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Lajitas (TX) takes wounding of its mayor seriously - (Mayor castrated in attack)
Austin American Statesman ^ | August 5, 2002 | Jim Yardley

Posted on 08/06/2002 5:08:04 AM PDT by Damocles

Lajitas takes wounding of its mayor -- a goat -- seriously By Jim Yardley

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Monday, August 5, 2002

LAJITAS -- This isolated place along the Rio Grande in West Texas is called the end of the road, but it might as well be the end of the world. The closest commercial airport is five hours away. Cell phones do not work. There is no municipal government, and the elected mayor has no powers or duties, which is fortunate, because the mayor is a goat.

Not a goat in figurative terms but a real goat, Clay Henry III. He is admittedly a symbolic figure, a mascot of sorts, a publicity tool. He does not involve himself with zoning or ribbon cuttings. He is not a strategic planner.

His claim to fame is that he drinks beer.

Yet anyone who doubts his standing in Brewster County need only come to the county courthouse in Alpine this month, when a defendant is scheduled to be tried on state felony charges for grievously wounding Clay Henry in a knife attack. Clay Henry has healed, but the sheriff has preserved a piece of the goat's anatomy as evidence. To put it indelicately, Clay Henry was castrated.

"It's serious business to anybody," said the Brewster County sheriff, Ronny Dodson, noting that the defendant could face jail time. "Clay Henry is one of the icons in our community." Of the accused, the sheriff added, "He thought it was a joke." In the southern part of the county, the sheriff said, people do not think it was that funny.

No, they do not. Clay Henry is a celebrity in Brewster County, a place where about 10,000 people live in an area larger than Connecticut. The breathtaking landscape has been discovered in recent years by artists, yuppies and others looking for a great escape. But the region still feels enough like the Old West that the defendant, Jim Bob Hargrove of Val Verde County, should consider himself fortunate that modern jurisprudence prevails.

"They wanted to lynch the guy," said Roger Gibson, who owned Clay Henry's predecessor, Clay Henry Jr. "Clay Henry is an institution in West Texas."

Clay Henry I, the most famous of the Clay Henry mayors, belonged to the Lajitas Trading Post and earned a reputation in the 1970s for having a thirst for beer.

"The goat would walk around by the pool table, and he would take a beer off the table if you didn't give him one," Dodson recalled. "Even when I was a kid down on the river, we'd give beer to the goat."

Clay Henry's popularity and common appeal made him a natural for politics. His first race came in the 1980s, by which time Lajitas was less a town than a resort owned by a prominent Houston businessman, Walter Mischer. Late one night, Mischer and a group of his Houston friends jokingly elected one of their own, a wealthy developer, as mayor of Lajitas, a gesture that offended at least one of the locals.

"I decided that if somebody from Houston can be mayor of Lajitas, then why not my goat?" said Bill Ivey, who then owned the trading post as well as Clay Henry.

The contest of goat versus developer became an irresistible spectacle for the media. Ivey said more than 1,200 "votes" arrived from around the world for Clay Henry. (The election had no apparent precincts or boundaries.)

When the final votes were counted, the Houston crowd, apparently annoyed, placed a Houston phone book on the table as a bloc vote and declared victory. The Supreme Court was not consulted, and in a quieter election a few years later, Clay Henry won handily.

His responsibilities consisted of being available for tourists who wanted a peek at the beer-drinking goat. But he did apparently affix his hoof print to at least one piece of legislation introduced at the Capitol. Ivey said the goat appeared in movies, drank beers with country music stars such as Willie Nelson and held office until the early 1990s. Then at age 23, he died after fighting with a younger goat over the affections of a nanny. Today, Ivey has him stuffed, a beer bottle wedged in his open mouth.

Clay Henry's son, Clay Jr., had a shorter tenure and left office in 1998. For a while, the trading post was without a goat and the town was without a mayor, until tourists visiting the resort demanded a successor. Clay Henry III officially became mayor in 2000, winning an election against a field that included a wooden Indian and a dog named Clyde.

His blood connection to his predecessors is dubious, but Clay Henry III shares their taste for beer. He lives in a fancy pen beside the trading post and paces back and forth, excitedly, when a person approaches with a cold one. (A sign in the trading post says the mayor prefers the Lone Star brand.)

It was Clay Henry's thirst that prompted his attack, according to the sheriff. On a Sunday in November, the new owner of the resort, Steve Smith, wanted to show a few visitors how Clay Henry drinks beer.

Blue laws prevented him from buying one at the trading post, so Smith asked two men sitting nearby for a bottle. They obliged, but the sheriff said one of the men was offended that Smith had given a perfectly good beer to a goat.

Later that day, witnesses overheard Hargrove boasting that he planned to go back and castrate Clay Henry. The sheriff said Clay Henry was found in a pool of blood the next morning. Housekeepers cleaning the condominium where Hargrove had stayed found something in the refrigerator. Dodson says it was Clay Henry's testicle. Hargrove could not be reached for comment.

For now, Clay Henry does not seem very vengeful. He is back in his pen, happily drinking beers when they come his way.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
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"I decided that if somebody from Houston can be mayor of Lajitas, then why not my goat?"

I love Texas humor!

1 posted on 08/06/2002 5:08:04 AM PDT by Damocles
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To: Damocles
At last a Politician you can trust who won't get your goat.
2 posted on 08/06/2002 5:20:19 AM PDT by YOMO
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To: Damocles
don't believe all that talk about breathtaking landscapes, wide open spaces, and such. West Texas is mostly composed of landfill brought from mexico and medical waste from New Jersey. The air smells of sulpher, and 120 degrees at midnight is the norm. don't let them sucker you into visiting, stay in your cities.
3 posted on 08/06/2002 5:22:16 AM PDT by jdub
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To: jdub
>>composed of landfill brought from mexico and medical waste from New Jersey.<<

That would be El Paso. . .thank you very much
4 posted on 08/06/2002 5:25:21 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: jdub
don't believe all that talk about breathtaking landscapes, wide open spaces, and such. West Texas is mostly composed of landfill brought from mexico and medical waste from New Jersey. The air smells of sulpher, and 120 degrees at midnight is the norm. don't let them sucker you into visiting, stay in your cities.

I'll second that. Everyone stay where you are. Stay out of West Texas it's toooooooo dangerous for tenderfeet.

5 posted on 08/06/2002 5:28:48 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: Gunrunner2
That would be El Paso. . .thank you very much

C'mon, help me out here. EVERYTHING West of Austin is uninhabitable to humans.

6 posted on 08/06/2002 5:52:05 AM PDT by jdub
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To: Damocles
I am proud to have shared a beer with Clay Henry I. I haven't been back to Lajitas since he was stuffed, though.

Great place, straight out of a John Wayne movie, although I understand that it has really grown since I was last there in the 1980's.

7 posted on 08/06/2002 5:58:39 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: ladtx
If you drive to Lajitas, you will have the opportunity to run over numerous tarantulas crossing the road. I probably flattened 20 of them. Don't tell PETA.
8 posted on 08/06/2002 6:01:17 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Damocles

Clay Henry took the assault hard.

9 posted on 08/06/2002 6:06:33 AM PDT by DainBramage
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To: Dog Gone
If you drive to Lajitas, you will have the opportunity to run over numerous tarantulas crossing the road. I probably flattened 20 of them.

I know they like the warmth of the asphalt after a rain, the roads will be covered with them. I also remember my granddad talking about shaking tarantulas off his pants leg as he hoed his cotton rows, but that was in north Texas.

10 posted on 08/06/2002 6:18:11 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: jdub
>>C'mon, help me out here. EVERYTHING West of Austin is uninhabitable to humans.<<

Okay, okay, as long as you agree everything EAST of Austin is uninhabitable to humans (Houston is the pits).
;-)
11 posted on 08/06/2002 6:19:38 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: Dog Gone
I used to win bets by betting that a given tarantula seen crossing the road would be a male. As the females don't wander much, it was an easy bet to win.

I was acquainted with Clay Henry I but I never had the pleasure of meeting the others.
12 posted on 08/06/2002 6:20:38 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic
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To: Doctor Stochastic
How the heck do you prove to someone that a tarantula is a male? Do you pick it up and point to some tarantula balls??
13 posted on 08/06/2002 6:27:21 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
wow, self marinating cabrito. got to love it.

t
14 posted on 08/06/2002 6:30:07 AM PDT by P7M13
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To: Dog Gone
Palps. It's not for the squeamish.
15 posted on 08/06/2002 6:32:03 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic
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To: Gunrunner2
Okay, okay, as long as you agree everything EAST of Austin is uninhabitable to humans (Houston is the pits).

"Smile when you say that," purred the Houston-native warrior princess as she sharpened her sword.
16 posted on 08/06/2002 6:36:44 AM PDT by Xenalyte
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To: jdub
EVERYTHING West of Austin is uninhabitable to humans.

Guess you've never seen Palo Duro Canyon in the morning or antelope off the caprock. Marble Falls is a pretty neat place too. The sand dunes around Monahans was great place to go sand boarding as a kid I remember. And there is just something about the Big Country around Abilene, it just sort of draws you into it. You can stand on a slight rise and see nothing but miles of Texas, (the real Texas).

17 posted on 08/06/2002 6:38:37 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: Damocles
So, they cut off his LAJITAS?!?

Ouch.

18 posted on 08/06/2002 6:39:35 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: ladtx
Palo Duro Canyon.


19 posted on 08/06/2002 6:40:53 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: Damocles
Sure, they can castrate a goat mayor, but a horndog ex-president? Still waiting for that bit of justice.
20 posted on 08/06/2002 6:44:54 AM PDT by mountaineer
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To: Damocles

Downtown Lajitas, Texas
21 posted on 08/06/2002 6:51:16 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Xenalyte
Okay. . .for all the Texans out there we can all agree that the the worst parts of Texas are better than the best parts of everywhere else.

"Never ask a man where he is from, if he is from Texas he will tell you, if he is not, you don't want to embarass him."
22 posted on 08/06/2002 7:11:51 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: ladtx
Don't put up pictures like that. Most people need a lot of humidity and there isn't any in West Texas.
23 posted on 08/06/2002 7:12:10 AM PDT by FITZ
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To: FITZ
Don't put up pictures like that. Most people need a lot of humidity and there isn't any in West Texas.

Sorry. Just wanted to show how desolate it is. Not a McDonalds for miles. Wouldn't want anyone to think it's a neat place, with all it's open sky, clean air and soul stirring spaciousness.

24 posted on 08/06/2002 7:18:26 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: ladtx
Yes that's a good reason. No malls either. And how do you know there's even air because you can't see it?
25 posted on 08/06/2002 7:20:57 AM PDT by FITZ
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To: ladtx
Got any pictures of fields of bluebonnets or indian paintbrush?
26 posted on 08/06/2002 7:28:22 AM PDT by ELS
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To: FITZ
A German artist named Ludwig Bemelmans once visited far West Texas, exploring its forbidding but majestic mountains and barren desert, and afterward said:
“It is what Beethoven reached for in music. It will make you breathe deeply whenever you think of it, for you have inhaled eternity.”
27 posted on 08/06/2002 7:28:49 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: ELS
Bluebonnets? How about this?


28 posted on 08/06/2002 7:30:59 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: Damocles
"I decided that if somebody from Houston can be mayor of Lajitas, then why not my goat?"

Being in Houston, I'd rather have the goat than our current mayor. The goat couldn't do any worse.

29 posted on 08/06/2002 7:35:20 AM PDT by Pining_4_TX
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To: FITZ
Here's a partial quote I've kept over the years. It came out in the European version of the Stars and Stripes about 20 years ago. I've got the whole article if you would like it.

WEST TEXAS
MEAN AND MARVELOUS

West Texas is a sunrise in the Palo Duro Canyon, a Sunday at Lake Meredith and a sunset in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day in Shamrock, the Fourth of July at the Texas Cowboy Reunion in Stamford and Christmas stranded in a Panhandle snowstorm.

It’s a monument to a mule at Muleshoe, a jack rabbit statue at Odessa and an 11-foot tall roadrunner named Paisano Pete at Fort Stockton.

West Texas is oil boom and oil bust and thousands of oil pumps nodding like metal insects in a prarie ritual.

It’s an Amarillo blizzard, a Sanderson flood, a Wichita Falls tornado, a South Plains duster, a High Plains hail storm and everywhere a target for killer heat waves and dry spells.

It’s an aversion to governmental handouts and cold shoulder to government interference.

West Texas is a beer bust on the Concho River and a drug bust on the Rio Grande. It’s Longhorns and longnecks, Friday night football and Saturday night fever.

It’s Ace Reid’s cowboy cartoons and Stanley Marsh’s buried Cadillacs and an abandoned shell of a drive-in theater whose crumbling marquee once read: “Gone With the Wind.”

It’s the tree at Notrees and the impact of Impact, the tiny shadow town that brought liquor to Abilene, a city of churches and church schools, the buckle on the Bible Belt.

30 posted on 08/06/2002 7:37:11 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: ladtx
A German artist named Ludwig Bemelmans once visited far West Texas, exploring its forbidding but majestic mountains and barren desert, and afterward said: “It is what Beethoven reached for in music. It will make you breathe deeply whenever you think of it, for you have inhaled eternity.”

Germans always freak out when they see wide open space for the first time. He would have said the same thing had he gone to Afghanistan instead.

31 posted on 08/06/2002 7:40:26 AM PDT by arm958
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To: arm958
He would have said the same thing had he gone to Afghanistan instead.

Only difference is they don't have this in Afghanistan.

"...a chili cookoff in Terlingua and a Lamblast in San Angelo.

It’s chicken fried steak in Quanah, calf fries in Big Spring, Tex-Mex in Midland and barbecue from Dalhart to Del Rio and El Paso to Fort Worth.

And then there’s steak.
Joe Allen’s in Abilene and the 50 Yard Line in Lubbock do with the ribeye what Picasso did with the paintbrush.

In Amarillo, the Big Texan offers a 72-ounce sirloin free to anyone who eats the monster before it eats him. An oilfield roughneck did it once, and we miss him.

In San Angelo, there’s a restored bawdy house called Miss Hattie’s, but the river city’s greater claim to fame is its steakhouses, surely the most and best of any town its size. Zentner’s Daughter didn’t invent the garlic-flavored KC sirloin but she perfected it."

32 posted on 08/06/2002 7:45:01 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: jdub
Excuse me........ everything West of Austin is NOT uninhabitable......lol......... it may not be fun, but you can survive............lol
33 posted on 08/06/2002 7:50:29 AM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: P7M13
Now that is harsh T......very harsh........
34 posted on 08/06/2002 7:51:05 AM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: ladtx; COB1
Now you've gone and done it.......I'm homesick!

That is a great article......would you send the rest of it to me?

35 posted on 08/06/2002 7:54:11 AM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: Damocles; humblegunner
HG - you HAVE to read this.......!
36 posted on 08/06/2002 7:55:12 AM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: ladtx
Yes, I'd like the entire article, please.
37 posted on 08/06/2002 8:12:57 AM PDT by Gunrunner2
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To: ladtx
ACtually, we are trying to keep all that a secret!!!!!!!!!11
38 posted on 08/06/2002 8:25:15 AM PDT by nanny
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To: nanny
ACtually, we are trying to keep all that a secret!!!!!!!!!11

I don't think we have to worry. There aren't that many of us hearty souls out there that would appreciate it's beauty.

39 posted on 08/06/2002 8:28:38 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: Gunrunner2
you don't have to convince me, I grew up in Houston.
40 posted on 08/06/2002 9:34:30 AM PDT by jdub
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To: ladtx
"Guess you've never seen Palo Duro Canyon in the morning or antelope off the caprock. Marble Falls is a pretty neat place too. The sand dunes around Monahans was great place to go sand boarding as a kid I remember. And there is just something about the Big Country around Abilene, it just sort of draws you into it. You can stand on a slight rise and see nothing but miles of Texas, (the real Texas)."

Ok, now you've done it!! Don't blame me when those places you mention are crawling with New Yorkers whining about there not being a decent deli for 1000 miles. Do me a favor and don't go and tell them about the Hill Country, bluebonnets, the Guadalupe and Perdenales, the Frio, and all the other places that have too many visitors for my liking already. (If you haven't figured it out already, I LOVE Texas and all its landscapes)

41 posted on 08/06/2002 9:40:19 AM PDT by jdub
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
yes, dear, but the less people that go there the better. As a displaced Texan living in TN, there is nothing I want more than to get back home. My wife is sick of our vacations consisting of BBNP, Fredricksburg in April, the family ranch at thanksgiving, and wherever else I can point out to her in TX Highways that I just HAVE to go visit again.

For all you other displaced Texans out there, if you don't already you need to subscribe to TX highways. At $17 per year, its a monthly dose of Texana that helps you get by.

42 posted on 08/06/2002 9:45:39 AM PDT by jdub
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To: jdub
"...New Yorkers whining about there not being a decent deli for 1000 miles."

Never happen. That's why they're in New York and we're in Texas. Hard to have appreciation for it when you're standing there in the 110 degree heat and the sand is blasting your face. About one day's worth is enough to turn 'em around. General Sherman once said, "If I owned hell and Texas, I would rent out Texas and live in hell." Good, one less tourist.

43 posted on 08/06/2002 9:46:47 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: Gunrunner2
i'd like the whole article too.
44 posted on 08/06/2002 9:47:09 AM PDT by jdub
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To: ladtx
He's just tryin to get yer "goat" !

Stay Safe & Regards from the Panhandle !

45 posted on 08/06/2002 10:11:09 AM PDT by Squantos
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To: Damocles
I hope they prosecute the guy who did this to the goat to the fullest extend of the law. This story is presented in a light hearted fashion, and that's okay. But that fool treated the goat in a very inhumane fashion and could have killed it.
46 posted on 08/06/2002 10:11:37 AM PDT by MEGoody
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To: Squantos
The Panhandle. My wife lived in Amarillo and worked for the AQHA while I was in Vietnam. My son lives in Lubbock now, (I know, it's technically not in the Panhandle, but close enough). He moved there from East Texas, now he says he'll never leave, except if his Reserve unit sends him somewhere.
47 posted on 08/06/2002 10:20:34 AM PDT by ladtx
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To: ladtx
Yessir ! I retired in 96 from USAF/EOD and returned home.......

As my Daddy used to say, ...... The Panhandle of Texas is so flat you can stand on a five gallon bucket with a pair of binoculars and see the back of your own head.........

Stay Safe !

48 posted on 08/06/2002 10:27:53 AM PDT by Squantos
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; ladtx; jdub; Squantos; Xenalyte; nanny; FITZ; Gunrunner2

Actually for anyone other than Texans, the whole state is uninhabitable.
Everything here either bites, stings or cuts.....and that includes people.
It's an absolute horrible place to live unless you like to smell horse sweat, cowshit, cactus blooms and caliche dust; or hear ten trillion locusts, and nothing else, on a hot afternoon; or see sunsets that will make you miss the evening news on TV.

49 posted on 08/06/2002 12:31:41 PM PDT by COB1
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To: COB1
Like I wasn't already homesick enough.............
50 posted on 08/06/2002 12:33:37 PM PDT by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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