texas, they saw each other on Sundays at church services and at youth events.
Painted canvases hang on the wall. Easels line the table and palettes filled with a rainbow of paint colors wait for the guest artist to start dipping and creating art on a fresh canvas.
It’s quiet time in the dog kennel at Texas Humane Heroes in Killeen when suddenly, the door opens and humans walk in.
EquusLibrium founder Amber Quaranta-Leech, a licensed professional counselor certified by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, uses equine assisted psychotherapy to help her clients navigate through the traumas in their lives, past and present. She said working with horses helps people to overcome their obstacles and to process that trauma.
The Texas Eagle, 70 feet long and 19 feet wide, glides through murky Colorado River water. Twin 165 horsepower engines hum along as they propel the craft through willow trees and past a logjam. Bird watchers clutch binoculars and peer through large glass windows. Sightseers on the upper deck pull up their collars against the cool, November drizzle. Tour guide Tim Mohan points out a massive bird that has just taken flight. “A great blue heron, at two o’clock, just took off from the shore. Look at the beautiful, blue feathers on his chest. They’re blowing in the wind.”
Back in 1984, folks around Elgin thought newcomer Bill Walton must have lost his mind. He planted a crop that everyone knows doesn’t grow in Central Texas — Christmas trees. Hundreds and hundreds of them, none higher than a foot tall.
Watching free range chickens dart back and forth across Farm Street in downtown Bastrop, one can’t help but recall that corny old riddle asking why did the chicken cross the road. But the Rhode Island reds, clarets and round heads aren’t merely trying to get to the other side. They’re probably scurrying away from a tourist’s camera. Among the many awards Bastrop has earned for historic preservation and promoting the arts, there is one distinction that stands out. Back in 2009, the city council designated several blocks of Farm Street an Historic Chicken Sanctuary. City workers then hung from light poles bright yellow signs urging motorists to slow down. This unique corridor, where chickens freely skitter back and forth across yards and fly into trees to escape pesky sightseers, is emblematic of Bastrop’s laid back lifestyle. And just around the corner from these cage free chickens, a T-shirt for sale at Old Town Restaurant and Bar proclaims the city’s independence from its big sister, Austin, which is only 30 miles east of town. The loud teal T-shirt announces in bold letters: Hip—not weird—BASTROP. In the shadow of the self-proclaimed live music capital of the world, Bastrop has asserted itself as an alternative to traffic jams, long lines at concerts and pushy big city folks.
Not long after San Antonio businessman Pat Molak purchased Gruene Hall in 1974, he arrived at the ramshackle building to find a shocking sight. A huge crane hovered above the old water tower, menacing claws ready to dismantle the steel structure that could be seen for miles. Molak saw the water tower as an historic landmark.
Story by FRED AFFLERBACH
Husband and wife team Chris and Amanda Hamm want to help you stay safe in your surroundings.
Finding time to exercise is a challenge. Finding the right exercise, one you will actually do, takes trial and error. For some, the gym is the right place to work out, but for others, training with a small group or independently is a better option.
Whether we’re at home, at work or on the go, distractions abound. Smartphones, email, text messaging and social media are always within reach. We listen for the buzz, ding or ring, notifying us of a new message.In a society where busyness is the norm, intentionally taking time to be mindfully aware of ourselves and our surroundings can feel foreign or selfish.
Photos by JOSH BACHMAN
On a nearly cloudless Central Texas spring day, a group of mothers and mothers-to-be meet up at the basketball court in Lions Club Park in Killeen.
When children with special needs arrive at Believe Pediatric Therapy in Temple they have only one job to do — PLAY!
If you are new to the Central Texas region, don’t let the overcast and cloudy days deter you from taking care of your skin. People moving to Texas from all points north and east, who are used to cooler climes and less sun intensity, may not understand the strength of the Texas sun. It doesn’t take long to feel the heat and receive a Texas-size burn.
While college kids are busy decorating dorms, reviewing class schedules and meeting new roommates, they shouldn’t forget to make sure all their immunizations are up-to-date as they enter those hallowed halls of higher learning. Even though most vaccinations are given in early childhood or early adolescence, college students and young adults need specific immunizations, too. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, all incoming first-time or transfer students (21 years or younger) are required by law to receive a meningococcal vaccination (or booster, if it has been longer than five years) at least 10 days prior to the first day of class (or 10 days prior to moving into campus housing).
As students come and go through the lobby of the Isabelle Rutherford Meyer nursing building on the campus of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, talking, laughing and exchanging notes, a smiling woman enters the room from her office on the first floor. Her lab coat swings back and forth as she weaves in and out of the chattering nursing students. They recognize her as Dr. Sharon Souter, dean of the college of nursing, but also as the heartbeat of a program that is growing by leaps and bounds.
Killeen resident Samara Elledge is drawn to natural elements in her life. It is a philosophy that she applies to eating, exercise, motherhood and skin care. Last year Elledge drew on that philosophy. She started making her own beauty products because she said it is more economical. Plus, it assures you know what is in your products.
Food for Thoughts
If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t excited about reading this book. I started with the synopsis on the cover — I like to know a little about what I’m devoting an afternoon to reading before I start — and it didn’t really pique my interest.
Don and Helen Rowland’s home in Temple is filled with mementos from a life well shared for 50 years. Asian art is juxtaposed with Southwest Native American imagery and wall hangings. But the most prominent of all their collections, except maybe Don’s golf clubs, is Helen’s collection of more than 100 camels, some big, some small, some ceramic or china or stuffed toy camels — her favorite animal and a memory of her life in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she met Don, just a little more than 50 years ago.
Stillhouse Wine Room in Killeen offers its patrons a respite from noisy sports bars that dot the landscape of the city. There is no blaring music, just the soft sounds of jazz, or crooners, like Frank Sinatra, singing in the background, and there is no TV showing the latest news or sporting event.
Five months in the hospital. Six weeks in an intensive care unit. Allison Dickson spent the first half of 2014 fighting for her life. She suffered respiratory failure, went into shock, and her organs started shutting down. At age 34, she was put on life support three times. “I went downhill bad,” Dickson said, looking back. “I don’t remember much, which is a good thing. I don’t think it was pleasant.” But out of that difficult time, two endowed scholarships at Central Texas universities are now awarded annually in Allison Dickson’s name.
Stocking your kitchen with the essential tools is the key to making cooking enjoyable, fast, and fun. Many people claim they “hate to cook” or that they “can’t cook,” and you would understand why if you stepped into their kitchens. Even a short, 30-minute recipe that requires only a couple chopped ingredients becomes very laborious when using a dull knife; and then cooking with a cheap, thin pan that causes foods to stick or burn only escalates the problem. No wonder people choose to eat out or warm up a pre-made convenience meal from the freezer.